Developed by the Task Force on Community Safety, and first presented in 2002, the Mayor’s Community Safety Awards is an event that recognizes outstanding projects, organizations and individuals that contribute to community safety in Toronto. Below is a list of past winners.

Award Recipients

Mending a Crack in the Sky

Founded in 2015, Mending a Crack in the Sky is a community healing initiative that was developed by women, many of whom are survivors of acute trauma, to address gun violence and its lasting impact on families in the Greater Toronto Area. Through the development of a peer-to-peer crisis support model, victims of gun violence were given support as well as connected to more resources from the City. Working in partnership with the Toronto Police Service and Toronto Community Housing they aimed to solve the crisis of youth gun violence in the Somali community. Mending a Crack in the Sky encouraged other residents to be a part of building a safety plan and worked with them to get more resources out into the community where they were needed most.

Reclaim Your Voice

Reclaim Your Voice is a survivor-led organization that offers safe spaces where people who have experienced abuse and sexual violence can work through their trauma. By providing safe spaces participants feel less isolated in their journeys and empowered to continue with their healing. The group looked for opportunities to introduce the openness of speaking about abuse and sexual violence in spaces where it was not usually discussed. Reclaim Your Voice has visited post-secondary institutions in Toronto as staff recognized the value in providing students access to survivor-led initiatives.

Zero Gun Violence Movement

Zero Gun Violence Movement is an awareness and advocacy movement that works across the city to engage people and organizations that are truly committed to being a part of the solution to reduce gun violence and build safe and healthy communities, not for some, but for all. The Zero Gun Violence Movement collaborated with more than 40 different community organizations, agencies, and programs across the city that were committed to addressing structural and socio-economic conditions that contribute to the gun violence problem. As a movement, its core call to action and activity was inviting, building and strengthening partnerships.

Resident-Led Honourable Mention

440 Winona Tenant Association

440 Winona Tenant Association is a community safety committee that was created in response to a violent incident that took place in the neighbourhood that many tenants found very triggering., These tenants were either survivors of violence in their present lives or from their countries of origin. Following the incident, the 440 Winona Tenant Association has worked to provide a COVID-safe community project to promote emotional healing through counselling and art. The group sessions include participation from a counsellor, artist and a person experienced in supporting community safety committees. The project goes beyond simply asking for more police, and relies on tenant communication, strong relations with policymakers, self-help and strategic use of police resources.

Youth-Led Award Recipients

Afghan Youth Engagement and Development Initiative

The Afghan Youth Mentorship Program served ethnocultural and racialized minorities, newcomers, refugees, and the most vulnerable population youth from low-income neighbourhoods. Through the mentorship program, participants increased their ability to pursue higher education and employment opportunities, thereby providing them with an opportunity to exit social assistance and poverty. The program’s goal was to build social and emotional wellness and instill knowledge-sharing amongst themselves and their respective adult mentors. By creating safe spaces to discuss issues that do not currently have a forum, youth were able to share and be open about topics such as mental health. All these activities contributed to the development of healthy, safe communities and promoted the inclusion and support of youth.

Aura Freedom International

The Human Trafficking Peer Prevention Project’s goal was to prevent human trafficking and sexual violence through education and providing survivors anti-oppressive access to services. In just one year, Aura delivered presentations in more than 48 youth spaces across Toronto with more than 2,000 participants. As well, 24 survivors of sexual exploitation/violence came forward to receive support. Youth gained knowledge to protect themselves from human trafficking, exploitation and violence. By collecting data on youths’ attitudes and beliefs, Aura has shared these findings with community organizations, government and police to better understand these issues, create safer communities and transform lives.

Youth Leaders of East York

The Youth Leaders of East York came together to address concerns through youth-led and youth-driven initiatives to address the presence and impact of racism and the increased violence in their community impacting youth. They uniquely tailored and blended social media, personal engagement, podcasts and online forums to engage on multiple issues and concerns. The youth team was dedicated to building and demonstrating their capacity by receiving input and bringing it back to their community to inform and mobilize youth networks across the community.

Youth-Led Honourable Mention

Generation Chosen

With a goal of preventing gun violence and crime through education and opportunity for youth, Generation Chosen serves a large scope of Black communities that are marginalized and underserved including youth, newcomers, single parents, low income, 2SLGBTQ+ persons and people with disabilities. To holistically support the development of those most vulnerable in our society and interrupt inter-generational cycles of poverty, disenfranchisement and trauma, Generation Chosen openly confronted mental health obstacles, dealt compassionately with harmful emotions and created opportunities for education, financial self-sufficiency and meaningful mentorship.

