Recipe for Community: St. James Town has the right ingredients

Recipe for Community: St. James Town has the right ingredients

December 13, 2011

Despite the cold on Saturday, December 10,St. James Town youth were jubilant as their names were called out to receive brand new bikes, helmets and locks, all donated by ING to the successful Recipe for Community�St. James Town program. Mahimdeep Sudan, 8, couldn�t wait to try out his new wheels. �I feel good about getting a new bike,� he said. �I�m going to ride it to school and do some tricks on it.�

Mahimdeep Sudan gets his new bike adjusted

Residents also celebrated the unveiling of a large mural, as well as a book launch of The World Within One Block: Recipes and Stories from St. James Town, the conclusion of an 18-month public and private sector investment partnership led by the Toronto Community Foundation, City of Toronto, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) Team Up Foundation, ING DIRECT, and Toronto Community Housing.

In all, more than $500,000 was invested in St. James Town. The neighbourhood now has a newly refurbished basketball court, a community pergola with benches and tables, new green spaces, a mural, an outdoor amphitheatre, and enhancements to the St. James Town entrance on Wellesley Street, which is a formal gateway into the neighbourhood. Hundreds of residents have participated in training programs focused on first aid, cooking, nutrition and food handling, bicycle repair and safety, carpentry, small business development and mural design.

The bike selection committee received over 300 responses to the question, �What does St. James Town mean to you?�

Ashley Fraser gets bike safety tips from Constable Brian Smith

�I wrote that St. James Town is a community with unity,� said Ashley Fraser, 18. �When people do things, it has an effect, but when people do good things, it has a positive effect.� Ashley is grateful for her new ride. �Not everyone can get a bike because they are expensive. When your family comes from the Caribbean and doesn�t have much, this makes a difference. It�s a material thing, but I�m very happy,� she said.

Recipe for Community�St. James Town has worked with residents over the last 18 months to imagine and implement projects that build community pride and help residents develop new skills. "Recipe for Community has made a significant contribution to St. James Town, offering new skills and gathering spaces where residents can get to know their neighbours. That's the meat and potatoes of a healthy community," said Deborah Simon, Chief Operating Officer of Toronto Community Housing.

Sherwayne Morgan shows Deborah Simon the recipe he wrote for the cookbook

�The guys who made the cookies for the event today, two years ago didn�t even know how to turn on an oven,� said community resident Sherwayne Morgan, who contributed several recipes to the cookbook and served as the cooking program instructor. He was there in 2009 when Recipe for Community�St James Town launched.

�The program builds self-confidence and is great for the youth. It shows them they can do anything, so I�m very happy to have been involved.