Parkdale Community Forum: Report launch!

Parkdale People's EconomyGeneral

On February 27, the Parkdale Community Economic Development (PCED) Planning project hosted the Parkdale Community Forum at the Parkdale Public Library. The PCED project has completed the first stage of the project – one-year participatory planning and community visioning. The first stage has generated a range of promising directions and ideas. At this forum, over 100 community members came together to learn about outcomes from the project and promising directions for the future of Parkdale.

Throughout the planning process, community members identified the four overarching values for Parkdale – affordability, diversity, inclusion, and equity. But then, Parkdale is changing. Due to the current pattern of neighbourhood change, what is at stake is these  Parkdale’s values. How can we protect affordability, diversity and inclusion while also promoting equitable development for shared wealth generation and decent work? This is one of the central questions for the PCED planning project.

To that end, we have identified a range of “directions” based on the inputs from the participatory planning process and research. There are seven key areas for community action and policy option:

  1. Social Infrastructure
  2. Affordable housing and land use
  3. Decent work and inclusive economic opportunities
  4. Health and food security
  5. Community financing
  6. Participatory local democracy
  7. Cultural development

The Parkdale Community Forum was held to report back promising directions as well as to kick off action planning process for implementation. The summary report can be downloaded from here!

Visions to Actions Planning workshop underway

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PCED Planning project is hosting a series of participatory planning workshops for creating a Parkdale Neighbourhood Plan. The first workshop was held on November 23rd Monday night at the Bonar Parkdale.

We are discussing concrete strategies and action items for the following six areas: Housing and Land Use; Decent Work and Economic Opportunities; Health and Food Security; Participatory Democracy; and Cultural Development.

There are two other dates/times for this week.

  • November 23 Monday 6:00-8:30 at Bonar Parkdale (250 Dunn Ave)
  • November 26 Thursday 2:00-4:30 at Bonar Parkdale (250 Dunn Ave)
  • November 28 Saturday 1:30-4:00 at Parkdale Public Library Auditorium

You can sign up from here for the workshops.

Please join the participatory planning process to create a vision for Parkdale’s future together!

From Visions to Actions for building community wealth in Parkdale

Parkdale People's EconomyGeneral

Please join the next participatory planning workshop by the PCED project to develop a Parkdale Neighbourhood Plan!

We are finishing an extensive process of community needs and assets mapping workshops and consultation meetings for Parkdale Community Economic Development Planning project (PCED). Building on the framework from the Parkdale indicator development and results from needs and assets workshops, PCED planning project is moving into the next stage of planning study and consultation in the phase 1. The next engagement workshop focuses on how we can move  “from visions to actions” to build community wealth in Parkdale.

The community visioning process through indicator development and needs/assets mapping workshops enabled us to collaboratively find key values, issues and priorities in Parkdale. They range from affordable housing and decent work to accessibility and local democracy. These constitute essential areas of Parkdale’s wellbeing. At the same time, community engagement consultations along with ongoing research activities have surfaced a number of interesting ideas and possible action directions in different areas. For example, at the PCED steering committee meeting, we had an initial discussion of several “big ideas” that we would like to pursue.

At the next stage of community consultations, we would like to build on the previous works, and discuss concrete goals and concrete action ideas for Parkdale, which  would be very important to identify how we can move from collective visions that we have created so far to community actions that we can take together.

Please come out to discuss and share your ideas! Also learn more about what is going on in Parkdale. There are three dates/times for this round of workshop.

  • November 23 Monday 6:00-8:30 at Bonar Parkdale (250 Dunn Ave)
  • November 26 Thursday 2:00-4:30 at Bonar Parkdale (250 Dunn Ave)
  • November 28 Saturday 1:30-4:00 at Parkdale Public Library Auditorium

Please RSVP for the date/time that you would like to attend via online.

Join the PNLT’s first AGM on October 28

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It has been five years since the initial idea of building a community land trust for Parkdale in 2010 (see Beyond Bread and Butter report). Incorporated in 2014, Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust is hosting the very first Annual General Meeting as follows!

Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust 1st AGM
Date: October 28 Wednesday
Time: 6:30-9:30pm
Location: Bonar Parkdale (250 Dunn Ave)
Registration: RSVP online

Please join this historic moment! PNLT is one of the first CLTs in Toronto. At this AGM, we not only share our latest updates and draft bylaws, but also members will elect community representative board of directors. This is of critical importance to PNLT because a community land trust is a community-controlled organization through its unique governance model.

The AGM is one such opportunity for participatory decision-making about how PNLT should run in the community interests. In order to vote at this AGM, you must first become a member of PNLT by registering before October 21st 2015. Membership is open to anyone who lives or works in Parkdale. Sign up online here. Even if you are not a member, you can still join the AGM.

