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Dixonlicious 2019: a Record Year!

Dixonlicious 2019 took place on May 9th, from 6:00pm – 9:00pm at Daniels Spectrum in Regent Park. This year’s event was a milestone for many reasons. It was the 5th year anniversary of Dixonlicious, the 90th year anniversary of Dixon Hall, and it resulted in the most successful fundraising event to date at the agency. We’re thrilled to share that thanks to the generosity of our guests, sponsors, and community partners, we raised an incredible $105,000 to support our vital  food programs in the downtown east and Regent Park.

The night was a wonderful mix of food, drinks, friendship and community spirit. Guests enjoyed the bites and beverages provided by local restaurants and the Toronto East Brewery Collective, enjoyed performances from the Matt Morgan Trio and our Music School students, and heard powerful remarks around the importance of food, particularly for vulnerable community members from our CEO Mercedes Watson, and our

Youth Centre Construction Update: Celebrating our Progress with our Supporters and Community Leaders

On Wednesday, April 24th, Dixon Hall hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the start of construction at our new youth centre. The event brought together some of the remarkable people who have been instrumental to this project. It was an opportunity for us to formally thank some of our biggest supporters, whose contributions have been so crucial to the development of our new youth centre. We also got to hear their perspectives on the significance of the new space for youth in Regent Park.

The event would not have been complete without the involvement of youth from Regent Park who will benefit from the space. We had a chance to hear from young people who actively participated in the project development; they shared their thoughts on what the youth centre represents to them along with a special message of thanks.

Than you to everyone who was able to join us at the

Food Insecurity in Toronto is on the rise

Access to food is considered one of the major social determinants of health. We all know that food is a requirement for survival, providing our bodies with life-sustaining nutrients, giving us the energy to complete our daily tasks, and supporting our continued growth and development. We also know that not all food is created equal, and the quality of what we consume can have major impacts on all aspects of our health. Despite the universal importance of good, nutritious food and the abundance of food and groceries available in our city, 1 in 7 households in Toronto struggle with food insecurity and that number is steadily increasing.

What is food insecurity?

Food insecurity is defined as “the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.” Simply put, food insecurity means being unable to eat healthy meals on a regular basis. It’s directly linked to low-income and

Report Release – Calling Home: Exploring Pathways to Homelessness in our City

In February 2018, Dixon Hall embarked on our first research project, thanks to funding from the Government of Canada’s Innovative Solutions to Homelessness program. Through this research, we aimed to:

Improve our understanding of the avenues that lead to homelessness and the complex needs of chronically homeless individuals
Improve our understanding of guests of the Out of the Cold (OOTC) program who resist the traditional shelter system
Compare the experiences of OOTC program guests with shelter residents including their use of social services offered in the city of Toronto
Understand where OOTC program guests go when the season closes and how they spend their time
Test the use of cellphone technology when working with individuals experiencing homelessness
Empower participants to share their unique personal histories and lived experiences with homelessness and make recommendations for service improvements

We collected data through focus groups, one-on-on interviews, and surveys,  taking a community-based participatory research approach which was crucial to the

Youth Centre Construction Update: Excavation Complete, Onto Steel Frame & Floor Deck

Construction on our new youth centre has continued throughout the winter! We were fortunate to have mild weather in December, which resulted in favourable working conditions for our construction partner, Cambria Design Build.

Food at Dixon Hall: The Connecting Thread

Food is fundamental to the work we do every day at Dixon Hall. As a multi-service agency serving nearly 10,000 Torontonians each year, our program offerings are varied. But food is a constant and a common thread in all our areas of work. From our early days as a soup kitchen and throughout our 90 year history,  we’ve remained firm believers in the importance of a good meal. Today, we recognize, celebrate, and build programming around the power of food. Through food, we can stabilize, connect, and create opportunity for the community members we serve.


Food means Stability

We serve some of our society’s most vulnerable members. We work with men and women experiencing homelessness, with frail seniors who may lack support networks, and with low-income families. When we work with vulnerable populations, our initial focus is on creating stability. One of the most effective ways to help stabilize our

Event Alert: Calling Home: Exploring Pathways to Homelessness in our City

Join us for a discussion exploring paths to homelessness in our city and solutions moving forward. This event will feature key findings from the Innovative Solutions to Homelessness Project.

Where do I belong? Reflecting on the Significance of Black History Month

CEO Mercedes Watson shares her thoughts on the importance of black history month, and highlights some of her experiences as a black woman who immigrated to Canada.

The Rooming House Project: The Importance of Tenant Engagement

As the Rooming House Project continues and evolves based on tenant needs, we explore the importance of tenant engagement as a key metric of project success.

The Rooming House Project: Building Relationships & Community Connections

In our second blog post exploring the work of the Rooming House Project, we examine the importance of building relationships and community connections for tenants.

The Rooming House Project: Providing Crucial Supports to Rooming House Tenants in Cabbagetown

As the homelessness crisis in Toronto continues to grow, we’re introducing one of our newest projects in Housing Services: The Rooming House project, designed to support precariously-housed individuals who live in rooming houses scattered throughout Cabbagetown. The project aims to help tenants build a better quality of life and stabilize housing.

