Monday, 12 December 2011

TorontoTheBetter fundraising calendar for Red Panamerica now available

We are pleased to announce the first TorontotheBetter calendar,on the theme of "Growing TorontotheBetter".

The calendar can be purchased in person at Good Catch General Store - 1556 Queen St.W. (near Lansdowne), or by emailing To order by email insert Calendar Order in the subject line and indicate the quantity you want and the address to which the calendar(s) should be mailed. The cost of each calendar is $12 in person and $15 for delivery by mail. Multiple (2 or more) calendars receive a 20% discount.

NOTE: proceeds, after costs, from TorontotheBetter calendar sales go to Red Panamericana, TorontotheBetter's 2015 Pan-Am Games project in partnership with the Hispanic Development Council to support Latino neighbourhoods in Toronto.

Calendars come with a TorontotheBetter button giving wearers eligibility for discounts at designated TorontotheBetter businesses.

These are bad times for many.Help us build a Better Toronto.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Our Times Magazine 30th Anniversay Party

Our Times, Canada's independent, bi-monthly labour magazine is 30 years old and is throwing a party to celebrate three decades of stories about workers' rights and social justice.

WHEN: 3 December 2011, 7 PM
WHERE: The Steelworkers Hall in Toronto; 25 Cecil Street

The celebration will include a light buffet, cash bar, silent auction, and a whole lot of dancing...

For more information, see the Our Times' 30th Birthday Bash notice.

Tinto notes: "Days are shorter in winter" (2011 Winter Hours...)

A recent missive from Tinto Coffee House:

"You may have noticed that by late June, year in, year out, Canadians enjoy very long hours of daylight. You may have noticed too, that by late November, year in, year out, night hours are greater than daylight hours.

Tinto is following this trend by having shorter winter business hours, so starting next Monday, November 28th we will be open at 11 A.M. and will be closing by 6 P.M., both on weekdays as well as during weekends.

New winter hours, then, will be 11 A.M. to 6 P.M., seven days a week.

Please also note that we are using our alternate e-mail

See you soon!"

Thursday, 24 November 2011

"Rio Breaks" - TorontoTheBetter PWYC Movie; Tues., Nov. 29, 2011

Join us for this inspiring tale of favela kids in Brazil who find some refuge from Rio's harsh streets through a surfing social enterprise. Meanwhile, in 2011 Rio police break up favela homes to make room for the 2014 World Cup of soccer, and in Toronto, as we speak......

Another economy is possible. Rio Breaks tells us what it might look like.

See the current movie night info page here or the Facebook event page here for more details...

DATE: Tuesday Nov. 29, 7pm

LOCATION: OISE/Ontario Institute for Studies in Education - 252 Bloor St. West

Pay What You Can

Part of the 7th annual TorontotheBetter movie series: Movies, Dicussion, Action

about everyday actions for a better Toronto and a better world.

We will also be updating tou about Red Panamericana, TorontotheBetter's community development

project for Toronto's Latino neighbourhoods, in partnership with the Hispanic Development Council

Monday, 21 November 2011

Request to support Occupy Toronto and a new economy

Received at 3pm today from our Occupy site contacts: Please mobilize anyone you can to go down to St. James Park as soon as they can today. Comments made in this morning's press conference indicate that an eviction could happen at any time.
The legal defense number is 416 833 6137.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Enterprises for Occupy Toronto

The social enterprises participating in TorontotheBetter have one thing in common, an economy that is owned by, and serves, the people who live here. We encourage all who support popular economies to show their support for the Toronto Occupy initiative and contact us with their thoughts. A list will be created and posted on TorontotheBetter. This is the way a new economy grows. If we don't like what's out there we must make our own!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Occupy Toronto Journal - Nov.16,2011

On November 15, one month into the Occupy Toronto movement; the City delivered eviction notices to tents and structures. This was challenged in court and granted an injunction on the Charter rights of free speech and freedom of assembly. On November 18, the City and movement lawyer will make their cases before Judge Brown who will deliver a decision before 6pm on November 19.

From TorontotheBetter Occupy correspondent

Occupy Toronto journal - November 3, 2011

On Wednesday, November 2 at 4pm. Occupy Toronto embarked on a solidarity march in support of Occupy Oakland which was raided on Oct. 25! The march stopped at the intersection of King & Bay St. where a decision was made to march either to the Bank of America, City Hall or the American Embassy. After a compromise, the march proceeded to the American Embassy where bicycle police blocked off the side walk to the entrance which could be considered American Soil. There was a speaker that talked about a General Strike which was in the port of Oakland. Later the march went to City Hall where an open mic was available to participants to speak on local issues. There will be another march on Nov. 5
From our Occupy correspondent.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Volunteer Today For Eco-Gift Wrapping Program!!

The success of this program depends entirely on volunteers like you to help increase awareness about reducing holiday waste, promoting our organization, and raise funds in support of our work throughout the year.

This is a fantastic volunteer opportunity, with lots of flexibility that suits students, seniors, employee groups and all enthusiastic environmentalists!

If you would like to participate in this fun & creative volunteer opportunity, contact us by email at:

2011 Locations for Eco-Gift Wrapping:

Dufferin Mall -- 900 Dufferin Street: November 21 to December 24

Mountain Equipment Co-op -- 400 King Street West: December 15-24

Yonge Eglinton Center -- 20 Eglinton Ave. West: December 9-24

We are providing Training Workshops for all volunteers. The schedule and locations for training are as follows:

November 21: Deer Park Library, 40 St. Clair Ave. East, Room 204

Workshop: 5:30pm

December 6: Deer Park Library, 40 St. Clair Ave. East, Room 204
Workshop: 2:30pm
Workshop: 5:30pm

GEO Closing ts Doors

Green Enterprise Ontario sent out its last email bulletin earlier today:

"This will be the last communication from GEO as we will regretfully be closing our doors as of December 2011.

As many of you know, GEO started almost six years ago as GET (Green Enterprise Toronto) with the goal of promoting green businesses and their practices. Over time we have held numerous workshops and gatherings to promote a more sustainable business model for Toronto and Ontario. I think in many ways we have succeeded in helping to push the agenda and for that, all of us at GEO are content.

However, all our efforts to take it beyond a small group of businesses have not succeeded and we have had to constantly rely on the resources and efforts of a few volunteers to keep it going. These volunteers and resources have now pretty much reached their limit and with this so has GEO.

I wish to thank all of you who have supported GEO in the past and wish you all the best in your continued efforts to create a greener world.

Your sincerely,

Tim Rudkins
Green Enterprise Ontario"

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Eva's Initiatives Phoenix Print Shop in danger...

Apparently, there's plans for the property housing Eva's Initiatives to be taken over for development by Build Toronto, which could put an end to the Phoenix Print Shop.

Listen to the Metro Morning interview with Marie Crawford, Executive Director of Eva's Initiatives here for more information...

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Screening of Ananda More's homeopathic documentary

Ananda More, Homeopathic Doctor is also now the director of "In Search of Evidence" - from a recent email blast:

- We're really excited to announce that we're screening a rough cut of our film In Search of Evidence. A similar cut screened at the Canadian Homeopathic Conference to great acclaim and we can't wait to share it with more friends.

This small cut examines the use of mass homeoprophylaxis (disease prevention using homeopathic remedies) in Cuba, it's quite astonishing actually what they have achieved by embracing this alternative medicine. And I should add we have a killer soundtrack to boot. There will be popcorn and refreshments for sale (this is a fundraiser after all!)

Will be followed by a question and answer period as well.

Join us at the Inner Garden (401 Richmond St. W. Suite 384), Sunday 4th December 2011, 5-7pm.

Tickets are $10 in Advance from Riverdale Homeopathy - 1331 Danforth Ave (will shortly be available on line at or by phone at 416-778-0085 and $12 at the door.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

from one of our GTA correspondents at Occupy TO...

