Festival of Lights Thanks and Why Only 2 Trees?

Festival of Lights Wrap Up


A big thank you to the hundreds who braved the rain to celebrate with us at this year’s Festival of Lights! Thanks to our crew of volunteers who made it all happen. Thanks to our performers, The S.P.A.C.E., Pegasus Studios, FireGuy, and the east end music project choir (who were unfortunately rained out, but we’re hoping they’ll be back for a rousing sing-along again next year). And a big thank you to our sponsors who helped make it all happen: Sugar Moon, Trust Realty Group, our local branch of the BMO Bank of MontrealCouncillor Mary-Margaret McMahon, the nooks and Celena’s Bakery.

And a big shout out to everyone who brought food and money for Centre 55‘s food drive to feed hungry families in our neighbourhood. We beat last year’s collection haul, filling our big container and then some!

For those of you who were wondering why we decorated less trees than in previous years, we’re now only allowed to decorate trees with a dedicated electrical source. We were able to add electricity to one tree this year and we’ll keep adding it to trees next year to expand the light show. But don’t those two trees look fantastic?

See you next year!

The long line up to see the big man (and woman) in red.


Holiday in the Hood & Donations needed

Holiday in the Hood

Come join the Earl Beatty Public School community today and tomorrow and for the 5th Annual Holiday in the Hood. Friday 4-8 pm and Saturday 10-4 pm. 

Everyone can start holiday shopping from the talented local vendors at our Artisan sale. Kids can explore the Just for Kids Craft sale where all gifts are $5 or less. Visit Santa for photos and don’t miss the world famous bake sale!! Lastly, you can bring some gently used books for children newborn-age 12 for the Children’s Book Bank book drive, organized by Butterfly Books.

DECA Pride Mingle – donations wanted

In addition to the usual social event happening on Sunday from 3:30-5:30pm, this month our group will be collecting winter clothing and other items listed below for a group of 40 recently arrived LGBTQ+ refugees in the east end. This will be the first Canadian winter for all of these newcomers and they are in desperate need of warm winter gear, personal care products, and used phones.

LGBTQ+ refugee claimants and convention refugees are particularly vulnerable and very few in this group are sponsored or receiving other supports. Many are living in shelters (which are notoriously unsafe for LGBTQ-identified folks).

Items Requested:

– Winter gear including warm coats, boots, socks, gloves, and hats.

– Personal hygiene products including lip balm (Chap Stick), body lotion, and bottles of Vitamin D. Most of the refugees they work with come from places with much more sunshine than Toronto and are susceptible to illnesses associated with Vitamin D deficiency. Pads and tampons would also be helpful.  

– Used cell phones that are in good working condition. If you’ve upgraded your phone and still have an old one in a drawer, please consider donating it! It’s a lifeline for someone who is otherwise totally disconnected.

For details of this event, read our previous blog post here. All are welcome!

And don’t forget

DECA’s Festival of Lights is on Saturday from 5-6pm and we are taking donations of non-perishable food for the Community 55 food drive. 

DECA Events this week

Hello neighbours!

Thank you so much to those of you who braved the first blast of winter weather to join us at our AGM and Party last night at Hirut. It was a wonderful neighbourhood love-in! Meeting neighbours and talking about all that we have done and all that we can do – it felt like the answer to the “what now?” question that many have been asking in the past few weeks. Our community is full of positivity and possibility!  We are a real group with real people doing real things. Join us!

If you didn’t make it out last night but would like to join or renew your $10/year household membership, click here.

Welcome to our 2016/17 Board:

Sheri Hebdon (Chair)
Audrey Kvedaras (Vice Chair)
Anita Schretlen (Treasurer)
Alison McMurray (Secretary)
Loreen Barbour
Nicole Bergot-Browning
Amanda Olson
Melissa Peretti
Jennifer Scott
Gay Stephenson
Peter Woodcock

We have two great events coming up this week, the Festival of Lights on Saturday from 5-6pm and a DECA Pride Mingle on Sunday from 3:30-5:30pm. The posters with all the details are below!

Festival of Lights 

(We blogged about it here, but why not share this beautiful poster again?)


Here’s our official Facebook invite!


DECA Pride November Mingle


Here’s our official Facebook invite for this event!

(Thanks so much to Angela Wagner from Umlaut Design who made both of these beautiful posters!)

 ‘Hood happenings today

Anti-Racism Gathering, 2:30-4:30pm

A community gathering has been organized by a new local group – the East End Anti-Racist Collective – for tomorrow, Saturday, November 19 from 2:30-4:30pm in Stan Wadlow Park. The event, aimed to show support in the wake of alt-Right posters that appeared earlier this week, will be family-friendly and include arts activities and hot chocolate. Organizers welcome the community out to show their support.

