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June 2020 Newsletter PDF version

May/June Birthdays
Happy Birthday to all of our friends born in May & June! 

  • Jose C- May 2

  • Rosa M- May 4

  • Maryke O- May 9

  • Gail B- May 12

  • Amanda S- May 19

  • Tim H- May 22

  • Kirk C- May 24

  • John S- May 24

  • Donna H- May 25

  • Christine F- May 18

  • Nathan H- June 1

  • Rosalee E- June 13

  • Sharon O- June 16

  • Kimberly B- June 18

  • Joshua G- June 24

  • Chris H- June 25

  • Jeffrey D- June 30

If you want us to celebrate with you, please let us know your birthday!


A message from staff

Dear Friends,


We recognize that this is a difficult time and many of us are feeling sad, stressed, anxious, confused, scared or angry. 


These are normal and common responses during stressful situations like a pandemic. That’s why we want you to know that we are here to support you any way we can. We have also compiled a list of mental health resources for you, in case you need to access additional and professional support.


Please reach out if you are feeling overwhelmed, isolated and anxious. When the weight of what is going on in the world becomes heavy, remember: you are not alone.


We would be remiss not to speak about the recent violent acts of racism that continue to take place in the United States and right here at home in Canada.


We stand in solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter movement and the fight against systemic racism and the historic oppression of the black community.


At Our Place, we continue to be committed to diversity, inclusion, equality and racial justice. 


Black Lives Matter. Black Mental Health Matters. We stand with you.

~ Alanna, Christie, Dane, Jeanne, Jona, Kristel & Natasha  

Our Place Hours
In order to keep everyone safe, all programming in the centre is canceled until further notice. We will keep the Our Place website and Facebook page updated and hope to re-open as soon as it is safe for everyone.

In the meantime, we will continue with the following services:

Take-away Meals
Tuesday-Friday, between 2:00 and 5:00 pm.

Friendly Check-Ins
Sign up for once a week phone calls, Zoom calls or emails from staff. This will give you a chance to let us know what services you need and for us to provide you with support, information and referrals.  

If you would like to schedule a Zoom video call, please call the office or email Kristel at

Referrals & Assistance

If you need assistance filling out forms, requesting a shelter bed, finding housing, etc., call the office and we will do our best to help you.

Phone the Office

Staff will be available by phone Tuesday-Friday, between 1:00 and 5:00 pm. Call at 416-598-2919 if you need support.


The most common question we get lately is when Our Place will be reopening and we wish we had an answer for you!

We have to follow the guidelines set out by Public Health and ensure that we are doing our best to keep everyone healthy. We will let you know, when we know, and we will celebrate together when we are able to re-open.

When we do reopen, there will be changes to the way we used to do things before COVID-19. Although we can’t say exactly what it will look like, we do know the following will need to take place:


  • Screening before entering the building (temperature, symptom questionnaire). Only one person will be able to enter at a time.

  • Anyone with symptoms will not be allowed to enter and will be sent home.

  • You will need to put hand sanitizer on before entering the building.

  • No volunteers in the kitchen – staff only.

  • We will ask that you sanitize the member computer before and after each use. 

  • No groups in the small rooms to ensure physical distancing.

  • Staff will be wearing masks. Members will be encouraged to wear them as well. 

  • We ask that you maintain physical distancing (6 ft).

  • Large bags and buggies will not be allowed in the building.

  • No donations will be accepted.

Mental Health & Crisis Resources

  • Call 911 if you are in immediate danger or need urgent medical support.

  • Text WELLNESS to 741741 to access the Crisis Text Line. Provides immediate support.

  • Wellness Together: 1-866-0445 (24/7). Provides free counseling and support.

  • Gerstein Crisis Centre: (416) 929-5200 (24/7). This is a community-based crisis service for adults age 16+ in Toronto who are dealing with mental health issues and/or substance use issues and are currently in crisis. Also offers online face-to-face support, wellness groups, short term follow-up support, and referrals to other services.

  • Crisis Services Canada: 1-833-456-4566 (24/7) or text START to 45645 (4pm-midnight). This is support for people who are thinking about suicide.

  • Distress Centre of Greater Toronto: (416)-408-4357 (42/7). They provide emotional and crisis support.   

  • St. Michael’s Homes: (416) 926-8267 ext. 110. Addictions Services for men.

  • Assaulted Women’s Hotline: (416) 863-0511 or 1-866-863-0511 (24/7 crisis line)

The social isolation measures necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic are making it more difficult for those who are at risk of abuse or violence to safely reach out for help. Signal for Help is a simple one-handed sign someone can use on a video call. It can help a person silently show they need help and want someone to check in with them in a safe way.



If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911.