..."Occupy Toronto is heading into its third week. With many visits to the financial district. There was also a march to Novotel; a French chain of hotels. One employee at Novotel Ottawa was fired for trying to organize a union. There are many challenges with the corporate media dismissing the movement. In general, people know that some politicians are working to help business rather than the people. The City of Toronto has announced that it will begin privatizing garbage pick up in August 2012."

Monday, 24 October 2011

What's happening in democratic Toronto...and most other 'developed' democracies, it seems

Capitalism screws up from time to time. It’s in the nature of the beast. You don’t have to be a Marxist to accept this. And various instruments are then installed to allow levels of profit to recover, and the beast cavorts on. It was a form of devilish amnesia that, in the early 2000’s, with the 'victory' (aka self-defeat) over communism now several years behind them, led a new MBA generation of financial “notsosmarties”  to remove regulations put in place in earlier generations to avoid the risks of economic collapse and political revolution. Given globalization and the hubris associated with being the one combatant left standing in the ring, consequences were predictable. Economic collapse on a global scale, with the poor left poorer and the 1% holding their spoils. Although “bail-outs” were adopted by many former anti-Keynesians to staunch the blood flow somewhat, what could not be staunched indefinitely were the ultimately more profound political consequences. That’s what the “Occupy” movement represents: international resistance by the powerless and victimized majority to a world run by private businesses with the “legal” right to do with societal (aka our) wealth what they wish. Why this movement is so important is that like all fundamental change it starts with a stirring in the roots and will result in formal political change, i.e. in the relations between people. The problem is not with bankers; like boys, bankers will be bankers. The problem is with political structures which have lost popular support because whatever party is in power nothing fundamentally changes. They are all dancing to the same more or less neo-con tune. The erosion of the power of government in liberal democracies has been the goal of most right wing neo-conservative governments and they have been successful. Governments have reduced their capacity to govern to such an extent that their electorates have concluded they are powerless. They are not, but it will take a re-guttification to start the process. In the words of the street slogan, “you say cutback, we say Fight Back”.  Our movie this week “Beyond Elections” will help us consider what form of politics we want to replace the “bankrupt” (no metaphor that, any more) forms we – decreasingly -  participate in, every few months it seems, in Canada. If we’re doing it so often, because the electorate sees not much difference between the flavours on offer, and so elect minorities, then how about ewe do things differently. Electoral reform won’t do it – the bankers will still be in charge. We need fundamental change. Looks like we might have to start using the R word.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

"Laugh for the Environment"

Join the Toronto Green Community at our 2nd Annual
"Laugh for the Environment" 
     Comedy Fundraiser


Date: Saturday, October 29th, 2011

Time: Show starts at 

Second City99 Blue Jays WayToronto

Tickets: $20, available through 
Second City:
online at

call the box office at 

Invite your friends and Buy your tickets today!! We’ll turn you green with laughter!!

Monday, 17 October 2011

NatureBite partners with Aangen: buy organic health food & contribute to centre's families in need fund.

Nature-bite has recently partnered with the Aangen Community Centre...from Aangen's latest email newsletter:

"We are very excited to announce our new partnership with NatureBite, a Toronto-based business that specializes in organic health foods, supplements and Eco-friendly cleaning products. They are committed to environmental protection and raising awareness of products that are organic, non-toxic and better for the health and wellness of the consumer.

At Aangen we are always looking to work with like-minded people and businesses and are thrilled that NatureBite has decided to support our cause. A percentage of all NatureBite sales made through Aangen, will go to our families in need fund.

A range of NatureBite products are available to buy from our marketplace OR you can buy directly online from them at Just make sure to let them know you heard about them through Aangen, so that part of the proceeds come back to our families in need.
NatureBite Products

* Himalayan Salt Lamps
* Himalayan Salt Products and Grinders
* Yoga Chips (all-natural apple chips)
* Organic Golden Quinoa, Black Chia Seeds, Raw Maca Powder, Roasted Hemp Seeds
* Teechino Coffee Alternative
* Organic Coconut Sweetener
* Bio+ Green Crystals All-Purpose Cleaner
* Organic Coconut Oil"

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Another Story Bookshop Book Party/Public Forum on Labour; 26 Oct. 2011

Another Story Bookshop is hosting a Book Party and Public Forum on Labour in Canada and the US ...

Monday, October 24; 6:30 to 8 pm
315 Roncesvalles Ave., Toronto

Meet Steve Early, author of “The Civil Wars in U.S. Labor”, and John Borsos
from the new California-based National Union of Healthcare Workers.

Steve Early was a Communications Workers (CWA) representative in the U.S.
and Canada for 27 years. He has written about union issues for Our Times,
Labor Notes, The Nation, and many other publications. John Borsos is a
veteran of struggles for union democracy and reform within the Service
Employees International Union.

Co-sponsored by: Greater Toronto Workers Assembly, CUPE Local 3903, Labor
Notes, NUHW, Haymarket Books, and Monthly Review.

Thanks to Centre for the Study of Education and Work for additional information.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Green Enterprise Ontario starting online forum, seeking contributors...

As a member of the Green Enterprise Ontario email list, I received this notice - which I think will be of interest and/or relevant to any readers here:

"As most of you are aware, we have begun taking the GEO brand in a new and exciting direction!

While we are passionate about promoting green and sustainable businesses, we are equally interested in transforming markets, shifting attitudes, and providing practical guidance to those looking to develop more efficient, environmentally responsible businesses.

Many tools currently exist through government and association programs, yet many small business owners have difficulty finding and understanding them. To that effect, we are developing a free online resource that will serve as a clearinghouse for practical, solutions-based information that small business can really use.

We have now built an online forum and blog and are looking for content providers to help beef it up. Before going to outsiders to find contributors we thought that we'd first ask you to see if you'd like to participate. If you have experience in developing an ecologically responsible, energy efficient business we'd like to share your wisdom and insight with others through a semi-regular, online posting.

If you are interested in participating, please email us at and either Jeremy or myself will follow up with you soon to discuss the details.

In the meantime, we encourage you all to visit, explore the content, start using the forum, and send us any comments you may have on how we can improve the site so that it best serves you and future users.


Tim Rudkins
Green Enterprise Ontario"

War Resisters: An Evening with S. Brian Willson

S. Brian Willson is a Vietnam veteran and peace activist. In September 1987, Willson lost both his legs when he was run over by a U.S. government munitions train during a nonviolent blocking action. He recently published a memoir, Blood on the Tracks.
Join us for an evening of food and conversation with S. Brian Willson, and get an update on the most recent developments in the campaign to win asylum in Canada for Iraq War resisters.

Steelworkers Hall
25 Cecil Street,

6:00 pm Dinner • 7:00 pm Speakers

$20 suggested donation a fundraiser for the War Resisters Support Campaign •

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

TorontotheBetter supports fledgeling "Occupy Mississauga movement"!

I see a TorontoTheBetter colleague was involved in what he sees as part of the burgeoning Occupy Wall Street movement...

See ‘Hazel has to go,’ say protesters for details:

"A small group of residents went to City Hall this morning to demand Mayor Hazel McCallion’s resignation after a judge earlier this week said she used her office to promote her son’s City Centre project.


Tim, who described himself as a knowledge consultant and carried a copy of The News with the front-page headline “Unrepentant!”, said McCallion has overstayed her welcome at City Hall.

The protesters took up a prime spot at the main entrance at 8 a.m., exhorting employees arriving for work and later residents going in to City Hall to vote in today’s provincial election to “stand with us in solidarity.” At one point, a pair of security guards stopped by to inquire what they were doing.

“The response has been very positive. Lots of people stopped to talk to us. Cars driving by are even honking,” said Tim, who hopes the protest will be the beginning of a movement to get McCallion to step down.

“She’s been in office for more than three decades. Over that time, she’s become a dictator. She’s treating Mississauga as her personal kingdom, and that’s not right,” he said."

Monday, 10 October 2011

Beyond Elections: TorontoTheBetter PWYC Movie Screening on October 25, 2011

STARTS OFF OUR 2011-2012 movie series with a review of options beyond the norms most North Americans currently associate with democracy. There is a reason citizens are taking to the streets from New York to Londo, to Toronto, to Mississauga. Elections are not putting citizens in charge of their destinies. Join us to consider some alternatives.
At a time when  Canada’s federal government is the choice of less than half of Canadians and promotes policies the great majority of residents in Canada’s largest cities reject, and the lowest percentage of Canadians in history bother to vote, it is the right time to do things differently.

