A celebratory autumn trip to MABELLEarts


This past Thursday October 29, we were honored to be invited to join our sister company  MABELLEarts in celebrating all of the wonderful things that have been happening in Mabelle Park this year, chief among them the long-anticipated installation of streetlights in the park, making it a brighter and safer place around the clock!


(Photo by Liam Coo)

Mabelle community members joined in with the Making Room Choir and Edmond Place arts group for an impromptu choir rehearsal around the fire pit, sharing in tea and flatbread prepared by the MABELLEarts women’s cooking group.

Amidst the songs and the smell of leaves, visitors were invited to tour around the many changes that have happened in the park, with news of things to come.

We’re always delighted to be a part of art in the park. Thanks MABELLE!

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Sure As the Park

chaos fabric 1

If you’ve been following us at all here on our blog or our facebook page, you know that 2015 has seen our busiest summer yet, with many projects on the go and many new friends. Chief among them has been our new partnership with the amazing Greenest City, We’ve been working all summer in Masaryk Park with gardeners, artists, and community members in Masaryk Park in preparation for our Harvest Celebration on September 19 — and what a celebration it was!

In the week leading up to the event, Making Room artists were busy at work every day in the park. Lead artist Jess Shane, with the crucial support of Dylan Tate-Howarth and Trevor Hardy, the Making Room artistic team and dozens of community volunteers and participants, looked towards the space of the park itself for a final burst of inspiration. Indeed, the three large trees — a maple, a pear, and a chestnut tree to be precise — forming a triangle offered a special possibility to raise high the work we’d made throughout the summer. Continue reading

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The Spirit of Sparrow Lake


The annual trip to Camp is a celebrated and ever anticipated PARC tradition. Though it has been happening for many years, it is only the second year that it has taken place at Camp Sparrow Lake, a beautiful perch in Severn, Ontario. It’s also the second time that Making Room has had the opportunity to come along for the ride, complementing the week’s activities and respite with art-making workshops, and taking the lead on the final campfire celebration. Continue reading

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Digging deeper at Greenest City


We’ve been a bunch of busy bees at Making Room this summer, more so than ever before! Every year, we take some time off of our Sand in Water and Drop-In workshops at PARC to relax, focus on artist development and plan for the year ahead. But since our newest partner, Greenest City, works with gardeners in the Mazaryk-Cowan Park and elsewhere primarily during the summer months, we knew we couldn’t miss out on the opportunity to make new relationships and get to know the urban gardeners and community members over there! Continue reading

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Peace Camp and the Promiscuous Furniture

There is nowhere in the world like Camp Naivelt. Established in 1925 as the summer children’s camp by the Jewish Women’s Labour League, it’s since evolved to become a secluded summer community in the heart of Brampton, ON (of all places!). With a long history of leftist activism, Jewish culture and arts and music, Naivelt today continues to be a hotbed of community building and creativity — and also a summer retreat for Making Room Community Arts!

While continuing to do our summer programming in Parkdale, Making Room was honoured to be invited to produce the yearly Art Week at Camp Naivelt during the first week of August. Nodding to its overlap with the anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing and the long-held annual tradition of a social justice themed Peace Tea at Naivelt, we chose to name the week Peace Camp. Continue reading

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Making Room at the Parkdale Film + Video Showcase

Screen Shot 2015-08-14 at 5.05.03 PM

Making Room invites you to join us at the Parkdale Film + Video Showcase this week. As part of the free ReClaim video programme at Dunn Avenue Parkette at 9pm, the public will be able to watch our video, “Morning In Parkdale.”

This special video is a rendering of our overhead projector play created during our One Small Gesture celebration, featuring a soundscape and imagery created by members of our choir and the broader PARC community.

Hope to see you there!

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↗️ The Way Here ⏎

On May 29th, Making Room Community Arts celebrated the end of their year’s workshops and projects at PARC with a special celebration: The Way Here.

Since our Summit of Legends, Making Room and PARC members have been exploring and elaborating the many different pathways and places that make up our geographies, individually and collectively. PARC is just one stop on a life-long map for everybody here, and the neighbourhood of Parkdale serves as a beating heart at the centre of the lively and never-ending movement of the people in our communities.

j-cal with sign

To celebrate that, we made signs and arrows pointing in all directions, guiding people to destinations as close as Little Portugal and as far as “The Outer Limits.” As the event began, PARC’s very own J-Cal marched into the room with a massive signpost bearing many of these names and places.

sonja demonstrating

Above this stage area was a rotary parade of the many modes of getting around, engineered by Sonja Rainey with work designed by more than a dozen PARC members.

The main event of the day was a special performance by the Making Room Choir, led by Shifra Cooper, who sang “Buried Underneath,” a special piece composed my Martin Van de Ven for Jumblies Theatre musicians, as well as “On Tuesdays,” a piece composed specially for the Making Room Choir. As the choir began to sing, a beautiful, textured and dyed map of our many pathways swung down behind them.

Continue reading

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The Way Here – A Making Room Summer Celebration on Friday, May 29th!


Join us tomorrow, May 29th, for “The Way Here” — a special afternoon celebration at PARC celebrating the work we have done this Spring by asking about where we come from, where we go, where we are, and how we get here.

The celebration will act as a showcase of the many different projects we’ve been working on since One Small Gesture, including EP Verbal Cigarettes, the Summit Of Legends, and most recently, our pathway-mapping projects.

