New Regent Park to host long-running community festival

News Aug 06, 2014 by Justin Skinner City Centre Mirror

Though it looked for a time as though Regent Park’s annual Sunday in the Park event was not going to happen this year, the community’s annual summer festival is now set to take place in the community’s new park.

The event started more than 20 years ago as a way to bring people into Regent Park and bring Regent Park to the rest of Toronto.

“Back in the day, there was a real stigma in the Regent Park neighbourhood,” said longtime Regent Park resident Deany Peters, who was among the original organizers of the event. “A lot of people only got the media’s perspective of Regent Park, and you didn’t get a lot of positive news stories coming out of here.”

Peters noted even those living just outside Regent Park had little idea what the community itself was like, isolated as it was from the rest of the city. Given that it was developed as a separate community, there was little reason for many people to go to Regent Park, and its reputation as a violent and dangerous place only added to the problem.

“It was a chance to celebrate the community and demystify the negative impressions people had of it,” she said.

The event was first headed up by local organization Regent Park Focus in tandem with local residents, volunteers and other agencies. The North Regent Park Steering Committee then took it over before the CRC stepped up to take the reins. In recent years, Sunday in the Park has been run under the auspices of the Regent Park Neighbourhood Initiative, and when that group dissolved, it looked as though the event would be no more.

“We weren’t sure if we could pull it off this year,” Peters said. “Ramadan was in July, so we decided to put it over until August so we could have full participation, and thankfully the Yonge Street Mission said they would head it up, so it all came together.”

She noted that community engagement kept the idea afloat when it looked as though the festival would not take place.

“Everyone in the community said ‘you have to have Sunday in the Park,’” Peters said.

While the Mission is taking charge of the festival, plenty of other neighbourhood agencies will pitch in as usual.

Yonge Street Mission administrative coordinator Theresa Simmonds said holding the event in the new Regent Park would provide yet another reason to cheer for Regent Park.

“It’s a beautiful place – spacious and open, with a really good celebratory feel,” she said. “Regent Park is growing and changing with the revitalization, and this is an opportunity to show the community’s still here.”

The event will feature live entertainment, including drummers from Council Fire, South Asian dancing and other cultural performances reflecting the diversity of Regent Park.

There will also be kids’ activities, carnival games, food, a DJ workshop and bike workshop and more.

“There’s something there for everyone, and it’s a good way to create community spirit and a sense of peace of mind for families,” Simmonds said.

Community agencies Dixon Hall, the CRC, ArtHeart, Central Neighbourhood House and others are pitching in with the organization, while the Daniels Corporation is serving as a full partner organization.

Sunday in the Park will take place in the new Regent Park, 620 Dundas Street East, from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 10.

New Regent Park to host long-running community festival

Summer festival Sunday in the Park set to take place Aug. 10

News Aug 06, 2014 by Justin Skinner City Centre Mirror

Though it looked for a time as though Regent Park’s annual Sunday in the Park event was not going to happen this year, the community’s annual summer festival is now set to take place in the community’s new park.

The event started more than 20 years ago as a way to bring people into Regent Park and bring Regent Park to the rest of Toronto.

“Back in the day, there was a real stigma in the Regent Park neighbourhood,” said longtime Regent Park resident Deany Peters, who was among the original organizers of the event. “A lot of people only got the media’s perspective of Regent Park, and you didn’t get a lot of positive news stories coming out of here.”

Peters noted even those living just outside Regent Park had little idea what the community itself was like, isolated as it was from the rest of the city. Given that it was developed as a separate community, there was little reason for many people to go to Regent Park, and its reputation as a violent and dangerous place only added to the problem.

“It was a chance to celebrate the community and demystify the negative impressions people had of it,” she said.

The event was first headed up by local organization Regent Park Focus in tandem with local residents, volunteers and other agencies. The North Regent Park Steering Committee then took it over before the CRC stepped up to take the reins. In recent years, Sunday in the Park has been run under the auspices of the Regent Park Neighbourhood Initiative, and when that group dissolved, it looked as though the event would be no more.

