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September 29, 2020

Mayor John Tory just launched Island Stories, a new digital storytelling project that invites Torontonians from all cultures, walks of life, and every area of the city, to share what Toronto Island Park means to them.

Island Stories is a collective multimedia storytelling project meant to capture the unique ways Torontonians experience Toronto Island. Featured stories from locals include; DJ/producer/video artist Bear Witness (from A Tribe Called Red), photographer Soteeoh, Juno Award-winning rapper Shad , and island residents April Hickox, all the way to students from Toronto Island Public/Natural Science School . Featured stories are available at toronto.ca/islandstories, but we want to hear all of your stories too! In the coming weeks, Island Stories will be engaging with the public to spark conversation, inspire sharing and unearth the narratives that connect the city to this oasis beyond downtown Toronto.

The City is actively seeking submissions for stories. Anyone with a story to share about the Islands is encouraged to submit it at - toronto.ca/islandstories. All mediums will be accepted and creativity is encouraged. Some examples of submission formats include:

- images with captions

- video testimonials

- audio recordings

- written submissions

- photo essays

The campaign comes just ahead of the start of the City’s Toronto Island Master Plan initiative. This process – set to begin this fall – will keep the conversation going with Torontonians by shifting the focus from sharing our memories and experiences with the island to imagining its future. The Toronto Island Park Master Plan is a multi-year project being undertaken by the City in consultation with the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. Toronto Island holds significance for many Indigenous peoples, especially the Mississaugas, and the City is committed to honouring those stories and voices during the campaign and master plan. The master plan will reimagine how the city uses this space and consider future improvements, such as new trails, picnic areas, recreation programs and much more. More information about the Toronto Island Park Master Plan is available at toronto.ca/islandmasterplan.

Toronto Island Park, which is only a 15 minute ferry ride away from downtown Toronto, has a unique ecosystem of 800 residents, 30 businesses and two schools. It attracts 1.5 million visitors annually. Many activities and programs exist on the Island including canoeing and kayaking, bird watching, beach going, artist retreats, picnicking, Centreville and music festivals. This year, activities available at Toronto Island Park are limited by restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19 during the pandemic. More information on current activities and restrictions is available at toronto.ca/home/covid-19/.

 

Quotes:

“The Island is a well-loved and well-known destination and has always played an important role in the history of Toronto and the lives of the people who have lived here. First to the Mississaugas of the Credit as a place for ceremonial gathering and healing, and then as an important refuge from the hustle and bustle of the big city. I know I’m joined by many in my fond memories of time spent on the Island. The City is looking to reimagine what Toronto Island Park could be and could offer future generations. I hope you’ll join me by sharing your recollections and helping plan the new vision for the park.”

– Toronto Mayor John Tory

“Toronto Island holds a special place in our hearts. From canoeing in the harbour to lounging on the beach, to taking in the view of the city’s skyline, the Island is a place where we come together with friends, family, and loved ones to appreciate all our city has to offer.  As the work begins on the inclusive and equitable Master Plan for Toronto Island Park, I invite everyone to join in and share their thoughts and ideas for what the future of the Island could look like.”

– Councillor Joe Cressy (Ward 10 Spadina-Fort York)

“For many generations the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation have held the lands of Toronto Island in high regard as a sacred place. Our ancestors named this place “Menacing” which means “on the Island.” “On the Island” we have buried our dead and have welcomed our children into the world. The island was a place of refreshment and rejuvenation for our people as we brought our sick to be healed and we participated in the many ceremonies that marked our lives. As the City seeks a renewed vision for the Island, I hope that its citizens will join with my people in revering this sacred place in our treaty lands and territory for the next seven generations.”

– Chief R. Stacey Laforme, Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation

Toronto is home to more than 2.9 million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture and innovation, and consistently places at the top of international rankings due to investments championed by its government, residents and businesses. For more information visit the City’s website or follow us on Twitter Opens in new window, Instagram Opens in new window or Facebook Opens in new window. 

To join the conversation follow @TorontoPFR on Instagram. For more information, queries and interviews please contact Dalton Higgins below.