If you see someone use the Signal for Help,
check in with the person safely to find out
what they need and want you to do. 


For a full list of Drop-Ins and meals, please go to the Toronto Drop-In Network website, or call the Our Place office 416-598-2919.


Emergency Cooling Centres
The City’s Heat Relief Strategy has been updated for the 2020 summer season, in response to COVID-19, and to ensure that emergency heat relief opportunities are available and accessible to those who may need them. 

The Emergency Cooling Centres are offered to residents if they do not have access to a cool space and cannot keep cool in their home or outdoors. They will offer a publicly accessible, air-conditioned place to rest indoors and receive a cool drink. Staff who are trained to assist residents affected by the extreme heat will be on hand. Strict infection prevention and control measures will be in place.


In our community, Wallace Emerson Community Centre, located at 1260 Dufferin Street, will operate as an Emergency Cooling Centre from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Additional Emergency Cooling Centres will operate at the following community centres from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.:

  • Regent Park Community Centre, 402 Shuter St.

  • Malvern Community Centre Arena, 30 Sewells Rd.

  • Scarborough Village Community Centre Arena, 3600 Kingston Rd.

  • Amesbury Arena, 155 Culford Dr.

  • Domenico DiLuca Community Centre, 25 Stanley Rd.

Showers, Washrooms & Drinking Water
Cans of drinking water are available at Our Place for whoever needs it, Tuesday-Friday between 2 and 5 pm. Just ring the doorbell!

The City has opened a number of facilities with showers, washrooms, and drinking water for all individuals in need of these services.

Portable Toilets

  • Alexandra Park, 275 Bathurst St.

  • Jimmie Simpson Park, 870 Queen St. E.

  • Regent Park, 600 Dundas St. E

  • Wellesley Community Centre, 495 Sherbourne St. – Outside the Community Centre

  • Moss Park, 150 Sherbourne St.

  • Sunnyside Park, 1755 Lake Shore Blvd. W.

  • Little Norway Park, 659 Queen’s Quay W.

  • North-West corner of Lake Shore Blvd. and Spadina Ave. near the Gardiner/Lakeshore encampment


A Message to All
from Writing Group volunteer, Kathryn Dorrell


Set a goal to get outside. Covid has taken a lot away from us, but we can still safely social distance outside.

  • Set a goal of going outside for a daily walk for a set number of minutes. 

  • Make it a slow, mindful walk. Look at nature and listen to the sounds of nature.

  • If you are having trouble committing to this daily goal, get a friend to help you. 

  • Call a friend. Ask them to give you a call at a set time each day, such as 10 am, as a reminder to go for your walk outside.

  • Or agree that you will call them at a set time each day to confirm that you have gone for your walk. Fresh air is great for our spirits.


~ Missing you all, Kathryn Dorrell











What’s Write About This Pandemic
From Writing Group Volunteer, Peter Carter


When I was in journalism school, one of the veteran TV reporters I really looked up to was a man named Peter Trueman and not just because his first name was Peter.

For many years Trueman was the face and voice of GlobalTV news; and the thing I liked about him most was that at the end of each newscast, he would relate a simple happy story about somebody in Canada going about his or her daily life.

It could have been a Peterborough senior citizen’s surprise 85th birthday party or a high school graduation in Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia. Maybe a boy-scout troop in Rossland, B.C, returned from a Kootenays hiking trip with a feed of trout that they donated to a local drop-in centre.

At other times, Trueman would cite some reassuring statistic, like “in the year 2014-2015, more than 10 million Canadians made a visit to their local hospital emergency department. And nine out of 10 of them were in and out in under seven and a half hours.” (That’s true, by the way).

The system, Trueman reminded us, mostly works. 

Then he’d wind up the broadcast with the following: “That’s not news but that too is reality.”
You can see why I liked the guy. He didn’t let all the serious and dreadful news blot out real life.

I miss the Our Place Writing Group something awful. I think about it daily; and I hope and pray (in my own weird way) that all the Our Place regulars – staff and community members – are staying safe and healthy and as comfortable as possible during this weird time. 

But I also refuse to let this bizarre pandemic get me down. Every day I see examples of how it’s bringing out the best in people.

Not only that but I’m eagerly anticipating resuming our writing-group get-togethers. I already know there’ll be lots of vivid pandemic stories to be told. (Am I looking at the bright side of the pandemic or what?) If nothing else, Our Placers are survivors. 

I just thought of something. Wouldn’t Our Place be a great setting for one of those reality TV shows?  “Survivor: The Our Place Edition.” 

Those wusses on the TV show wouldn’t stand a chance against the men and women I’ve gotten to know and look forward to visiting every week at Our Place; people I have so much admiration for. 