Holiday Volunteering Opportunities

The holidays can be the most magical and exciting time of the year, but for many of the community members we serve they can be extremely challenging and isolating. Embrace the spirit of the season and give back to your community through our volunteer opportunities.

Youth Centre Construction Update: We Broke Ground!

Our new Youth Centre has been a major area of focus at Dixon Hall over the last several years. The journey to the construction process was long, and we’re thrilled to share that we have broken ground. We’ll be sharing updates throughout the construction process, as we complete this agency milestone.

What resilience looks like: My first 90 days at Dixon Hall

Dixon Hall’s new CEO, Mercedes Watson reflects on her first 90 days at the agency and shares her candid thoughts on the resilience she’s witnessed in the Regent Park community.

Addressing digital literacy gaps through short-term training interventions

Director of Employment Services, Haris Blentic shares how his team is adapting programs to the changing job market.

Amplifying Impact: Overnight Camp’s Effects on Music School Students

Dixon Hall Music School offers an overnight summer camp for students. Overnight camp takes places at the Hart House Farms in Caledon, and the change in scenery combined with the increased access to teachers provides our young musicians with an unforgettable experience and significant progress in their skills.

Meet Alex Zsager: Advocate, Activist, Community Researcher

Alex Zsager is a community researcher, an integral part of the Innovative Solutions to Homelessness project. His personal, lived experiences with homelessness and his determination and strength to get himself out of the shelter system have made him profoundly impactful to the project, and an excellent resource for participants. This is his story.

How Data Will Shape Our Strategies: The Innovative Solutions to Homelessness Project

We’ve embarked on a new research project to try and find better solutions to end homelessness.

Supporting Caregivers of People Living with Dementia

The population of Ontario is aging and the rate of dementia is rising. Our Seniors department has recently introduced a Caregivers Support group, offering a safe space for caregivers to connect and cope with the challenges that arise from supporting a loved one with dementia.

Out Of The Cold 2017-2018: How Seasonal Programs Can Inform Permanent Solutions To Homelessness

Read our second annual Out of the Cold report, analyzing 2017-2018 season stats, and more.

Getting Musical in our Alzheimer Day Program

June is Seniors month in Ontario, and inspired by 2018’s theme “Now’s the Time to Try Something New”, our Alzheimer’s Day program introduced new music programs including the ukulele, African drums, and hand chimes. Music therapy has many different benefits for seniors who are affected by dementia.

Announcing our new CEO, Mercedes Watson

Dixon Hall is pleased to welcome our new CEO, Mercedes Watson. Mercedes joins the agency with an extensive background in leadership, advocacy, and a deep commitment to supporting vulnerable populations.

Building Friendship through Volunteering: Fourth Saturday

Fourth Saturday, a volunteer group who gathers on the fourth Saturday of every month, recently volunteered with our Meals on Wheels program. Here’s how the group came together, and what they experienced by supporting Dixon Hall.

Meet the bands from Girls Rock Camp 2018

Girls Rock Camp returned at Dixon Hall for it’s third consecutive year. Here are the bands our campers created.

Working with Young Women and Mothers in Regent Park

Our Children & Youth department work closely with young women and mothers in Regent Park to create strong and healthy women. To celebrate International Women’s Day, we’re recognizing the different ways we empower women and help them recognize their strengths.

A Dixon Hall Love Story

Meet Dixon Hall’s sweethearts, Pablo and Monica, who are passionate about living their shared values and improving their community.

Governments of Canada, Ontario and Toronto invest in Dixon Hall Youth Centre

We’re thrilled to announce we’ve completed fundraising for our new youth centre in the heart of Regent Park, thanks to a generous donation from our federal, provincial, and municipal governments. This project also received incredible support from the business community throughout the duration of our Capital Campaign.

Showing Love in Regent Park: Using Food to Maximize Social Return

Our Social Enterpise restaurant, the Show Love Café has recently undergone some big changes – including a menu refresh!

Harm Reduction: Working with Marginalized Populations to Minimize Risk and Encourage Healthy Change

Lessons in harm reduction principles from our Harm Reduction Worker, Chris Snodgrass.

Camp is in Session!

Welcoming Dixon Hall’s counselors and campers for Summer 2017 and reflecting on some of the skills they’ll learn over the summer as part of their jobs.

Living Your Best Life – Seniors Month and Ending Isolation

Seniors Month takes place in Ontario every June. The theme for 2017 is “Living Your Best Life,” How does our Seniors Department work with seniors every day to live their best lives? Though we have 17 different programs, they all work to end isolation.

Children and Youth Manager Kenneth Slater wins Bhayana Family Foundation Award

Dixon Hall Manager of Children and Youth Kenneth Slater wins a Bhayana Family Foundation award.

Catching up with Dixon Hall Music School Alumna Talena

Talena Jackson took piano lessons at Dixon Hall Music School throughout the 90s. She shares some of her fondest memories from her lessons and summer camp with us.

