1. Mosaic Interfaith Out of the Cold Program (MIOTC) Open House
I had the pleasure of attending a celebration at the Jaffari Islamic Centre (just across Bathurst in Vaughan), marking 20 years of Mosaic Interfaith Out of the Cold (MIOTC) serving homeless in York Region. This organization offers a warm space and meals each winter night at eleven church, synagogue, and mosque locations across Southern York Region. Each location houses the program for one night a week on a rotating basis. In Richmond Hill, St Mary’s Anglican Church generously donates their time and space.
MIOTC is a wonderful program that engages over 1500 volunteers and provides a positive experience for those in need of shelter during the cold winter months. Every time I attend one of the MIOTC events I come away thinking the volunteers and faith groups also “benefit” from being able to perform the generous work that they collectively do in helping those in need in our community. One of these very young (7 yrs old) volunteers named Lily Shai is pictured above with Mayor Barrow, her mom, and Richmond Hill resident and program Director, Rehana Sumar.
2. Another Successful Season for the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts
Council was pleased to receive the annual report highlighting the successful 2016/2017 season for the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts (RHCPA). Artists who graced the stage included Our Town Our Talent (Opening Night), comedian Brent Butt, Tokyo Police Club, Zero Gravity Circus and many more. The Family Series featured Peter Rabbit, Toopy and Binoo, Pete and Cat and others that kept children and their families entertained. The Education Series continued to bring the theatre to the classroom through various performances, including Anne of Green Gables, Suessical and Queen Nu’s Bully Free Zone. Summer camp programs were also filled to capacity with more than 500 registered campers. Outside of the theatre, the RHCPA also presented shows at Jazz in the Plaza, Richmond Hill’s Canada Day celebrations, Concerts in the Park and more. This year, the RHCPA also held community engagement sessions to learn about how to provide better service to the Richmond Hill community. Details of the 2018/2019 season will be available to the public on May 8. For more information about the RHCPA, visit rhcentre.ca.
3. Richmond Hill Supports Cultural Initiatives for a Vibrant Community
Council received a presentation from staff outlining the achievements of Richmond Hill’s Cultural Plan in 2017, its sixth year of implementation. The presentation showcased the wide variety of projects and initiatives undertaken by staff, including the launch of Park Stories, the second intake of the Community and Cultural Grant Program, progress on the implementation of the Festival and Events Strategy and the Museum Feasibility Study, continued support for youth engagement in culture (resulting in the third Hill After Dark event), the launch of the Artist in Residence program and premiere of the second installment of Richmond Hill: Cultural Icons featuring RH Thomson, Farley Mowat and Elvis Stojko.
The goal of the Cultural Plan is to enhance and promote cultural activity and creative expression within Richmond Hill between 2012 and 2022. The outcomes of the Plan’s implementation help create a more vibrant Richmond Hill by respecting the past, developing a sense of identity and place, and looking to the future. It also provides opportunities and places for people to connect and get involved in their community. For more information about the Cultural Plan, visit RichmondHill.ca/CulturalPlan
4. Richmond Hill’s Cultural Summit
Richmond Hill’s Cultural Summit awards were presented to Julia Zolota for a Youth Artist Award, Shonna Foster for an Emerging Artist Award and to Andrea End for a Mid-Career/Established Artist Award. Congratulations to the award winners for their leadership within Richmond Hill’s artistic community.
5. PFLAG Stand Proud York Region Annual Gala
PFLAG is an organization supporting York Region’s LGBTQ2 community and their families. They are a volunteer led group providing resources and an education network while bringing together all members of the community. In March I had the pleasure of attending their their annual gala raising funds for the organization and the excellent work they do in our community. Thanks to co-chairs Amanda and Michael, pictured to the right, for the annual invitation.
6. Richmond Hill Offers its Support for Humboldt Saskatchewan
At the Committee of the Whole meeting on April 9th, Richmond Hill Council rose and held a moment of silence for the victims of the terrible tragedy in Humboldt, Saskatchewan. I am pleased that we did this, and appreciate Mayor Barrow taking the time to write an email of support to the Mayor of Humboldt on behalf of the residents of Richmond Hill. This terrible accident has linked so many people from across the country. Anyone who has played competitive hockey can relate to the tragedy.
I remember as a child each winter being locked in a seven game playoff with Coldwater Ontario, the most distant town on our loop, and given our team’s typical winning percentage we never had the home ice advantage. My mom was never happy about this driving in the dead of winter, and as a child I never understood her concern. As a parent I do now understand. It is a parent’s worse nightmare that they keep hidden from their kids as they happily drive them to play a game that as a country, we love. While the love of hockey and travelling to other towns to play is now a very important part of my adult memories my thoughts and prayers go out to the residents of Humboldt and all the communities in Saskatchewan.
Richmond Hill and their green and gold clad hockey players stand shoulder to shoulder with you and hope that this support will, in a small way, provide solace in this time of grief.