Why we do it:
Because we care about everyone connected to The Esplanade community: from the young women who grow up in the neighbourhood and look for opportunities, to the seniors who face isolation and invisibility.
We believe that our programming makes a difference in our neighbours' lives; enhance social cohesion within the community, and contributes to a sense of pride, identity and belonging.
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.
We believe in The Esplanade being a vibrant community where all people
sharing our park and our stories
are proud Esplanadians.
Jamii had an amazing impact on its community. Read along our accomplishment and impact report below. If we are so successful, it is because of the people who contribute to Jamii one way or the other.
Here are a few of the amazing people who shaped up Jamii.
Choose your path, and make a difference to your community by being a part of Jamii.
Jamii serves The Esplanade neighbourhood.
What makes this area of Toronto so unique?
The pioneering vision of diversity this community was built on encompasses cultural, multigenerational, socio-economical diversity while also embracing universal design for accessibility. It is one of the most unique community.
How we supported our community during the pandemic
After two weeks of social, programming, and economic chaos, on March 30th, we decided to produce what would be the first of a series of 20 performances in the streets and courtyards of the Esplanade community for neighbours to watch from their balconies, porches, and home windows.
“Jamii is always animating our neighbourhood. They have done such a great job, during the pandemic, of keeping our spirits up with performances, music and so much more.” - Donna, audience member
Jamii's programming is free and accessible.
Why is it vital?
By removing ticketing, we are removing barriers of accessibility that would otherwise limit the ability of our diverse audiences to enjoy quality arts. Barriers can be financial, and simply put, attending the theatre is not an affordable activity for everyone, especially larger families. Providing free events removes that financial burden so often associated with quality arts experiences.
How it all started...
"I decided to organize a small one–day arts gathering for my neighbours. The change was drastic: from one day to the next, we started living with each other rather than living next to one another, simply because we shared a moment, which later became a memory. This was the seeds for Jamii." - By Isorine Marc, Jamii's founder.
Laini: programming for young women
What's the inspiration?
In Jamii’s first year of existence, we partnered with street theatre company CORPUS, and invited one local young woman to accompany CORPUS on a tour through Cambodia, to view performances including one in a Phnom Penh orphanage run by an Esplanadian. Since that time, we have taken every available opportunity to engage in a very intentional way with young women in our community.
Why we continue doing it?
Things have changed since the first years of Jamii, but the work is not done. From the new generation of young women who are looking for opportunities to grow as tomorrow's creative leaders, to our seniors who are facing isolation and invisibility, the need is constant. It is not "something you can fix" - it is a decade-long journey for lasting impact.