The Mayor’s Community Safety Awards celebrates innovative Toronto-based and resident-led projects that help build safe communities. Below is a list of past winners.
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.
The SKY project is designed to enhance awareness of 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.
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.
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 a positive self-image and creating a safe space for growth contributes to the development of young leaders and the peers that support them.
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.
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.