Posts tagged ‘Toronto City Hall’

May 24, 2013

It’s Come to This, Has It?

CT  CT 070611-ENT ent-0706-texting MJWTitle doing double duty today – a couple of great (great’s an odd word for it) articles on how we seem to be getting ruder and ruder in public places. And we’re starting to react.

The Great Fight Way: Broadway Audiences Are Behaving Badly, and Someone Is Going to Get Hurt

In Mr. Zavelson’s opinion, it’s not just the technology audience members have in the palms of their hands that’s to blame. He suspects that on-demand and streaming media services have accustomed people to viewing “shows” in the casual atmosphere of their own homes, and now they are bringing those manners with them into the public space.”

I guess for me the part where I wasn’t in my pajamas and had paid money to be there would remind me I wasn’t at home, but there you go.

and last week

Theater Night: Vigilantes 1, Vulgarians 0
“The lady seated to my immediate right (very close quarters on bench seating) was fairly insistent about using her phone. I asked her to turn it off. She answered: “So don’t look.” I asked her whether I had missed something during the very pointed announcements to please turn off your phones, perhaps a special exemption granted for her. She suggested that I should mind my own business.”

I  was at a movie a couple of weeks, the couple sitting three seats over from me carried on a discussion about the movie the entire two hours. I am going to give them a small benefit as their stupidity seemed to be  – uh  – chemically induced. One of those couples who were talking during an exposition scene then when the exposition became reality, were full of questions because they’d missed the exposition.

I don’t even know any more. I don’t know about a lot of things. I do know I mentioned there might be another “Dear Rob” post this week and it didn’t happen. The story gets sadder and more ridiculous by the day. Instead, here’s a link to Ivor Tossell’s Dear Rob. The most upsetting paragraph holds the most truth for me –

“Bad as they are, things could keep getting worse. Irrespective of the allegations themselves, Ford has terminally damaged his credibility by leaving the city hanging when it needed to hear from him most. And with his credibility goes our credibility, in our own eyes and the eyes of the world on which we depend. Toronto cannot keep on until the end of 2014 with a mayor who won’t address the charges against him that have ground government to a halt, who’s turned his city into a global laughingstock, and who could well be self-destructing in the grips of an addiction. The status quo is not an option. Yet the courses that aren’t an option are the ones Ford has historically been most determined to pursue.”

Reminder to take a break every so often from the 24 hour newsfeed. Go outside for a bit, I know it’s cold but you know what I mean.



April 14, 2013

Sunday Roundup – April 14

RMK1248SCS-595I took a proper weekend as the last one was spent at City Arts Funding Consultations and giving a workshop. Both excellent uses of a weekend, but sometimes you need a couple days of Netflix to wind down.

Quantifying the Qualifiable

Social Media Rockstars?

Rainy Friday


Tomorrow is the last class of CDAM 101 and it’s been a pleasure working with the participants these past seven weeks, they claim to have learned a lot and enjoyed the class and I can say the same thing about them. I wish them every success in their ventures and hope to keep hearing about what they’re doing in the arts and culture world. I hope I get to teach at Ryerson again, now that I know how it works (and have my teacher ID!) I’d like to go back.

My Arts Planning partner in crime Lisa spent some time last week looking for rehearsal spaces for There’s Always You – the Fringe show I’m producing – expect a blog post PSA this week on the good half-dozen places she found.

Here’s something wonderful for a Sunday from If you need a shot of colour right now, watch this.

This December, in a surprisingly simple yet ridiculously amazing installation for the Queensland Gallery of Modern Ar, artist Yayoi Kusama constructed a large domestic environment, painting every wall, chair, table, piano, and household decoration a brilliant white, effectively serving as a giant white canvas. Over the course of two weeks, the museum’s visitors were given thousands upon thousands of colored dot stickers and were invited to collaborate in the transformation of the space, turning the house into a vibrantly mottled explosion of color. How great is this?

December 4, 2011

Sunday Roundup – December 4

It’s DECEMBER. Weird.

