Thorncliffers weigh program options

Thorncliffe Park is waiting to see what will rise to the top when it comes to programs for the neighbourhood.

At a community meeting earlier this spring, residents discussed programs for potential introduction into the community and voted for their favourites.

The top three will hopefully go forward with the help of the city and the United Way — which have identified Thorncliffe Park as one of Toronto’s “priority neighbourhoods.”

Under the auspices of the Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office, residents were briefed on several different ideas for neighbourhood renewal, including a child-care centre, a community garden and a women’s gym.

Another was the STEPS initiative, which focuses on visual arts for youth.

“The STEPS program is a collection of public artists and urban planners who are really passionate about utilizing public spaces through art. They identify with places and parts of the city where there is a real lack of public art and public engagement,” said Anjuli Solanki, the leader of STEPS. “This program provides youth with a positive outlet for creativity and it also empowers them to tangibly see how they can positively impact their community. It gives them a lot of community involvement skills and public speaking skills to equip them for the working world.”

A proposal for a community kitchen was another popular idea at the meeting. The plan came from residents who are currently not working but have a special talent for cooking.

“Eventually we would like to start a small catering business,” said Rabia Nayab, a volunteer at the Thorncliffe Neighborhood Office.