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Introducing our new Scarborough newsletter

Every week, I’ll provide fresh updates on your community, profile local leaders, highlight hidden gems and share upcoming events.

After analyzing feedback from our month-long research project this summer, which looked at four GTA communities that are underserved by existing media outlets, we decided to first focus on Scarborough. Despite the community’s sizeable population of more than 630,000, it gets lost in the daily churn of the news cycle. And when Scarborough does get mentioned in the news, residents complain that reports focus on gun violence and other criminal activities. At the same time, local publications haven’t been able to keep up with Scarborough’s growth to accurately reflect residents’ — that is, your — daily lives.

Right now, I’m going from east side to west side, and from uptown to downtown — all within Scarborough, of course — to interview community leaders about what I should investigate. (You can also tell me what to cover by filling in this survey, and I’d love if you passed it along to friends and family, too.) I’m already seeing common themes emerge, including concerns over transit, affordable housing and street safety.

As you well know, Scarborough usually gets a bad rap in traditional media and sometimes even in popular culture. Those stories dwell on crime and grime in the community, which was once nicknamed “Scarberia” and “Scarlem.”

So, help me fill in gaps in news coverage here. The conversations I have with community members will drive my storytelling, whether that’s a deep dive into the Scarborough subway extension, or a photo gallery highlighting artwork in Scarborough’s alleyways and underpasses.

In exchange, every week via my newsletter (sign up here!), I’ll provide fresh updates on your community, profile local leaders, highlight hidden gems and share upcoming events.

Speaking of events, you can also catch me around town as I connect with folks across Scarborough. Next week, I’ll be attending local candidates’ debates for the upcoming municipal elections, so come say hi if you see me (scroll down for more information on the debate dates and locations). And if you haven’t already voted in the advance polls, be sure to cast your ballot on Oct. 22! 

I’ll also be available for a quick chat every Wednesday from 3 to 4 p.m., either in person at the Scarborough Civic Centre library or online via Twitter (I’ll announce how I’ll be hosting these office hours ahead of time). If you want to set up a longer meeting, give story tips and feedback, or just shoot me a friendly note, reply to this email.

I look forward to all of your messages — especially if they’re shout-outs to Scarborough!

 

Spotlight

Brenda Thompson, co-chair of Scarborough Transit Action, a grassroots organization advocating for a 50-stop LRT (light rail transit) network in Scarborough.

Brenda Thompson has been living in Scarborough for almost 20 years, and transit is a major concern for her. As co-chair of the grassroots organization Scarborough Transit Action, Brenda can often be seen on Line 3 Scarborough (better known to locals as the SRT or RT) and TTC buses serving the community, trying to engage transit riders in a conversation about their needs.

“I find it frustrating that as a transit rider in Scarborough, if I’m trying to get to Malvern or I’m trying to get to [University of Toronto] Scarborough or to Rouge Park, it can take me up to an hour to get there by bus. And I’m transferring buses,” she tells me. “I think it’s an assault on our dignity. I think we have a right to certainly get where we need to go quickly by public transit, and we have a right to have a comfortable ride.”

Let’s meet up

I’ll be at these election-related events next week, and hope to meet some of you there:

 

ICYMI

“When I was writing the book, my editor asked me to make a mental map of all the places in the novel,” tweeted Scarborough author Catherine Hernandez.

 

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