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MYTORONTO provides an opportunity for people affected by homelessness and poverty to engage in artistic expression, make meaningful connections and learn new skills.

The MYTORONTO 2019 calendar and greeting cards are now available on sale, purchase yours now!
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This is the second year of the MYTORONTO Program presented by Ve’ahavta, a Jewish humanitarian agency serving marginalized individuals, in partnership with various community organizations. Funds for the project were raised by Ve’ahavta through the sponsorship of calendar pages and individual donations, as well as a crowdfunding campaign.

Creative skills workshops were facilitated for people with lived experience of poverty and homelessness at The 519 community centre. On May 10, a camera distribution day was held at The Ryerson School of Image Arts. One hundred and eleven participants were given 35mm single-use cameras, donated by Fujifilm. The participants were invited to capture what #STRENGTH meant to them in the City of Toronto and what inspired them.

Ninety-three cameras were returned for processing and approximately 2,600 photographs were printed featuring shots of nature, architecture, Toronto iconography, living spaces, objects, animals, celebrations, street corners and people. The pictures illustrate the strength, beauty and joy that exist alongside the challenges associated with poverty and homelessness. 

A jury of eight individuals with backgrounds in professional photography, community services, the arts, social services and homeless advocacy selected the 40 exhibit photos on display.  Thirteen of these have been chosen for the 2019 calendar and greeting cards, which will be sold on the streets and various venues by participants of the MYTORONTO Vendor Training program. Half of the vendor sales goes to the participants while the other half funds the project.

The core features of this project are: 

PHOTOGRAPHY CONTEST
The project engages 100 people affected by homelessness by providing them with 35 mm, single-use Fuji cameras to capture their perspectives; they are asked to photograph the world around them. A jury comprised of photography experts, artists, homeless advocates and civil servant adjudicate the photographs and choose 40 for a photography exhibit.

The winners of the photography contest receive cash prizes; $50 for the exhibit photos, $200 for calendar page photos and $500 for the calendar cover winner.

THE PREMIERE PUBLIC EXHIBIT
A public exhibit of the winning photographs will be held in the fall, with the location to be determined. Forty photos will be on display including the 13 chosen for the calendar. Participants are also invited to speak and share their perspectives at a launch event.  

MYTORONTO CALENDAR
The premiere initiative of MYTORONTO is the calendar that allows the impact of this project to be seen 365 days a year. Featuring 13 photos along with profiles of the photographers, the calendar will generate revenue and serve as a potential social enterprise for participants.

To learn more about the project or view our partners visit mytorontocalendar.com.