Canadian Stage is proud to be a part of Toronto’s unique St. Lawrence Neighbourhood. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the area was the centre of Toronto’s industrial activity, but by the 1950s it had declined into an urban wasteland. It wasn’t until the 1970s, under the vision of Mayor David Crombie, that the area became a residential neighbourhood. Determined not to replicate the same mistakes of urban renewal housing projects from past decades, Crombie engaged famed urban planner Jane Jacobs to oversee a two decade-long transformation. The St. Lawrence Neighbourhood has gone on to be internationally recognized as a major success in urban planning and has become a model for the design of new urban communities across North America.
Enhancing Local Artistic Engagement
Canadian Stage aims to inspire, cultivate, and advocate for the creativity that is inherent in all people. One of the ways that we do this is through our partnerships with local community groups.
Jamii – Canadian Stage Partnership
Jamii (Swahili for “community”) is a St. Lawrence Neighbourhood arts organization with the intent of building community and nurturing young women in leadership. By creating memorable arts-based experiences, Jamii is on a mission to bring members of the neighbourhood closer together to form greater social cohesion and community bonds.
We are pleased to partner with Jamii to serve the residents of the St. Lawrence Neighbourhood. Our unique partnership has led to several projects.
COVID-19 has greatly limited our social connections. Both Jamii and Canadian Stage believe that it is our social responsibility to combat the isolation and loneliness in our community during such extraordinary times. To this end, Canadian Stage supported Jamii in presenting a series of free, live mobile performances in the St. Lawrence community through Jamii’s itinerant theatre, the Kisanii Hub. These physically distant performances brought the joy of live art directly to the doorsteps of our neighbours and helped lift their spirits.
Unlocked: A Flow of Colourful Connections in Lockdown
Unlocked: A Flow of Colourful Connections in Lockdown is an award-winning short film that captures the personal journey of eleven St. Lawrence Neighbourhood women during the COVID-19 pandemic. Filmed entirely in the local neighbourhood, the interwoven stories of these women express feelings of joy and comfort, melancholy and hope, loss and love through poetry, song, dance, sculpture, painting, and photography.
National Indigenous Peoples Day Celebration
On June 21, 2020, we were honoured to support Jamii in recognizing National Indigenous Peoples Day in David Crombie Park. This presentation featured traditional drumming, singing and dancing by Blackfoot Standing, Michele Perpaul, Bri Briskool Marie, Nimkii Osawamick, Danny Mckenna, and Maria Bonaparte. Our neighbours were able to experience these extraordinary artists while maintaining their physical distance.