Meet our judges

MatthewBlackettphotoMatthew Blackett is the publisher, creative director and one of the founders of Spacing magazine. As publisher, Blackett has helped shape the magazine into one of Canada’s top small magazines: Blackett was named Editor of the Year for 2007 by the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors and Spacing has been named Canadian Small Magazine of the Year on four occasions in 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2014. Blackett was appointed as an advisor to Ryerson University’s City Builders Institute in the spring of 2015.

Blackett is the co-recipient of the 2010 Jane Jacobs Prize for “contributing to the fabric of Toronto life in a unique way… that has become a part of our shared urban experience.” He also was a member of the Toronto Transit Commission’s blue ribbon Customer Service Advisory Panel in the spring and summer of 2010. He also received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 for his “service to the country.”

Matthew was also awarded a 2007 Canadian Urban Leadership Award for “City Soul” by the Canadian Urban Institute for his part in creating Spacing. Under Blackett’s artistic direction, the magazine has also been awarded international design awards for its layout, photography and TTC-inspired subway station buttons. Matt lives in Parkdale, which he loves “because it’s walkable, full of old and new, and is teaming with people from all walks of life.”


RayRay Coburn is a Juno Award winning musician, songwriter and producer based in Toronto. Perhaps best known as a core member and songwriter of Honeymoon Suite, Coburn has also toured and recorded with a number of other multi-million selling acts. He currently lives in Toronto (within DECA boundaries) and divides his time between touring with Canadian icon Kim Mitchell, song writing and recording sessions. He is also the man behind Smash Hitley, early pioneer and the King of the live Audio-Visual Mash up. He shops locally when he is here, and says he is “ever grateful for Woodbine Animal Clinic,” but of course, will remain neutral as a judge.




billyBilly Dertilis ~ After 20 years of experience in branding and communication abroad, Billy has come full circle by building a business on the stretch of the Danforth that he called home as a child. Red Rocket Coffee’s mission is for its customers to leave a little bit happier. An uptick on the happiness scale, however slight, can and does improve the lives of customers and communities.

“What I love most about being on the Danforth is that I get to contribute to the neighbourhood that I grew up in, and as Chair of the Danforth Mosaic BIA, I can really make an impact and give back to the community that helped shaped me not too long ago.”


sherihebdonSheri Hebdon is the current Chair of DECA and has been a Board member since 2010.  She has lived in the neighbourhood for close to a decade with her wife and dog, and more recently with three little kids. In addition to being the Chair, Sheri is part of DECA’s social media team and spends a lot of her spare time blogging, posting and tweeting to DECAs thousands of followers.

Born and raised in Willowdale, Sheri loves that Danforth East is unpretentious, diverse and combines city living with a small town community feel. Her favourite thing about this area is the increasing walkability of the neighbourhood, which she believes is largely due to DECA’s efforts to revitalize the Danforth.  Sheri’s very excited to be a celebrity judge for DECA Gems, even though she’s pretty sure she’s not a celebrity.

Professionally, Sheri is technically a lawyer, but prefers to spend her days (and some evenings) working as a policy advisor for the government. What she loves best about our neighbourhood is its small town feel.


PatrickPatrick McMurray is a successful restauranteur in Toronto, having opened and run two wildly-popular restaurants — Starfish (now called Pearl Diver) and the Ceili Cottage. Having grown up in Toronto, he learned to shuck oysters in 1992 and has since claimed the title as World Champion and Guinness Book record oyster shucker. He’s the author of Consider the Oyster: A Shuckers Field Guide.

When Patrick is not shucking and running his restaurants, he is in the neighbourhood where he lives with his wife Alison and their two children. Among his most beloved things about the neighbourhood, are the mounting communal toys strewn about East Lynn Park, “waiting for the next set of little hands to play with them.”


Anita head shotAnita Schretlen moved into the neighbourhood 5 years ago and immediately fell in love with its small town character. She is the Past Chair and current Treasurer of the Danforth East Community Association (DECA) and has also played a lead role in DECA’s economic revitalization efforts, including its successful pop-up shop project and #DECAgems. Anita comes at community engagement and neighbourhood revitalization with a background in strategy and marketing.  Having spent the majority of her career working with large media organizations, she is now focused on small business and currently heads the marketing and business strategy for Rimanchik, a Canadian artisanal leather goods company.