Winter Solstice Festival of Light!

On Friday December 21st and Saturday, 22nd we will be presenting the first Winter Solstice Festival of Light, with many events over the two days, featuring a community-wide Lantern & Fire Parade. The Parade will feature community members carrying lanterns they have made, helping to light the way on the shortest day of the year. Check the poster below for the full schedule! If you are interested in volunteering at this event, please contact Zehra at 
In preparation for the festival, please join us this Saturday, December 15, 2-4pm for a Diasporic Genius Lantern Making Workshop for adults and children ages 10 and up. It’s free! The workshop takes place in our Creativity Centre in East York Town Centre, suite B20 downstairs just past the washrooms on your right. Share your creations with the community next week at the Solstice Festival of Light!  (See poster below) 


Coming soon…

Telling and listening develops our imaginative and empathic skills. Well used, this can build bridges between cultures, groups, individuals. Storytelling activities weave threads between all people, old and young, preserves the memory of a people and the landscape. It gives meaning and cohesion in an increasingly complicated world. Through the creative imagination our thoughts grow wings and the heart finds its voice.
We will be working with the spoken word as an artistic and unique expression of the inner/whole human being and look at how this works and affects the community at large. We will be doing playful and inspirational oral exercises in the group with a focus on finding our voice, learning to “see” and opening the doors to the world of creative imagination. We will be working with traditional stories, myths, spontaneous tellings and life stories in a developmental and strengthening way. Everyone is welcome.
***It looks like it’s going to rain! So we’re taking our Harvest up the road to our Creativity Centre in the East York Town Centre (119A-45 Overlea Boulevard) where our festivities will be in full swing with music, food, crafts, games, and story! We’ll see you tomorrow from 1PM-6PM!***


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Check out the new DG Creativity Centre at the East York Town Centre! Stay tuned for details about our grand opening.





Check out the blog section for a map of R.V. Burgess Park!


The Ex Factor: Read about us in the Grid

No one would ever mistake the CNE’s ramshackle design for a pristine architectural vision. But if you can look past the grimy midway rides, carb-loaded cuisine, and general cacophony, this old-school institution just might reveal an inspiring model for our city’s future.

By: Edward Keenan

“Local independent musician David Buchbinder of the Juno-award-winning Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band has been working on a similar premise with his Diasporic Genius project. He and his colleagues envision the creation of permanent “21st Century Village Squares” across Toronto, built and used by local residents for food, craft, and other marketplaces, as well as arts and cultural performances. The group has been establishing a pilot project centred around arts events and community storytelling in Thorncliffe Park, a neighbourhood made up of concrete towers surrounded by parking lots and open courtyards. It kicked off with the “Festival of Story” during a “Neighbours Night Out” street festival earlier this summer. The idea behind Diasporic Genius is to create a village bazaar–style template that can be adjusted according to the desires, needs, and cultural interests of different communities. The photos of the pilot project events and the examples of its visionon the Diasporic Genius websitelook, interestingly, a lot like the CNE, filled with tents, stalls, and marching bands amid the crowds.
“The thing about the Ex is that it [shows how quickly change can occur], but does so in a narrow, first-level kind of way,” says Buchbinder. “It’s not embedded in the community. There are a number of ways you can make an incredible transformation in a space overnight. What we’re trying to do is make sure they’re part of some ongoing development in the community, that they have roots and resonance.”

Read more:

Diasporic Genius: Transforming the City Through Creative Power

Diasporic Genius Director and Ashkenaz co-founder, David Buchbinder, returns to the Festival to discuss DG’s work.  In his own words: “Toronto stands at a turning point, faced with a unique opportunity represented by the powerful combined forces of its openness to social and cultural innovation and the fact that it contains within its borders the ‘wisdom of the world’. We have here the greatest in-gathering of Diasporic peoples the world has ever seen in the context of a settled culture that may be finally ready to step into its own greatness. I believe that this change can be sparked through the power of Creativity and the catalyst of Story, and that is what Diasporic Genius is about. Diasporic Genius represents the next round of the vision that led me to create Ashkenaz in 1995.” Join Buchbinder as he presents the vision and program of Diasporic Genius in an interactive lecture that will bring you a direct experience of the city of the future.


Monday September 3rd, 3pm, Miss Lou’s Room, FREE

David Buchbinder on the Agenda with Steve Paikin

Diasporic Genius animates the Neighbours Night Out/Open Streets Festival in Thorncliffe Park


Painting the Streets with Neighbourhood Stories

Using “story” to transform communities?


David BuchbinderOn Friday March 30, David Buchbinder, in his role as founder and CEO of Diasporic Genius, explores the question of how we can use story to change our communities, our city and the world. Join him as he explores story as a living force that not only gives shape and meaning to our lives and our every endeavour, used properly it also is a technology of creative development.

Friday, March 30th, 2012
8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Centre for Social Innovation720 Bathurst Street, Toronto 

Creative Mornings Toronto
Creative Mornings
is a monthly breakfast lecture series for creative types. Each event is free of charge, and includes a 20-minute talk, plus coffee! The series began in New York City just over three years ago. Since that time it has spread across the world. Toronto’s Creative Mornings has been running since November 2011 and, as in most locales, the Toronto talks have focused on design. Organizer Behrouz Hariri is now widening the scope of the talks.

Sponsor: Jet Cooper
Host: CSI Design Common

Tickets are sold out, but do check out David’s talk on Creative Morning’s Vimeo channel.