Event Details

Neighbourhood-Based Strategies that Reduce Poverty: The Parkdale People's Economy Project

Thursday, October 27, 2016
Victor Willis, Executive Director, The Parkdale Activity - Recreation Centre (PARC)

How do we bring together numerous diverse non-profits, to review and focus on aligning our organizational mandates with community-wide priorities, that aim to build a healthy, equitable neighbourhood?

These thoughts are particularly important when we consider the changing urban landscapes, shifts in funding, mounting pressures of gentrification, and deepening poverty.

A network of community organizations in Parkdale – one of the few remaining affordable downtown neighbourhoods in Toronto – have undertaken an extensive community-driven planning initiative to develop their own neighbourhood strategy to guide the future of neighbourhood change in an equitable direction. What lies at the heart of Parkdale’s initiative is building a collective social infrastructure, as well as economic alternatives that would advance community control, such as the Community Land Trust and supportive workforce development built on alternative currency.

Join this webinar with Victor Willis, Executive Director of PARC, to take-in lessons and challenges about how diverse organizations have worked collectively to move beyond organizational boundaries and build more equitable local economies.


Register Here


About the Speaker 

Victor Willis, Executive Director, PARC

Victor_willis-407137-edited.jpegVictor's involvement in community and mental health initiatives spans thirty years, from the 519 Church Street Community Centre to the Trinity Square Cafe Enterprises, followed by ten years at the Gerstein Crisis Centre before accepting his current role at PARC in 1999. He has actively supported many community development activities, including the Community Fire Response Protocol, a committee he chaired to establish a city-wide initiative to assist marginalized residents of rooming houses with the after effects of a fire.

He was the Co-Chair of the St. Joseph’s Health Centre Mental Health & Addiction Population Panel for seven years; the chair of the St. Joseph’s Health Centre Strategic Population panel for five years, and a member of the performance council for four years. Victor was a board member of the Parkdale Village BIA for six years and the chair of the West End Food Coop prior to opening the store and for three years afterwards. He is a trustee at CAMH, sits on the CAMH Audit, Finance & Resource as well as the Clinical Quality Committees. Similarly as a board member of the Daily Bread Food Bank, he sits on the Finance Committee and is chair of the Program Committee. Victor is also chair of the newly formed Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust.

Victor’s knowledge of mental health and addiction issues are rooted in both his personal and family experiences and long involvement in the field.


nancy.jpegNancy Henderson, Director, Parkdale Community Legal Services

Nancy is the Clinic Director at Parkdale Community Legal Services. Parkdale is a teaching clinic for Osgoode Hall Law School and part of the network of community legal clinics delivering poverty law services throughout Ontario. PCLS is also actively engaged in community development and community organizing in West Toronto. PCLS has been a proud contributor to the work of the Parkdale Community Economic Development Plan and continues activities with working groups. Nancy spends additional volunteer time as the Vice-Chair of Social Planning Toronto. She has experience in a variety of comprehensive community initiatives. Before coming to Toronto, Nancy was the Executive Director for SPARC BC (Social Planning and Research Council) and had previously worked in senior management with BC’s legal aid society and BC’s Law Society. She started out in a law practice in North Vancouver.