Nominations are now closed for the Mayor’s Community Safety Awards.

The Mayor’s Community Safety Awards, sponsored by Bell, celebrates innovative Toronto-based and resident-led projects that help build safer communities.

Six outstanding projects (three community and three youth-led) that contribute to community safety in Toronto will be selected to receive funding to support their innovative approaches to addressing safety within their local communities.

The award winners will be honoured during a virtual ceremony hosted by Mayor John Tory on July 5 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Winners will receive a commemorative certificate and a $1,000 cash award from Bell (the sponsor since 2004) to continue their work to help improve community safety.

The Mayor’s Community Safety Awards is a longstanding partnership between the City of Toronto and Bell.

To be eligible for a Mayor’s Community Safety Award a project must:

  • Promote violence prevention, reduce violence and help victims and/or increase community safety.
  • Demonstrate innovation and serve as a model to other groups, individuals and communities.
  • Have been developed and implemented within the last two years
  • Inclusive of priority populations such as: Indigenous peoples; racialized groups; people with disabilities; LGBTQ2S+ persons; newcomers; youth; people with low income; individuals impacted by community violence
  • Encourage and develop partnerships in building safer, stronger communities
  • Be a resident-led and resident-based project/program and not a program from an established/registered organization.
  • Be initiated by a Toronto-based community group and benefit Toronto communities
  • Be youth-led and geared towards youth between the ages of 12 and 29 to be eligible for a Youth Award.

Organizations may submit more than one eligible project; however, only one project will be selected annually from a group/organization for an award.

Note: Projects operated by the City of Toronto’s Agencies, Boards, Commissions, and/or Divisions, by other orders of government or have previously received a Mayor’s Community Safety Award are not eligible to receive awards.

The selection committee will include two youth, two community residents, two representatives from the City of Toronto, and one representative from Bell and a Community Neighbourhood Officer from the Toronto Police Service.

Members of the selection committee will declare any affiliations and/or conflicts of interest regarding reviewing nominations. Each application will be screened for eligibility and reviewed and scored based on the impacts and effectiveness of projects/initiatives in providing supports and promoting community safety, community wellbeing, recovery, and resilience.

Aboriginal Walkabout Program

The Aboriginal Walkabout program pairs three police officers with several elders from Toronto’s Aboriginal community for a walkabout along Yonge Street and its adjacent laneways, alleyways and parks to address negative behaviours impacting local businesses. As members of the Aboriginal community are encountered along the way, officers and elders engage them in conversation. This approach allows members of the Aboriginal community to see elders working hand in hand with police toward a common goal, keeping people safe.

Ephraim’s Place

Ephraim’s Place works with residents in the Jane-Sheppard communities to provide programs and services that give youth the skills they need to build a successful future and bring about positive personal and community transformation. Their program, Project HEARTcore, is a free after-school program that empowers youth from Grades 9 to 12 to make a difference in their school and community. This program encourages youth to help others and get involved in positive ways.

Support and Knowledge for Young Women (SKY)

The SKY project is designed to enhance awareness around sexual violence and provide support in healing. This project teaches youth skills around negotiating consent and healthy relationships, and provides a safe space for disclosure and counselling. SKY equips participants with skills and knowledge to navigate difficult situations, while increasing access to supportive community resources and services.

Chalkfarm Safe Walk Program

The Chalkfarm Safe Walk Program aims to engage local parents and volunteers to escort local children to Chalkfarm Public School in the morning and back home or to local community programs in the afternoon. The program creates a visual presence in the community and builds relationships between residents with local service providers including teachers at the school, Toronto Police Service and others.

Surveillance of the Body: A Public Drawing Class For Body Conscience LGBTTIQQ2SA Youth

The Surveillance of the Body project converts an activity traditionally associated with commercial art and design practices to a vehicle to reach LGBTTIQQ2SA youth who often feel left behind or isolated. This project provides a platform and opportunity to build on the skills to understand what it means to negotiate, own and be in control of their minds and their bodies, and how to address violence aimed towards them. Building positive self-image and creating safe space for growth contributes to the development of young leaders and the peers that support them.

The two safety projects that received honourable mentions are:

The Forgiveness Project

The Forgiveness Project was created to build a space for youth to explore themes in forgiveness and conflict management. It grew into a book series and a travelling art exhibit, and now involves working with people affected by crime, including perpetrators, to discuss what forgiveness looks like.

Impact ‘N Communities Violence Intervention Ambassadors Project

The Violence Intervention Ambassador Project (VIA) was started to build the capacity of young people to act as ambassadors against violence. Through training and workshops youth develop the skills and tools needed to be proactive in dealing with violence in their communities and become leaders in their neighbourhoods.

Developed by the Task Force on Community Safety in 2002, the Mayor’s Community Safety Awards is an annual event that recognizes six outstanding projects that contribute to community safety in Toronto.

The awards celebrate projects that:

  • Promote the safety of neighbourhoods and communities, including priority populations such as: Indigenous peoples; racialized groups; people with disabilities; LGBTQ2S+ persons; newcomers; youth; people with low income; individuals impacted by community violence
  • Respond to gun or community violence and victimization
  • Have the capacity to work towards reducing violence within vulnerable communities
  • Build partnerships with the community, its organizations and/or the corporate/business sector while promoting safety and/or violence prevention