TPSC Talks



Wednesday June 22 at 7:30pm at Innis Town Hall Theatre for the documentary film “The Billboard Squad” by Cat Mills and Felicity Justrabo followed by a panel discussion on illegal billboards, activism, burnout, mental health and working with city hall. Doors open at 6:45pm!!


Moderator: Igor Samardzic
Igor is disabled urban planner and community advocate. He brings extensive nonprofit and grassroots experience. His recent projects include sitting on the Expanding Housing Options in Neighbourhoods Roundtable, producing a documentary, Accessing the City, and overseeing a research project with the University of Toronto on Publicly Accessible Washrooms. Igor is a candidate in the upcoming municipal election in Toronto for Spadina-Fort York. (
Panelist: Dave Meslin
Dave Meslin is the Creative Director of Unlock Democracy Canada. A passionate transpartisan political disruptor, Dave has spent the last twenty years a
s a political biologist, exploring the strange and mysterious worlds of protest movements, party politics and non-profit organizations. (
Panelist: Cat Mills
Cat Mills is an award winning filmmaker with a passion for the unconventional. Her 2017 film Big Men, Small Dogs for CBC Short Docs went viral with over a million views in the first few weeks of its release. She is also the winner of the 2016 and the 2020 Hot Docs Short Pitch Competition. Cat is drawn to themes of community and kindness and uses humour to challenge our perceptions of the world.
Panelist: Angela Bischoff
Angela Bischoff has worked with the environmental non-profit sector for more than 3 decades in 4 Canadian cities working on issues ranging from eco-cities, transportation, climate, mental health and elections. She is the Director of the Ontario Clean Air Alliance, a small but mighty group aiming to move Ontario onto a 100% renewable energy path.
Panelist: City Councillor Josh Matlow
Josh Matlow lives in Midtown Toronto with wife Melissa, and daughter Molly. He was elected to Toronto City Council on October 25th, 2010, and is now serving his third term as City Councillor for Toronto-St. Paul’s, Ward 12. As a community advocate and city councillor Josh brings a strong, independent and facts-based perspective to every policy debate.
6:45pm - Doors Open
7:30pm - Opening Remarks
7:30pm - Film Screening
8:00pm - Panel Discussion
8:30pm - Closing Remarks
"Dave Meslin, a 47-year-old Canadian activist, is known for his campaigns to defend public space from commercial interests. For 15 years, he has been lobbying Toronto to remove illegal billboards from neighbourhoods across the city. 
He assembles a team of volunteers, including his 11-year-old niece, to gather intelligence and strategise on how to bring down the billboards. They are prepared to do whatever it takes to reclaim a local green space. 
As the Billboard Squad clashes with power, bureaucracy and inertia, Dave grapples with the emotional complexities of activism."
The Billboard Squad is a film by Cat Mills and Felicity Justrabo.

Against the Grain: Rule Breakers and Lessons Learned

The Toronto Public Space Committee (TPSC) presents a three-part webinar series that explores the past, present, and future of public space through the lens of lived experience and professional practice. Looking at topics such as accessibility, inclusivity, architecture, and the re-appropriation of public space we will interrogate where we have been, we are now, and visions for the future. This webinar series is sponsored in part by the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) and the Centre for Social Innovation (CSI).

Session 1: Inclusivity and Belonging in the Public Realm 

What role does ability, race, class, and gender identity play in public space and public health? How has public space been created and produced in the past and how is it experienced now? This virtual panel examines how we can create public spaces where everyone belongs.


Dr. Fatimah Jackson-Best (she/her) is a public health researcher with a specialization in mental health and whose work focuses on communities in Canada and the Caribbean. She holds a PhD from the University of Toronto Dalla Lana School of Public Health, and conducted her dissertation research on Black women’s experiences of maternal depression in Barbados. Currently Dr. Jackson-Best is the Project Manager of Pathways to Care where she is designing an intervention to improve access to mental health and addictions services for Black children, youth, and their families in Ontario.

Jc Elijah (Eli) M. Bawuah (he/him) is an Urban Planner at Urban Strategies Inc. with multi-disciplinary experience gained by working in a spectrum of city and community-building roles. He has worked on development applications, master plans, social plans, mobility/transportation projects across Ontario. Eli has co-developed equity initiatives across Ontario centering the lived experiences and voices of Toronto's diverse urban stakeholders, while fostering collaborative environments that generate values of reciprocity and sustainability. With the goal to advance diversity and representation in the planning profession, Eli co-founded the Mentoring Initiative for Indigenous and Planners of Colour (MIIPOC) where he focuses on establishing a national network between experienced planners and emerging planners from marginalized communities. As a Committee Member of the City of Toronto’s LGBTQ2S+ Council Advisory Body he advises and strategizes policies, aimed at removing barriers faced by the queer community.

Lena Phillips (she/her) is a creative and spatial practitioner with a background in design justice, systems design and urban research. She is currently based at the African Centre for Cities in Cape Town, South Africa where her work is focused on applying decolonial urbanisms and epistemologies to critically interrogate dominant conceptions of place and space. She is also part of the 2021 Leading Social Justice Fellowship cohort with the School of Cities (U of T) and United Way Greater Toronto. Up until recently she worked at the intersection of equity and philanthropy supporting grassroots and systems change work being led by-and-for Black and Indigenous communities in Ontario; as a Research Consultant with OCAD U’s Faculty of Design exploring placemaking through creative practice; and a Researcher with Virtual Grounds, a project of Digital Justice Lab and Trinity Square Video where she examined digital, just and Black urban futures. Past projects include: youth-led, grassroots organizing for climate justice; public education and regional planning in Uganda; participatory action research focused on housing/displacement in London post-2012 Olympics and anti-eviction work in slums/informal settlements in Dar es Salaam with international, grassroots organization Slum Dwellers International. Lena has a BA from the University of Toronto and an MSc Urban Development Planning from The Bartlett - Faculty of the Built Environment, University College London. Her practice is firmly rooted in intersectional, feminist, decolonial, transnational and anti-racist frameworks.

Moderated by Jasmine Mohamed, TPSC Steering Committee Member

Jasmine is an emerging planner who recently completed a Masters of Environmental Studies and Urban Change (MES) - Planning at York University. She is a passionate city-builder, with key focus areas in equity, placemaking, and transportation-oriented development.

Date: November 17th, 2021

Time: 6:30pm - 7:30pm

Location: Zoom (register in advance)

Accessibility: ASL interpretation will be provided

Graphics created by Thevishka Kanishkan


Please Stay Tuned for Part 2&3 TBA

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