Come to the PARC Drop-in (1499 Queen St W) at 2pm for a special performance by the Making Room Choir, a ceremony celebrating our many ways here, snacks, art, special announcements and good company.

The Way Here will mark the end of our Sand in Water and Friday Drop-in workshops at PARC for the summertime, which will return in September. But we are very excited to announce some of the exciting projects we will be launching this summer, to which everybody is invited.

Look out for big news!

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“EP Verbal Cigarettes” – A Smart, Smoky Reading and Launch

robbie reading

On Thursday, May 14th, the Edmond Place Making Room Community Arts group celebrated the launch of their book EP Verbal Cigarettes.

The product of many months of writing, editing, designing, and making led by Making Room book artist Jonathan Valelly, the book is a unique object. Rather than a traditionally bound book, it is shaped like a pack of cigarettes, with each page rolled up into the shape of a smoke.


All together, the book contained 13 poems by members of the arts group at EP, all reflecting on smoking. Some of these poems were original, others prompted, and still others made from found and manipulated texts. Rather than simply looking at the narrative of health and quitting (though that came up plenty), we also unpacked the way smoking shapes your day, creates pause, changes the way you see the world, and affects how you are read and how you behave.

caroline reading 2

As a way of celebrating the production of 25 copies of EP Verbal Cigarettes, Edmond Place residents were invited to a literary-salon-style reading in the upstairs recreation and dining room. Carolyne, Robbie, and Sabrina all read two to three of their poems under a special, collaboratively-made smoke cloud complete with handrolled cigarette beads.

upward shot

After the reading, a smokey BBQ chicken dinner was served. As guests ate, a final reveal was made of a new piece of art hanging in Edmond Place, a collaboratively drawn tracing paper drawing reflecting the wire sculptures and books the Edmond Place group made as a part of One Small Gesture.

This project was supported by a Toronto Arts Council Platform A Micro-grant, and we are deeply grateful for the opportunity. All of the pictures in this post were taken by Jess Shane.

The launch was a total success and a wonderful way to end a long and challenging project and to kick off the exciting projects that will be happening at Edmond Place this summer.

Please read on and fine some examples of the brilliant poetry written by members of the EP arts group this spring!

Continue reading

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PARC’s 35th Anniversary through fresh eyes

By Beck Lloyd


It is the 35th anniversary of PARC. A place I have now spent only 4 days navigating, but its rhythm is already beginning to feel familiar. As a Queen’s Education student I have the opportunity to complete a 3 week Alternative Practicum – a chance to spend sometime outside of the classroom setting in order to build on educational concentrations, teaching philosophy, and personal interest. As a teacher and an artist naturally Making Room was my first email, requesting to spend my 3 weeks with the organization, and I received a veryquick “yes”.

Day One
I meet with Michael and go over Making Room’s schedule, my schedule and the projects currently on the go. It’s a lot. This team of artists and the members they work with tackle large-scale endeavors without hesitation, which at first seem intimidating but promptly becomes inspiring.

Day Two

I meet with the Making Room artistic team at Pete’s, the local diner/office with scrumptious breakfast special. Over coffee we are introduced and I am caught up on the undertakings of the day. It will be my first workshop and we are building rocks made from mental frames, wool, soap and water that will be used in a display during the 35th anniversary event. We chat about the theme of the evening: Legends. I am shown the flame sculpture they have created that contains names and descriptionsof PARC legends. These names are, as of yet, unfamiliar to me but they are people I want to meet.

The workshop takes place in the Healing Room, I meet members, and we do a check-in sharing what rocks mean to us. I am exhilarated by the reflective, personal responses. Suddenly making rocks seems like the most important activity in the world.

Day Three

The rock making continues! Some of the dedicated members come out to assist in some final rock making. We attempt several of the large rock frames with minimal success, but the optimism in the room remains throughout the challenging crafting moments. It is a long day but there is certain energy knowing that we are only one day away from the festivities.

Day Four

Today is the day. The drop-in is going to be transformed into a celebratory space and I am so pleased to be apart of it. With the help of members I spend the morning creating a paper chandelier that will be hung in a nook I fashioned with white sheets hanging from the walls and covering the ceiling. This is where the guest book will be; it sits on a table surrounded by old photos. The flame sculpture is installed; it is lit up with a string of white lights and sits on a wooden spool. The rocks are placed around the base of the fire and they sit on a string of blue lights, it all looks quite majestic. Cutting, hammering, lifting, pinning, measuring and moving take place throughout the day until the doors open. The energy is palpable and as a student of theatre I am acutely aware that this force is the gathering of legends. There are speeches and various people share their stories of PARC not only with the microphone but also at the table where I am seated. Mario tells me how fortunate we are to have the chance to celebrate this way. He is right – I am feeling very fortunate. The band plays and I mingle, chat with new faces as the atmosphere is one of welcoming. Food is served and the room is buzzing, a new face offers me abite of his spaghetti because “everything tastes better when you share!” Dancing occurs and I catch the eye of Shelly, a member who really took to the making of rocks, we groove from afar. The guest book is signed, (I go over to look at it but also to admire my handiwork) pictures are taken, and I can sense that the room is filled with history, possibility, wonder and I have been accepted into it. PARC and Making Room are now apart of my story. How lucky I am. The evening is enchanting, there are faces that have become familiar to me and I meet many new ones.

As I get on the streetcar to head home I feel incredibly excited for next week’s workshop.

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