Weekly Library Program Celebrates Local Heroes During COVID-19 Crisis

This June, the Library will present a series of weekly online programs called "Innovation Council Presents: Community Rising" that celebrate local heroes from the arts, health, non-profit and technology sectors who made a positive impact on their community during the COVID-19 crisis.

The programs are curated and hosted by members of TPL’s Innovation Council, an advisory group of recognized leading individuals from the academic, creative, and technology communities.

Each program takes place on Wednesday afternoons from 3 to 3:30 pm and gives a mid-week pick-me-up of inspiring stories: a conversation between a local hero and a member of TPL’s Innovation Council.

Hear about how community leaders got their inspiration, how they mobilized, what they’ve learned, and their plans for the "new normal" as we re-open from lockdown. Join us to give them a weekly shoutout and celebrate their achievements!


Program details are listed below with a link to more info. Programs take place online. You can register ahead or tune in on the day of.


Community Rising: CareMongering-TO

Valentina and Zahra
Left to right: Valentina Harper and Zahra Ebrahim

CareMongering-TO helps organize the local community on the grassroots level to ensure vulnerable members have access to food, housing, healthcare and other necessities and to spread kindness during the COVID-19 crisis. Since launching in March, the group has over 24,000 members and helped inspire similar groups across Canada and the world.

Come hear from Valentina Harper, one of the organizing founders of the group, on the inspiration behind the group, the moments that have inspired and touched her the most, and what the group's future plans are. 

Interviewed by Innovation Council member Zahra Ebrahim (City Builder and Organizer).

Wednesday, June 3, 3 to 3:30 pm.


Community Rising: #ShareMyCheque

Bronwyn and Emily
Left to right: Bronwyn Oatley and Emily Porta

Economic hardship has affected many during the COVID-19 crisis. #ShareMyCheque is a campaign that was launched by Resource Movement and Toronto/Tkaronto Mutual Aid to encourage people with financial security to share their excess income, savings or government benefits to people facing financial challenges as a result of the pandemic.

Bronwyn Oatley from Resource Movement will talk about their initiative and how 85 individuals to date have taken the pledge to redistribute over $35,000 on a monthly basis to support those impacted by the pandemic. 

Interviewed by Innovation Council member Emily Porta (Founder and CEO, Bridge School).

Wednesday, June 10, 3 to 3:30 pm.


Community Rising: Bringing Art and Art Audiences Online

Left to right: Work by Lorna Mills and Jeremy Bailey

In the early hours of the pandemic, Lorna Mills alongside Faith Holland and Wade Wallerstein co-curated Well Now WTF, among the first and most acclaimed online art exhibitions to open in response to the pandemic and the worldwide closure of cultural spaces.

The exhibition, launched in early April, includes more than a hundred artists, many of them internet-based, from Toronto and around the world. It has since acted as a platform for multiple weekly live streamed events and even a sequel. Coverage from dozens of publications including Canadian Art, CBC, Art Forum and the New York Times have cemented the exhibition and Lorna Mills as a local hero and instigator of hope for artists and art audiences in Toronto and across the globe.

Interviewed by Innovation Council member Jeremy Bailey (Artist and Head of Experience, Freshbooks).

Wednesday, June 17, 3 to 3:30 pm.


Community Rising: 3D Printing PPEs

Azad and Zahra
  Left to right: Dr. Azad Mashari and Zahra Ebrahim

Dr. Azad Mashari (Director) and his team at the Lynn and Arnold Irwin Advanced Perioperative Imaging Lab (APIL) at Toronto General Hospital recognized the increased need for Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) in supporting healthcare workers in their fight against COVID-19.

Working with Glia, a company that develops regulatory-approved, open-source medical devices in partnership with academic and industry partners, Dr. Mashari mobilized a group of local Toronto organizations with a goal to produce thousands of face shields. These shields included components created by 3D printers, including from printers on loan from the Library.

Panel discussion with Vahid Anwari (Toronto General Hospital) and interviewed by Innovation Council member Zahra Ebrahim (City Builder and Organizer).

Wednesday, June 24, 3 to 3:30 pm.