​​We believe in The Esplanade being a vibrant community

where all people

sharing our park

and our stories

are proud Esplanadians.

CONNECTING

ESPLANADIANS

SINCE 2011

 100+ events

300+ workshops

1700+ project participants

15,000+ audience members

30,000+ viewers

 

VIEW JAMII'S PRESENTATION DECK HERE.

 

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 100 events, engaged more than 1700 people in creative processes, worked with over 150 artists, and reached 15,000 audience members and 30,000 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 is launching 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 is initiating projects with artists and socially minded individuals and organizations in Kenya, expanding its connections to the African community.

 

Jamii has a charitable status and was founded in 2011 by Isorine Marc.

 

LOCAL CONTEXT:

 

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.

STAFF &

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Isorine Marc: Founder, Executive & Artistic Director

Isorine obtained her Masters Degree in Performing Arts Management in France and has since acquired international work experience in arts organizations such as The Paris Conservatoire (France), L’École des Sables (Toubab Dialaw, Senegal), Le Centre National Chorégraphique Mathilde Monnier (France), Ausdance Queensland (Brisbane, Australia), and fFIDA-TIDF 06 (Toronto). Isorine was CORPUS' Artistic Producer from 2006 to 2018 and founded Jamii in 2011. The Esplanade neighbourhood is Isorine's home and she is a passionate advocate for her community.

Zarita Adhiambo: Community Outreach Coordinator

Zarita is a Kenyan craft artist and creative entrepreneur who joined the Jamii team in Sept, 2019. A graduate of the Arts Administration and Cultural Management program at Humber College, she is passionate about effective management of arts institutions and projects so they can fully achieve their mandate. Zarita is keen on the role of the arts in social integration and enjoys bringing communities together for this cause. She has previously volunteered as an arts administrator at Ontario Pops Orchestra, The Richmond and Nai Children’s Choir.

Sharon McMillan: Co-President

A founding member of the Congress for the New Urbanism (Ontario Chapter) and a current Director of Communications in the Education Sector, Sharon McMillan has been an advocate for accessible, equitable and sustainable urban living for over 20 years.  Inspired by the diverse and inclusive Esplanade community, Sharon moved her family here in 2014 and sought a way to contribute to the vitality of this neighbourhood. She soon became President of the St. Lawrence Neighbourhood Association and now looks forward to continuing to help empower and amplify the voices and aspirations of residents here in her new role as Jamii's Co-President.

Jim Adams: Co-President

Jim Adams is a multidisciplinary artist and educator who combines his indigenous ways of being with contemporary art and scientific principles. He has worked as an indigenous educator in schools and institutions for the past ten years under his company Red Bear. Jim’s mother was a first generation Canadian, her parents having been born in Wales and Kent. He carries the DNA of the Swampy Cree and Innu from his paternal grandmother and the Mohawk from his paternal grandfather. This mix of nationalities gives Jim a great array of cultural connections to draw from. Both of his grandfathers were hunters and gatherers and knew their own respective cultural connections to the land and its inhabitants. This gentle yet profound understanding of the natural world has influenced much of his life and drawn him to seek the teachings of the plant and animal world.

Amanda Maragos: Secretary

Amanda Maragos is the Director of Client Services and Volunteer Programs for Philip Aziz Centre and Emily's House Hospices. A member of the Esplanade/St Lawrence Community for almost 37 years, she embraces this diverse, artistic and friendly neighbourhood where she lives with her family. With hopes to balance creativity, leadership, flexibility, accountability and openness; her goal is to contribute something good and lasting to Jamii's vision for the Esplanade/St. Lawrence Neighbourhood - a special place she calls home. 

Linda Leistner: Treasurer

Linda is a neighbourhood business owner who personally knows and understands the importance of community engagement.  Linda has often volunteered with Jamii, and her business, The Berkeley Castle, has been a supporter of Jamii since inception.  In 2017, Jamii welcomed Linda to the board. 

Zoie Browne: Director

Zoie Browne has a Bachelor’s of Urban & Regional Planning from Ryerson University and a Master’s of Public Administration from The University of Western Ontario where she completed a MRP on “The Revitalization of Social Housing: An Analysis of Mixed-Income Housing in the City of Toronto”. From 2013 to 2017, Zoie was the Project Coordinator for Jamii and CORPUS working on various art-based community engaged projects and events in David Crombie Park on The Esplanade in downtown Toronto . Zoie is now Project Manager at Lura Consulting.

Walter Azzalini: Director

Walter is a retired teacher with a life-long career teaching at Market Lane Public School, at the heart of the Esplanade community. Walter has taught several generations of Esplanadians.

Georgia Reynolds: Past-President (2011 - 2019)

Georgia Reynolds attended the very first Jamii project in 2011 and soon after joined our Board of Directors. She was the Board Chair between 2017 - 2019 and actively participates in Jamii’s strategic planning, projects and events.  She has also been part of School Council with Market Lane P.S. and Community Center advisory committee.
From 2007 to 2017, Georgia worked for L’Oreal Canada as Salon Development Manage. She now works at Untitled by Flaunt Boutique and is a Global Trainer with L'Oreal encouraging human connection at the heart of each retail interaction. Georgia is a community builder and believes in the power in people when given the space to contribute.

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