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Community Living Tribute Dinner honouring Regional Chair, Bill Fisch

On Thursday, April 24th I celebrated with the Community Living Association the years of work given by the Chair of York Region, Bill Fisch. All proceeds from the event were used to enhance the quality of life for people in our community who have an intellectual disability. York Regional Police Chief, Eric Jolliffe presented the 2014 Community Service Award to Chair Fisch following the ‘Voices of Joy’ Community Choir. It was a lovely evening and I was fortunate to be seated at dinner with Member of Provincial Parliament, Dr. Reza Moridi and his wife, Pari. Congratulations to the organizers and the Board of Directors for the Community Living Association.



Yellow Brick House

This year I had the distinct pleasure of participating in the 9th Annual Yellow Brick House, Mending Hearts…Creating Dreams Gala. This is the 36th year of operation for the Yellow Brick House, a non-charitable organization that provides emergency shelter, counselling, and supportive services to women and children who are over-coming situations of abuse. In 2013, 6,300 women and children received temporary shelter and on-going support from Yellow Brick House.

I am particularly proud that I attended the inaugural meeting of Yellow Brick House in Richmond Hill over 35 years ago. In part, that is why I chose to get my degree in Social Work from York University – after years of part-time study. And now, as a Councillor for the Region of York, I am able to approve funding to help support the Yellow Brick House as an important partner within our community of services..


More than Committees and Council Meetings…

Some people still believe that being an elected official in Richmond Hill and in York Region is a part-time job. It isn’t.

Some believe that the job is 9 -5 p.m. But it isn’t.

Part of what makes my job as an elected representative for the Town of Richmond Hill exciting and interesting is the variety of residents , community groups, and businesses which work in partnership with the Town. I have the opportunity to learn something new every day. I attend many functions outside the day-to-day business of reading agendas, reports, listening to constituents, and attending Committee or Council meetings both at the Town and at the Region.

Since this BLOG business is new to me and I don’t have a webmaster to post events or opinions for me, I am currently updating some of the events over the past few months which I had the pleasure of attending.

As my computer skills progress – another learning opportunity – I hope that you will enjoy with me, the rich diversity and dynamic energy of Richmond Hill and York Region.



Celebrating Father’s Day with Mayor Barrow and Friends 2014

Friends, particularly from our Iranian community who support the re-election of Mayor Dave Barrow, held a campaign fundraiser at the Shiraz Restaurant on Yonge St.  The event was most entertaining as we were joined by the Mayor of Beverly Hills, Mayor Jimmy Delshad, and Iranian-American who is the first Iranian-American to hold public office in Beverly Hills.

The music that evening was also entertaining. We heard from a Canadian Denielle Bassels singer/songwriter and bandleader from Toronto. CBC describes her sound as, “…fresh warm and soulful, sultry yet uncontrived”. Her musical Influences include Ella Fitzgerald, Joni Mitchell, Nina Simone, and Stevie Nicks, to name but a few. In all, the evening was a very International event.


Iranian-American politician in the state of California. He became Mayor of Beverly Hills on March 21, 2007[1] and again on March 16, 2010.[2] He is the first Iranian-American to hold public office in Beverly Hills..


Federation of Canadian Municipalities Annual Conference and Trade Show

Me and the young Trudeau   Every year at the end of May – the beginning of June, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities holds Me and Tom Mulcair Federal NDP Leader 2014their Annual Conference and Trade Show. This year it was held in Niagara Falls. The event was recognized by Prime Minister Stephen Harper who has attended the conference in the past.

At every AGM and Conference, the FCM offers the opportunity to attend workshops and study tours so that elected representatives from across Canada may learn about issues of municipal concern and how to better manage their municipality.

