We believe in The Esplanade being a vibrant community
where all people
sharing our park
and our stories
are proud Esplanadians.
700+ project participants
18,000+ audience members
Jamii (Swahili for “community”) is an arts organization with the intent of building community and nurturing young women in leadership.
By creating shared memorable arts-based experiences, Jamii is on a mission to bring Esplanadians closer together to form greater social cohesion and bonded community. Since 2011, Jamii has produced over 130+ events, engaged more than 700 people in creative processes, worked with over 200 artists, and reached 18,000+ audience members and 31,000+ exhibit viewers. Jamii receives the support of Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council and Canadian Heritage.
In 2014, Jamii produced the Crombie Park Basketball Court Mural – now a Toronto landmark and one of the most photographed court in Canada.
In 2019, Jamii’s docu-film “At Heart, Citizens of The Esplanade” was presented the Public History Award by Toronto Heritage. More than 150 people participated in the creative process of this project.
In 2020, Jamii launched LAINI, an initiative to encourage young women to affirm their capabilities to become tomorrow’s creative leaders.
Even though Jamii is based in The Esplanade community, downtown Toronto, the organization is connected to the world: Throughout the past ten years, we have offered international experiences to youths - Cambodia (2011), China (2015) and South Africa (2017). Since 2018, our projects connect communities throughout the Province of Ontario, Canada, especially with “The Stories The Wind Carries”. In 2020, Jamii initiated projects with artists and socially minded individuals and organizations in Kenya, expanding its connections to the African community.
Jamii is the proud recipient of the 2020 Community Arts Award, awarded by the Toronto Arts Foundation.
Jamii has a charitable status and was founded in 2011 by Isorine Marc.
In 1976 The Esplanade - a downtown Toronto planned community - was created with a pioneering vision of diversity. Today it is home to a very diverse population - with Esplanadians of all ages, abilities, household incomes and cultural backgrounds living together. We come from distant horizons, and yet together we live a harmonious and friendly day-to-day life.
However, with such a wide diversity, how do we ensure that intercultural understanding prevails; that economical disparity does not build walls between families; that both people with special needs and seniors are engaged and connected; and that all young people have an opportunity to express their unique voices?
We believe that part of the solution is to offer inter-generational programming that is free and accessible by all, along with an inclusive, accepting and welcoming environment where all people can connect, gather and create together. We believe that offering both access and engagement opportunities in the arts contributes to a more cohesive, united and supportive community.