The Recognition Review Community Advisory Committee was formed in fall 2021 and is made up of local Black and Indigenous leaders, along with other diverse community members living and working along Dundas Street. The Committee is tasked with:
Members were recruited through the City’s Confronting Anti-Black Racism Unit and Indigenous Affairs Office, and in partnership with the local City Councillors representing wards that include Dundas Street.
Adrienne Shadd is a consultant, curator and author who has conducted research for plaques, films and exhibits, and most recently collaborated on the Black heritage of ‘The Ward’ neighbourhood for installation at the new courthouse just north of Toronto’s Osgoode Hall. She is the author, co-author and editor of numerous books and articles, including The Journey from Tollgate to Parkway: African Canadians in Hamilton and Talking About Identity: Encounters in Race, Ethnicity and Language, with Carl James. She has also collaborated on the award-winning children’s publication, Freedom, as well as Early Civilizations of Africa, with Rubicon Publishing. Adrienne has been recognized with the William P. Hubbard Award for Race Relations and the J.C. Holland Award for Arts Achievement for her research and writing. She is currently part of the team out of Dalhousie University that is working on a comprehensive three-year education project entitled ‘A Black People’s History of Canada.’
Alice Bhyat is a learner, educator and retired secondary school principal who earned a doctorate in Sociology and Equity Studies, acquired extensive expertise in education, management, administration, leadership and mentorship, while contributing to local committees in the community. She served as a two-year volunteer with the World University Service Canada (WUSC) in Southern Africa. Alice successfully and consistently delivered workshops, and innovative results-oriented programs while working towards a high level of education for youth, and the ongoing task of preventing barriers in education. She conducted extensive research and writing in the areas of Anti-Racism, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Her goal is to continue working in this arena in a supportive and consultative effort to support the future growth and education of youth.
AnaBela Taborda is a branch manager with IC Savings, one of Ontario’s best-managed community credit unions. AnaBela is responsible for bringing the benefits of co-operative banking to the credit union’s members and the community. Active in Little Portugal and in the GTA’s Portuguese Canadian community, AnaBela is focused on IC Savings’ mission to add economic, social and cultural value for the benefit of members and the community that she and her team serves. She currently chairs the Little Portugal on Dundas Business Improvement Association and sits on the fundraising committee for Magellan Community Charities (MCC). Whether working with young adults through the Toronto Youth Job Corps program or leading financial literacy sessions for seniors and new immigrants, including Syrian refugees, AnaBela has contributed greatly to the quality of life of residents in this neighbourhood. For these efforts and more, she was recognized in 2018 by the United Way’s West Neighbourhood House and was awarded the Sir James Woods Award for Community Development.
Andrea Douglas is a dance educator and a retired TDSB school principal. She is an advocate of equal opportunity for children in marginalized communities and works tirelessly at providing arts education and experiences at the Children and Youth Dance Theatre of Toronto, which she founded in 1993. Andrea has received numerous awards for her contribution to culture and heritage. She is the proud recipient of the Guyana Award of Excellence, and the Harry Jerome Award of Excellence in the Arts, for her outstanding contribution to the Arts at school and community level.
Brandon Arkinson is a tireless advocate for accessibility and has significant lived experience in the realm of inclusion. As a proud member of Toronto’s disability community, he is passionate about social justice and seeks to improve outcomes for marginalized communities. As a community advocate and social entrepreneur, Brandon brings his experience in the not-for-profit, community housing and newcomer support services sector(s) to the committee. As a member of the board of directors with Yonge and Dundas Square (YDS) and the Rexdale Community Health Centre (RCHC), he is able to provide a wide breadth of stakeholder insights to the committee. In terms of bona fides and credentials, Brandon holds a BA in Disability Studies and an MBA from the university formerly known as Ryerson. During his studies, he obtained seven specializations, designations and certifications and has studied at UCLA, the London School of Economics and the University of Oxford. Professionally, Brandon is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and a Certified Psychological Health and Safety Advisor.
Catherine is a seated Spotted Turtle Clan Knowledge Keeper and is active throughout the City of Toronto and beyond, in many organizations as Elder in Residence, Mentor, Teacher and Cultural Advisor. She is an alumna of the Ontario College of Art and has had a diverse career, multiple exhibits and installations, published written works and music. Catherine actively supports the work and development of other artists on an ongoing basis as well as maintaining her own art practice. Catherine is the new Indigenous Arts Program Manager at Toronto Arts Council and continues teaching, learning and exploring her creativity and that of others.
