Developed by the Task Force on Community Safety in 2002, the Mayor’s Community Safety Awards is an annual event that recognizes five outstanding projects that contribute to community safety in Toronto.
Award winners receive public recognition at a ceremony hosted by the Mayor and a high-ranking Toronto Police official at City Hall, a commemorative certificate and a $1,000 cash award from Bell (the annual event sponsor since 2004) to continue their work to help improve community safety.
Note: Projects operated by the City of Toronto’s Agencies, Boards, Commissions, and/or Divisions or by other orders of government are not eligible to receive awards.
The selection committee includes representatives from the business sector, the Toronto Police Service, the Toronto Youth Cabinet, the Seniors Forum and the City’s Social Development Finance and Administration Division. Members of the selection committee will declare any affiliations and/or conflicts of interest in regards to reviewing nominations. Each application will be reviewed using standard criteria. Organizations may submit more than one eligible project; however, only one project will be selected annually from an organization for an award.
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 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.