Last week of Entrepreneuse School this week, the end of one chapter  is hurtling towards us with the beginning of a new one of the very next page.

This week was art nd politics and art and politics and trying to figure out the best way to explain to some the important of the former to the latter. How did we do?

a tale as old as time, a 30′s style salon and our national anthem – the 1164 Cabaret was born at Pentimento Gallery and needs to become a regular thing in my opinion.

Cool contest with Angelwalk Theatre – it is. Break out the FlipCam and off you go.

A Message From Friends of the Arts Re: 2012 Toronto City Budget Recommendations – ten percent cuts across the board  – culture division, the majors, grants you name it – nothing is sacred. If you read no other post here today, read this one and its companion piece.

About Red – playing at the Bluma, courtesy Canadian Stage. Go and see it.Pieces like Red are part of he reason the posts above and below it are so important.

How To Make a Deputation: A Message from the Toronto Arts Foundation – part two. If the post about the cuts worked you up enough to go and say something, here’s a handy primer from the TAF on how to say it well.

In other quick news – Saw VideoCab’s The Life and Times of Mackenzie King yesterday afternoon – they are the perfect part of an awesome Saturday. Go and see it, if for no other reason that to try to figure out who RB Bennett reminds you of.

Have a good Sunday – those clouds look suspiciously determined so I’ll sit tight here and finish my deputation and business plan.




December 2, 2011

How To Make a Deputation: A Message from the Toronto Arts Foundation


On November 28, the City Manager presented the 2012 Operating Budget to the City’s Budget Committee.  The proposed budget recommends a 10% cut to arts grants. If passed, city arts funding will be reduced by $1.94 million.

Clearly, this would affect Toronto’s cultural vitality and reduce or eliminate arts programming including performances, exhibitions, festivals, readings and events that are vital to Toronto residents and visitors.

To help encourage Toronto City Council to reverse this decision, Toronto Arts Foundation and Friends of the Arts Network are calling on all arts supporters to speak at the City’s Budget Committee.  Guide including information and messaging follows:

Public Deputation Guide – Budget Committee Meeting Dec 7, 8, 2011

Toronto’s Budget Committee will hear deputations from the public at its meeting taking place on December 7 and 8, next Wednesday and Thursday.  The meeting will be held at City Hall, beginning at 9:30 am and concluding at 9:30 pm both days. For those unable to attend in person, it is possible to send a written submission to Budget Committee,

Deadline to register to speak:  December 6, 4:00 p.m.

How to register:  Call 416-392-7340 or email  Give your name, address and phone and let them know you would like to speak at the Budget Committee meeting that begins on December 7.  Ask them to let you know your approximate number on the list which will give some indication of when you will be called.

How long is a deputation:  The usual public deputation speaking time is 5 minutes.  However, when the list of speakers is long, the committee can choose to reduce the speaking time.  We recommend you prepare a speech of 2.5 minutes.

Who Should Speak:  The most effective speakers are volunteers.   Volunteer board members, sponsors, donors, and local business owners make excellent speakers, as do those participating in programs.  Children and youth can be effective speakers.
NB:  the person whose name is on the register must attend, or you will lose your spot on the list.   However, if you sign up your own name and you’d like your board chair, or a program sponsor to speak, it is possible for both of you to go up to the podium.  You then introduce yourself, introduce the other speaker and share your time at the podium.  You will not be given extra time just because there is more than one person.

Who is Listening:  The Budget Committee is made up of 7 Councillors (Mike Del Grande, Chair, Michelle Berardinetti, Frank Di Giorgio, Doug Ford, Chin Lee, Peter Milczyn, John Parker). Other Councillors will likely be in attendance as guests.  Note that all these Councillors are spending very long hours listening to public concerns.

Effective Deputations:  Many Councillors are looking for public support to help them make tough decisions.  Essentially you want to offer them compelling reasons to do the right thing but not to critize them for the City Manager’s budget.  The most effective way to do this is to be respectful and offer positive stories and facts on the value of arts programming.  NB: Practice your remarks; make sure you can fit what you want to say into 3 minutes. If you have a talent – poetry, spoken word, storytelling – don’t hesitate to use it; Councillors respond well when the message is delivered creatively.