Ceta Ramkhalawansinghis a feminist human rights advocate, city builder and community activist who is actively involved in the Grange neighbourhood on social housing, land use and heritage preservation. Ceta’s family moved from Trinidad and Tobago and settled in Toronto. For three decades until retirement, she managed the City of Toronto’s corporate programs on equity, diversity and human rights. A co-founder of women’s studies at the University of Toronto, she has also been a policy analyst, author and publisher. In 2014, Ceta was appointed to fill a vacancy on Toronto City Council. Ceta has received numerous awards to recognise her contributions.
Courtney Skye (she/her) is Mohawk, Turtle Clan from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. She is a research fellow at the Yellowhead Institute. Courtney has led policy development for the public sector at local, provincial and national levels.
Hannia Cheng is a Queer and Cantonese artist raised and based in Tkaronto with a performance arts and mixed media practice. At the intersection of relationships and reciprocity, art is the common ground on which they share stories and explore the tender resilience that exists in the greater unknown of our daily lives. They co-founded Tea Base in 2018, a grassroots artist-run incubator for community activism in Chinatown Centre Mall.
Born and raised in Toronto, Ingrid Hart is a resident of Alexandra Park and has lived in the area for over 20 years. She is an active member of the community and regularly participates in town hall meetings and working group discussions surrounding neighbourhood safety and revitalization efforts. Ingrid works as an acting coach and instructor at Toronto Film School and George Brown College.
Joanne sits as the Elder and Senior Advisor Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation for Ryerson University, Chair of Ryerson’s Aboriginal Education Council, Co-chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Directive and Co-chair of the Standing Strong Task Force. She also sits as a member of Elders Council and Chair of Urban Indigenous Community Advisory Committee for the TDSB and provides administration and staff supports. She has dedicated her career to counselling, advising, training and educating on Indigenous concerns, empowering and capacity building and advocating for change in broader societal relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. Joanne’s awards include an Honorary Doctor of Laws in the Community Service Faculty at Ryerson University, The Minaake Award for Leadership, Herbert H Carnegie Amazing Aces Award for Courage and City of Toronto Access, Equity and Human Rights Awards – Aboriginal Affairs Award.
Keisha Evans has lived in the Greater Toronto Area for almost 40 years. She has experience in education, equity, youth work, community engagement, program development and advocacy. Keisha currently works in the largest school board in Canada to support African, Afro-Caribbean and Black students and their families, in supporting their development in the areas of academic achievement, social-emotional growth and post-secondary access and career planning. Keisha is also an author who has written The Invisibility of Black Girls in Education, which provides a detailed analysis on how Black girls are excluded and ignored within the education system by school officials, which consequently impacts their overall academic experience. Ms. Evans has also authored a women’s empowerment book for healing, produced literature on the over-policing and surveillance of Black youth and has written a children’s book on consent, which includes a curriculum guide for educators. Beyond her professional pursuits, Keisha is a devoted mother who enjoys travelling with her family to explore new foods and sample international cuisines.
Lindis Collins-Bacchus is a private neuro-physiotherapist, who trained in the U.K. and relocated to Canada in 1988. Lindis considers herself a lifelong learner and a people person. She has always had a strong commitment to volunteering in the Black community while living in the U.K. and in Canada. Lindis received an award as one of the Top 100 Black Women to Watch in 2019 by her community. She continues to volunteer in the Toronto Black community in the African Canadian Heritage Association (ACHA) and Yensomu African Rites of Passage. Travel, especially to various countries in East and West Africa, as well as the Caribbean, Europe and Canada, is a passion that motivates Lindis in her lifelong connection to her cultural history. Lindis has been happily married for over 30 years and has two adult children.
Canadian Poet of Honour and TED Talk speaker Mahlikah is an Artist For Social Change. Mahlikah is an acclaimed spoken word artist, activist, arts educator, artist mentor, musician, performance artist, futurist writer, digital artist and mindfulness coach. Mahlikah is a Paula Fund Awardee, a contributor for the first Black Canadian Afro-Futurism Anthology, COSMIC UNDERGROUND NORTHSIDE: AN INCANTATION OF BLACK SPECULATIVE DISCOURSE & INNERSTANDINGS, Cedar Grove Publishing, and a featured poet for Audible Original X Festival of Literary Diversity (FOLD): Power In Poetry: Moods That Move. Mahlikah is the acting Director of Programming for Neighbourhood Impact at the Centre of Learning & Development, an art educator for the Art Gallery of Ontario, TDSBCREATES Artist in Residence, and faculty member for the Wildseed Centre’s Black Arts Fellowship.
