Happy 10th Birthday, Daniels Spectrum!
We are celebrating 10 years of Daniels Spectrum – a prominent community cultural hub in Regent Park that was part of the larger revitalization of the beloved neighbourhood. Home to arts and community organizations, we have seen a myriad of programs, services and individuals over the last decade who have made the community what it is today.
To highlight this amazing accomplishment, we will be profiling 10 individuals from now until the end of the year, who have shaped the space in some way.
Hear from the artists who inspire us to do what we do – those who have been here since our inception, and those who have joined along the way, contributing to the larger community we’re proud they can call home.
Join us as we celebrate 10 years of Daniels Spectrum in Regent Park – the faces, the stories, and the community.
Check back each week as we add community member profiles to this page!
Murwan Khogali: Healing As One
My name is Murwan Khogali, a resident of Regent Park for over 18 years. More recently, I have emerged as a community leader through the lens of a grassroots organization called Healing As One. We have captured multiple food insecurity initiatives to assist the vulnerable members of our community. We also mentor at-risk youth from Regent Park through programming and continuous engagement in financial literacy and mental health workshops. Healing As One has become a workforce development agency and is responsible for over $300,000 in youth wages in the last two years alone.
In addition to this, I own a security social enterprise known as InfiniGuard Security and Protection Services. We provide free training and high wage employment to at-risk youth, women and newcomers to Canada.
I have known about Daniels Spectrum since it first came into existence, and was very fortunate to connect with the management team who have a conscience for community benefit and local procurement. Cindy Smith, who is an anchor of the building and its operations, was kind enough to continuously request local security guards from the community and accelerated the implementation of local hiring. Today, we provide security services for the building because of the management team who believe in core values that make our community thrive on a daily basis.
The diversity and richness of different cultures is what I love most about Daniels Spectrum. Our community has faced so much adversity and is in the process of thriving in positivity. We have so many different programs and initiatives that make it a very exciting community to live in. I wanted to say, Happy Birthday Daniel Spectrum! I hope the dreams of our community members come true.”
Sandi Wong: ArtHeart
ArtHeart was born in Regent Park, dating back to 1991, with a mission to nourish the creative spirit of children, youth, adults and seniors.
Originally branded ‘A Home for Creative Opportunity,’ the organization was founded by Seanna Connell and a group of dedicated volunteers, including the homeless community, residents of Regent Park and families from Toronto.
Since 2012, Artscape has been proud to house the organization in it’s wheelchair accessible space, and notes ArtHeart as a key tenant and community leader in the area.
Sandi Wong – an 11-year volunteer, Lead Adult/Senior Art Instructor and Cochair for the Board of Directors of ArtHeart Community Art Centre reflects on her time in the space. Over the last decade, Wong has been a part of positive and impactful change within the community, noting that her favourite thing about it is the diversity of cultures, expression and generational knowledge.
I love the diversity of cultures, arts expression and all generations in our community…Congrats to [Daniels Spectrum] on serving and inspiring arts and culture in the community for the past decade!”
Mary Ladky and Roxanne Deans: Children’s Book Bank
Meet Mary Ladky and Roxanne Deans – Executive Director and Director of Communications, Fundraising & Events (respectively) for Children’s Book Bank (CBB).
Mary has been an itinerant educator, having lived and taught in many places around the world. When she was very young, she read Make Way for Ducklings repeatedly, always marvelling at the beautiful illustrations of a large family of ducks looking for a place to call home.
Roxanne is typical bookworm, set her up with a cup of tea, her cats, a blanket and a good book and she’s set for the day. Norbert Nipkin is the first book she ever chose for herself (at 6 years old) and it’s been her favourite book ever since
CBB has provided free books and literacy programming in Regent Park since 2008. To date, over 1.5 million books have been given away at its central location in Daniels Spectrum, as well as through community partners.
In 2021, the organization was invited to move into Daniels Spectrum from its original location on Berkely Street, and staff were able to open their doors to the public on the 2nd floor of the space.
CBB contributes directly to the circular economy employing a sustainable approach to increasing children’s literacy rates by collecting, curating and re-distributing gently used books. The org also offers free literacy programming for families, schools and daycares to build self-esteem, and promote fun for children of all ages.
“It’s hard to choose just one thing [we love about DS], but summers in Regent Park are so wonderful. The park across the street comes alive each week with music, free, tasty meals and food grown on the roof of Daniels Spectrum. Families and community members are together, out enjoying themselves. The Book Bank sets up a table and gives away books and shares information about our programming. We love being a part of the festivities and feeling that we’re part of this community. “
Lua Sheyanne: Lua Shayenne Dance Company
“My name is Lua Shayenne.
I am the artistic director of Dora nominated, Lua Shayenne Dance Company (LSDC), I am a producer, I curate and produce YENSA Festival, I am a performer, choreographer and writer.
LSDC presented YENSA Festival at Daniels Spectrum in August 2022. This included TWO electrifying nights of LIVE dance in TWO unique programs, each featuring THREE solo artists and companies from the UK, Montréal and Toronto. We also hosted a workshop and a live dance and drum celebration.
Regent Park is host to a vibrant diverse community. My favourite thing is that there is always a feeling of being at home.
Happy birthday Daniels Spectrum! To many more years of hosting artists, hosting diverse community programming and more!”