Arts Messaging for 2012 Budget:
Possible Messages (remember there will be lots of speakers; there is no need to cover all messages, select the one(s) that resonate with you):

  • The impact of a 10% cut – what programming will be reduced or eliminated; how will Toronto residents be affected by this cut.
  • Why 10% is more than 10% – ie. a cut of 10% can spiral into loss of even more funding if it prevents fundraising, reduces staff and financial capacity or means fewer programs leading to reduced sponsorship or government support etc.
  • How this cut will affect local businesses (restaurants, arts supply stores etc)
  • Toronto’s arts organizations raise $17.75 from other sources for every $1 invested by Toronto.  This cut to grants will lead directly to a loss of $25 million to Toronto – this will have a significant impact on jobs, tourism and economic development
  • On November 29, Councillor Gloria Lindsay Luby presented a Friends of the Arts petition signed by over 20,000 Torontonians living in every ward of the city, requesting City Council to maintain its support of arts funding.
  • Toronto City Council voted unanimously in May 2011 to approve Creative Capital Gains which recommends increasing (not decreasing) arts funding to $25 per capita.  The proposed budget reduces Toronto’s arts investment to just $17 per capita, much lower than all our competitive cities (Chicago at $26, New York at $74, Montreal at well over $30).
  • On November 23 the European Commission proposed spending $2.4 Billion as part of a  Pan-European goal to stimulate the economy through cultural enterprise.  As other economies invest even more in culture, Toronto will fall further behind.

For more arts benefits and funding impacts go to Toronto Arts Foundation’s Advocacy page.
Key Dates:
December 7 and 8; 9:30 am to 9:30 pm: Budget Committee Public Deputations
January 9: Budget Committee Final Wrap Up
January 17: City Council Approval of Operating and Capital Budgets

Thank you for your participation.

If you have questions or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to reply to this email or contact Susan Wright at 416-392-6802 x211.

October 16, 2011

Sunday Roundup – October 16

There’s been something big and good almost every day this week. Just sayin’.

New webpage went up – Grants+Things with links to start you off in finding funding, and links to grants I can help you with.

Buy A Theatre task force and hopefully solutions for the three downtown theatres the city is looking to sell.

Your Passion, Your Vision – a great day at Entrepreneuse School, where visions became clearer and articulate.

Nearly Everyone Has Taken a Dance break at Least Once  – finding on how communities engage with the Arts courtesy the Ontario Arts Council .

Occupy Toronto began yesterday – two of my favourite people were there and took some amazing pictures – I have permission to post them all here and will do that tomorrow but here’s one in the meantime. Photo by Colette Stevenson.


September 9, 2011

Repost – What Arts Funding Does For a City

This is a re-post from July 17.

Given the article about arts funding being at risk, I thought it was appropriate. If you think that large organizations having millions of dollars potentially cut from their funding doesn’t affect you – it will.  Since numbers seem to be the important thing, here we go.

I was thinking yesterday about the money spent on something like the Fringe, what’s called ancillary expenses – money spent outside of the actual ticket. That’s the money that supports the economy, the bigger picture that some folks can’t seem to grasp.  So i thought I’d do a little breakdown over the course of a week’s worth of Fringing. I’ll leave out ticket price.

For every day I Fringed I spent the following:

$2 – $5 Tipping the Fringe
$5 on freezies for an overheated tired staff
$5.50 per beer at the tent – figure two for me and one for someone who needed one, so $16.50 plus tip so let’s say an even $20.00
$10 on dinner either from Southern Accent or Butler’s Pantry on site
$12.50 on a taxi home.

That’s $52.50 an outing, with an outing lasting maybe four hours. Not including a $10 ticket. So over three days (I was there more but three is a round number) that’s $157.50 spent not on art, but other things I did and ate and drank because I was seeing art. Money spent on local businesses and a neighbourhood.

So let’s say last Friday the folks out for the evening spent that amount each. So multiply $52.50 by these people:

and i think you’d have to agree that art just might be an important thing to have in a city not just for the culture part, but as a building block of the local economy.  Photo above by Corbin Smith of torontoist.