Award Recipients

Aboriginal Walkabout Program

The Aboriginal Walkabout program paired 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 behaviors impacting local businesses. As members of the Aboriginal community were encountered along the way, officers and elders engaged them in conversation. This approach allowed 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 worked with residents in the Jane-Sheppard communities to provide programs and services that gave youth the skills they needed to build a successful future and bring about positive personal and community transformation. Project HEARTcore was a free after-school program that empowered youth from grades nine to 12 to make a difference in their school and community. This program encouraged youth to help others to get involved in positive ways.

Support and Knowledge for Young Women (SKY)

The SKY project was designed to enhance awareness around sexual violence and provided support in healing. This project taught youth skills like negotiating consent and healthy relationships and provided a safe space for disclosure and counselling. SKY equiped 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 aimed 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 created a visual presence in the community and built relationships between residents with local service providers including teachers at the school, Toronto Police and others.

Surveillance of the Body: A Drawing Class For Body Conscience 2SLGBTQ+ Youth

The Surveillance of the Body project converted an activity traditionally associated with commercial art and design practices to a vehicle that reached 2SLGBTQ+ youth who often feel left behind or isolated. This project provided a platform and opportunity to build on understanding what it means to negotiate, to 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.

Honourable Mentions

The Forgiveness Project

The Forgiveness Project was created to build a space for youth to explore themes of forgiveness and conflict management. It grew into a book series and a travelling art exhibit, and then involved 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 was started to build the capacity of young people to act as ambassadors against violence. Through training and workshops youth developed the skills and tools needed to be proactive in dealing with violence in their communities and become leaders in their neighborhoods.

Award Recipients

  • Grow Right
  • Tour De Black Creek Bike Race
  • Young Women of Wisdom
  • Safe Inclusive Toronto Streets
  • Redemption Reintegration Services

Award Recipients

Show Love

Show Love was a direct response to the Eaton Center shooting that claimed the lives of two young men as well as the assailant who was also a member of the Regent Park community. Every Friday of the summer, offices were opened and residents were invited to Show Love in the form of community clean up of garbage and weeding in gardens and playgrounds for the first two hours of every Friday. After the clean-up, there was a space provided that allowed for a barbecue, dominos tournaments, free Zumba classes and community dialogue’s which took place into the wee hours of the night as a means of residents reclaiming their space.

Welcome to the Circle

Through story circles and the creation of digital stories a diverse community came together. Welcome to the Circle encouraged community safety in Lawrence Heights through a number of consultations with the largely Somali community, an advisory of youth living in the area, and the support of the local safety sub-committee, culminating in seven digital stories.


SafeTYnet was created to encourage and support youth to identify and take ownership of safety issues in their own communities. While many neighbourhood-based initiatives existed, few projects focused on building the capacity of young people to create their own definition of safety through research with their peers, and then creating youth-led community development projects to address this definition. SafeTYnet createed safe space for young people from different neighbourhoods to come together, and build mutual understanding through developing relationships and breaking down stereotypes and invisible borders. Five youth animators were hired and their capacity was developed through various trainings.

Rabita – Community Conversation Circles

Culturally sensitive workshops were developed and created by the Thorncliffe Park Safety Committee to address topics such as domestic violence, youth crime, and elder abuse. With support from community stakeholders the project also strived to promote community mobilization and crime prevention.

One Bullet, A Thousand Tears

The “One Bullet, A Thousand Tears” increased community safety by creating awareness of the issue of gun violence and the impact it has in communities through a public service announcement (PSA). The project was a group effort by youth participants in the Concrete Roses Youth Services summer videography program. Participants between the ages of 16 to 18 contributed to the creation of the concept of the short film then directed it and used it as a PSA.

Award Recipients

Children and Community Safety Project

The Children and Community Safety Project engaged children aged six to 12 to lead community safety projects including safety audits, speaking events (anti-bulling) and craft activities that re-enforced safety messages. The project was a resident led response to the spike in crime in the Sparroway neighbourhood.

Frontlines Cooks

By giving boys a safe place to be, and by giving them a program that fed their bodies and spirits, Frontline Cooks was created as a deterrent to crime and violence. This project in the Weston community used food to engage with boys aged ten to 15 in a positive healthy environment that taught cooking, nutrition and manners.

Reduce Abuse, Elepeth Heyworth Centre for Women

Reduce Abuse was a project that supported women to prevent and report domesticate violence. A strategic partnership existed where Reduce Abuse used space within Police Division 31 in order to build a trusting and comfortable environment where women could speak out and seek help.

The Gentlemen’s Spot, St. Stephen’s Community House

A collective of “hard to serve” young men aged 15 to 21 in the Alexandra Park area met to learn and practice conflict resolution, positive group dynamics and healthy social skills. The agendas and the conversations were completely driven and led by the participants themselves and encouraged each member to recast their objectives and become a community leader.

