New Humanity Movement

Social Harmony and Art

TorontoThe community of Toronto writes of how they live universal fraternity in a cosmopolitan city full of charm, which also affords opportunities for peoples and cultures to meet which give a new ‘heart’ to the city.

From Norma Angel and Mary Laframboise – Canada This is probably one of the best known cities in the world: a cosmopolitan hub and the economic engine of Canada, Toronto is a fascinating North American city that extends for 46 km along the shores of Lake Ontario, delighting tourists and locals alike with its dockland panorama.
Toronto is a truly internation city. You have only to think that the emergency telephone number, the well known 911, is equipped to respond in 150 different languages.

It is sometimes thought that ‘Tkaronto’ is the original Iroquois name for this city, meaning ‘place where the trees stand in water’ but we now know that village is the original meaning of the word and we believe that our city faces a great challenge: to be the most multicultural village in the world.

Because of its great size and the diversity of the people who live there, it is necessary for Toronto to provide opportunities for its inhabitants to meet, it needs to encourage relationships between the various cultural and linguistic groups in order to promote understanding and reciprocal respect, leading to a profitable collaboration to the benefit of the city. There are so many people in the city who believe in a fraternity that makes its voice heard, whilst proposing activities that can create a ‘heart’ in this community.

Together with the young people we know, after we had considered, , how we could encourage this mutual recognition, we presented our ideas on how to improve community spirit to the Mayor and the Toronto City Council. Here are some of them:

The first was a series of slogans promoting friendship and fraternity through posters on the streets, on buses, on the underground, along the lines of ‘give a smile and get a smile back’ or ‘wipe the stereotypes from you heart and mind so as to get to know other cultures’. And also, ‘medicine for the heart: say sorry, fogive, make amends’ or ‘see everyone with new eyes today’.

We suggested a series of photos of every ethnic group with the rubric ‘ You are Beautiful’ finishing with a photo of children from all the groups which said, ‘Together we are beautiful’.

A few years ago, the Toronto Interreligious Council had identifed some practical ways of creating a sense of community encouraging people to call on their neighbours, ones they didn’t already know, providing a chance to get together by offering them coffee, lunch or sharing a common passion for sport or helping those who find themselves at the margins of the city.

They also focussed on the educational aspect with a project which helped to reinforce a sense of community amongst the children in an primary school.

Taking place at St Jerome’s in Weston Schoo,l this project lasted for three and a half years and received the ‘Practice Award’ from the Toronto Catholic District School Board while the minister for Public Instruction took a very positive interest in it.

The project aims to encourage the children to be good to each other by using the ‘dice of love’, used as a daily guide. At the end of each day, the school children share their ‘good news’ with the whole school, showing how respect, friendship and attentiveness towards everyone were growing, even during sporting activities.

It’s a way of living that stimulates life amongst the whole community, improving it and creating new opportunities for the future.
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