Ten day festival, folks. In case you’re willing to dismiss the photo above as, “well of course! It’s Friday night!” – here’s a shot of last Monday, taken by Gideon Arthurs. I know – nobody goes out on a Monday

September 9, 2011

Arts Funding.

Short post today – we need to do a few basic things.  Let’s make some time.

1) Need to read this article, and think about the ramifications to our sector. (2 minutes)

City Arts Grants At Risk  – A proposal drafted at Toronto City Hall to slash all funding to major arts organizations is sending shock waves through Toronto’s cultural world, the Star has learned.

The proposal, prepared by city manager Joe Pennachetti in response to a request from Mayor Rob Ford’s office, is intended to be presented at a meeting of the city’s executive committee on Sept. 19.

If passed by city council, the plan would eliminate more than $6 million of annual funding that goes directly to 10 of the city’s top arts more.

2) Need to sign this petition – Petition to Protect Arts Funding. (30 seconds)

3) Need to call and write your councillor. Find them here. (5 minutes)

4) Here’s the link to the schedule of Toronto City Council meetings.


June 5, 2011

Sunday Roundup – June 5 EXTRA: TO Services Review Roundtable

Busy week behind me, busy week ahead. There is a supplemental section for Sunday this week – I attended the Toronto City Services Review at Toronto City Hall yesterday, so here’s the round-up first, and you can scroll down for my review of the Toronto City Services Review.
Item: I wrote this while watching the VancouverBoston game, and nearly fell over when Ron MacLean referenced “honey badger”. Thumbs up for being all up on your memes, Ron. He don’t care about no bees indeed.

So! This week – what happened?

So What Do You DO All Day? – If it’s not happening from nine to five, then is anything getting done? In a word – yes.
Art and Potholes – a bit of info about Artsvote, about the Toronto City Services Review, and a very cool answer to the question, “is your art more important than potholes?”.
The Quality of Relationship Is Not Strain’d  – a couple of real life examples of the relationship building properties of social media.
Making Art, Painting Over Art – bit of a shoutout to Manifesto and the amazing work they do, along with a bit of a confused shoutdown about the city’s policies on painting over murals.
What Are We Reading These Days?  – love letter to the Toronto Public Library, and a few book recommendations.

Cartoon for the week is from 3eanuts again. I love them.

As I mentioned earlier in this post, earlier Saturday and a few times this week, I attended a Toronto City Services Review (TCSR) Roundtable today from 2:00 – 4:00 pm today at City Hall. The following is a composite of thoughts, notes and photos from the day. It’s not comprehensive, it might not even be cohesive, but it was my experience.

I am welcomed.  And immediately am curious as to  what Our Toronto Is according to the five circle images shown. On closer inspection, our Toronto is traffic lights, soccer, recycling, 24/7 and a streetcar.

In I go, where I signed in by saying the name my registration is under. Off I went to sit at Table 7 – my goal was to be at a table of NOT like-minded people (in other words, people I do not already know) so as to get a good sense of what the issues are to many people. I look around the room and wonder who is there about childcare, about infrastructure, about art, about potholes and police and parks.

We each receive a consultation kit which contains cards printed on paper, with each one representing a service. It seems like we will be playing a large game of solitaire, or maybe euchre. We will see what is trump. I also have a paper copy of the online survey, which i filled out online a while back. The paper version has all the same information, in the same order, yet seems somehow better laid out. I also pass a note to Chris our awesome facilitator, pointing out that perhaps it would have been better to alphabetize the services on the survey, rather than to seemingly assign value to them through arbitrary listings. If it’s listed first, it’s most important, right? Bad optics. My note will be submitted with the comments. (photo by Yvonne Bambrick)

Onward. We are a table of four Caucasian women, all over the age of 35, and so is the facilitator. This was not the cross-section of Toronto I’d hoped for, but we shall persevere. One woman points out very quickly that 38% of the budget comes from property tax and that is TOO MUCH. Another asks, “what DO the Feds do with all our money? Oh right – they sent it to Af-ghan-is-tan.”

