Creative Cities: Cultural Growth in Complex Adaptive Cities

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Urban Outdoor Education Day

 Project Title: Urban Outdoor Education Day

The Urban Outdoor Education Day provided elementary students with an opportunity to learn about the historical, cultural and environmental significance of east Toronto’s waterways and green spaces. The eastern Toronto waterways and green spaces make up the southern base of Canada’s only national urban park – Parks Canada’s Rouge National Urban Park.

The Urban Outdoor Education Day also featured Indigenous education sessions, environmental awareness activities and guided nature walks along Lake Ontario on the Pan Am Path; a network of over 80 kilometres of multi-use recreational trails connecting Toronto’s neighbourhoods (a legacy of the 2015 Pan and Parapan American Games).

The School of Cities Urban Outdoor Education Day was organized by School of Cities student academy members in partnership with the Toronto District School Board and Parks Canada.

Outdoor Education Day Poster

The Urban Outdoor Education Day was made possible with generous support and funding from the University of Toronto’s School of Cities.

Urban Outdoor Education Day
Urban Outdoor Education Day
Urban Outdoor Education Day



Working Group Members

Jennifer Sparks (Graduate Representative) – PhD in Higher Education
Project: Urban Outdoor Education Day
Jennifer is a PhD candidate in the Department of Leadership, Higher & Adult Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto. Her dissertation is focused on understanding family (parent) involvement in relation to student success in education. She is currently leading a study involving prospective and enrolled postsecondary students, parents of students and education professionals. One of the goals of her study is to collect data to describe family involvement behaviours and patterns in urban education settings versus rural. Her current study is an extension of the research and community outreach she began last year in association with the Toronto District School Board to encourage first-generation students to apply to and succeed in post-secondary education in Ontario. Jennifer's work was funded by the Ontario Ministry of Education’s Parents Reaching Out regional grant program.

Aysha Afzal (Undergraduate Representative) – Bachelor in Biology and Bio-Medical Communications
Project: Urban Outdoor Education Day
Aysha Afzal is pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology and Bio-Medical Communications at the University of Toronto, Mississauga. She is passionate about tackling issues humans face in their day to day lives and working towards improving the lives of patients who are terminally ill at hospitals by practicing concepts of whole-person care. Currently, she is part of a fellowship in which initiatives are taken to tackle intergenerational prejudice within communities. Moving forward, she hopes to get involved in urban innovation that proves to be sustainable and provides equal opportunity for all individuals!

Creative Cities: Cultural Growth in Complex Adaptive Cities – Individual projects

David Degrow – PhD Candidate, Center for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies
Individual Project: A Guide to Section 37 and Artistic Space in Toronto
David is a theatre maker, production manager, teacher and academic working in Toronto. He has been part of over three hundred theatre productions across Canada, and his designs have been nominated for three Dora Mavor Moore Awards. He is a doctoral candidate at the University of Toronto’s Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies, where his research focuses on the dialogue between theatre space and theatre companies, in terms of the art that theatres facilitate, the audiences that theatres create, and the relationships with the city around them that theatres exist in.

Miriam Borden – PhD Candidate, Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures
Individual Project: Raising the Curtain: An Exhibition of Toronto’s Yiddish Theatre
In her role as a doctoral student and instructor of Yiddish at the University of Toronto, Miriam endeavours to foster and promote knowledge of and deep engagement with Yiddish language and culture. Professionally, she has worked as Coordinator of the UJA Federation Committee for Yiddish, a community-funded volunteer programming body, and as a Yiddish translator and public tour guide for the Ontario Jewish Archives. She is a consultant for the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in New York and currently sits on the board of the Ashkenaz Festival.

Jackson Whitehead – Bachelor in Book and Media Studies and History, and minor in American Studies
Individual Project: The Collective
Jackson Whitehead is a fourth year U of T undergraduate student pursuing a BA in Book & Media Studies andHistory, and a minor in American Studies. He has a strong background and skill set in mixed media and digital arts. His work on the UNESCO Creative City Projects, Varsity News, and various articles, podcast and short film.