From Venezuela’s  communal  councils to Brazil’s Participatory Budgetin, Beyond Elections  looks at the range of alternatives in the Americas and asks us, “what is  the best way of doingdemocracy?. 

Join us for TorontotheBetter’s first movie screening of our 2011-12. Movies. Discussion. Action.

DATE: Tuesday Oct.25, 2011
TIME: 7pm
LOCATION: OISE, 252 Bloor St. West – Room 3311

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Toronto Writers’ Co-operative launches their members’ anthology

Toronto Writers’ Co-operative
launches their members’ anthology
Thursday, September 29
7 PM
Elizabeth Beeton Auditorium
Toronto Reference Library
789 Yonge St., 1st Flr.

The TPL’s writers’ community launches its 4th anthology.  Co-operative authors will read selections from their work—a wide variety of poetry and prose.
Copies of Voices will be available for sale.

Monday, 19 September 2011

LEAF - More Volunteer Tree Planters Needed

Last weekend we had a number of people assisting at our beautiful Milne Hollow site. Since the spring, we've been able to rehabilitate this great space by planting 225 native trees and shrubs... but the goal is to plant 600. That means we still have 375 trees remaining!

We need as many LEAF volunteers as possible to help us reach this goal and help increase Toronto's canopy. Parking is available on site and Milne Hollow is TTC accessible.  It's also great opportunity to get together with other wonderful LEAF volunteers and help make a tangible difference for our city. This event is open to the public so please feel free to invite friends and family to come out and join in the fun. 

LEAF Photographers and Lead Volunteers are also needed for this event. 

Lead Volunteers are individuals who arrive early to help set up. They also assist in leading other event participants in properly planting and mulching our trees. Training provided. 

In Forma Theatre's STAR program, Fall 2011

Some Fall 2011 news from In Forma Theatre:

STAR: Staging Transitions of Age in Rexdale
A Free Theatre Program for Seniors and Youth in Rexdale

This Fall In Forma Theatre is thrilled to be kicking off our third annual theatre program in Rexdale, in partnership with Rexadale Women's Centre and the Albion Library, and with the support of the Ontario Arts Council and North York Harvest. This program will offer youth and seniors an opportunity to gain theatre skills, collectively create and perform an original play that explores life transitions and reflects their community.

In Forma Theatre invites seniors and youth from Rexdale to attend our first session on Sept 22nd at 4pm.

No theatre experience required!

Thursdays 4-6:30pm
Sept 22- Dec 2011
@ The Albion Library
1515 Albion Rd

Monday, 12 September 2011

Help us renaturalize Milne Hollow

Saturday, September 24 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Milne Hollow, Old Lawrence Ave. (click here for detailed directions)
This past weekend we had a strong turnout that helped us get over 150 trees in the ground, and we're looking to plant even more in a few weeks! Join LEAF and City of Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation as we plant trees and shrubs at this crucial storm water management site The additional vegetation will improve water quality by reducing the speed and quantity of water that flows during storm events.

  Registration recommended

 Cheers, Matthew Higginson
Coordinator, Marketing & Communications
 LEAF - Local Enhancement & Appreciation of Forests Artscape Wychwood Barns
601 Christie St, suite 253
Toronto, Ontario
M6G 4C7
416.413.9244 x13

Friday, 2 September 2011

War Resisters Conference

Looking Back, Moving Forward:
War Resisters in North America

Friday 23rd Saturday 24th
7:00pm – 10:00pm 9:00am – 8:00pm

Steelworkers Hall, 25 Cecil Street, Toronto, Ontario

$2.00-$10.00 or Pay What You Can
Open to the Public, Wheelchair Accessible
A gathering that will address issues of war and peace from the vantage point of those who are struggling against militarism in North America. This conference will feature veterans, war resisters, activists, academics, labour organizers, and lawyers.

Sign up on or visit

Historians Against the War
Canadian Peace Alliance
War Resisters Support Campaign
The Canadian Auto Workers
Toronto Coalition to Stop the War
United Steelworkers Toronto Area Council
Afghans for Peace
No One Is Illegal – Toronto
Christian Peacemaker Teams – Canada
WPIRG and more

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

TorontotheBetter works for the excluded

An online TorontotheBetter survey, conducted for its role in a major University of Toronto research project examining the impact of social enterprise on the marginalized, reveals that 65% of TorontotheBetter enterprises provide services available for, and/or relevant to, Toronto's marginalized groups and individuals. Of these, 38% derive a substantial (30% or more) proportion of their revenue from such services. Respondents' primary recommendations for reducing exclusion (for economic, cultural or physical reasons) were to remove barriers and to increase public awareness of them.TorontotheBetter celebrates participating enterprises working for a better Toronto by removing barriers to inclusion of all kinds.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Creative Works Studio Charity Challenge 2011

Creative Works Studio urges you to...

"Help us kick our fundraising goals into high gear on Sunday October 16, 2011 by walking, jogging, or running a 5K, half marathon or full marathon in support of the Creative Works Studio. If you can’t make it out, you can sponsor somebody who is participating!"

See here for more details...

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Scarborough Community mobilization continues

August 15, 2011
Scarborough mobilized to take actions to improve the community. About 50 people met in 2 different rooms to review what was previously discussed on Affordable Housing, Transit, Employment(Jobs) & Civic Engagement to access services. There has been concern that Atwood on Libraries got a disproportionate amount of attention. Though Scarborough with about 25% of the city's population has only 20 of the 99 libraries. Also Child Care was becoming a bigger issue due to the Core Services Review by Mayor Ford and company for potential cuts(chops)

On the Municipal front; people agreed to give deputations at City Hall on Sept. 19 & 26 saying they "are from Scarborough and that they care about services." (including many listed) In the meantime we will be getting signitures on petitions in August.

Another approaching date is the Oct. 6 Provincial election where people will communicate with candidates about their platform and policies possibly at debates. There are six ridings that overlap Scarborough of the 23 in Toronto and 45 in the GTA.
From TorontotheBetter's Scarborough correspondent - Sonny Yeung

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Sister blog "The Other Mississauga" goes live

As part of its Better Cities Networking programme TorontotheBetter is pleased to welcome our new Mississauga partner blog, a place for those in Mississauga committed to a better community for all. Our TorontotheBetter includes the GTA.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Ride for Real Food - Bike-a-thon to Kortright Sunday, Sept. 25

The West End Food Co-op's next event sounds like a great one...

"Spend a late-September Sunday enjoying a scenic 30km bike ride through Toronto parks to The Living City Farm at Kortright, farmed by Matchbox Garden & Seed Co., to raise money to open the doors of our non-profit local food store at Queen and Dufferin.

When you get there, eat some great food, get a farm tour, and visit the Kortright Centre for Conservation."

If you're interested, check out their event page for more details...

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Catalyst Centre Labour Walk, August 11th

This Thursday (11 August 2011) the Catalyst Centre will be hosting a walking conversation to retrace the steps of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, Canada's first Afro-Canadian union. Meet at Union Station at 6:30 PM for the tour and come to the Royal York Hotel afterwards for further discussion. More details at the event posting.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Don't Allow Ford to Cut Toronto's Trees


Dear Friends,

City Hall is conducting a major review of all City services to determine which programs to reduce or cut. This review has a very short timeline, and focuses on short term costs, failing to consider the environmental and social benefits of Toronto's programs. Amongst other recommendations for cuts, the consultant’s report suggests that the City could stop planting and trees and reduce Toronto's Tree Canopy target of 30-40% tree cover in the City. For background information on the review of City services and the consultant’s report visit TEA's website.


A quick email that outlines why you feel that Toronto should continue to invest in the protection and renewal of our urban forest will make a difference. Your email should be sent to your Councillor, and copied to the Mayor and the Parks and Environment Committee. Please send your message by end of day Wednesday, July 20, as city council meets this Thursday. Be sure to include your full name and address in the email.