Parkdale Community Needs & Assets Mapping (PCED Planning)

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After the series of the Parkdale wellbeing indicator development workshops, the PCED planning project is moving on to the next stage of community engagement and consultation – community needs & assets mapping.

The PCED planning project is an 18-month community-based planning project to develop a Parkdale neighbourhood plan. The indicator workshop was the beginning of neighbourhood visioning for Parkdale, one that offered the opportunities for diverse community members, groups, and stakeholders to share their thoughts, ideas, and visions for what we value most in Parkdale for community wellbeing. We held 7 workshops with over 80 participants in total. We are still fine-tuning the data and inputs from the workshops, but the following 6 categories that constitute Parkdale’s community wellbeing have emerged.

  1. Housing and Land Use
  2. Economic opportunities for decent work
  3. Health and Food
  4. Accessibility and inclusion
  5. Learning
  6. Local democratic decision-making
  7. Physical and natural environment

We are in the process of fine-tuning details of Parkdale indicators in relation to existing other indicators (like Wellbeing Toronto). We will report back details, analysis, and concrete indicators that go along with the above categories soon!

And it is these categories  that provides a lens for our community needs & assets mapping, one through which to look at key issues in Parkdale, strengths, sources for wealth and wellbeing, and unique resources that Parkdale possess. Not only that, we are also interested in discussing possible community actions and policy options that can help build inclusive and just Parkdale’s local economy.

We are engaging a range of groups and members in Parkdale. Please join our conversations!


  • July 24th Friday 1:30-4:30pm at PARC 1499 Queen Street West for PARC members
  • July 30th Thursday 3:30-6pm in Parkdale for Youth (with Parkdale Intercultural Association/Parkdale Community Information Centre)
  • August 17th Monday 2:30-5pm at Greenest City 201 Cowan Ave for community agency staff
  • September 2nd Wednesday 1-3:30pm at Parkdale Intercultural Association at 1365 Queen St West  (registration) for tenant and immigrant members in Parkdale
  • September 8th Tuesday 6-8:30pm at PARC 1499 Queen Street West (registration) for coop and PNLT members 
  • September 10th Thursday 6-8:30 pm at Greenest City 201 Cowen Ave – (registration) open for anyone living and working in Parkdale

*Spaces are limited; please RSVP online!


PNLT has its own website!

Parkdale People's EconomyGeneral

Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust has launched its own website! The new website – while some sections are being developed – has new information about PNLT, such as our purpose, vision, values statement.

Please visit

Going beyond GDP: Creating indicators that measure what matters to Parkdale

Parkdale People's EconomyGeneral

The PCED project is a community-based planning initiative to develop a long-term neighbourhood plan for Parkdale. The project foregrounds participatory planning process and resident engagement for visioning and shaping the future of Parkdale that we want to create together. In addition, the project also attempts to rethink “the economy” and take a different and unique approach to local economic development that is based on the principles of shared ownership, democratic management, and ethics of care.

Currently we are organizing a series of workshops to discuss challenges, assets, and strategies for building a healthy neighbourhood, decent work, and community shared wealth in Parkdale. The first workshop is on developing neighbourhood wellbeing indicators.

When it comes to indicators and measurement, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is often used as a standard indicator of economic activities. But it has been pointed out that GDP is limited due to its failure to take into consideration complex social, cultural, and ecological factors that equally matter to our wellbeing and economy. In response, many practitioners, researchers and community groups have sought to go beyond GDP and develop alternative indicators to measure what really matters to us. Some of those examples are the Genuine Progress Indicator and the Canadian Index of Wellbeing.

This is one of the important points of departure for our PCED project, too. We also share the view that traditional economic indicators like GDP are inadequate to understand the extent and complexity of our local economic activities. Then, how can we know how well we are living? How do we define ‘progress’? What is important to our decent working lives? These are some of the questions that we are exploring in the workshop to develop Parkdale neighbourhood indicators.

We are organizing a series of sessions for Indicator Development Workshop to engage diverse community members and groups in Parkdale.


  • June 11th Thursday 6-9pm at PARC 1499 Queen Street West (registration) for co-op members and land trust members
  • June 15th Monday 6-9pm at Parkdale Community Legal Services1266 Queen Street West (registration) for Tenants/Renters
  • June 23rd Tuesday 6-9pm at Parkdale Intercultural Association 1365 Queen Street West (registration) for immigrant/newcomer groups
  • June 24th Wednesday 2-5pm at Greenest City at St Mark’s Church 201 Cowen Ave (registration) for community agency staff
  • June 27th Saturday 1-4pm at PARC 1499 Queen Street West (registration) Open for anyone in Parkdale


Please sign up!

Parkdale ED Roundtable: Starting community dialogue on decent work and healthy neighbourhood

Parkdale People's EconomyGeneral

In partnership with Parkdale Community Information Centre (PCIC), the PCED project co-organized a Parkdale Roundtable for Executive Directors.

