You know spring has really arrived when Cabbagetown’s Forsythia Festival kicks it off! Put a reminder in your calendar that this year’s event will take place on Sunday, May 1. The parade gathering starts at 10 a.m. (corner of Winchester and Sumach), marching at 10:30 a.m., followed by activities in Wellesley Park. Dress in yellow, bring your dog or bikes and come and walk with us. Then from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Wellesley Park, we will enjoy face painting, dangling doughnuts, amazing prizes, a delicious barbeque, a refreshing beer garden and so much more. If you have never been, well, this is the year to attend!
If you need reminding of how good a time this is, here are some photos from 2015 you might enjoy!
The Forsythia Festival Committee is always looking for volunteers to assist on the day of the Festival. If you are interested in donating an hour or two of your time to help bring the event to the community, we would love to hear from you. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Janine of Wow Flowers at 574A Parliament Street (close to Nettleships) has offered to have kids drop by her place of business the week of April 25th between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. to pick up a personalised yellow balloon in preparation for Forsythia Festival festivities.
Forsythia Festival King and Queen
Earlier this year, a group of highly dedicated and generous Cabbagetowners lead by JoAnne Arcand and her husband Abdul Alhesayen of Metcalfe Street welcomed a young Syrian family to our neighbourhood. As the founders of the Cabbagetown Neighbourhood Association for Syrian Refugee Assistance (NASRA) G5 initiative, JoAnne and Abdul spearheaded a fundraising campaign among friends and neighbours in Cabbagetown. They raised enough money to not only privately sponsor one Syrian family but to also direct funds to the Central Neighbourhood House, who sponsored a family on behalf of Cabbagetown NASRA. As part of the process, JoAnne and Abdul established a Steering Committee that identified and coordinated sub-committees based on volunteer interest, expertise and in-kind donations, whose mandates spanned three broad phases for the sponsorship of the family, namely Planning – Getting ready for the family, Welcome – Receiving and housing the newcomers, and Settlement – Establishing a new life.
The Syrian family of a husband and wife and their three young children ages 5, 4 and 2 were welcomed in January 2016. As the Welcome Phase comes to an end, JoAnne and Abdul and the team of Cabbagetown NASRA volunteers have the ongoing and difficult task of settling the family for the long term in our community. Their goal for this phase includes facilitating opportunities for the family to establish greater confidence and independence in their new home. In meeting their objectives, the eldest child has been enrolled in one of Cabbagetown’s local schools and is already speaking English. The middle child will be starting down this same path in September and the baby of the family is learning quickly from all the new activities she is partaking in. The family as a whole is slowly becoming oriented with the neighbourhood and other areas of Toronto including Wellesley Park, Riverdale Farm, Allen Gardens, High Park and the Beaches. Next on their list is the CN Tower and the museums! All of these efforts have been broadly supported by the residents of Cabbagetown involved in the NASRA G5 initiative. However, the detailed work of managing the family’s needs on a daily basis and making sure the family has access to all of these wonderful opportunities is as a result of the intense hard work and dedication JoAnne and Abdul have given to their involvement in this incredible undertaking.
We hope you will join us in celebrating JoAnne and Abdul’s accomplishments as they relate to the ongoing settlement of this young refugee family in Cabbagetown. Their humanitarian efforts and dedication to volunteerism should be applauded and that is why they have been honoured with the title of “2016 Forsythia Festival Queen and King”. Congratulations JoAnne and Abdul!
We’re looking forward to seeing you at the Festival!