Go to the city's website for information on current urban forestry programs. Of particular note is the "Every Tree Counts" study recently completed by the City of Toronto. Great facts and figures in this report on the dollar value of ecological services provided by our urban forest.

Below is a sample message that you can customize with your own thoughts:


To: [Local Councillor] Find their email here. If you aren't sure, who it is, find your local Councillor here.
cc: "Mayor Ford" "Chair, Parks and Environment Committee"
Subject: No cuts to urban forestry

Dear Councillor ----

I am writing today to urge you to ensure that the City does not cut funding to Urban Forestry Services

From the Toronto website is the following:

All ash trees in Toronto are at risk of dying from this infestation. Mortality may occur in as short a period as one year, however, death normally occurs within 2-3 years of a tree becoming infested. The recent tree canopy study estimates that there are 860,000 ash trees in total on public and private lands. The initial areas of infestation detected in 2007 are likely to lose most of their ash trees by 2012. EAB will eventually spread to the rest of Toronto, killing most ash trees in the City by about 2015 - 2017. The City of Toronto has a plan (Link: EAB staff report) to manage the impact of EAB on Toronto`s urban forest.

Protecting existing trees and planting new trees is an investment that pays off in many ways - cleaner air, less stormwater to treat (a huge expense for the city), UV protection for our kids, better mental health and a much more attractive place for tourists to come and spend their money!!

The City's free street tree program, where trees are planted on City property in front of homes upon request, is a vital program that should not be cut. Also maintaining the private tree protection bylaw is of utmost importance. Trees should be protected because they are a common resource. It doesn't matter where they are rooted on public or private property, the benefits they provide accrue to the whole community. When we lose a large, mature tree, it simply cannot be replaced! The environmental and economic benefits that trees provide increase exponentially with the size of the tree.

Toronto's trees are an incredibly valuable resource that we cannot afford to neglect. I urge you to ensure that the urban forest in our community is maintained and improved.



Thank you for taking a few moments to tell you representatives how you feel and speaking up for our urban forest!

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Help the Toronto Public Library from Ford cuts

Mayor Ford seems to think that we have too many libraries. From what I have observed we are one of the essential hubs of a community. We support all the local schools who have been stripped of librarians. We have free computer use for families that don't have their own. Thanks to our 99 libraries you can find almost anything published. With our huge "holds" program you can have the book (cd,DVD, audio book) delivered to you local library free of charge, saving you gas and travel time. Please go to the link below and show/ sign your support.
Thank you in advance!!

Here it is:

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Scarborough mobilizes !

Tonight Scarborough mobilized for a better Scarborough and a better Toronto at a community workshop. Over a hundred people crammed the Scarborough Civic Centre to brainstorm community priorities and by the end of the night they were realizing they were a movement. Resentment of downtown Toronto's historical snottiness helped - one speaker reminded the geoup "Scarborough gets screwed over a lot" - but most evident was genuine frustration about practical  problems with jobs, transit, housing and, and access to healthcare, along with the determination to dosomething about them. Throughout the evening, one thing stood out: an engaged community. It's called Scarborough.

Our TorontotheBetter inludes Scarborough. We look forward to the follow-up meetings planned at tonight's meeting and encourage concerned citizens to engage, wherever they live in the GTA.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

New aboriginal business development toolkit from Ontario government - a new beginning?

The Ontario Government recently unveiled their Aboriginal Business Development Toolkit at
Anything is good that builds greater economic self-sufficiency for historically excluded groups, but TorontotheBetter would like to see emphasis on a different business model (social enterprise) that emphasizes enterprise creation as an opportunity to avoid the economic models that led to marginalization aboriginals in their own land, and many others too.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Tinto's summer 2011 hours...

...received a recent email from Tinto Coffee House saying to MIND THE SUMMER:

Now that summer is really here, after the long weekend, our hours have changed to adapt to the new season.

Please make a note of our new summer hours and accept our apologies if summer may cause you any inconvenience.

Thanks very much and enjoy!


Scarborough Is At Stake, July 12th Meeting...

Via the Centre for the Study of Education and Work>/a&gt:


Tuesday July 12, 2011
6:00 – 8:00 PM
Scarborough Civic Centre, Meeting Rooms 1 & 2
150 Borough Drive

Help develop a plan to advocate for social investment & improve communities
across Scarborough.

Over the years, Scarborough’s poverty has become increasingly concentrated
and racialized. Investment in Scarborough’s communities is a necessary part
of the solution to this growing problem.

On July 12th, residents & community workers across Scarborough will come
together to identify Scarborough’s most pressing issues, and develop a plan
to address these issues and to advocate for social investment in
Scarborough’s communities. Outcomes of this meeting will be action-oriented.
Please attend if you are willing to contribute to improving Scarborough’s
communities and take stops to advocate for social investment in Scarborough.

Refreshments and TTC tokens provided. Child care only provided if requested
in advance.

Sponsored by the Scarborough Civic Action Network. For more information on
SCAN, please contact Jessica Roher by phone at (416) 321-6912 x 248 or by
email at

Friday, 24 June 2011

Bike Pirates' 2011 Art Spin Bike Ride starts June 30th...

I seem be a bit late on this news...or am I just early for the second one on July 28th?...

Bike Pirates is organizing a series of Art Spin Bide Rides this summer:

Art Spin is a multi-disciplinary art crawl style bicycle tour of galleries (commercial, artist run & public), art performances and visits to artist’s studios throughout various downtown Toronto neighbourhoods.

This year's Art Spin will take place on the last Thursday of the month from June until August 2011.The meeting point is the gate to Trinity Bellwoods Park at Queen St. & Strachan, between 6:30 – 7 pm and ending around 9 pm. Art Spin is a free event, and anyone regardless of age or cycling ability is welcome.

Dates for 2011 season include...
June 30th
July 28th
August 25th

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Call for Entry: Green Living Awards for Excellence in Corporate Responsibility

A message from Green Living:

Just a reminder that there is still time to apply for the Green Living Awards for Excellence and be recognized as a leader in corporate responsibility.

This awards program is designed to celebrate Canadians who are transforming business practices to create sustainable social and environmental change. Green Living has assembled a leadership team of judges including The Natural Step Canada, CIRAIG (Interuniversity Research Centre for the Life Cycle of Products, Processes and Services), Pembina Institute and Jantzi-Sustainalytics.

The awards categories include individuals and teams in large and small organizations across different industries, as well as those at different levels of influence within the company. People who have demonstrated leadership and commitment in transforming business are encouraged to enter.
The entry deadline is 6pm EST June 24, 2011. Winners will be announced at a gala event following the 9th Annual CBSR Summit October 26, 2011.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Container Gardening Workshop at Beit Zatoun

Beit Zatoun House is having a seasonal and topical event this Saturday afternoon...From Container to Plate is a workshop on container gardening:

"Never too Late (in the season) or too Small (a space) to...
Grow herbs, tomatoes, other edibles - on your balcony, window-sill, anywhere!

No gardening experience necessary. All are welcome
Learn the "how to's" of container gardening; bring home a new edible garden.

Materials provided: potting soil, seeds, seedlings

To bring:
- Small container for planting and take home (e.g. yogurt or take-out container)
- admission "Olive Tree" to be planted in Palestine.
- Each $5 donation buys a 3-year-old seedling to be planted by the Trees for Life Palestine program. All proceeds will be donated."

Friday, 17 June 2011

Student Anti-Mining Activist Assasinated (MingingWatch Canada Alert)

From the Latin America Program of MiningWatch Canada:

ACTION ALERT June 17, 2011

Student Anti-Mining Activist Assassinated
Call on the Attorney General and the Minister of Security to Begin an Investigation Immediately!

