This is Our City


This is our city.
Toronto.
It belongs to all of us.



This is our city.
A birthday party on a hot summer night.  DJs playing music.  People laughing.  Delicious food.  Birthday cake.  Children staying up past their bed time to enjoy the special occasion.  1880 Sheppard.  The community gathering to celebrate.  It is what summer is made for.

This is our city.
Two gangs.  Red and Blue.  Menacing stares.  No respect for life.  Shots fired through an innocent crowd.  The party is over.  Ephraim is dead.

This is our city.
Tears are shed.  Hearts are broken.  A family is devastated.  A community mourns.  And a unified voice wells up from the city, “Someone should do something so this never happens again!”

This is our city.
Witnesses wonder, “Should I or shouldn’t I?”  Principle says yes.  Fear says no.  Intimidation tips the scales.  What would you do?

This is our city.
Detectives tirelessly work their case.  Prosecutors carefully present their arguments.  Jury members dutifully do their work.  The verdict returns: “Not Guilty…Not Guilty.” More tears.  And an unhealed wound gets deeper.

This is our city.
The bullet came from somewhere.

This is our city.
So much adversity.

This is our city.
It belongs to all of us.

We, at Ephraim’s Place Community Centre believe that the first step toward dealing with the adversity in our city is to embrace the fact that it belongs to all of us.  This is our city.  And every one of Toronto’s residents needs to take ownership for our adversity.  We cannot afford to pass the buck, delegate the responsibility to someone else or relegate the problem to smaller segments of our community.  It belongs to all of us.  As always, the first step toward recovery is admitting we have a problem.   And as long as the lives of our youth are cut short in a hail of bullets, we must admit we have a problem.  And then we must do something about it.  Government has a role, but they can’t do it all.  Police have a role, but they can’t do it all either.  It will take all of us.  If we all do what we can, it will make a difference.  The possibilities are endless.  Spend some quality time with your children.  Have a cup of coffee with your neighbours.  Volunteer at a community centre.  Give to a charity.  Cooperate with police investigations.  Be creative.  Just do it because this is our city.  It belongs to all of us.

This is our city…but we believe our city is more than this.
There is no question that much adversity has been felt in our city.  But a closer look reveals that there is so much more going on in our city—so much more going on in our community.  Ephraim’s Place Community Centre was established in the very community where Ephraim Brown lost his life.  The name “Ephraim” means to bring “blessing from adversity.”  And everything we do is to bring blessing to our community.

The story of adversity has been told many times.  But we think the story of blessing is a much better story to tell.  And when it is told, it shows our city for what it really is.





This is our city.
An amazing group of young men and women gather together to mentor youth from Kindergarten to Grade Six through a basketball program.  Every practice includes a character building lesson along with instruction on basic basketball skills.  Every game begins with NBA style introductions as the players enter the gym to the cheers of the crowd.  And every game ends with an award presented to every player reinforcing the skills and character lessons taught in practice.  Players learn violence is not an option.  Players learn they can be successful in life.  Players have mentors invest in their lives.

This is our city.
Every day from September through December and from February through June a group of 20 single moms meet at Ephraim’s Place Community Centre to prepare to take their GED exam for their high school equivalency.  With daycare provided, the mom’s are tutored daily by a certified teacher.  The purpose of this program is to help moms who have dropped out of high school to put their lives back on track.  Many of the moms go on to further education or to a better job.

This is our city.
Project HEARTcore is an after school program for grades seven through eight and nine through twelve.  In this program students learn the personal leadership skills that will help them be successful throughout their lives.  In addition, students also learn to identify needs in our community and apply their skills and talents to meet those needs.  The purpose of this program is to not only prevent youth from being involved in gangs but to help them to become a positive force for change in our world.

This is our city.
Every summer volunteers from across Toronto and beyond gather together to Refresh the homes of Toronto Community Housing Residents.  Volunteers and residents paint together.  Volunteers and residents eat lunch together.  Volunteers and residents work together to help their neighbours.  Volunteers and residents work together to create an amazing sense of community pride and unity.  The purpose of this program is to bring people together, to break down the barriers that divide us, and to improve the living conditions of our neighbourhood.

Each of these programs brings blessing to our community.  Each of these programs was born out of the adversity experienced in our city.  Each of these programs is run by Ephraim’s Place Community Centre.  We, at Ephraim’s Place, believe that the story of blessing is a more accurate story of our city.  And we are determined to continue working tirelessly until the story of blessing becomes so familiar and so commonplace that whenever the story is told, it causes all of us to say….

This is our city.


Here’s how you can help…

For more information about Ephraim’s Place and our programs click here>

To join our team as a volunteer and multiply the blessings in our city, visit our volunteer page to learn how you can do that or contact us at info@ephraimsplace.com or call us at 416-888-7879.

To invest in our community and help strengthen our ability to deliver these quality programs, text “EPCC” to 45678 to donate $5 to Ephraim’s Place or make a donation of any amount through our website.