Jessica Bell MPP, University–Rosedale

Government of Ontario

Community Celebration

Published on October 3, 2019

On December 5th, 2019 University-Rosedale came together for our annual recognition of community members who are making a difference.

The following individuals and groups were honoured.

Thank you to Frank McKinney, Snapd photographer, for these photos. 

West End Parents for Public Education

This grassroots volunteer parent group brought together parents across the riding, and the whole province to stop the education cuts. They organized the participation of hundreds of schools in walk-ins and walk-outs over the past year. We have been so impressed with their dedication to building collective power in the fight for a fully-funded and equitable public education system for all kids. 

Dominique Russell from Friends of Kensington Market

Dominique is a community organizer in Kensington Market, and a founding member of both Friends of Kensington Market and the Kensington Market Community Land Trust. We recognized Dominique for her exemplary vision, passion, and tireless work to preserve the diverse and unique Kensington Market as a home for all.

Avelina Driquito, Whitney Public School

Avelina is a crossing guard for Whitney Public School and Our Lady of Perpetual Help. She goes out of her way to care for, monitor and supervise the community's children. To quote her school community in their nomination: "If there is a modern day angel, we think it's Avelina."

Dr. Nav Persaud and the CLEAN Meds Community Guidance Panel

Nav is a physician and scientist who has dedicated his work to ensuring everyone has access to the medecine they need. We are also thrilled to recognize members of the CLEAN Meds Community Guidance Panel, a group that has worked with Nav and his team to design and provided guidance on a study and pilot program to give free medications to people who need them.

Betty Robinson

It has been an honour to work with Betty and her daughter, Diane. Betty is a resident of the Davenhill Retirement Home. The land under Davenhill was sold to an anonymous numbered company, and Davenhill proceeded to use every trick they could to evict 150 residents without paying compensation. Betty said no. She is the last remaining resident in the building, and she plans to stay. Betty, alongside fellow Davenhill residents and their families, continue to work with us to ensure seniors have better protections against wrongful evictions. Betty we are ready to fight with you.

Workers Action Centre

Workers Action Centre is one of Canada's leading workers' rights organization, fighting to improve the lives of marginalized workers, undocumented workers, and people in low wage and unstable jobs. They are the reason why we have a $14 minimum wage. They are the leaders in the fight for $15 an hour and decent work.

Josephine Lobo

Josephine is a retired teacher who has selflessly run St. Joseph's College School's breakfast program on her own, providing a healthy breakfast everyday for 800+ students at no cost to them. Josephine is incredibly dedicated to student wellbeing, going above and beyond in support of the school community.

Members of the seniors volunteer group at Mon Sheong Home for the Aged: Sanh Tran, Sieu Muoi Thai, Lin Peng, Kwan Yee Chiu, Irene See Ying Chau  

This is a very committed senior volunteer group at the Mon Sheong Home for the Aged. They provide assistance in programs, provide friendly visits to lonely seniors, and escort seniors to out-door activities in the summer time. Loneliness is a huge problem among seniors who can't easily travel – this group is making a difference to people's lives and we thank you for that.

Ann Russell

Ann is developing a network of green neighbourhood groups, and does invaluable climate organizing with advocacy group ClimateFast. She has also taken the lead role in Green11 and in developing Going Green Annex. She is a champion for environmental visioning and action in our communities. We are in a climate crisis and we need action at every level, and every neighbourhood to survive. Thank you Anne for being a part of this fight for a stable climate and for our kids’ future.

The Staff of Beverley School

This group of individuals goes above and beyond what is required in their job descriptions every single day. They work at a very special school in the riding and truly cherish and see the potential in every single student within the vulnerable population they serve. The work they do is evidence-based and outstanding. Thank you for the time and love you give to your students.

Madina Tabesh

Madina is a young newcomer who has worked tirelessly and with great dedication with Planned Parenthood to help newcomer youth throughout our city. She understands the struggle that these youth might be going through on a personal and intimate level, which has motivated her to connect and commit to facilitating over 20 workshops and actively co-create a sexual health and healthy relationships journal and resource for newcomer youth.

Elene Lam

Elene Lam is the founder and Executive Director of Butterfly, a group that has worked tirelessly and with enormous dedication to support, empower and advocate with Asian migrant sex workers. These are people who have to struggle with so much oppression, and together they continue to exist and resist.

Sue Dexter

Sue has been involved in the Harbord Village Residents' Association from its founding. In the words of her nominator "She is the biggest thinker and doer in our community". She has championed the preservation and greening of Harbord Village and worked tirelessly to better the community.

The Member Advocacy Committee at St Stephen's Community House

The Member Advocacy Committee is a group of people with lived experience of poverty, homelessness, disability, racism and mental health issues who advocate for social change. They have fought for better city services and policing services. They have fought to stop the Government's efforts to restrict who can access ODSP. And now they are fighting for a Harm Reduction Bill of Rights that aims to stop the harm, the deaths and the stigma of drug use. Your advocacy is appreciated and inspiring.

Workers at the St Stephen's Community House Overdose Prevention Site

The frontline workers at St Stephen’s Community House  have worked tirelessly to keep their Overdose Prevention Site open, despite the provincial government cutting off funding this year. They have saved countless lives and helped people at risk get the support they need. Thousands of people are dying from opioid overdoses each year.

Zoe Keary-Matzner, Roy Bateman, and Allie Rougeot (not pictured)

I am thrilled to honor three youth who are leading the fight to take action on climate change. Allie, Zoe and Roy have been leaders in the youth movement to tackle climate change, all taking a leadership role in the Fridays for Future climate strikes. Zoe has recently joined a group of youth who are suing the Ford Government for climate inaction. Thank you for your work fighting for a safe future for all of us.


We also honoured two members of our community who recently passed away.

Ok Re Lee

Ok Re Lee was a beloved family member and a key part of her community in Koreatown who passed away this fall. She ran the Korean Village Restaurant for 40 years, and promoted and supported countless cultural and community events throughout her whole life. Many individuals and organizations are deeply grateful for her support, and she was especially known for assisting seniors and students. Thank you to her son Jason Lee for receiving this certificate in her memory.

Dave Vasey

Dave Vasey was an environmental justice, Indigenous solidarity, and anti-fascist organizer. He helped found dozens of organizations and projects. Dave was also a builder, landscaper and gardener who grew many beautiful gardens, including the garden at Saint Stephen-in-the-Fields Church in Kensington Market. Sadly, Dave was no stranger to state repression and struggled with mental health. This past January, at the age of 40, Dave ended his life. It is important we remember and honour those who have been lost to suicide while also supporting and helping those who live. Dave is deeply missed by the many who were touched by his tireless work, his generosity, his passion, and his mentorship. We honor his lifetime of fighting for our community and a better world.