Well-attended Government & Community Services Fair was held on Feb. 11, 2017 at Cloverdale Mall

Etobicoke-York MPP Ptere Milczyn, in conversation with a visitor at the Government & Community Services Fair, Feb. 11, 2017. Jaan Pill photo

Etobicoke-York MPP Peter Milczyn, in conversation with a visitor at the Government & Community Services Fair, Feb. 11, 2017. Jaan Pill photo

I’ve been attending the annual Government & Community Services Fair at Cloverdale Mall since at least 2013, when I was setting up displays for the Jane’s Walks that I was organizing in previous years in Long Branch, with my friend Mike James.

In more recent years I’ve been there as a volunteer helping out with Etobicoke-York MPP Peter Milczyn’s Office.

Reinhabitation through narrative

The experience of being at the same mall, year after year, to take part in the annual Government & Community Services Fair, brings to mind for me the concept of reinhabitation of a place through narrative, a topic that I’ve discussed at a previous post about storytelling. The Oxford Dictionary defines reinhabitation as: The action or an instance of reinhabiting a place.

I arrived at the mall at 10:00 am, at a time when the displays were still beings et up. The vent began at 11:00 am. Jaan Pill photo

I arrived at the mall at 10:00 am, at a time when the displays were still being set up. The event began at 11:00 am. Jaan Pill photo

The performance of reinhabitation through narrative is a key element of storytelling (as I see it) and it’s a key feature of the cycles of everyday life. Metaphorically, at any given time and place, we can celebrate the fact that “the people make the place.”

Every year, when the Government & Community Services Fair is held at Cloverdale Mall, it’s reinhabited all over again through the people who attend, and the stories that they share, that day.

Painting at Community Living Toronto display. I very much like this painting. Great composition, Great use of colour. I'm really pleased I had the opportune to take a photo of it. Jaan Pill photo

Painting at Community Living Toronto display. I very much like this painting. Great composition. Great use of colour. I’m really pleased I had the opportunity to take a photo of it. Jaan Pill photo

Certainly, it’s the people who make Cloverdale Mall what it is, from one day to the next – and in fact, from one decade or even quarter-century to the next. I have heard that some people have been spending time, meeting with friends, at Cloverdale Mall for 30 or 40 years. What a great connection to have, with a place!

Helping out as volunteer at this event, from 10:00 am until 1:00 pm on Feb. 11, 2017, was a thoroughly enjoyable experience for me.

When you’re wearing a vest that says “Volunteer,” people stop to chat or ask questions. Because I’ve been at these events for many years, I know the answers. It’s satisfying to know that, by being a volunteer, a person can help out to ensure that things run smoothly at such an event.

I recalled that last year, one of my ongoing reading projects, at the time, had to do with what was happening in Venezuela.

This year, other topics, such as storytelling and urban design issues in Long Branch, where I live, are top of mind for me. I had not thought much about Venezuela recently, until today, when I thought about what I had written at a blog post, entitled Well-attended Government and Community Services Fair took place at Cloverdale Mall on Feb. 20, 2016, a year ago.

Venezuela

Jaan Pill photo

Etobicoke Historical Society display at Government & Community Services Fair a year ago (Feb. 20, 2016) at Cloverdale Mall. Jaan Pill photo

Etobicoke Historical Society display, Feb. 7, 2017. Jaan Pill photo

Etobicoke Historical Society display, Feb. 7, 2017. Jaan Pill photo

At the above-noted post, I noted that I had bought a copy of the New York Times, probably at Cloverdale Mall, which included an article about Venezuela. The article, which I read with much interest, prompted me to start borrowing books from the Toronto Public Library dealing with Venezuela.

Among the posts that I subsequently wrote, a year ago, was one entitled:

The Revolution in Venezuela: Social and Political Change Under Chávez (2011)

IMG_0362

A couple of puppies (here one of them is posing for a photo with a volunteer) at the Lions Foundation Dog Guides Canada display, got a lot of attention at the Fair. Jaan Pill photo

A subsequent post was entitled: Venezuela continues to move deeper into economic disarray: Feb. 9, 2016 New York Times article

Mississauga Halton LHIN

This year, one of the key pieces of information that I picked up, at the Fair, was in relation to the Mississauga Halton Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) which, as a brochure that I picked up notes, “guides ongoing and future initiatives in the development and implementation of a seamless health system for our communities.”

Detail from map showing boundaries for Mississauga Halton LHIN. Source: Mississauga Halton LHIN website

Detail from map showing boundaries for Mississauga Halton LHIN. Source: Mississauga Halton LHIN website

What I found noteworthy is the fact that South Etobicoke is part of this particular health network. That makes perfect sense to me. As I see it, I live in a city-region which includes both Toronto and Mississauga and extends far beyond as well.

Lots of brochures and reading materials to pick up

I will refer briefly to some of the reading materials that I picked up while I was at the Fair.

Among other things, I picked up:

    • A business card from Brands for Canada
    • A brochure entitled “The Living City Classroom: Bringing Nature Education to You” (Toronto and Region Conservation)
    • A St. James Food Basket brochure
    • A pamphlet, “Complaints about Municipalities” (The Office of the Ombudsman of Ontario)
    • “We Are Humber Quick Facts” (Humber College)
    • “Bird Gardens” brochure (TRCA)
    • Poster from Farm & Food Care Ontario. At the bottom of it, a text reads: “Virtual Farm Tours – Visit a real farm on your computer www.virtualfarmtours.ca “
    • Data visualization handout from the Central West LHIN and the Toronto Central LHIN
    • Poster for MPP Peter Milczyn’s 3rd Annual March Break Free Family Skate on March 15, 2017 at 2:00 – 4:00 pm at the MasterCard Centre for Hockey Excellence
    • “The Benefits of Inclusion in the Classroom,” a brochure from the Brock University Faculty of Education and Community Living Toronto
    • A pamphlet entitled: “The Journey Together: Ontario’s Commitment to Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples” (Ontario.ca/Reconciliation)

That’s a partial list.

For part of my time as a volunteer, I spent time at the the entrance to Cloverdale Mall where the Metro store is located. Every once in a while, a visitor to the Fair would ask a question, usually having to do with how to get to a particular display at the Fair. Sometimes people just stop[ to chat. When you're at the mall, there's lots of time to stop and talk.It's what people like to do, at Cloverdale Mall. Jaan Pill photo

For part of my time as a volunteer, I spent time at the the entrance to Cloverdale Mall where the Metro store is located. Every once in a while, people would ask me a question usually having to do with how to get to a particular display at the Fair. Sometimes people just stopped to chat. When you’re at the mall, there’s lots of time to stop and talk. It’s what people like to do, at Cloverdale Mall. Jaan Pill photo

I’m really pleased I’ve been to a good number of such events over the years.

One thing I’ve learned is that, if I pick up a brochure, I should make a point of reading it, within a day or two after the event. Otherwise, I’ll forget to have a closer look and the brochures just get left somewhere.

I much enjoyed the Government & Community Services Fair at Cloverdale Mall today. If you have the opportunity to attend a future Fair, I strongly recommend it.

Click on the photos to enlarge them; click again to enlarge then further

 

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