Since being a City Councillor, I have had the pleasure of spearheading and helping with the following community initiatives:
2022 - BMX Bike Park and MUP - a successful cooperative effort between the cycling community, City Staff and me to create a safe, accessible, multi-level-of-difficulty cycling track facility for all ages of cycling enthusiasts from Beginner to Intermediate to Advanced. This is Stage 1 of a two-stage cycling facility, and the first stage of a multi-stage, multi-facility Community Park. The MUP (Multi-Use Path) was originally slated for the west side of Thornton, but I successfully lobbied to move it to the east side in order to directly connect it to the Taunton MUP to provide safe access for all ages of cyclists from the north and northeast of our city to the BMX Bike Park. Next was the plan to extend the Thornton MUP down to Gibb Street to connect with the upcoming MUP on the south side of Gibb from Thornton to Ritson to further connect to the two upcoming GO stations. Cyclists in the southwest and southeast of the city will soon be able to safely ride to the Bike Park and back.
2021-2022 - The Troubadour Concert Series - featuring virtually all local musical talent (including Durham Region), I produced this 6-week, every-Saturday series of sponsored concerts first in 2021 outdoors on Victoria Street in cooperation with the Regent Theatre and then, in 2022, indoors at the Biltmore Theatre. With the support of the Oshawa Music Awards team, many OMA-Nominated artists put on excellent 50-minute showcase concerts along with terrific artists and bands - and ALL local. If we don't support our local artists, who will? I was also pleased to help put together the Troubadour Series in 2020 which saw local artists perform at 5 outdoor downtown patios. All of the Troubadour Series variations have also been designed to bring business to our downtown restaurants especially during the pandemic when no indoor events were possible.
2022 - Downtown EV Charging Stations - worked with Councillor Giberson, City Staff, and Oshawa Power to find suitable locations for 4, dual EV stations to bracket our downtown west/east and north/south. All are operational.
2021 - Albert Street Re-alignment - I created the plan and the Motion to eliminate the left-turn lane at Athol and Celina and replace it with an advance green. By taking out that space-consuming left-turn, this has provided 6 new parking spaces, a loading and pick-up zone for area businesses, and it keeps the cycling lanes clear at all times.
2020-2022 - Relocation and Support for CAMP - I successfully negotiated the relocation of CAMP from Memorial Park to the Midtown Drive location, found CAMP their Commercial Insurer to qualify for their Road Occupancy Permit, and both personally donated funds, Christmas presents, and volunteered my time serving meals in support of their efforts. These terrific community volunteers provided outdoor food and clothing supply 7 days per week, 365 days per year. Amazing.
2019-present - Co-Founder and Co-Chair of The Gap Committee, a non-funded, community-driven committee comprised of our homeless, perilously-housed, and reps from pertinent social service agencies. The purpose is to proactively work with the related service agencies to arrive at solutions to fill the gaps in service levels. This is to enable those in need to transition out of homelessness into a safe place to live and sustainable employment. In conjunction with this committee, The Productivity Hub has developed as a multi-stage training and self-realization program of seminars using trainers and guest presenters to provide opportunities for motivated individuals to transition into employment and a sustainable future for themselves. I have been proud to be a guest presenter on several occasions, and I have arranged for a direct connection with the Durham Unemployed Help Centre to have them present and to provide counsellors for each individual Hub participant to assist them in transitioning into gainful employment.
2019 - Artistic Director and co-creator of Scenes From The Cemetery, a fund-raising production for our Oshawa Museum. It brought together the Museum with the Oshawa Little Theatre as costumers to create a unique historical tour of Union Cemetery to give our citizens an understanding of significant people of our historical past.
2018 - Flag-raising and Proclamation for the significant contributions by our Chinese community to the development of Oshawa. The Chinese Cultural Heritage Weekend will coincide with our Peony Festival. The peony is the National Flower of China. The Consul General of The Peoples' Republic of China was in attendance and is now committed to assisting with the enhancement of Chinese culture in Oshawa through our Peony Festival.
2018 - Suits For Youths. In a working partnership with officers of the Durham Regional Police Service and Staff of the Oshawa Centre, we organized the first event of this kind for our male and trans-gendered youth to have a nice suit not only for Prom Night but also to keep for their first job interview and beyond. This event can now work in step with Gowns For Girls which has now been going for 5 years.
2017 - Gallery 67 at the Holiday Inn Express and Suites. The Oshawa Art Association asked me to help them find a "home" since they had operated 50 years without one and wanted to reach out their services to our community more. Kudos to the Holiday Inn for agreeing to be corporate sponsors. Thanks to both the City's Economic Development and Building Inspections Branch for assisting in the necessary approvals to get the space ready. Grateful acknowledgement to the Downtown BIA, Economic Development, and the Holiday Inn for hosting the Grand Opening in June 2017.
