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Jane's Walk aims to spark important conversations about the future of Toronto and the wellbeing of its residents. We're honoured to be joined by Torontonians who are creating real change in our city. Register for our Festival weekend panel discussions here!


MAY 7, 11AM-1PM

Presented in partnership with the Toronto Community Benefits Network, North York Community House, and the Provocation Ideas Festival

Toronto's Lawrence Heights community is undergoing a dramatic transformation, as this once affordable community is filling with glass towers and townhomes. We'll introduce you to longtime community members impacted by the development from transit improvements and urban intensification. Then, you'll learn how community benefits agreements are offsetting some of these projects' challenging impacts.


There is an accompanying Jane's Walk happening the same day at 3:00pm in Lawrence Heights. Please join us for both or either parts of this important conversation.

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Moderator: Kumsa Baker is the Director of Campaigns at the Toronto Community Benefits Network, a 120 member community-labour coalition whose goal is to negotiate Community Benefits Agreements as part of new urban infrastructure and development projects in Toronto. Kumsa also volunteers at various community, youth and sports initiatives and serves on the board of Neighbourhood Legal Services in Downtown Toronto

Panelist: Ahmed Abdi is a 4th-Term Carpenter, NexGen Building and Community Benefits Ambassador who has worked on both the Eglinton W LRT and West Park Healthcare Centre. Ahmed has been instrumental in recruiting new community members into the skill trades, and is a longtime resident of the Mount Dennis community


Panelist: John Munio is a 2nd Term Carpenter with Carpenters Local 27,  working on the Finch West LRT. He has also worked on the Jane/Finch Maintenance and Storage Facility for the LRT and is currently working at the Humber College Terminal Station. He hopes to reach Journyperson level by December 2024. One day at a time! One build at a time! One community transformed at a time!

Panelist: Jamaal Myers was born and raised in Scarborough and proudly calls Scarborough home. As an avid community organizer and skilled lawyer, he's worked with residents and local organizations to create good jobs, affordable homes and better transit for Scarborough. His drive to deliver results for his community has led him to run for Toronto City Council, Ward 23 - Scarborough North, in the upcoming municipal election.

Panelist: Khairiya Ahmed has been a resident of Lawrence Heights for over 10 years. She is one of the members of Lawrence Revitalization Coalition. She is passionate about her community.


MAY 7, 1-2 PM 

Toronto's renowned food culture is rooted in the people that help feed the city. From independent food markets and grocers, to food justice advocates and food writers, everyone has a role to play in our kitchens and a seat to fill at our tables. Meet some of the people that shape our meals from the ground level!

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Moderator: Alexandros Varoutas is a former chef turned journalist with a few other things in between. He graduated from Centennial College and began working with The Green Line covering local stories in Toronto's underserved communities like Scarborough, where he grew up. He believes that through food and humour there's a common ground to be found with anyone if you look for it. 

Panelist: Lori Beazer is the Founder and Market Manager of Canada's FIRST culturally specific farmers' market. She has several disciplines and areas of interest including natural aesthetics, skincare, food security, community advocacy and engagement. With passion, Lori endeavours to empower the African Diaspora with knowledge and resources in order to build a level playing field that supports overall health.

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Panelist: Hansel Igbavboa is a multi-disciplinary artist, a filmmaker, community organizer and researcher. He works at FoodShare as the Right to Food Campaign coordinator, a community researcher and steering committee member of the Black Youth Farming collective. He believes in the liberation power of food and the use of storytelling as a means to sustain food liberation and sovereignty movements

Panelist: Karon Liu is a food writer, recipe developer and recipe tester based in Toronto. His work has appeared in The Globe And Mail, Maclean’s, Food Network Canada and Sharp Magazine. He previously worked at The Grid and Vice Munchies. He is currently the staff food writer at The Toronto Star as well as keeper, cleaner and guardian of the test kitchen.

Panelist: Shazim Amir, Amerex Caribbean Grocers. Bio coming soon!


2-3:30 PM 

We'll apply a critical lens to whether missing middle housing might help alleviate Toronto’s current housing crisis, from the perspectives of planners and non-planners, city officials and activists, renters and owners. It will look at what solutions are needed—including and beyond missing middle—to accommodate the needs of our growing city.

There are accompanying Jane's Walk happening the same day in both York and downtown. Please join us for any parts of this important conversation.

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Panelist: Sylvia Roberts is a devoted resident of Brampton. She has advocated on a range of issues in Brampton, with her having a special focus on Housing and Transportation Policy, especially how they relate to marginalized communities such as International Students.

Panelist: Naama Blonder's professional practice combines the disciplines of architecture, urban planning, and urban design to bring a deeper, more realistic understanding of how cities can address housing affordability and champion inclusive neighbourhoods with more equitable access to housing. Her work has received numerous awards including the Ontario Association of Architects’ Best Emerging Practice Award for 2022.

Panelist: Deputy Mayor Ana Bailão serves as City Councillor for Ward 9 (Davenport).  She has been a member of Toronto City Council since 2010 and was re-elected in 2018. 

She is the Chair of the Planning and Housing Committee and a member of the City's Executive Committee. She chairs the Corporations Nominating Panel and is also a member of the board of the Toronto Community Housing Corporation and “CreateTO.”  Deputy Mayor Bailão also represents the City of Toronto at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities where she chairs the Social Economic Development Committee.

Moderator: Shannon Holness is a Founding Advisor of Progress Toronto. Shannon hails from Jane and Finch, and is committed to social justice and passionate about empowering future generations. Shannon recently completed her masters in Urban Planning from the faculty of Environmental Studies at York University, where she linked her lived experiences as a social housing resident with theory and wrote a compelling thesis centred on an analysis of community revitalizations all over the world.

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Panelist: Gregg Lintern is Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning, Toronto 

Gregg is committed to making Toronto more liveable, inclusive and adapted for all people. His priorities include meaningfully responding to the housing affordability challenge, growing the transit network across the entire City, proactively planning complete and well-designed communities to support population and employment growth, integrating climate adaption and modernizing planning services. 

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