Tuesday, 7 June 2022


Ready for the Road 2022

9th Annual Walk With Excellence Celebration 

By Stephen Weir

2019  walk photograph by weir

For all the Grade 12 students in the Jane Finch corridor’s four High Schools who have successfully completed their final year it is almost, and we stress the word almost, all over. The last “No more pencils, no more books no more teachers’ dirty looks” have been sung, it is now time for 500 teenagers to end their high school days by dancing in the street.


Get on your walking shoes kids, a 9-year tradition is about to start a new.  Postponed for two June years in a row because of the Covid shutdown, the Walk With Excellence Celebration will once again hit Sentinel Rd the morning June 8th to introduce the new grads to nearby York University and their next level of higher education.


All are welcomed to celebrate this year’s graduates from the four high schools: CW Jeffreys, Westview, Emery and Downsview High. All four institutions are within walking distance of York University (north of Finch Avenue and Sentinel Rd.),


The event begins at 10 AM inside CW Jeffreys with a kick-off of student presentations on school auditorium,” organizer Itah Sadu explained to the Caribbean Camera.” Following this is the 5km graduating parade of approximately 500 students to York University where a celebratory lunch and student awards will be shared.” 


The Celebration March begins at 11am. The teenagers will carry school banners and signs will head up the street to York.  Making sure the graduating students arrive safely CUPE 4400 union members and volunteers from the Toronto Caribbean Carnival will act as parade marshals along Sentinel Road.


Once at York the students will gather in a courtyard and listen to live music and listen to brief speeches from organizer Itah Sadu and senior officials of the university.

After all the formal speeches have been given and  student friendly meals are served there will be Caribbean music in the air. “We are also pleased to welcome Pannist Earl La Pierre Jr with his vivacious musical energy to the celebrations,” said Itah Sadu.

The point of the annual parade is to mark the graduation of the students and to encourage them not to end their studies after Grade 12.  Many of the students have probably never toured York – this event will give them that opportunity.

The Walk With Excellence was started by Itah Sadu and the  Blackhurst Cultural Centre (Formerly A Different Booklist Cultural Centre)

Saturday, 4 June 2022


Major Celebration and Retrospective
Of the Challenging Drawings and Monoprints of 
Claire Weissman Wilks, 1933–2017


Toronto, June 4th – The Heliconian Club is presenting this retrospective The Genius of Claire Wilks. The official opening is at 1pm in Yorkville

The  official opening will take place today. There are several poets, artists, writers, and musicians who will take part in the opening. Two well known poets Anne Michaels, and Jessica Hiemstra, will read from their works.

Hiemstra will also read briefly from one of the late Claire Wilks’ books.   Curator Christian Bernard Singer will talk briefly at the works of art on display.  Wilks’ longtime partner, writer and publisher Barry Callaghan will also speak. 

Performing through the show will be jazz composer pianist Joe Sealy and Juno Award winning guitarist Dominic Mancuso.


This exhibition and a second exhibition of Wilks work that opens a few days later at the Gevik Gallery are presenting a mini survey of the startling, emotional drawings, monoprints and sculptures of the celebrated Toronto artist Claire Wilks (1933-2017). 

Wilks was a figurative artist and once called women’s bodies her 'chosen landscape,' but she did not consider this a political statement: "The female form is my line, the form lives in the brain of my finger." Yet, during the 1970s her erotic images of women were rarely accepted in conservative Toronto galleries because of their intense, carnal imagery. These drawings nonetheless contributed to a new dialogue about sexual desire from a female perspective, which happened to coincide with the first major wave of Feminism.

Wilk’s devotion to the naked female form kept her largely out of most Toronto galleries in the70s and 80’s. The novelist Timothy Findley wrote: “Looking at these drawings, women are going to know what it is to be a man; men are going to know what it is to be a woman. Nothing greater can be achieved but that we enter one another’s flesh through one another’s eyes. This is the ultimate compassion.”

Poet Anne Michaels writes: “Her figures embody every kind of dispossession - through sensation, communion, solitude, loneliness, muteness, grief, banishment. Ecstatic; bereft. Every kind of love.” 


The Toronto Heliconian Club, a non-profit association of women involved in the arts and letters It operates out of Heliconian Hall located in Yorkville. In existence for over 110 years, the Heliconian Club remains steadfast in its commitment to women living and working in the arts. It is located at 35 Hazelton Lanes in Yorkville.