Beyond Fun in the Sun: Dixon Hall’s Summer Camp and Youth Mental Health

Director of Children & Youth programs Sandra Costain explains the positive impact of summer camp on youth mental health.

A Case of Serendipity: Q&A with the irreplaceable volunteer Vivien Dzau

National Volunteer Week takes place annually in April. To mark this 2017’s event, we turned the spotlight on one of our long-time volunteers: Vivizen Dzau to find out what volunteering at Dixon Hall means to her.

First Annual Out of the Cold Report is Here

Dixon Hall is pleased to present the first annual Out of the Cold program report – analyzing statistics around program usage and demographics.

Out of the Cold Toronto – 30 Years Later – A Growing Crisis 

Out of the Cold – Program Milestones and Evolution

Dixon Hall Housing Services Director David Reycraft reflects on milestones of the Out of the Cold Program and the evolution of the program over the last 30 years.

Celebrating Dixon Hall’s Strong Women Leaders

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2017, we chat with Christine Chow, our Director of Seniors Services to find out more about her work , career path, and her thoughts on issues affecting women today.

Dixon Hall Announced as United Way Anchor Agency

Dixon Hall is named as a United Way Anchor Agency on February 23rd, 2017. Being an anchor agency means we can keep investing in Regent Park and building a stronger neighbourhood.

How Do You #ShowLove?

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, Dixon Hall embarked on a mission: to connect with our staff, volunteers, and clients to understand what showing love means to them.

Remembering Ali Rizeig

Remembering and honouring Ali Rizeig, a young man from our community whose life was cut tragically short.

Watch Daniel Sheikh’s New Video

Watch our Music School student Daniel Sheikh’s newest video here

Literacy and Basic Skills Program is Moving

The LBS program will be moving to Regent Park Community Centre (402 Shuter St) as of February 1st, 2017.

You can access the Regent Park Community Centre via the TTC — by taking the 501 Queen Streetcar to the Queen & Sackville stop and walking to Shuter St.

For detailed trip planning information, please use the TTC Trip Planner.


A Year in Review: Reflecting with Gratitude

CEO Neil Hetherington reflects on 2016 and practices gratitude, highlighting key moments ahead of the journey into 2017.

Recent music video

Watch Heart Attack Monday’s most recent music video, ‘I Need You Now’ Click Here

We are currently accepting students for Drums, Voice, Violin and Choir (group lesson)!

Music School Registration Form

November Free Workshop Calendar

Regent Park Employment Services Centre
Free Events Calendar
November 2016

Because of Aleshia

At Dixon Hall, we have no shortage of women who make a difference in the lives of some of our city’s most vulnerable residents every day. One of the many extraordinary women who work at Dixon Hall is Aleshia Nigh-Neverson,

Houzayfa’s Basketball Diary

14-year-old Houzayfa was born and raised in Regent Park. Two years ago, when he was in Grade 6, Houzayfa became the youngest player to ever participate in our basketball league.

Hayley’s Musical Journey

Each year, our Music School must say goodbye to some of our students as they head off to their post secondary studies.

Sophie’s Triumphant Return

Recently, a former client from our Out of the Cold program dropped by for a visit.Staff recall that Sophie (whose name has been changed to protect her privacy) was possibly the most challenging but brilliant client they’ve ever known.

Rachel’s Journey from Heartbreak to Hope

Rachel is a member of our Children & Youth programs. She’s a vibrant young lady who hasn’t had an easy life.

What will Lili cook next?

Lili has been a volunteer in the Mandarin program at the Elderly Persons Centre for more than 5 years. She first heard about the Mandarin program

It might have been a brutally cold evening outside,

But the warmth and compassion of our volunteers was palpable once the doors of St. Patrick’s Church were opened

For Mary, an 87 year-old senior living alone in a St. Lawrence area apartment,

Last year was the first holiday season she spent on her own since her husband passed away.

Travis is a teenager who was uprooted last year by the redevelopment of Regent Park.

He comes from a single-parent home where his mother struggles to raise 3 young children.

Summer at Dixon Hall Neighbourhood Services

Summer is always an exciting time at DHNS – especially for our youth who get to take part in one of our Summer Camps.The opportunity to try new things abounds for our

Neil Op-Ed

On Friday, September 30, affordable housing community leaders attended the Toronto Housing Summit. At the gathering, there were discussions with the mayors of some

National Housing Strategy Position Paper

CEO Neil Hetherington shares Dixon Hall’s recommendations re: the National Housing Strategy with The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos P.c., M.P. Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

Bill Finds a Home

Back in 1995, Bill Cook found himself living in Dixon Hall’s Heyworth House shelter with no one to turn to. He had hit rock bottom and was in need of support from our shelter staff.

O’Neil’s Living Proof

Growing up in Regent Park, O’Neil was exposed to the dangers the community was known for. On a path towards crime and considered a youth at-risk, he was feared by many – but not by those at Dixon Hall.