Workshops are given on building and financing infrastructure, affordable housing, public transit, agriculture, climate change, crime and police work, natural disaster management, municipal budget management and taxes. There are many opportunities to engage with other elected officials from across the country and speak with Members of Parliament. The FCM also holds policy forums to educate our elected reps about the policies created by our Standing Committees. It is always a very busy and informative 4 days with the fringe benefits being the time shared with Federal leaders.  I also had a ridiculously silly moment with Comedian Rick Mercer when we posed for a “selfie”…



A Survey for Animal Services in Richmond Hill

Over the course of May and June, the Town’s Planning Department reached out to all residents who have an interest in Animal Services in Richmond Hill. The Town has adopted a ‘Responsible Pet Ownership’ approach to provide pet owners with services for pet owners including animal patrol, education and outreach, enforcement, a shelter and adoption centre, pet licensing and off-leash dog areas. With public education, pet owners will be supported for creating and maintaining a positive relationship between their pets and the community. Through this outreach program, a survey was conducted to help inform residents and gather their responses on Animal Services across the Town. This is good work; building relationships with pet owners and residents..


Arts Contest Gala 2014

The Arts Contest Gala held on the evening of Thursday, May 22nd was attended by Council members Deputy Mayor, Vito Spatafora, Councillor for Ward 4, David West and myself. Past Councillor for Ward 4, David Bishop was the Master of Ceremonies and Louise Procter Maio, Chief Executive Officer of the Richmond Hill Public Library opened the event and assisted with the prize awards. The Arts Categories included: Photography, Visual Art, Poetry and Short Stories. The participants were local students from grades 7 – 9. It was wonderful to see the calibre of art expression and effort made by these young people. It takes courage to reveal your thoughts, feelings, and ability to create through various art mediums. Bravo to all those artistic risk takers.




Police Appreciation Night 2014

On Tuesday, May 13th I attended the 22nd Annual Police Appreciation Night. Over the years I have attended most of these evenings and I am always impressed by the community work by our police. Most people just think of police as enforcement officers but in fact they are community leaders and community builders. They give hundreds of hours of time to a variety of community groups and charities. Once a year they celebrate the best of their police officers and those who support their efforts. Recognition is based on their contributions to the police community and the greater community over and above their daily work.

Last but never least, it is always wonderful to be introduced to the ‘Chief for a Day’!  This year the ‘Chief for a Day’ was Rami Huijbregts-Aoudeh. He is from Buttonville Public School and his favourite song?  ‘Happy’ by Pharell Williams..


Hand in Hand Gala

On May 3rd at the Angus Glen Golf and Country Club, I attended the ‘Hand in Hand’ Gala to raise awareness of the trauma of childhood sexual abuse.

I had the pleasure of meeting in person the CBC news network anchor, Suhana Meharchand. This is in fact the second time that I have met her in person and she is always lively, engaging, and very charming. She is also a favourite of my son who had the opportunity to work with her at CBC for a couple of years. 

I also was fortunate to be seated at dinner with a woman from Markham who is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. She has worked very hard to manage the emotional and psychological damage that has been with her throughout her adult life. She praised her husband and her children for their support and understanding. There are times when you are seated at a table for what feels like an eternity but the conversation with that client of the YRAP was very informative and inspirational.

Women from across Canada made Teddy Bears to be donated to the charity. The Teddy Bears were then offered to attendees for $100 each and with that donation, an hour of therapy is given to a client of the York Region Abuse Program. Mr. George Macri of J-G Cordone, Investments Ltd. was a major sponsor of the event. Good Work!.



On Sunday, April 27, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. at the Joseph and Wolf Lebovic Jewish Community Centre, I attended the Community Holocaust Commemoration with Mayor Barrow, Deputy Mayor Vito Spatafora, Councillor David West, Councillor Godwin Chan and a variety of Members of Parliament, Members of Provincial Parliament, and some elected representatives from across York Region including the Chair of York Region, Bill Fisch and the Chief of Police, Eric Joliffe. It was a moving ceremony which included reading the names of the victims of the Nazi holocaust and a candle lighting to honour the six million Jewish victims; the survivors; those who offered resistance; the righteous among the nations; and the allied armed forces as liberators and all the victims of Nazi persecution. This tragic time in human history will never be forgotten..