Gallery Gevik, is devoted to exhibitions of established artists who represent Canadian art at its best. The Gallery is located at 12 Yorkville Avenue just down the street from Heliconian Club, the exhibition opens on June 11 at 1pm. 


Space is limited.


Heliconian Club 

35 Hazelton Ave, Toronto, ON M5R 2E3

(416) 922-3618  Issued by Stephen Weir 416-801-3101

stephen@stephen weir

Monday, 16 May 2022

Innocence Canada shares the news of David Milgaard’s untimely death


With profound sadness, Innocence Canada shares the news of David Milgaard’s untimely death. David died yesterday, May 15th, 2022. He was 69 years old. 

Innocence Canada and Innocence movement advocates are stunned and heart-broken by David’s death. He was a part of the Innocence Canada family and more, an honoured and respected leader in the Innocence movement.  Ron Dalton, Innocence Canada Co-President and exoneree expresses, “his death is a tragic loss to the Canadian Innocence movement and a personal blow to many of us at Innocence Canada.”

David contributed decades of time and energy advocating and lobbying for a Canadian post-conviction review commission.  David was instrumental in the recent consultation process for the development of a Miscarriages of Justice Commission in Canada. 

David was an incredibly generous and sweet man who is remembered for turning his suffering into a lifetime of helping others.  Those of us who knew and loved him best are struggling with the profound loss we feel.  We will do our best to continue the work David and his mother began. 

Innocence Canada extends our deepest and heartfelt condolences to David’s family, friends and legions of supporters across Canada and the world.

Thursday, 7 April 2022

Press Release for Immediate Release

 Toronto’s A Different Booklist Cultural Centre is on the Move

Itah Sadu in the ADBCC 

Toronto Friday April 8th., 11.30 am - 12.30 pm, at 777 Bathurst Street. A Different Booklist Cultural Centre (ADBCC) will be holding a press conference to announce its progress to date in the development of a permanent home for the Cultural Centre in the new Mirvish development. 
Exciting highlights will include the announcement of the partnership and long-term lease between the ADBCC and the City of Toronto, and the release of the new name for the Centre.
Joining the event will be Councillor Mike Layton (Ward 11), community members, and Board members of the ADBCC.
A Different Booklist Cultural Centre (ADBCC) has been developing and celebrating Black literature, arts, and culture in Toronto since 2015 and is rooted in the 25-year history of A Different Booklist, an independent bookstore, and has since become a meeting place, and a space of ideas and Black artistic expression. It is unique in that it exists to capture, protect, share and celebrate the literature, art and culture of all the African and Caribbean Canadian communities.
The mission and vision of the ADBCC – The People’s Residence is to create a world-class model for preserving and building on the historic cultural identity of evolving neighbourhoods and to provide opportunities for Canadians and visitors to Canada to celebrate and engage in the rich cultural legacy and history of Canadians of African and Caribbean ancestry.
Drawing from the mission and vision, ADBCC - The People’s Residence aspires to:
o Engage in activities and initiate programs which support the intellectual, cultural, social, educational, and economic well-being of African and Caribbean Canadian communities.
o Engage in partnerships and collaborations with individuals and organizations that help to enrich the literary, cultural, intellectual, and educational fabric of Canadian society.

For More information Contact STEPHEN WEIR 416-801-3101

Monday, 7 February 2022

Toronto's 31-year long love affair with the memory of Bob Marley

Toronto marks Bob Marley’s 77th Birthday this Sunday

Eight-community leader to receive Bob Marley Day Humanitarian Awards


Information Bulletin  This is the 31st time that the city has honoured the late great Jamaican musician.  In previous years there have been public events held to mark the Reggae star’s birthday, this year it will be recorded at A Different Booklist Cultural Centre - The People's Residence.


The Award Ceremony – sponsored by Roots Canada - airs Bob Marley Day’s YouTube Channel on Sunday, February 6th at 3:00pm.

After the Proclamation issued by Mayor John Tory is read, we will honour this year’s recipients of the Bob Marley Humanitarian Award. 


Receiving awards this year will be:
1.Ian Allen (OBVC Board member and Director of Strategic Communications and Initiatives, Ontario Treasury Board Secretariat)
2.Steve Anderson (Deputy Mayor for the Town of Shelburne and a Regional Councillor for the County of Dufferin)
3.Deborah Cox (Award winning entertainer)
4.Gervan Fearon (President George Brown College)
5.Tiffany Ford (Entrepreneur, Former School Board Trustee and Community Advocate)
6.Siphesihle November (Principal Dancer National Ballet of Canada) 
7.Valarie Steele (Community Activist)

8.Senator Wanda Thomas Bernard (Canadian Senator from Nova Scotia)


The Bob Marley Day team is tweeting out the photos and bios of this year’s recipients, one at a time over the next three days. Our first tweet is below.