“We weren’t sure if we could pull it off this year,” Peters said. “Ramadan was in July, so we decided to put it over until August so we could have full participation, and thankfully the Yonge Street Mission said they would head it up, so it all came together.”

She noted that community engagement kept the idea afloat when it looked as though the festival would not take place.

“Everyone in the community said ‘you have to have Sunday in the Park,’” Peters said.

While the Mission is taking charge of the festival, plenty of other neighbourhood agencies will pitch in as usual.

Yonge Street Mission administrative coordinator Theresa Simmonds said holding the event in the new Regent Park would provide yet another reason to cheer for Regent Park.

“It’s a beautiful place – spacious and open, with a really good celebratory feel,” she said. “Regent Park is growing and changing with the revitalization, and this is an opportunity to show the community’s still here.”

The event will feature live entertainment, including drummers from Council Fire, South Asian dancing and other cultural performances reflecting the diversity of Regent Park.

There will also be kids’ activities, carnival games, food, a DJ workshop and bike workshop and more.

“There’s something there for everyone, and it’s a good way to create community spirit and a sense of peace of mind for families,” Simmonds said.

Community agencies Dixon Hall, the CRC, ArtHeart, Central Neighbourhood House and others are pitching in with the organization, while the Daniels Corporation is serving as a full partner organization.

Sunday in the Park will take place in the new Regent Park, 620 Dundas Street East, from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 10.

New Regent Park to host long-running community festival

Summer festival Sunday in the Park set to take place Aug. 10

News Aug 06, 2014 by Justin Skinner City Centre Mirror

Though it looked for a time as though Regent Park’s annual Sunday in the Park event was not going to happen this year, the community’s annual summer festival is now set to take place in the community’s new park.

The event started more than 20 years ago as a way to bring people into Regent Park and bring Regent Park to the rest of Toronto.

“Back in the day, there was a real stigma in the Regent Park neighbourhood,” said longtime Regent Park resident Deany Peters, who was among the original organizers of the event. “A lot of people only got the media’s perspective of Regent Park, and you didn’t get a lot of positive news stories coming out of here.”

Peters noted even those living just outside Regent Park had little idea what the community itself was like, isolated as it was from the rest of the city. Given that it was developed as a separate community, there was little reason for many people to go to Regent Park, and its reputation as a violent and dangerous place only added to the problem.

“It was a chance to celebrate the community and demystify the negative impressions people had of it,” she said.

The event was first headed up by local organization Regent Park Focus in tandem with local residents, volunteers and other agencies. The North Regent Park Steering Committee then took it over before the CRC stepped up to take the reins. In recent years, Sunday in the Park has been run under the auspices of the Regent Park Neighbourhood Initiative, and when that group dissolved, it looked as though the event would be no more.

“We weren’t sure if we could pull it off this year,” Peters said. “Ramadan was in July, so we decided to put it over until August so we could have full participation, and thankfully the Yonge Street Mission said they would head it up, so it all came together.”

She noted that community engagement kept the idea afloat when it looked as though the festival would not take place.

“Everyone in the community said ‘you have to have Sunday in the Park,’” Peters said.

While the Mission is taking charge of the festival, plenty of other neighbourhood agencies will pitch in as usual.

Yonge Street Mission administrative coordinator Theresa Simmonds said holding the event in the new Regent Park would provide yet another reason to cheer for Regent Park.

“It’s a beautiful place – spacious and open, with a really good celebratory feel,” she said. “Regent Park is growing and changing with the revitalization, and this is an opportunity to show the community’s still here.”

The event will feature live entertainment, including drummers from Council Fire, South Asian dancing and other cultural performances reflecting the diversity of Regent Park.

There will also be kids’ activities, carnival games, food, a DJ workshop and bike workshop and more.

“There’s something there for everyone, and it’s a good way to create community spirit and a sense of peace of mind for families,” Simmonds said.

Community agencies Dixon Hall, the CRC, ArtHeart, Central Neighbourhood House and others are pitching in with the organization, while the Daniels Corporation is serving as a full partner organization.

Sunday in the Park will take place in the new Regent Park, 620 Dundas Street East, from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 10.