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Plans for Radio Parkdale to be announced at Synthesis Gala this Friday

March 22nd, 2011 · No Comments


"Parkdale Chic ~ Octopus Style (Remix)"/Image courtesy Kris Bovenizer

"Parkdale Chic ~ Octopus Style (Remix)"/Image courtesy Kris Bovenizer

By Emina Gamulin

While the head of the local residents’ association jokingly refers to them as the “Politically Correct Development Group,” the newly-renamed PCDG says they will continue to do the work they’ve always done: encouraging economic and employment initiatives in Parkdale.

“The vision is to build connections among businesses, residents, and organizations that are here,” says Warren Sheffer of the non-profit he chairs. Formerly the Parkdale-Liberty Economic Development Corporation, it was rebranded as the Parkdale Community Development Group this past fall. “It was really born out of a desire to focus on Parkdale more. We really weren’t doing anything in Liberty Village.”

Living in the area 20 years ago as a single mother, executive director Cindy Goldrick say the Parkdale of yesteryear and today are very different places. One major difference is the focus on arts that has come to the area, a focus PCDG seems to share. Known for putting on events such as the Parkdale Soapbox and the Parkdale Bazaar, the organization is preparing for their second annual Synthesis Gala, held this Mar. 25.

Featuring ten collaborative, Parkdale-themed artworks, the event raises money for the Queen West Art Crawl (QWAC), which takes place every September.

Image courtesy Matt Tarini

Image courtesy Matt Tarini

Associate director Lanie Treen says she split the group into “two waves of creation” with visual artists interpreting performances half the time, and performers giving their take on a visual work the other half.

One example is Matt Tarini’s painting of dancers who will be performing a live show  choreographed by Meagan O’Shea.

Guests will be able to see six of the ten pieces that night, which Treen says makes viewers more invested in the pieces they have chosen, giving the night a “choose your own adventure feel.”

Each collaboration will be held in a different room. Some rooms only have space for an audience of ten, giving the performances an intimate feel.

Other collaborations include cartoonist Brett Lamb (whose work can be seen in the Gleaner editorial pages) illustrating a lecture by comedy duo Deadpan Powerpoint, clown artist Shantelle Landry teaming up with ceramic artist Rich Weiss, and an a cappella performance by a 14-piece choir while collective Art Battle paint live.

Cartoonist Brett Lamb's contribution to the 2010 gala. Image courtesy Brett Lamb.

Cartoonist Brett Lamb's contribution to the 2010 gala. Image courtesy Brett Lamb.

Plans for Radio Parkdale, a web-based show featuring the people and places of the neighbourhood that is “premised on the idea of connecting people,” will also be announced the night of the Gala. With the logo and layout of the site finalized, and content ready to be uploaded, the show will be podcasting by the end of April. “We’ll be populating it with content that we gathered since the last QWAC,” says Sheffer.

Both Sheffer and Goldrick stress that the show will evolve as they get more community feedback. “It will probably mutate along the way,” says Sheffer.

PCDG seeks volunteers for the show, with a special focus on youth. “We want them to tell their own stories, and their own vision of Parkdale,” says Goldrick.

After the gala, the organization will continue to focus on finding economic opportunities for the neighbourhood. As of press date, PCDG were looking for volunteer board members and had a number of paid opportunities available to those on social assistance. “We do what we can to support people, not always with money, but with resources,” says Goldrick. “We are always looking for opportunities to support the community.”

“Like” the Gleaner on Facebook to be automatically entered in a draw to win two tickets to the gala. Contest closes Thursday March 24 at noon. The Synthesis Gala Fundraiser will be held March  25, 2011 at the Pia Bouman School for Ballet and Creative Movement (6 Noble St.). Food will be provided by Belly Catering (1574 Queen St. W.) and drinks by TAG. The evening will include a silent auction. Tickets are $80 and can be purchased by calling 416-516-8301. For more information visit

Tags: Liberty · Arts · People