Bob Marley Day Toronto


Congratulations to Ian Allen on being named one of the 2022 Bob Marley Day award recipients. Ian is a @blackvoteCanada Board member and Director of Strategic Communications and Initiatives for the Ontario Treasury Board Secretariat #onelove

Inline image

For information, interviews and photographs

Contact the Bob Marley Day committee


Sunday, 21 November 2021

"small" prose piece for my Creative Writing Course at University of Windsor about small things

Iceland's famous hot dog stand

 Never mind the rat. Bad things come in tiny bites

By Stephen Weir

Since this is the end of the term and you will have long forgot this 4-page story (oops) by January, I can shamelessly tell you about my bad habit of eating street food. No, I don’t mean an Island Patty from the food truck at the corner, I am talking about protein that has tumbled from someone’s mouth onto the road or a pet drenched lawn.

I can’t help myself. I am always hungry and what tastes better than free food, even when you get it from the gutter? With me the 5-second rule is my life’s mantra.

Haven’t heard of it? Author Mel Robins (The 5-Second Rule) describes it thusly. “Almost everyone has dropped some food on the floor and still wanted to eat it. If someone saw you drop it, she might have yelled, "5-second rule!" This so-called rule says food is OK to eat if you pick it up in 5-seconds or less.”

To be honest, after a near death experience in Iceland I will NEVER AGAIN stretch my count past the 5-second mark. Trust me, if you eat past the 5-second limit you will die, and from personal experience that isn’t a little lie. And, if you end up on the ground with the Icelandic EMTs shouting proudly to the instant crowd that the þrjátíu-seconds rules works, open your eyes and say that you are okay before their stomach pump hits the back of your throat!

I was in Iceland to cover the annual AirWaves November Music Festival for anyone who would buy the story. The music is unique, one of the big Icelandic songs that year was Dancing in the Street in Your Underwear.

But I digress a tiny bit. One thing you need to know about Iceland, everything is expensive and weird. A slab of BBQed Minke Whale will set you back $70 and apparently tastes as bad as their $80 Fermented Greenland Shark. I settled on $30 Mamaburger sized burgers (they are really small), which is why, as I went broke, picking up and wolfing down found street meat had a growing appeal.

The only place that you can get anything cheap is a 24-hour stand near the Ocean. They only serve $3 5-inch long hot dogs (that is quite small). The mini tube steak is made with lamb packed into a traditional casing of sheep’s intestine. It is broiled over the burning coals of dried lamb poop. You are allowed to drink $15 Viking bottled beer while you stand in an extremely long line-up, so you don’t mind the rain, the snow and the crazies dancing in the street in their underwear.

Drunk. Wet. Mostly Naked. More tiny-tot hot dogs hit the never-cleaned sidewalks, than into waiting mouths. After buying a deuce of dogs, I rushed back in the freezing rain to the festival hall. The sidewalk was a skating rink. Before I could count to five I was airborne. Horrors my two lamb dogs slid under a dirty Jaguar (owned by the hot dog chef).

I had already counted to 10 when I felt a small mushy bun under the Jag. I started the count again and pulled out three hot dogs from beneath the exhaust pipe. The bonus dog was lumpy and squirming a bit inside the sandy brown bun but I didn’t care, not even a little bit. As I wolfed down my newly found dinner, I noticed small holes in my hand and blood on my lamb dog!

I don’t remember when I went down for the count again. I woke up surrounded by two short paramedics. “What happened”? I asked. “Food poisoning and it looks like you’ve feed a couple of small Wharf Rats with your hand said one EMTer”.

“Hmm” I moaned lowly to her, “maybe it was the other way around. Coulda been a rat in my half-eaten sheep dog!”

They pulled up the carcass of a tiny Icelandic Wharf Rat from under my elbow. It was brown in colour with scattered mustard covered hairs. It had an oil stained grayish-white underbelly. It’s body was tiny but heavily built. Unlike a Dieppe Park River Rat, this fellow’s tail was super stubby. Ugh, both the tail and ears were hairless and covered in scales.

