Mall wide Seniors’ Month event at Mosaic and the Shops on Steeles and 404: Music, Dance and Theatre in Appreciation of Seniors and community

June 17, 2019 in Community, Social and isolation |

June 14th was a day for celebrating, for connection, for interests, activities, inclusiveness, multi-cultural engagement and community. It was also a day for showing how we can transform places where people go to transact to one where we can also connect, bump into one another and experience.


At Mosaic, with the help of the management of the Shops on Steeles and 404 we staged a music, dance and theatre appreciation event for Seniors’ Month. The event was held in the mall itself!!


Jay Franco – One Man Big Band


Humber Actors Puppetry


Karen Millyard Danceweavers

We had more than 50 people attend: around 50 who were sitting in the seating prepared and more who were looking on from a distance.


Yes, everyone in the mall that day took part, either from a distance or from up close and personal.

If you hold regular events in public spaces, this allows some to engage at a distance and others to be up closer and more personal.  What matters more may be what happens over time: many of those who attended this event have come to Mosaic’s open community space events before, and know each other. This dynamic is important.

We had public space interaction, social space interaction, personal space and intimate space interaction. People were able to appreciate from a distance or dance with others up close. A range of preferences were provided for.

One Man Big Band (Jay Franco) provided music and dance at the start of the event:


Dancing as it went on…..




Then enter a youth theatre performance from Humber College Actors & Puppeteers: a well delivered comedic performance that combined a puppet cooking class with a tongue in cheek guide to dating for those who may have gotten out of the swing of things.


Then we switched back to lessons in English folk dancing:




Third places in our communities

We would like to see more creative use of space in our communities.

Every square foot of our public space is a potential stage for communication, creativity and activity.

Developing these “third places” for natural community interaction is very important. Most of these spaces exist outside the institutional and health care realm and tend to be neglected when assessing community funding and grant decisions.

We urge our communities to look beyond the “doing to” deficit based model that has driven the institutional focus on community development hitherto towards an inclusive, active community based model that embraces all aspects and areas of our communities, our neighbourhoods, our businesses and our private individuals.

“Neighbours and Communities” group

A special thank you to members of Mosaic’s “Neighbours and Communities” group. The Neighbours and Communities group is a grassroots group looking at community engagement and voice at the community and neighbourhood level. The first few months of group has been spent looking at social networks, social capital, meaningful communication and the need for collaboration.  It has also been introduced to the differences between asset based models of community development and the “doing to” model that tends to focus on peoples’ and communities’ deficits and weaknesses.

The group is looking at walkable neighbourhoods and after the summer break will be looking to reach out to local organisations, businesses and people to assess how we can all develop closer connection with community and support community building.


Marty and Miriam at the Neighbours and Communities Information Desk


Ramon and Regina at the event desk!

clip_image034 And Calvin, who appeared to be actively engaging with everyone….

A simple plan to address social isolation

At Mosaic we have a simple plan to address social isolation. And because this last Saturday was also World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) our simple plan for community development also addresses one of the biggest risk factors for elder abuse, that of social isolation.

Our simple plan for reducing social isolation and community engagement is as follows:

A) Encouraging meaningful conversation and communication beyond the simple hello, how is the weather, how are you. Ask another question or two.

Recent research points out that people are actually more open and receptive to talking to strangers than you might think. But, let us not forget that we also often lack meaningful conversation with those we see day to day and that are close to us. 

B) Develop socially supportive networks and culture in our walkable areas: these are our close neighbourhoods and our immediately walkable communities. Note that walkable may mean different things for different people and will vary according to how supportive our neighbourhood is. 

C) Opportunities to engage in interests and activities that allow for a wide variety of interests and social needs.   It is important that these opportunities do not frame participants as suffering from a deficit or a need but are considered as people who are able to contribute to community and its vitality.

D) An awareness of the importance of diversity, inclusivity and most importantly of empathy. Building a culture of empathy allows to take an interest in the realities of our joint existence and our rights to our own unique individuality within a social and community context. Our social interactions in public space should not exclude others, but should provide opportunity for connection with those important inner realms of being (social, personal and intimate space).

All of the above are dependent on the need for collaboration across our communities: individuals, private businesses, public sector and local governments, our environment and use of space. This is big picture, this is grass roots reaching out and connecting with our wider infrastructure, this is the development of voice, of awareness and empowerment and personal and community growth.

Let us move from the deficit, the bias, the need to the ability, the capability and potential of individuals and communities.  We can have both the simple and the diverse experience, the engaged and the reflective solo moments.

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