DECA has been active in the neighbourhood since 2008, and our activity has taken a variety of forms, depending on the perceived needs in our community and on the skills and interests of our members! Here’s a brief history of initiatives we have tackled.
2008: Farmers’ Market begins
Over the past 12 years, the East Lynn Park Farmers’ Market has been a constant summer Thursday destination. DECA volunteers partnered with Farmers Markets Ontario to bring the market to the park, and have added countless events and activities to make the market more successful and to build our community.
January 2009: First Store Makeover
The store did so well after this makeover, the owners of Plank Road Market bought their own building and moved a bit west where they remain today.
September 2009: First Danforth East Arts Fair -an annual tradition much loved by the community and artists alike! This fair ran every year for ten years, and we look forward to its return once it is safe to gather in public again!
November 2009: Our first annual cocktail party (that was secretly also our AGM) at Melanie’s Bistro. This began our tradition of making the AGM a community party/meal, now hosted at Hirut Cafe and Restaurant.
November 2010: First Pumpkin Parade When not cancelled by terrible weather or the pandemic, this has been a favourite annual tradition in East Lynn Park ever since!
October 2012: First Pop-Up Shops
Over 100 neighbourhood volunteers came together to bring this project to revitalize Danforth with temporary businesses setting up in empty storefronts.
December 2012: First Tree Lighting at East Lynn Park
June 2013: First #DanforthEast Garage Sale You can learn more about the sale and its organizer in this blog post from 2015
April 2014: #DanforthEast Dreams event
We asked you what you wanted for our neighbourhood and mapped it and made this video:
2015: DECA Gems neighbourhood competition
This event was a total love-in and so many people learned of new places to shop, eat, play, get their car fixed, hem a skirt, get a haircut, buy flowers and on and on. Our panel of judges crowned Gerrard Spaghetti and Pizza House the winning DECA Gem on May 14, 2015. Gerrard Pizza won a full marketing maker by professional DECA volunteers.
December 2015: First DECA Connects fundraiser – Sleep Out for Syrians
DECA’s social justice group launched with this fundraiser where participants slept outside (in December!) to simulate what Syrian refugees were experiencing for months in camps. The goal was $10k. In the end, we raised $28,500, helping several Syrian families come to Canada.
June 2016: First DECA Pride LGBTQ+ event
We have a thriving LGBTQ+ community in the east end but no groups or events. DECA Pride changed that! We continue to celebrate DECA Pride at the market and hold community conversations on our DECA Pride Facebook group.
June 2016: First Scholarship Fundraiser
In 2016, DECA Connects partnered with the Scadding Court Community Centre to award a $2,000 scholarship to a young person graduating from high school in our neighbourhood. Applicants had to demonstrate both community leadership experience and financial need.
In an effort to raise money for the scholarship, DECA launched the 1st Annual Table Tennis for Tuition tournament. We raised more than $2,000 and was able to award Chantelle Johnson with our first scholarship.
Table Tennis tournaments funded the scholarship for 2017 as well. In 2018 and 2019, we hosted a Retro Dance Party fundraiser.
Ongoing: All-Candidates Debates
Each level of government has been represented at DECA All-Candidates Debates over the years, hosted in churches and at the market. We continue to look for ways to make politicians accessible and accountable to our neighbourhood. Our latest all-candidates meeting was for the September 2021 Federal Election, and took place on zoom. It was moderated by Lindsay (Swooping Hawk) Kretschmer, executive director of the Toronto Aboriginal Support Services Council. The recording can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErvQjBTTK3c