2017 - The repainting of The United Steelworkers' Hall at John and Albert Streets. Using leftover paint from the Art In The Garden project plus some more purchased, the Albert Street neighbours helped members of the Hall prepare, prime, and paint the Hall's south wall which was a little "careworn". Now it looks great!
2017 - Art In The Garden. A community sharing event I initiated which saw the neighbours of the Albert Street Community Garden come together along with Dulux Paints (who donated the primer and finish paint) and three of our Urban Street Artists to "colorize" the elevated gardens of The Berry Patch Garden (the other side of Albert is The Pepper Patch). Brew Wizards donated the coffee for both days' activities.
2017 - The Cycle: Hope, and The Cycle: Courage. My concepts for multi-genre, multicultural art expositions to share and to develop the wonderful artists we have in our community. All funds raised by donations at the door were donated to the UOIT Student Bursary Fund (Hope) and the Denise House Emergency Shelter for Abused Women and their Children (Courage). Each event had a Media Launch which was well supported by our local media."Hope" - An original work by Paul Paget, in his unique graffiti/calligraphy style, created for The Cycle: Hope
2017 - Spirits of the Automobile - similar to Scenes From The Cemetery, this production was a fundraiser for our Canadian Automotive Museum (CAM) where the famous owners of some of the fabulous vehicles in the CAM were brought to life to tell citizens all about their famous vehicle.
2016, 2017, 2018 - Artistic Director and co-creator of Scenes From The Cemetery, a fund-raising production for our Oshawa Museum. It brought together the Museum with the Oshawa Little Theatre as costumers to create a unique historical tour of Union Cemetery to give our citizens an understanding of significant people of our historical past.
2015 - Race Director for the OshaWOW! fundraising fun run for The Refuge. Worked with overall event organizer, Denise Marek, and a dedicated team of volunteers to raise $980.00.
2015, 2016 - Doors Open - Committee Member, volunteer at the Oshawa Sports Hall of Fame site.
2015 to 2018 - Oshawa Animal Care Committee, Originator - comprised of fellow citizens with a passion for creating a safer environment for our animal companions. This project morphed into the creation of a current high level of trust between the City (Oshawa Animal Services and Municipal Law Enforcement) and all of the various animal welfare groups in the city such as: Team Chelsea, ODAWG, and AVA. The result is the successful passing of the revised Responsible Pet Owners By-law with all of its pertinent sections (Pet re-sale, Rescue Group registration and Oshawa's first-ever TNRM Colony Manager Clinic). Well done all.
2015 - The 3-Part Plan for Youth Employment and Hope - a series of three community meetings I organized which saw over 85 individual citizens and many organizations' representatives meet to discuss a forward plan to enhance the quality of life for our youth. The offshoot of these meetings saw the creation of: 1. the LPEC (Local Planning Employment Council) which brought together Durham College, UOIT, Social Services at the Region of Durham and the Durham Workforce Authority to enhance entrepreneurial opportunities in addition to what we already have, and 2. The Community Innovation Lab centred in Paul Dwyer High School where young entrepreneurs can develop and hone their business ideas, concepts, and business plans.
Previous Community Involvement
1978-2022 - performed with Oshawa Little Theatre, Whitby Courthouse Theatre, Dancyn Productions, and Durham Shoestring Performers performing/directing 123 theatrical productions for the enjoyment of the community
2007-2010 - Durham Region Concert Association - President, proposed/created $20,000 bursary for the students of the Music Business Administration program at Durham College
1987, 2008, 2009 - Oshawa Little Theatre - wrote/produced/directed/performed in 3 separate fundraising events which raised over $18,000 for needed building repairs
1989-1999 - Fiesta, Dew Drop Inn, member of The Entertainers which performed for Fiesta crowds and helped to raise over $110,000 for Denise House, the shelter for abused women and children
1992, 1993, 1994 - Kedron Park Tots Soccer coach
1977-1989 - United Way/Durham College Turkey Trot, Race Director, United Way fundraising/Sports Administration program educational event
1978-80 - formed and convened the Durham Region Squash League comprised of Durham College Athletic Complex, Oshawa Tennis Club, Whitby Squash Club, and the Ajax Squash Club.
Janice and I support the following local artists' organizations and have the following local artists' work proudly hanging in our home. Please visit their websites to view some of their creations. You will be amazed at the quality and variety of their work as well as those of literally dozens of talented visual artists in our city. I just have not bought something from every one of them - yet!:>
Mike and Betty McGowan
Tony and Anne Johnson
Oshawa Art Association
Proud supporter of and participant with the following local community theatre groups. Please visit their websites for information on their upcoming seasons, subscriptions and tickets, auditions, youth group information and membership involvement and benefits:
Durham Shoestring Performers
Oshawa Little Theatre
The Borelians of Port Perry
Whitby Courthouse Theatre