With heavy hearts, we report that Juan Francisco Durán Ayala, anti-mining activist and university student, has been murdered (background information below). Join the Environmental Committee of Cabañas (CAC) and Juan Francisco's family in calling on the Attorney General and National Civilian Police to carry out an exhaustive investigation into the material and intellectual authors of this brutal murder and to and protect the lives of all anti-mining activists in El Salvador.  We will not remain silent while the murders of Juan Francisco, Marcelo Rivera, Ramiro Rivera, Dora Alicia Sorto, and the threats against Radio Victoria remain in impunity!


1. If you speak Spanish, call Salvadoran Attorney General Romeo Barahona at 011-503-2230-6350 to demand a full investigation into the murders of Juan Francisco, Marcelo Rivera, Ramiro Rivera and Dora Alicia Sorto. Sample script below.

2. Email the Attorney General Romeo Barahona and Minister of Justice and Security Manuel Melgar to demand investigations into these murders and threats against the anti-mining activists of Cabañas.

Call Script for Attorney General Barahona (direct number for his assistant, Héctor Burgos: 011-503-2230-6350):

Buenos (días/tardes)

Mi nombre es ___ y llamo para expresar mi indignación sobre el asesinato de Juan Francisco Durán Ayala y la violencia contra líderes sociales en Cabañas.

Urge una investigación profunda sobre el asesinato del Señor Durán Ayala con un equipo especializado, y así también es necesario re-abrir los casos de Marcelo Rivera, Dora Alicia Sorto y Ramiro Rivera para investigar vínculos entre estos caso, los asesinatos de Darwin Serrano y Gerardo Abrego León, las nuevas amenazas contra el personal de Radio Victoria y la desaparición del Señor Durán Ayala.

El hecho de que la violencia y amenazas anteriores quedaron en impunidad ha permitido que surgieran los nuevos hechos de violencia. Pido que el Fiscal General tome las medidas necesarias para asegurar justicia y protección para las y los afectados.



On June 2, in the city of Ilobasco, Cabañas, thirty year-old Juan Francisco was hanging flyers and banners as part of a CAC campaign against mining and the Canadian mining company Pacific Rim. The CAC reports that Ilobasco's mayor, José Maria Dimas Castellano, ordered municipal police to remove the banners and intimidate the activists hanging them. The next day Juan Francisco left for his classes at the Technological University in San Salvador and was not heard from again. His body was found after midnight on June 4; he had been shot twice in the head, execution style. The Medical Examiner declared his body "unidentifiable" and buried him in a common grave in San Salvador.  The following week, CAC members visited the morgue and learned that Juan Francisco's body had been found.  His father positively identified his son´s body on June 14.

Juan Francisco's murder comes two years after the brutal torture and killing of community leader and anti-mining activist Marcelo Rivera Since then, two other anti-mining activists have been killed, Dora Alicia Sorto and Ramiro Rivera, and death threats and attempts continue against anti-mining activists, particularly the youth journalists of the Radio Victoria collective. As long as the intellectual authors of these crimes remain unpunished, impunity and violence will continue to reign in Cabañas.

For more information, see

Monday, 13 June 2011

InSpirt Summer 2011 at Urban Edge Yoga

Urban Edge Yoga is hosting a string of spiritual talks this month as part of InSpirt Summber 2011.

Reincarnation - Womb after Womb, Fact of Fiction? starts things off on Thursday evening, the 16th:

"Is it possible that we have been traversing the Universe life after life?
Devamrita Swami, a monk, author and Yale graduate has explored the science of reincarnation for several decades and will be sharing with us his extensive research and deep spiritual insights. If you want to gain real control over your destiny, you must understand reincarnation and how it works."

And the series concludes on the 23rd with The Vegan Revolution and Beyond - Consciousness Cooking:

"Devamrita Swami is a Monk, who has been travelling around the globe for over 40 years encouraging people to embrace an animal friendly vegan lifestyle, being more conscious of our environment, both material and spiritual. He is the founder of Institute of sustainability in New Zealand and is visiting us this summer for a special workshop. Join us as he takes us to a dimension beyond health and animal rights, the dimension of higher consciousness. He will present to us how the consciousness is a key ingredient of the food we eat and the people we become."

In between, you can find out about the Gita, Karma, love, or intelligent life on other planets...

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Buddies in Bad Times' Queer Pride 2011, June 13 to July 3

Buddies in Bad Times Theatre presents Queer Pride 2011, a "community-focused festival of queer comedy, theatre, music and parties...

For three weeks, Buddies throws open its doors for a joyous celebration of our diverse queer community. We welcome queers who crave adventures beyond the expected, artists who refuse to conform and communities who will not allow themselves to be silenced. On the Buddies' stage, you will find a stellar line-up of some of Toronto's most exciting queer entertainers, while Buddies After Hours offers up the most outrageous clubbing in the village.

So, come catch a show and dance until last call. Come queer, come straight. Come as you are and feel the love at Buddies."

Sunday, 29 May 2011

TorontoTheBetter members part of Bike Month 2011

Several TorontoTheBetter members are participating in Toronto's 2011 Bike Month...

- Janet Bike Girl is having an Open Studio May 30, 2011; 11:00 AM to 06:00 PM:
Come and visit to see a variety of bike stencil artwork..

- Bike Sauce is hosting a Coffee House June 4, 2011; 12:00 PM to 06:00 PM:
Come out and visit BikeSauce's brand new location, 235 Broadview, just south of Dundas. We'll be having tea, coffee and baked treats throughout the day!

- Bike Pirates is presenting three events...

Sweeets for Cycles! happens on June 4, 2011; 12:00 PM to 07:00 PM:
Our annual Donate a Bike event - with a twist! Bring in your old, neglected, well-loved or outgrown bicycle to donate to Bike Pirates and we will reward you with sweets! Bring in a bike and we'll give you something baked! At this non-profit community space your old bike will get a new life either by being build by a community member, or being refurbished for sale by our volunteers.

Their Annual Back Alley Bike Wash is on June 11, 2011; 2:00 PM to 06:00 PM:
Join us for our Annual Bike Wash! Sometimes your bike needs a bit more loving (and scrubbing) than you can muster. If you've just dusted off an old steed, or you recently went on a muddy ride in the Don, come to Pirates and we will clean your bike, pump your tires and lube your chain, all for a small donation.

And finally, their Third Friday Event is on June 17, 2011; 7:00 PM to 11:00 PM:
Please join us the third Friday in June for a community bike ride to visit Toronto's West-End community gardens. We will end the ride back at Bike Pirates for a low-key social.

- Urbane Cyclist's Urbent Event is happening June 4, 2011; 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM:
Learn about recumbent bikes and recumbent trikes!

- Mountain Equipment Co-op's 20011 MEC Bikefest takes place June 25, 2011; 1:00 AM to 06:00 PM:
Along with fun and festivities, MEC Bikefest is a hub of knowledge where cyclists new and old can make connections and get the information they need to pursue their passion.

Friday, 27 May 2011

PALESTINE: A people in Resistance

PALESTINE: A people in Resistance
Report from Palestine and from Algeria

Tuesday, May 31, 2011
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Theresa Wolfwood made her second solidarity journey to Palestine in 2010. She was part of the Canadian delegation to the Bil'in conference on communities in non-violent resistance in April, 2010.

She visited with Palestinians in their homes, schools, farms and projects. She participated in non-violent resistance to the Apartheid Wall, the destruction of homes and lands and was tear-gassed ad threatened by Israeli soldiers. She has also been to Lebanon and Jordan to meet with Palestinian communities and groups in those countries. In December 2010, she was an invited participant to the Algiers conference on Palestinian political prisoners.

In her powerpoint presentation Theresa shows how the Palestinians struggle daily under occupation and how they work together in resistance. With the words of Palestinians, her own observations and telling photographs, Theresa presents the lives of people who are steadfast - sumoud - in their determination to achieve security, peace, and self-determination while preserving their precious heritage and culture.

Theresa reports on international actions and strategies to support Palestine including the growing global boycotts, sanctions and divestment (BDS) movement.

A local and international activist, Theresa is director of the Barnard-Boecker Centre Foundation in Victoria, BC and is involved in many social justice organizations. Her prose and poetry have been published in Canada and abroad, in English, French, Spanish, German, Danish and Arabic. Theresa has been a tireless worker for peace and justice on four continents. To see examples of her admirable work, writing, book reviews, poetry and collection of justice banners from all over the world, please visit

Need to know:
- Doors open at 6:45
- PWYC / Donation
- Accessible on demand via portable ramp; washrooms not accessible

Tasty refreshments (non-alcoholic) and Zatoun oliveoil+za'atar dipping.

Beit Zatoun
612 Markham Street (by Bathurst subway)

Thursday, 19 May 2011

May 2011 Edition of Dirty Laundry Standup Comedy Show

Toronto's Eco Laundry Room is hosting quite a cool and, I think, unique PWYC event here:

WHAT: Dirty Laundry Stand Up Comedy Show - May Edition

WHEN: Friday, May 27 · 8:00pm - 11:00pm

WHERE: The Eco Laundry Room on Danforth
2741 Danforth Avenue (Main Station Stop next to the Canadian Tire)

WHAT: Comedy, coffee and Nickel Brook Beer $2.50 plus cake!

See their Facebook event page for more information...

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Another Story Bookshop: Homophobic Bullying in our Schools-A Conversation

On Thursday, June the 2nd 2011, Another Story Bookshop is hosting:

A Conversation about Homophobic and Transphobic Bullying in Our Schools

Thursday, June 2 · 7:00pm - 10:00pm

Bullying in schools has garnered significant attention recently, but despite this, little has been said about the occurrence of homophobic and transphobic bullying in Canadian high schools. Get That Freak fills that gap by exploring the experiences of bullying among youth who identify or are identified as queer. Challenging the familiar image of these youth as helpless victims, this book also recognizes positive outcomes: moments of resistance, friendship and inner strength. The authors make recommendations for challenging homophobic and transphobic bullying in high schools and supporting students who experience this form of harassment.

Join Queer activist and trans ally Rebecca Haskell in this timely and essential conversation. All parents, educators, youth and other community members are invited to this free event!

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Bike Pirates Movie Night, 20th May 2011

Well, Bike Pirates has come us with a grand thing...

Bike Pirates Presents: A Bike In Movie Night featuring the film "The Bicycle Thief"

...Meet at Bike Pirates for a leisurly bike ride to Trinity Bellwoods park for the out door film screening. The movie will be on the stage in the Dog Bowl, starting at 9. There will be sleeping bags to sit on, but bring a cushion if you like!

See the Facebook Event page for more info...

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Wheelchair Access @Beit Zatoun

I recently received a Facebook message from Beit Zatoun House which I think deserves some wider distribution:

"...Having wheelchair access has been an important feature missing at Beit Zatoun. We are very pleased to announce that we have purchased a portable ramp which can be used on an as-needed basis. Unfortunately, the washrooms downstairs remain inaccessible..."

Monday, 9 May 2011

West End Food Co-op to open store in Parkdale

Promising news from the West End Food Co-op: they plan to open a store, in partnership with the Parkdale Community Health Centre, by the end of 2011.

See Unique Food Co-op Partners with Community Health Centre for details...

Sunday, 1 May 2011

[MSN] Mainly women garment workers get half of living wage!

From the May 1st, 2011 Maquila Solidarity Network wire:

Asian Floor Wage Alliance calls for Global Day of Action on May Day

According to the Asia Floor Wage (AFW) Alliance, minimum wages in Asian garment producing countries are at best half of the living wage necessary for garment workers in the region to meet basic needs for themselves and their families. 

The problem of poverty wages is particularly acute for women workers. According to the Committee for Asian Women (CAW), a member of the AFW Alliance, "Women workers in the garment industry make up almost 80 percent of the export manufacturing workforce in the developing world...A strategy like Asia Floor Wage will be a solution in attenuating women's unequal bargaining power, gender wage gaps and in improving their well being."

This May 1, International Worker’s Day, the AFW Alliance is releasing new minimum wage demands for 2011 in the national currencies of major garment producing countries in Asia. The AFW Alliance is urging brand-name companies who source from Asia to open a dialogue with labour rights organisations in Asian countries to address poverty wages.

ITGLWF report slams precarious employment, abuse in sportswear supply chains

On April 20, the International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers’ Federation (ITGLWF) released a damning report, which found precarious employment, sexual harassment and abuse, anti-union activities and forced overtime in Asian sportswear supply chains supplying major brands like adidas, Gap, Nike, Speedo and others.

The report surveyed conditions in 83 factories in Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Indonesia which together employ over 100,000 workers. Researchers found scores of workers’ rights abuses, including rampant and sometimes illegal use of short-term contracts which rob workers of job security and often deny them their legal benefits.

Women, who represent approximately three quarters of the workforce studied, were more likely to be employed on short term and temporary contracts, were subjected to sexual harassment and abuse, and often were not paid proper maternity benefits. Four of the 17 factories studied in Sri Lanka were found to have forced prospective female employees to take pregnancy tests before hiring.

Raging Grannies (and others) protest at Barrick Gold AGM - April 27, 2011

Friday, 22 April 2011

Art Auction Fundraiser for Creative Works Studio, April 26th

Creative Works Studio wants you to know about their fifth annual Art Gems event...from the Facebook event page:

"Come support our 5th annual Art Gems event coming up on Tuesday, April 26! We hope you will join us! This live and silent auction helps support The Creative Works Studio, a community based program that I've pioneered and run in my role as an occupational therapist, that offers healing and recovery through the arts for those living with servere and persistent mental illness. Creative Works Studio is an initiative of the Inner Ci...ty Health Program of St. Michael's Hospital and operates in partnership with the Good Shepherd Non-Profit Homes Inc.

We have a fabulous collection of art for auction, including a recent creation by Douglas Coupland, based on the work of Canadian icon Tom Thomson..."

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Canadian Mining Companies Undermining Mexico

See: for the story.
Over 80% of mining companies operating in Mexico today are Canadian!

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Another Story Book Launch of Media Mediocrity, 16 April 2011

Another Story Bookshop is having an interesting book launch/discussion at their store:


April 16, 2011; 4-6PM
Another Story Bookshop; 315 Roncesvalles Ave

Meteorologist, TV/film producer, university lecturer, writer, broadcaster
and general media expert, Richard Zurawski is coming to the store to lead a
discussion about how the media is failing to keep us informed.

Why do so many people still deny the "hypothesis" of global climate change?
All but a few rogue scientists agree that we have a crisis on our hands, but
all we get from TV and news media are debates in the form of sound bites...
Why are we denying the voices of those experts in favor of politicians and

So get up off the couch and let's have a discussion (with an expert) face to

Monday, 28 March 2011

Wimming Blues Night at Toronto Women's Bookstore

Here's another noteworthy event from the Toronto Women's Bookstore:

WIMMING BLUES NIGHT- A fundraising event for Camp Sis

Thursday, March 31 · 7:00pm - 10:00pm
Toronto Women's Bookstore, 73 Harbord Street, 416-922-8744

Camp Sis is now 17 years old. It remains community owned and open to all women. The past few summers CAMP SIS has been used as a get away healing space for six nations and aboriginal women and we would to make this accessible throughout the year.

This is a shout out to all who would be sisters in struggle, to make this happen. There is a need to buy insulation, vapor barrier wood for the walls so the two buildings can be winterized and have caretaker, Doreen Silversmith, stay there. We are in need of women power, labour, and donations in order to build this summer. Please come out to support and celebrate International Women's Month with us!

Featuring: Rachel Melas, Nicole Tanguay, Shandra Spears, and Faith Nolan

Admission: $7.00 (sliding scale)
Enjoy snacks and refreshment and fill your soul with blues at the TWB!

Furthering Metcalf Food Solutions, 31 March 2011 at Evergreen Brick Works

"Furthering the Metcalf Food Solutions Papers"
Thursday, March 31, 2011 9:00AM-3:00PM
Evergreen Brick Works(550 Bayview Ave)

This year, Food for Talk is focusing on the Metcalf Food Solutions Papers.