We begin our giant card game – we’re putting the services in three categories – Must Have, Nice To Have, Not Really Important. After we spend some time discussing exactly what those categories mean, i.e. Not Really Important might mean “Someone Else Should Fund It“, the woman who mentioned property taxes picks up the cards labelled “City Run Theatres” as well as “Arts, Culture and Heritage Programs. I hold my breath.

“I know EXACTLY where these should go…” she says…and places them firmly in the “Must Have” category. The woman next to her says, “here – this too.” – public libraries. Despite my efforts, I am among like-minded people. And as it turns out – we all live in the same Ward.

We spend the next half hour sorting cards, asking what we think is important, (childcare, senior care) what we think is not so much (311 services). Although the point of the exercise is not to reach consensus at the table, we seem to find it on many things. If we have a question, our facilitator tries to answer, and if it’s specific, she holds up one of five coloured cards, indicating “budget” or another category, and we continue moving the cards around. The fourth woman at the table tries to move “City Run Theatres” out of the must have category and I ask her why, and explain to her why they are important. She says she thought she would move it as she “doesn’t use or know anything about theatre,” and I counteract with, “and I make my living from it,” – and we both start to genuinely laugh.

City Manager Joe Pennachetti stops by our table, and comments that we are a table that is really thinking about it, he can tell from our cards. I think he also heard our conversation about one service that we thought should be half funded by the city, and half by the province, and could we tear the card in half to represent our opinion? No, we could not, but our concern was written down. In fact, our facilitator wrote down all comments that we wanted made note of, and they were collected. All this was happening at all the tables as well, with comment cards being collected and ferried to the front of the room.

A lot of our discussion involved the feeling of either-or that the survey indicated, that there didn’t seem to be much room to have a little of each. That the categories were limiting by the way they were labelled. We agreed on a few items once we discovered they were downloaded expenses from back in the days of downloading from the province (overheard: unless we’re getting a percentage from the fines we collect for the Provincial Offenses Act, the Province should pay for it.)

I showed the fourth woman this graph that being outlines by Mr. Pennachetti. I explain that the cost of the arts to Toronto is at the very bottom, such a small investment that it’s lumped in with another expenditure, and if she looks closely, she’ll see that unlike the other expenses, the arts make more money for the city than they cost it. She says, ‘well, I’m convinced,” and she says it in a good way, not in a please stop talking way.
Item: I gave her my contact info – I am absolutely bringing her to see a show. I feel there was a sharing of knowledge between us today, and I’m determined she should experience what we talked about. If anyone has comps to something good and non-threatening, I’d appreciate it.

People are really angry about garbage.Many opinions on how it should be dealt with, but bottom line is it must be dealt with. It is an excellent opportunity to educate about green bins, and the person giving the education is Councillor Sarah Doucette, who I had not yet met. From the time spent at our table, I think I really like her. We also talk about things like why a fire engine, ambulance and police show up at every 911 call, and a few other I did not know that! kind of items.

People are really angry about the G20.

Interesting item –  only 5000 people have filled out the survey online. I find that disheartening. Once all the roundtables have happened, all the raw data collected will be going online in a report.  A final summation of the conversations overheard at the various tables (20 tables of 8 people each) was projected onscreen – I pasted some of them below and apologize in advance  – but it’s a phone camera shot of a Powerpoint slide from across a rotunda.  From the statements made, the majority of the people attending want a good city, a livable city – they seem  to genuinely care about it. Granted, this was a ‘downtown’ session, and so your demographics will skew.  I said goodbye to Mr Pennechetti when I was leaving, and he asked me what I’d thought. I said I wished it was longer, although  I’m sure he knew it wasn’t a two-hour task, and that although I was glad citizens had the opportunity to be consulted, I wished we weren’t in this position. But at the same time, based on some of the conversations I had, conversations I overheard, and the snapshot provided of those conversations, I am hopeful for our city, the people who live here and want to see it work, and more importantly –  what makes it great.

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