Mark Garner has been a successful business and community leader for more than 30 years and is now focusing his expertise and vision on the transformation of one of Toronto’s most vital tourism and business hubs. As Chief Operating Officer and Executive Director for the Downtown Yonge Business Improvement Area, Mark is an active champion for building a thriving, vibrant city centre. Over the past decade, he has increasingly concentrated on the revitalization and development of urban downtowns, playing an integral role as a catalyst for targeted economic growth, vibrant neighbourhoods, social innovation and start-up incubators. An action-oriented advocate for change, Mark has spearheaded numerous campaigns and projects to bring about improvements – including executing programs for safe and inclusive neighbourhoods, developing and implementing a comprehensive music strategy, and working directly with municipal leaders on urban revitalization.
Melanie J. Newton is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Toronto, where she teaches Caribbean and Atlantic World History. She is the author of several works in the field of Caribbean history, including The Children of Africa in the Colonies: Free People of Color in Barbados in the Age of Emancipation (Baton Louisiana State University Press, 2008); “Returns to a Native Land? Indigeneity and Decolonization in the Anglophone Caribbean” (Small Axe, vol. 41, July 2013, pp. 108-122) and “Counterpoints of Conquest: The 1763 Royal Proclamation, the Lesser Antilles and the Ethnocartography of Genocide,” William and Mary Quarterly. At the University of Toronto, she has served in various administrative roles, including Director of the Caribbean Studies Program and Chair of the Faculty of Arts and Science Academic Appeals Board. She will begin a three-year term as Associate Chair (Graduate) of the Department of History in 2022. She is a community board member at Toronto’s West Neighborhood House.
Michael Wood lives and works in Etobicoke. He is Vice-Chair of the Village of Islington BIA, which sits right on Dundas Street between Islington and Kipling. He owns a digital marketing agency called Helium, which is located in the Village and provides web design, social media and search engine optimization services.
Mireille has lived in the west end of Toronto for over 30 years and has a strong interest in local history particularly focusing on Etobicoke and West Toronto. She works in corporate human resources. Early in her professional career, Mireille worked as an archaeologist, museum exhibit researcher and a librarian. She is the current President of the Etobicoke Historical Society and also sits on the board of Heritage York, a heritage society that manages historic Lambton House.
Nana Abraham is the author of the mentorship book For Black Girls: The Shaping of a Young Woman and the Christian supernatural fiction book Anastasia: The Awakening. She is a graduate of York University in Toronto, where she majored in Psychology. She is a certified life coach who actively mentors young women of all ages and backgrounds and helps new writers reach their goals. Currently, she works full time at the Scott Mission managing the Children, Youth and Camp department and has been a child and youth worker for 17 years.
Paul Osbourne was born in Toronto of Jamaican Maroon parentage. He is the proud father of four children and has been active in community development in Toronto and Ottawa for over 20 years. As a self-described cultural community cultivator, Paul has created a niche for developing African-centred transformational change by creating programs, workshops, curricula, community conversations and organizational training. He is the founder of NSAA Community Cultivators, who support and strengthen organizations that work with African-Canadian community members.
Tasunke Pejuta Sugar (Ta-Shoon-ka Peh-Zhoo-Ta) is a father, a brother and an uncle from Pine Ridge, South Dakota, and Piapots, Saskatchewan. He is 26 years old and has a passion for many things like family, friends, music and food. However, his true passion lies within his community work. As a Lakota and Cree man, he finds great pride in upholding and sharing his cultural knowledge and wisdom. After previously working at Toronto Council Fire as a Youth Wellness Navigator as well as facilitating the Kizhaay Anishnaane Niin (I am a Kind Man) Program along with many other titles, he is now a Case Manager for Indigenous youth. Tasunke first moved to Tkaronto 16 years ago and has since then developed an incredibly close, loving and respectful relationship with his community. Tasunke regularly undertakes cultural presentations where he drums and shares songs as well as teachings. Reflecting the meaning of his name, “Medicine Horse” in the Lakota language, he is keen to always help. Tasunke also has an eight-year-old son named Ohitika and being a father is what set him on this path. He strives daily to provide Ohitika with the utmost love and happiness, demonstrating to him the importance of family relations within his Lakota, Cree and Anishinaabe roots. As a Knowledge Keeper, he shares his cultural and spiritual knowledges with both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, working to strengthen the bonds between them. He has been given the opportunity to work for many of the Indigenous organizations in Toronto. In addition to sharing knowledge, Tasunke vastly enjoys gaining new forms of knowledge by listening to elders and community members. You can also see Tasunke on stage at various events sharing his passion for hip-hop.