Parkdale Roundtable is a community gathering organized by PCIC on a quarterly basis. Parkdale Roundtable has been a vital venue for front-line staff from various agencies and groups in Parkdale to share information, build networks, and exchange ideas. And yet, there was no dedicated opportunity for organizational decision-makers – EDs and senior managers – to discuss emerging issues and opportunities that may be unique to organizational-level planning and neighbourhood-wide partnership. In response to the gap, PCIC and the PCED project convened the first Parkdale ED Roundtable, in which 17 participants from 14 organizations took part.

We began the roundtable with “asset mapping” by asking each participant, “What can your organization offer to build a healthy neighbourhood and decent work in Parkdale?”. It came with little surprise to some participants, but results demonstrate a wide range of programs and services – health, supportive housing, food, adult education, settlement services, and social enterprises – in Parkdale. This diversity of non-profit community organizations – neighbourhood resourcefulness – is one of the strengths in Parkdale.

At the same time, however, participants identified interesting challenges that prevent from maximizing full potential of these assets. For example, some organizations create employment opportunities through social enterprises and Investing In Neighbourhood program, but it is often difficult to find appropriate candidates for those positions from the neighbourhood – a challenge for local hiring. Many participants also acknowledged the importance of service coordination across the organizations to complement and reinforce each other, but how to actually do it remains as a big question. Furthermore, Parkdale is constantly changing as in gentrification and newcomer settlement. Are we ready to respond to such changes and emerging needs? How can we identify treads in the neighbourhood given the loss of long-form census? Questions of our readiness and responsiveness  was raised.

How can we build proactive responses to these challenges? We discussed various ideas from collaborative policy advocacy from the neighbourhood-based lens to the SWOT analysis of the Parkdale neighbourhood. We also discussed two emerging opportunities for active collaboration and collective planning. One is the Toronto Strong Neighbourhood Strategy 2020 – South Parkdale is one of the Neighbourhood Improvement Areas. Currently, the city is undertaking some preliminary works and consultations with agencies in Parkdale.

The other opportunity – also a prompt for convening this ED Roundtable – is the Parkdale Community Economic Planning & Development project. The PCED project brings a unique opportunity for many organizations in Parkdale for conducting strategic thinking and planning. For individual organizations, the PCED can serve as “external” strategic planning while each organization can also do its own “internal” strategic planning. In fact, some of the organizations are about to and/or in the process of organizational planning (some organization is doing it as ‘sustainability’ planning rather than strategic).

A potential of the PCED project is its unique and comprehensive approach to ‘economic development’, and there are many key words that the project is touching upon: community shared wealth building, decent work, inclusive local economic development, social inclusion, and many others. Defining and owning these terms is identified as an important group activity to establish our shared vision and platform. Building a strong collaborative foundation can help us identify how the PCED work can be linked to opportunities brought by other policy development opportunities such as city/provincial poverty reduction strategy development.

“Democractic Facilitation by Design” in Parkdale

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One of the core approaches that inform Parkdale Community Economic Planning & Development Project is popular education. This approach is vital as we aim to hold a series of participatory planning activities and workshops through the project.

Thus as a part of the PCED project, we held a training session on “Democratic Facilitation by Design” provided by the Catalyst Centre. This workshop is usually a two-day long but we had an intensive half-day session!

he workshop is based on principles of popular education – “that education is about power, that everyone has knowledge, that knowledge is made and shared in a wonder variety of ways” (excerpt from Catalyst’s ‘zine’). The training workshop put this approach into action; the workshop was designed to encourage participants with diverse backgrounds – community members, PARC ambassadors, PNLT volunteers, and project staff – to share their own experience with facilitation, which opened up further reflection and learning among each other.

One of the key components of the workshop was to pay close attention to the relationship between facilitation and design. When we talk about facilitation, we do not often talk about preparation, meeting design, and prior planning. In the words of Catalyst Centre, “while it is tempting to think that workshop or program issues can be solved through better conflict management skills, it is more likely that effective design will bolster your already strong facilitation skills with confidence and contingency plans.

The close relationship between facilitation and design became very clear as we shared our past facilitation experiences that went well and that did not go well. There are a number of challenges and issues that most of participants faced in facilitating meetings, programs and focus groups, ones that could have been mitigated by good planning and design.

How can we improve ways of designing and planning a meeting? How can we prepare well for a meeting that is complex and dynamic? A helpful tool that Catalyst Centre introdudced to participants is “design loom“. Participants learned how to use loom to plan, brainstorm and design activities for the meeting, while also using it as a guiding document for actual facilitation.

We are very excited to put the lessons from the workshop into action throughout the PCED project as well as community engagement work for Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust!