Published November 2017

The Neighbours issue


This special commemorative issue marks the important occasion of Grace Toronto moving into the historic Old St. Andrew’s church building at Jarvis and Carlton. In this issue, we begin to explore our neighbourhood, meet a few of its characters and existing organizations, and consider what it means to become a neighbour.


Letter from the Editor

I parked on Carlton, just past the dog park in Allan Gardens, and grabbed two large boxes from my trunk. I had a few things to deliver to the church. After ten or twelve blind paces—the heavy boxes obstructed my view—I realized I could not carry them alone. 

“Are you going to the church?” a voice behind me asked. “Can I help you carry one of those?” 

I turned. The woman’s face was freckled, friendly. “Would you? I think I’ve attempted the impossible here.”


Be Our Guest

I inspected my invitation again. 1:00 pm. A faded wreath with pink flowers hung on the door beyond which I heard only muffled voices and muted shuffling. I knocked, and moments later, the door opened.

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Beside us and around us, we inevitably share the same sidewalks. We asked some of our neighbours to introduce themselves and share their stories that they may become familiar faces. We hope that one day, we will weave into each other’s life stories.


Neighbour, Soldier, Friend

Murray Bevan is a community advocate, a father figure, a recent widower, and a fantastic cook. He has lived at Dundas and Sherbourne for over a decade. 

When he walks into the Tim Horton’s on the corner of Parliament and Winchester, where we agreed to meet, he is wearing flat-fronted chinos, a crisp white T-shirt, and a fedora he’s had since before hipsters were, well, hip. He’s got the best face: the whole of it smiles when he catches my eye, and he gives a deep throated laugh that makes strangers turn and look.

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An Open Book

Executive Director Mary Ladky often hears, “It’s not what I expected.”

When I first learned of the Children’s Book Bank, I wondered how it differed from a library or a bookstore. My brain quickly produced images of food banks and thrift stores. Perhaps a music-playing truck would circle through neighbourhoods with young families, seeking boxes of old books rather than boxes of non-perishables.


Have A Seat

The CEO and the homeless man alike may share one with a whole middle-class family in between. Like the Lord, pews do not play favourites. 

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A Place to Call Home

In April 1873, the members of St. Andrew’s Church gathered for a congregational meeting to discuss the future. Their forty-year-old building at the southwest corner of Church and Adelaide streets needed significant repairs. Additionally, with most of its pews full (or “rented,” as was the tradition of the time), the church also needed more space. Members cast their ballots, and a motion carried, 216 to 53: the church would build on land at the corner of King and Simcoe streets.


Lessons from the Road

As a child, my Cantonese-speaking grandmother told me different variations of how my father left Hong Kong to attend university in the United States. I would sit on the floor in front of her while she braided my hair. “He didn’t tell me he was leaving until the day before!” she would exclaim, sounding as surprised as I imagined her to be on that day.


Neighbours Issue Team


Timothy Wat, Designer
Wasim Hossain, Designer


Jen Michel, Lead Editor
Kathleen Lane-Smith, Editor
Lisa Svadjian, Proofreader


Elita Fung, Jill Goodman, Martyn Wendell Jones, Season Kam, Julie Kraulis, Leemarc Lao, Catherine Noble, Wendy Stringer, Hang-Kit Wong, Sarah Yun