Weston King Neighbourhood Centre’s Drop-in

provides a space because “people with minimal money to spend, with strange mannerisms, loud voices, shabby clothing and smelly bodies are not welcomed” in other places. The Centre operates with mostly volunteers and the drop in “offers a variety of spaces – wide open and small and intimate – to socialise, watch TV, read a book, join a discussion on new-worthy topics and welling, take part in crafts and exercise programs”, a space that reduces social isolation by connecting vulnerable people to their neighbours building a safer happier communities.

Award Recipients

Kingston Galloway Orton Park Youth Safety Audit, East Scarborough Storefront

Spearheaded by 20 year-old Doug Parker and a few local youth, a group of dedicated residents ranging from youth to seniors participated in a series of safety audits. They walk around their neighbourhood identifying safety hazards and concerns, evaluate their findings over dinner and work together to solve the issues they’ve uncovered. This cross-generational “holistic” approach to reducing violence effectively decreases isolation, builds community and makes people feel connected and safe in their neighbourhood

Mornelle Court Safety Walk Program, East Scarborough Boys and Girls Club

Under the watchful eyes of local resident Angela Brackett and her team of dedicated volunteers, local children were chaperoned to and from school safely along an established walking route. The program ensured the children arrived on time, ensured all school-related correspondence was delivered to parents and caregivers as well as keeping them away from negative influences.

Lead 2 Peace Meal Exchange

This grassroots organization was created by five youth who wanted to help their peers from the Regent Park neighbourhood learn more about social issues and improve their personal health and wellbeing. Through an in-school program participants were exposed to social issues and developed their own service learning projects to address them. Lead 2 Peace also ran an after-school martial arts program to help the youth improve their health while they kicked and punched away stress.

Neptune Renewal Group (eNeRGy), Toronto Community Housing

eNeRGy, a grassroots group of women from the Neptune neighbourhood, responded to serious safety issues by working together with their local councillor, police, and the City, to address community needs. They planned social events and developed solutions and ideas to help make the Neptune neighbourhood healthy, clean and safe.

180 Change Street, The Remix Project

The Remix Project was a 32-week transitional program dedicated to inspiring positive change in youth who were incarcerated or in conflict with the law. Developed through a personal experience of the Executive Director Samuel Egonu, 180 Change Street authentically tackled recidivism by equipping the participants with valuable life skills in a positive atmosphere that encourages personal growth and self improvement.

Award Recipients

Beyond Academics

Helping students define their future and achieve those goals makes Toronto safer. Beyond Acacdemics was a resident led, after-school program that provided a safe and comfortable environment to help with homework and teach techniques to effectively and peacefully handle conflicts. The program also engaged youth with creative rap sessions and future planning activities to help expand their vision of what’s possible for their future.

Central Park Youth Sports Club

Giving youth a positive activity with strong role models builds community safety. Capitalizing on the rising popularity of Cricket, Central Park Youth Sports Club, a resident, youth-led initiative brought together youth in a positive environment. The program focused on building teamwork and leadership skills, exposing participants to community leaders and facilitating peer mentoring relationships.

Film Stars

Providing a safe creative outlet for youth to find their voice, Film Stars was a resident-led film and video production project that traveled within 13 priority neighbourhoods and partnered with local community centers to teach participants the skill of moviemaking. Beyond the many technical skills the youth acquired, countless life skills were realized including cooperation, leadership, communication and a sense of achievement.

Lawrence Heights Friday Night Café

Local residents hosted family friendly get togethers in a positive and relaxed environment at the Lawrence Heights Friday Night Café. The weekly parties helped take back local spaces while creating new connections and strengthening their understanding of each other’s cultures. Through food, performances and fun the residents bonded together to help build a safer city.

Safe Community Initiative, University Settlement

The Safe Community Initiative educated residents from Toronto’s West Downtown neighbourhood about relevant safety issues, building networks and strengthening community partnerships. They developed and hosted four uniquely focused community safety events. Seniors learned about elder abuse and fraud, new-comers were introduced to the way the police operate in Canada, parents and care givers were updated to help keep their kids safe online and members of the BIA were taught crime prevention techniques.