On March 31st, four of the five Food Solutions papers will be presented. The first paper, "Scaling Up Urban Agriculture in Toronto" was presented back in October 2010.

The purpose of this event is to allow the authors to present their solutions and for the FFT community to come prepared to react to them. We invite you to bring your questions, feedback, and ideas!

Come at 9AM to grab a coffee/ refreshments, and then the morning session will begin promptly at 9:30AM.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

another Bike Pirates Craft Night

Bike Pirates is hosting another Craft Night this Wednesday (23 March 2011) from 7:30 to 10:30 PM...

"t's time for another craft night! This time we'll have organized crafts - patterns, tools and materials for making cycling caps and tool belts.

Fabric and other materials will be available by donation, or bring your own!

Things you may need: non-stretchy fabric (thicker and sturdier for the tool belt), thick interfacing or a margarine container, narrow length of elastic, thread, other notions (patches, buttons, lace, etc.)"

For more information & updates, see the Facebook event page.

Friday, 18 March 2011

The Passage of a Jewish Boat to Gaza: An evening with Glyn Secker, human rights activist and captain of the ‘Irene’

Beit Zatoun and Canada Boat to Gaza are proud to host Glyn Secker for one night only in Toronto, as part of his North American speaking tour. Mr Secker is a long-time human rights activist who captained the catamaran ‘Irene’, a boat crewed by Jews opposed to the Occupation of Palestine that sailed from Cyprus in September 2010 in an attempt to break the siege of Gaza. The illegal blockade, begun in 2001 and intensified in 2007, has created a humanitarian crisis in occupied territory.

Flying the banners of the alternative voices of Canadian, American and European Jews, the crew of the Irene demonstrated to the world their implacable opposition to the Occupation. The courage and humanity of the crew members, including Refusniks, a Holocaust survivor and a founder of the Bereaved Families Circle, gave hope to those concerned with justice, peace and human rights.

Mr. Secker will speak about his experience on the ship, which was intercepted by the Israeli Navy, and also in his personal capacity as a Jew active in the struggle to end the occupation. A question and answer session will follow.

Need to know:
- Doors open at 6:45
- Seating is limited and on a first-come-first-seated basis
- $5 Donation or PWYC
- Sorry, not wheelchair accessible

Tasty refreshments (non-alcoholic) and Zatoun oliveoil+za'atar dipping.

Phone: 647-726-9500

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Tinto Movie Screening: human rights abuses in Equatorial Guinea

Another good event at Tinto Coffee House:
Thursday, March 17, 2011 at 7:30 pm
Written, produced and directed by Mischa G. Hendel, Austria.

An invitation from the movement of concerned citizens with Human Rights abuses in Equatorial Guinea.

Equatorial Guinea is the third largest oil producer in Africa south of the Sahara and the only African country with Spanish as official language. There are neither publishing houses nor libraries within the country. The government doesn’t show any interest for art and culture so the population stays isolated living under difficult conditions.

In this documentary, the “Literary Voices of Equatorial Guinea” quote from their literary creations and resume forty years of independence from Spain. Some do that from Guinea, others from exile.

They reflect the brutal tyranny of the first dictator Francisco Macías Nguema, analyze the role of Spain in the history of Equatorial Guinea and describe today’s situation with president Teodoro Obiang Nguema, who has maintained a pseudo-democracy for thirty years.

The documentary switches between Equatorial Guinea and Spain, between past, present and future, and points out at life in the discrepancy between African origin and European metropolis.

The film has interviews with well known Equatoguinean writers like Juan Balboa, Donato Ndongo, María Nsué and Guillermina Mekuy. In the film there are shots of today’s Equatorial Guinea and the Guinean diaspora in Spain as well as archive footage from the former Spanish colony.

A distant, lurid perspective from outside is prevented and voice-off comment renounced, to give space to the personal experiences and the stories of the authors.

Director Mischa G. Hendel (1976, Vöcklabruck, Austria) worked as draftsman and clerk before studying Africanology at the University of Vienna (2001-2006). Later he worked as a journalist for the Austrian newspaper Rundschau, assistant in the musical documentary The Hard-Ons vs Europe(2007) by Klaus Winkler, as well as editor of the broadcast Sweetspot (Radio Orange Vienna). Director of the documentary film Escribir para ser leído (Writing to be read,2010) and cinematographer of the theater performance Zeichensturm (Signstorm, 2011) with deaf performers, directed by Michikazu Matsune. At present, doctorate candidate and lecturer in the Department of Africanology at the University of Vienna.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Me to We Style & the 2011 Junos...

Well, congratulations (and hope this isn't too old news): Me to We Style is the official clothing supplier of the 2011 Juno Awards:

"Me to We Style has teamed up with CARAS/The JUNO Awards to promote and develop the market for environmentally responsible goods and services. Our social enterprise is centered around the Me to We philosophy, which is about improving our lives and our world by reaching out to others. Even small things—like buying a T-shirt—can have a major impact..."

PS: Until March 9th at 5 PM, all you Facebook Page fans of Me to We have a chance to win one of the "Juno through Time" tees, simply by commenting on which one is your favourite.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Canadian Worker Co-op Federation urges government support for conversions to worker co-ops

From the latest OISE/UofT Centre for Study of Education and Work email newsletter:


The Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation (CWCF) has called on the federal
government to provide funding to support conversions to worker co-ops.

Appearing before the Standing Committee on Finance on February 15, CWCF
president Alain Bridault and executive director Hazel Corcoran said worker
co-ops could meet the challenge posed by the imminent retirements of large
numbers of "baby boomers".

"We know that with the retirement of very large numbers of workers from the
baby-boomer generation, we shall face a serious problem of manpower
shortages," Mr. Brideault said, adding that the democratic and participatory
nature of worker co-ops would be attractive to potential employees.

See CWCF Presentation to the Standing Committee on Finance on February 15, 2011 for more information.

Toronto Anarchist Book Fair, April 16th-17th

I have to say, that's one beautiful poster for the 2011 Toronto Anarchist Book Fair. Here's the actual information:

"It’s time to pause for a minute, think about the city and the world we want to live in, celebrate all we’ve done and make plans for what comes next. It’s time to take inspiration from each other and make connections. It’s time to build bridges in and across our fractured city and our disparate movements. And it’s time to read a few good books.

On April 15th-17th, the Toronto Anarchist Bookfair will be putting forward new theories and kick-starting them into practice with a weekend of workshops, actions, speakers, conversations, new friends, festivities, books and zines. We’re calling out to all anarchist publishers, artists, infoshops, zinesters, activist groups, community organizations and like-minded folks. Tell us what workshops you want to facilitate! Tell us you want to table! Tell us you want to perform! Tell us what other sorts of things you’d like to see happen this year! Dream big!

The Toronto Anarchist bookfair will be held at Steelworkers’ Hall, a barrier-free venue with accessible washrooms. Attendant care, childcare, and food will be available. More details on accessibility will be forthcoming as we put things together, but please get in touch if you have specific questions, thoughts, or requests."

It's not clear whether any TorontoTheBetter members are participating. But I definitely recommend this on behalf of us here regardless...

Check out the event's Facebook page for updates.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Bikes On Wheels opens second location on Queen West

To celebrate the opening of their second shop, Bikes On Wheels is offering 10% off and a free T-shirt with every bike sold from March 3rd to 20th...

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Canada/Honduras Free Trade Agreement-March 11, 7 PM @ Beit Zatoun House

Beit Zatoun House is hosting Human Rights Violations and the pursuit of Profit...

Friday March 11, 7:00pm
Beit Zatoun House - 612 Markham Street (at Bathurst Subway Station), Toronto, ON
INFO: 647-984-6525

Public forum on the role of the Canadian Government in undermining human and civil rights through its free trade agenda.

Featuring special guest speakers:

An award winning Honduran human rights defender whose life was forever changed with the kidnapping and forced disappearance of her husband Tomas Nativí in June 1981. Ms. Oliva was a founding member, and is currently General Coordinator, of the Honduran Committee of the Families of the Detained and Disappeared, COFADEH based in Tegucigalpa. She is the recipient of several international awards including the IPS Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award, and the Human Rights Tulip in the Netherlands.