The medical crew figured the other rat had climbed into a hot dog and I had scarfed down the bun, the dog and a minuscule Wharf Rat in one gulp. Fearing the “knock” wurst, the medical team said it had to come out. Immediately. It wasn’t their first rodeo, a well-worn tummy pump instantly appeared. I instinctively knocked it away.The nozzle separated from the hose and rolled into the gutter.

Paramedic Number One began to count in Icelandic. Her partner found the nozzle and reconnected the hose. “Þrjátíu!” shouted Paramedic Two. “Following the 5-second rule?” ”Yeah” she answered. “Here we call it the þrjátíu-rule.” Still counting she rammed the hose into where the rat dog had gone before. Meanwhile Paramedic One found a small pair of dirty underwear and wrapped my smallish rat wound.

I had a little sleep in the hospital. 5-days to be exact. I woke up as they wheeled my gurney through the crowded airport. I was going home; 5 pounds down and a tad hungry.

The EMTs pushed fast and yelled FREE FOOD. Well, they had found some, sort of. My gurney had sideswiped a smallish man totting a tray of those dwarf lamb dogs. I started counting and hit the floor, the paramedics were right after me. No time to chew I swallowed down all the floor dirty dogs before reaching 5. Pity, the EMTers didn’t count in English; turns out þrjátíu means 30- seconds.

Iceland airport hot dog stand

Back in Windsor, in Dieppe Park, I spy five Detroit River Rats feeding on a small-sized Capri Pizza. Did that scare me? Not even a little bit.

 Kicked the rats into the river, brushed off some icky things from the 5-inch“zaw” and swallowed it whole before I got to 5. I was cured.

True story? Mostly! I admit a few little white lies snuck into this minuscule rodent’s tail.

Monday, 8 November 2021

Not Just Another Brick In The Wall

ADBCC The People’s Residence Launches the Champions Challenge Competition to raise funds for their new home in Mirvish Village opening Fall 2022

Toronto, ON - Friday, November 8, 2021
From now until the end of December champions from all walks of life will be tapping into their competitive spirit in the Champions Challenge to show their support for A Different Booklist Cultural Centre (ADBCC) - The People’s Residence. The challenge consists of 3 rounds. In each round, 4 supporters of ADBCC will challenge their network to support them and buy a brick for the new People’s Residence. The champion who raises the most funds within the 14 days will be crowned as the winner of that Champions Challenge. The first challenge is focused on the Entertainment industry and features 4 trailblazers in the industry: Eddie Bullen, Jamar McNeil, Molly Johnson, and DJ Power.
“I can’t think of Bathurst and Bloor without thinking of A different Booklist Cultural Centre. They run many important and informative programs and events. I believe in the new People's Residence.” Says Eddie Bullen.
The Champions Challenge is part of the Buy-a-Brick campaign that invites everyone to purchase a digital brick in support of ADBCC’s new home at 756 Bathurst Street. Each person who purchases a brick will have their name permanently engraved on the digital brick wall of ADBCC. Every $100 brick purchased directly supports the building and operations of the ADBCC - People's Residence.
Buy-A-Brick Capital Campaign
Between now and the end of the year, ADBCC-The People’s Residence remains open. The organization has been actively transitioning their program online, while fundraising to meet their infrastructure goals. Their Buy-A-Brick capital campaign is a community driven fundraising initiative with a target to sell 5000 bricks and raise $500k. This campaign gives everyone a chance to cement their legacy and own a digital brick with their name permanently housed in the new space. To support this campaign, visit http://www.wearetpr.com.
Upcoming Events
Beyond the Buy-A-Brick campaign, there are many ways to support the centre and its important work in the community:
1. follow ADBCC-The People’s Residence on Instagram and Facebook to show your support and stay in the know,
2. attend upcoming events like Welcome to Blackhurst, Literary Salons, or the Schulich Program.
3. help build awareness and share their story with your family, friends and colleagues.
To donate and support this important cause:
Follow ADBCC on social media:
Instagram - @adifferentbooklistcc
Facebook - @adifferentbooklistcc
About The People’s Residence:
The People’s Residence (ADBCC) is a hub and a destination that uses arts and culture to teach, educate, develop skills, connect and celebrate our rich heritage while building economic power within the African and Caribbean Canadian communities. We are for the people, by the people. We are continually evolving.
Media Enquiries Contact:
Abena Perryman
Andrew Perry Marketing
P: (416) 951-5359

E: abenap@andrewperry,com