Award Recipients

  • The Youth Circles Project, Peacebuiders International (Canada)
  • Breaking the Cycle of Violence, Mixed Company Theater
  • eYES: Empowering Youth to Empower Seniors,Youth Employment Services
  • Solace Magazine, Literature for Life
  • Afthan Discourse, Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office

Award Recipients

Leadership Training on Violence Prevention Program

This leadership-training program, offered by MUJER (moo-hair) taught young Latin American women how to address issues of sexual abuse, assault and violence, and provided trainees with the information and support to confront and prevent violence in their own lives and to help younger Latinas. The project involved outreach, recruitment and a selection of young Latin American women between the ages of 18 to 28 who were interested in learning about violence against women, in becoming educators on violence prevention, in linking with other young Latin American women and promoting their community participation.

Safe Sisters

Safe Sisters was developed in response to girls in Scarborough concerned about personal safety in their neighbourhoods and was offered through the YWCA Toronto chapter for girls aged ten to 18. The program was designed to help participants build on their existing strengths and contribute to their communities.  Using a variety of approaches, the program helped girls develop the skills and confidence to feel in control of their environment. Topics covered included internet safety, healthy relationships, conflict resolution, violence prevention, first aid and Wen Do (self-defence).

Expanding the Mind to End Violence

Serve’s Expanding the Mind to End Violence program engaged youth in learning about, addressing and preventing violence and crime in the community. The project focused on issues of hate-motivated violence, based on racial, ethnic, religious, homophobic and transphobic intolerance as well as gender inequality. The diverse group of young people were encouraged to take ownership of their future and to get involved in their communities through volunteering and community development.

Regent Park TV

First hitting the airwaves in November 2006, Regent Park TV was a web broadcast about the youths who live in Regent Park and offered a very real look into their culture and the issues that mattered to them. Regent Park TV was a forum for local youth aged 12 to 24 to voice their experiences, share their stories and explore issues that affected them and their community. All aspects of this program were managed by the youths, with help from staff. They chose the stories and topics, handled the interviews, produced the videos and acted as on-air personalities for the shows.

Peace Leaders Project

The message of the Peace Leaders Project, offered by Children’s Peace Theatre, was simple, peace is possible. The three and a half day program encouraged children and youth to discover the possibilities for peace through theatre-based activities, with an on-stage performance of the students’ work. This program gave students the opportunity to share their learning with their peers and become Peace Leaders in their schools and community.

Marg Stanowski, Executive Director of Operation Springboard

Marg Stanowski provided outstanding leadership in the area of community safety. With more than 30 years of experience as staff and a volunteer in the design and delivery of community correctional and social justice programs. She was a Parole Officer and Superintendent with Correctional Services Canada and Executive Director with Volunteer Ontario. As Springboard’s Executive Director, a community agency servicing over 11,000 at risk youth and adults each year, Marg was very active in her community and volunteered with diverse agencies and public service initiatives. She also served on the Board of Directors with the Rotary Club of Toronto, ProAction Cops and Kids Foundation, and served on Advisory Boards for Ryerson University and Humber College providing input on related criminal justice degree programs. Marg chaired the advisory committee for the Mayor’s Community Safety Awards, helping shape the event, celebrating contributions of community partners in making Toronto a safe place for all of us.

Award Recipients

CHOICE Apprenticeship

Through apprenticeships in the construction industry, youth from Toronto’s priority neighbourhoods explored potential employment opportunities, gained valuable work experience and built their self-esteem and confidence. CHOICE was a partnership between Toronto Community Housing, Carpenter’s Local 27 Joint Apprenticeship Training Trust Fund Inc., Housing Services Inc. and the YMCA Employment and Community Services.

Empowered Student Partnerships

Organized by a group of students at Father Henry Carr Secondary School in Rexdale, Empowered Student Partnerships created learning opportunities within their school to focus on anti-violence, to show their peers how they can all play a part in making their school a safe and welcoming environment. Creative program examples included workshops on healthy relationships and protecting yourself from bullying, and the Peacemakers Book Club.

Real Alternatives Program (RAP), For Youth Initiative

RAP used hip hop culture to help young black men in the Keele and Eglinton community develop skills and reach their potential through filmmaking, song writing and educational workshops. A project highlight was the production of a documentary, “The Forgotten City Within the City,” and an audio recording of conscious hip hop.


Toronto Kiwanis Boys and Girls Club program Safewalk ensured a safe walk home from school for 310 children in Regent Park, Moss Park and Cabbagetown. Children at seven public schools were matched with older youth who act as their personal escort to make sure that they arrived safely at after-school programs throughout the community. Youth escorts served as role models for their buddies, and developed leadership skills that could lead to future employment.

The Wen-Do Women’s Self Defence Program

The Wen-Do Women’s Self Defence Program was an innovative program that helped women break through isolation and dispel the stereotype that women with disabilities are defenceless. More than 60 women completed the program, and many took additional advanced training to become course facilitators. Wen-Do and Education Wife Assault is a modified version of traditional self-defence training for women with disabilities.