Coordinator of the Honduran Centre for the Promotion of Community Development (CEHPRODEC) and a member of the Honduran Agrarian Platform. An historian, philosopher and social analyst, Mr. Landa served as Deputy Director of Caritas Tegucigalpa between 1991 and June 2010, where he developed programs aimed at combating poverty and corruption, and promoting and defending the rights of vulnerable sectors of the population. His work also includes documenting the environmental impacts of the San Martin Mine a project operated by Canadian mining giant Goldcorp in Honduras’ Siria Valley.

Opening Remarks by Todd Gordon: Professor of Political Science - York University, author of "Imperialist Canada"

ORGANIZED BY: Latin American and Caribbean Solidarity Network-Honduras Working Group

SPONSORS: Americas Policy Group, Common Frontiers, CUPE Ontario-International Solidarity Committee, Development and Peace-Toronto Archdiocesan Council, Latin American Trade Unionist Coalition-LATUC, Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation-OSSTF, Ontario Public Service Employees Union-OPSEU, Toronto and York Region Labour Council, Workers Assembly-International Solidarirty Committee.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

International Women's Day 2011 at Beit Zatoun & Toronto Women's Bookstore

Two TorontoTheBetter members are celebrating International Women's Day 2011 with music...

Beit Zatoun House is having a:

Wednesday, March 9; 7-9 PM
Beit Zatoun - 612 Markham Street, Toronto

Celebrate International Women's Day with Canadian Voice of Women for Peace.
A fun evening of delicious treats and music.

Hear the beautiful sounds of jazz duo Brenda Lewis and Margaret Stowe, an
acclaimed Canadian folk singer-songwriter Marianne Girard, soulful sounds of
Nadia Edward, Oriental/Egyptian dance with Kara Culp, and African dance with
Agha Norba.

Suggested donation $10-$20 or pay what you can.

And the Toronto Women's Bookstore is having an:

Thursday, March 3: 7-10 PM
Toronto Women's Bookstore - 73 Harbord Street, Toronto

Mark your calendars! Join us as we kick off this year’s International Women’s Day 100 Year Anniversary celebrations with our LIVE MUSIC NIGHT HOSTED BY RENOWNED COMEDIAN MARTHA CHAVES!

Admission: $5.00 in support of the participating artists
* Fee can also be credited toward any book purchase at the store that evening.

Our Cafe music night concept is about community, music and performance, where the TWB provides the opportunity for emerging and established artists to share the stage. Material submission to

Monday, 21 February 2011

Environ Mental #19: Photographic journal of Toronto trees...

John Warren of ALTER ECO: Environmental Folk Art has some comments & news in his latest email newsletter:

"Environ Mental #19

Hi all,

Man! The last time I talked to you was when the Middle East was just a gleam in the peoples' eye - What a feeling as we watch others practice it.

To the art and other things creative.

This is the quiet season for the metal work but I have taken to working on a book titled, "From the Perspective of a Tree." It is a photographic journal of the real tree characters in Toronto and impressions that might be described by some words. It is underway and it is a pleasure to do. I could have most of it finished by this fall.

From time to time I will attach samples..."

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Now Anything Is Possible! Tunisia, Egypt & the Arab World?

What began as a single act of desperation in Tunisia has led to a series of significant uprisings of millions of people in Egypt and beyond.

In a region that has long suffered the impacts of colonial exploitation, oppressive puppet tyrants, and chronic misrepresentation, we are now witnessing a historic moment in which people are rising up to reclaim their lives, present and future.

The world is watching, but what are we seeing? Join us for a timely and much needed discussion and analysis as these historical events unfold.


Sonia Djelidi is a human rights activist who Studied Economics and Politics at University of Montreal. She lived for 3 years in West Africa, working with civil society. She is Member of GRILA (Group for Research and Initiative for the Libration of Africa). Currently she is the coordinator of the Collectif de Solidarité au Canada avec les luttes sociales en Tunisie and works as a communication coordinator for an international organization.

Mostafa Henaway is an Egyptian Canadian who has been active in Palestine solidarity with Tadamon Montreal! which works in solidarity with social movements in the Arab world: Egypt, Lebanon, Tunisa, and Iraq. He is also active in the international Boycott Divestment and Sanctions Campaign to end Israeli Apartheid, participating in organizing of the 2010 BDS Conference in Montreal. He is a community organizer at the Immigrant Worker Center in Montreal, and is also an independent writer and radio producer.

Mohammed Mohsen is a Toronto based visual artist, with experience and involvement in several art organizations. Mohammed continues to contribute to the cultural and political life in Toronto, with history that includes involvement in the Arab Students' Collective, Jawqet Al-Sheikh Imam (the Sheikh Imam Ensemble), Toronto Arab Film Festival, OCAD Student Union, and several art organizations.

Moderated by Ghadeer Malek. Ghadeer is a Palestinian activist and feminist. She writes and performs spoken word and poetry and is part of an arts collective called AqsaZine. She is active on women's rights issues and is a strong advocate of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign to end Israeli Apartheid, Occupation and Colonization of Palestine.

Organized by HUNA, (“here” in Arabic ) - is a diverse, tight-knit group of Arabs Engaged in Politics, Society, and Culture.

Sponsored by Beit Zatoun, OPIRG UofT and OPIRG York.

Need to know:
- Doors open at 6:45 pm
- PWYC / Donation
- Sorry, not wheelchair accessible

Tasty refreshments (non-alcoholic) and Zatoun oliveoil+za'atar dipping.

Beit Zatoun is a non-profit art & culture centre at 612 Markham Street (by Bathurst subway). For more info:

Monday, 14 February 2011

Anarres Moving Sale, February 2011...

Anarres Natural Health is announcing a Moving Sale/Barter Offer/Help Request:

"I've just traded in my small fixed up house at College and Ossington
for a bigger fixer upper house at Bloor and Dovercourt across from Dovercourt House.

The trick is, I have to move nearly everything out this week!

How can you help Anarres move to a bigger, better space for workshops, treatments and DIY goodness?
~ Buy Anarres made products until Friday at 50% off (half price!)
~ Buy DIY ingredients at 20% off when you buy <$50 worth, 30% off when you buy >$51 worth
~ Discover the secrets of the Anarres Clinic by helping pack it up on Friday


Sunday, 13 February 2011

[MSN] Rallies planned worldwide in support of labour rights in Mexico

The Maquila Solidarity Network reports:

"In recent years the few genuinely independent trade unions seeking to improve the lives of Mexican workers have found themselves increasingly under fire. This February, trade unions in Canada and around the world are joining in actions to support the independent trade union movement in Mexico and the right of Mexican workers to be represented by the union of their free choice.

MSN is supporting the days of action, working with Canadian and international trade unions to draw attention to continuing violations of the right to freedom of association in Mexico. In Canada rallies are planned at the Mexican embassy in Ottawa as well as consulates in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver."

See Rallies planned throughout world in support of trade union rights in Mexico (14-19 February 2011) for more information and details regarding rallies.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Don't miss these speakers! Canadian Responsible Investment Conference, Victoria, BC

The following will be part of the Social Investment Organization's Canadian Responsible Investment Conference 2011:

- Robert Bateman: Celebrated artist and distinguished Canadian.

Robert kicks off our conference with an inspiring discussion about
the human impacts on nature and what this means for our future.

- Tom Rand Venture capitalist, entrepreneur and author of Kicking the Fossil Fuel Habit.

Tom will talk about Canada's energy future.

- Hazel Henderson: Author, futurist, worldwide syndicated columnist, advocate for and consultant on equitable ecologically sustainable human development and socially responsible business and investment.

Hazel will join the conference by videolink from her home in Florida to talk about her groundbreaking new project, the Green Transition Scoreboard, an ambitious project to map the investment capital necessary to meet the world's sustainability challenges.

- Stephen Griggs: CEO of the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance.

Stephen will be part of a distinguished panel making the case for better executive compensation practices.