Enjoy the nice weather, see you soon, and one more thing: Keep on writing. It’s good for what ails us.   That’s not news but that too is reality.


From the Kitchen of Our Place


Pizza Beans

A favourite of Alanna’s (sounds weird but it’s REALLY good!)


  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil

  • 1 large onion, chopped

  • 2 celery stalks, diced

  • 1 large or 2 regular carrots, diced

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper or red pepper flakes

  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced

  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) dry white or red wine (optional)

  • 4 ounces (115 grams) curly kale leaves, chopped or torn

  • 2 1/4 cups (550 grams) crushed tomatoes (28-ounce or 800-gram can minus 1 cup; reserve the rest for another use)

  • 1 pound (455 grams) cooked firm-tender giant white beans

  • Up to 3/4 cup (175 ml) vegetable broth

  • 1/2 pound (225 grams) mozzarella, coarsely grated

  • 1/3 cup (35 grams) grated Parmesan

  • 2 tablespoons (5 grams) roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish (optional)


  • Prepare the beans and vegetables: Heat the oven to 475 degrees. In a 2 1/2-to-3-quart (ideally oven-safe) deep sauté pan, braiser, or shallow Dutch oven, heat the olive oil on medium-high. Add the onion, celery, and carrots.

  • Season well with salt and black or red pepper. Cook, sauteing, until the vegetables brown lightly, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook for 1 minute more. Add the wine, if using, to scrape up any stuck bits, then simmer until it disappears, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the kale, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until collapsed, then add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Add the beans, and, if the mixture looks too dry or thick (canned tomatoes range quite a bit in juiciness), add up to 3/4 cup broth, 1/4 cup at a time. Simmer the mixture together over medium for about 10 minutes, adjusting the seasonings as needed.

  • If your pan isn’t ovenproof, transfer the mixture to a 3-quart baking dish. If it is, well, carry on.


Sprinkle the beans first with the mozzarella, then the Parmesan, and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until browned on top. If you’re impatient and want a deeper color, you can run it under the broiler. Finish with parsley, if desired.

Jeanne’s Peach Cake 


  • 1 large can of peaches, drained and mashed

  • 2 cups all purpose flour

  • 2 cups sugar

  • 2tsp bakingsoda


  • ¾ cup sugar

  • ¾ can regular evaporated milk

  • 1 stick butter or margarine

  • 1 cup coconut

  • 1 cup nuts


  • Drain the peaches, empty into large bowl and mash.

  • Add flour, sugar, baking soda and mix well.

  • Spray a 9x13 pan and pour in batter.

  • Bake in a 350 preheated oven for 35 minutes.

  • To make icing, boil everything but the nuts on top of the stove until thickened. Remove from heat, stir in nuts and spread on top of cooled cake.

Kristel’s Filipino Pancit Bihon
(Pancit Bihon refers to the thin rice noodles)

  • 1 (12 ounces) package dried rice noodles

  • 1 tsp vegetable oil

  • 1 onion, finely diced

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 cups diced cooked chicken breast meat

  • 1 small head cabbage, thinly sliced

  • 4 carrot, thinly sliced

  • 4 carrot, thinly sliced

  • ¼ cup of soy sauce

  • 2 lemons- cut into wedges, for garnish

  • 3 boiled eggs, sliced


1. Placed the rice noodles in a large bowl, and cover with warm water. When soft, drain, and set aside.
2. Heat oil in a wok or large skillet over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic until soft.
3. Stir in chicken, cabbage, carrots and soy sauce.
4. Cook until cabbage begins to soften. Toss in noodles, and cook until heated through, stirring constantly.
5. Transfer pancit to a serving dish and garnish with lemon wedges.
6. Place sliced eggs on top. Ready to serve!



Natasha’s Easy Oven-Baked Fish

  • ½ cup Soy Sauce

  • Salt & Pepper (to taste)

  • Juice of ½ lemon or lime

  • 2 minced garlic cloves

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 tbsp djon mustard

  • 2 tsp honey or maple syrup or brown sugar

  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes (if you like a bit of a kick!)

  • 2 fish fillet – you can use any kind of fish with this recipe. I usually buy whatever is on sale but my favorite is salmon.

  1. Mix all ingredients (except fish) together in a bowl with a fork or a whisk. Do a taste-test to see if you need more or less of any ingredient. 

  2. Place fish in baking dish and pour marinate over, ensuring it is completely covered. If you don’t have an oven-safe dish, you can use tinfoil.

  3. Bake at 400˚F for 10 minutes. Use a large spoon to carefully spoon the marinade over the top of the fish again. Cook for about 20 minutes or until fish is flakey.

  4. Serve with rice and veggies of your choice… enjoy! 

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