Holiday Market, 12-4pm
Old’s Cool General Store (250 Westlake, @Lumsden) is hosting hosting a mini holiday market and today featuring five local makers:

Red Thread Clothing, Naked Dog Bakery, David’s Bow Ties, TreeForm Design Studio, Jarred

Products include:

  • Apple Butters wrapped by 3 in a package and get 5$ off!!! 
  • Dog Treat Ornaments only a limited supply for Saturday. 
  • Red Thread Clothing: One Off designs for kids!
  • Bow Ties on SuperHero fabrics and more…

You can stop in and also check out the new café they’ve recently opened. 

Pokémon At Face to Face, 2-8pm (drop-in)

Face to Face Games (2077a Danforth, upstairs) is once again hosting a PokéParents event, inviting kids and adults (doesn’t have to be a parent!) to come and learn to play the card game from their knowledgable staff. Limited decks available to borrow so if you have one, bring it or you can buy one when you arrive. Click on the link above for more details. 


Upcoming DECA events:

Annual Party & General Meeting – Nov 21, 6-9pm (click here for details)

Annual Festival of Lights – Nov 26, 5-6 (click here for details)

DECA Pride Mingle – Nov 27, 3:30-5:30 (click here for details)

Meet our newest Board members, part 3/3

Last but not least for our Board introductions, meet Jennifer Scott. Jenn was one of the organizers of the East Toronto for Syria Hub, and recently launched a local non-profit called Carevillage. These are just her side projects – she also had a full-time job and a family! Jenn is part of DECA’s social media team and has lots of ideas that will keep us current and relevant. We are lucky to have her!

Meet Jenn in her own words:

I moved to the Danforth East in May of 2014. My husband Andrew and I were expecting our first child and, while we loved many aspects of midtown Toronto, we wanted to be in an area that felt like a community, a place that would provide a vibrant environment for us to raise our little one. #DanforthEast has more than exceeded our hopes!

One thing people don’t know about me is…

I have a brown belt in both Karate and Tae Kwon Do. Someday (likely when my toddler is a bit older) I’ll have to work on getting a black belt in both! I may be tiny, but I am mighty!

What I love most about Danforth East is…

The sense of community and belonging. In just over two years we’ve been able to make real connections and feel like we are a part of our ever-changing neighbourhood. I’ve seen so many acts of compassion and generosity, of people being creative and approaching life with an open mind. I feel incredibly lucky to be a part of this fantastic neighbourhood.

My local pet peeve is…

People making disparaging comments about #DanforthEast. There is lots of room for improvement – but that improvement only happens when we take action and become involved.

My favourite local place that you probably haven’t heard of is…

Do I have to pick just one? St. John’s Thrift Store (2155 Danforth) might be my favourite. I’m a big believer in buying items used if possible (to save money and the environment!), and this tiny gem never disappoints me. I’ve found practical household items, clothes for the whole family, and a whole assortment of unique oddities at ridiculously low prices, and I feel great knowing that the store reinvests 100% of its profits back into the local community. And I have to mention Sarah’s Café and Bar, which my family visits almost weekly. The food is comforting, the beer selection is delicious, and they are always so accommodating with my two-year-old; as a parent you sometimes feel awkward heading out with your kids to restaurants, but at Sarah’s, I always know we will be ok.

I joined the DECA board to…

Keep up and expand the good work that DECA has already done in the community! I’m consistently blown away by how much volunteer work and effort goes into making our neighbourhood a vibrant place and am grateful to be able to help.

My final word is…

Most community organizations are formed to be against something… but not this one. DECA was formed to create, to build a dynamic and safe place to work, shop, raise our families – to live. This positivity is unique and contributes to the contagious energy that abounds in our little pocket of the Danforth. We all have a role to play in preserving #DanforthEast’s character and helping it to innovate.

Festival of Lights: Nov. 26

Annual East Lynn Park Festival of Lights!

Thanks to Angela of Umlaut Design for the beautiful poster

It’s coming soon–the annual DECA Festival of Lights! Mark your calendars for Saturday, Nov. 26, from 5-6pm. As always, we have a stellar line up of entertainment planned from The S.P.A.C.E. and Pegasus Studios dancers, to the amazing skateboarding and LED artist Fire Guy, to the sweet sounds of the East End Music Project Choir to sing along with before we officially turn on the holiday lights at East Lynn Park.

Be sure to bring a non-perishable food item for Centre 55‘s holiday food drive. Last year,  you and your neighbours collected one full bin of food for local families; this year, the goal is to fill two bins! Not only will you feel good by helping out, you’ll be entered into a raffle for a prize generously donated by The Nooks.

This year we are so lucky to have many generous donors whose support has helped put this show together. Thank you so much to Trust Realty Group, our local branch of the BMO Bank of Montreal, Sugar Moon, Councillor Mary Margaret McMahon, The Nooks and Celena’s Bakery.

Thank you too to all the volunteers who have donated their time to make this a fun night. We could still use some more hands to help us at the end of the night though, so email volunteer@deca.to if you can spare some time to help us clean up.

Finally, we won’t be serving hot drinks (though if the weather keeps up you won’t need one!) so be sure to stop by your favourite local coffee shop before the show to get your hot chocolate.