Ryan has lived in Toronto for the past 15 years and a proud Rivertowne resident for the past year. He and his son were searching for a neighborhood to call home and developed a connection to Riverdale after meeting many passionate residents and business owners in the area. They both frequent the Queen/Saulter Toronto Public Library and his son is enrolled in the ITF taekwondo classes at the community centre.
Ryan has been working at an association management company for the past 5 years and has held positions with the Canadian Cancer Society and Heart and Stroke Foundation. This gives him a unique perspective on how a wide range of non-profit associations operate and their use of best practices. Ryan brings his varied finance/operations management experience to the RTC and is looking forward to helping the Riverside communities as a Board Member.
Caleb Edwards, his wife and two children have lived in South East Riverdale (some might say Leslieville) since 2014. Originally from Scarborough, Caleb spent time in New York City and London before returning to Toronto. Caleb and his family enjoy their new neighbourhood and want to give something back to the community that has been so welcoming to them. It is important to both of them that the community be welcoming for all of its members. Ralph Thornton plays a big part in that welcome for Riverdale and Leslieville.
Caleb has a JD from Columbia Law School and an LLM from University College London. During the day, Caleb practices commercial litigation at a firm downtown. He hopes to contribute his skills in public speaking, writing, and governance to the Ralph Thornton board and larger community.
Councillor Paula Fletcher
Paula Fletcher has served Ward 30 residents for several years, becoming involved as a leader in the East End Parent Network, then working as Public School Trustee. In 2003 Paula was elected to City Council for Ward 30 Toronto-Danforth, and has been advocating for the Ward for 10 years. Paula works with residents, business owners and community agencies to build vibrant, healthy neighbourhoods, and is a strong voice at City Hall defending the services residents expect from their City.
Paula has served many capacities in her role as City Councillor. She is the Chair of the Toronto and East York Community Council which is responsible for local planning and neighbourhood issues.
Paula’s Committee and Board memberships include:
- Toronto and East York Community Council, Chair
- Community Development and Recreation
- Toronto Film, Television & Digital Media Board (Toronto Film Board)
- Toronto and East York Community Council Billy Bishop Airport Subcommittee
- Toronto Civic Employees’ Pension and Benefit Committee
- Toronto Fire Department Superannuation and Benefit Fund Committee
- Canadian National Exhibition Association, Municipal Section
- Bridgepoint Health, Board of Governors
- Foodshare, Board of Directors
- Danforth Mosaic BIA
- Gerrard India Bazaar BIA
- Greektown on the Danforth BIA
- Leslieville BIA
- Riverside District BIA
- The Danforth BIA
- Eastview Neighbourhood Community Centre
- Ralph Thornton Community Centre, Board of Management
- St. Lawrence Centre for the Performing Arts, Board of Management
Yang started to serve on the RTCC Membership and Outreach Committee in Sept 2016. Within the past year, Yang has been actively involved in outreach and strategic planning at RTCC. Before joining RTCC, he developed strong connections with South Riverdale community through a variety of social volunteer activities.
Yang is a passionate advocate of social and economic equality. He was a co-founder and board member of BayStreet BBS, an association promoting the career development for young professionals working in Toronto’s financial industry. He is also a member of the Canadian Chinese Financial Association, with years of experience of inter-organizational communication and event organization. His master’s degree research and thesis topic was applying E-Commerce and GIS to Chinese Community Development. Yang has strong communication, event planning and marketing skills. He is eager to contribute to the rejuvenation of the community. He also speaks Mandarin.
Bernnitta is the recently retired Executive Director of the Red Door Family Shelter (Red Door). Prior to her retirement, Bernnitta led the Red Door through its ground breaking ‘Save the Red Door Campaign’ that resulted in Red Door being the first shelter in Toronto to be incorporated into a new private sector condominium development. Bernnitta was the Executive Director of the Red Door for 13 years and has over 25 years experience as a senior manager or Executive Director of the social services. Bernnitta received her Master’s Degree in Social Welfare Policy Analysis from McMaster University and loves theatre, art, jazz and to travel.
Sharon Ho has lived in Leslieville for the last 10 years and previously in the Pocket for seven years. She is passionate about community development, environmental and community gardening. Sharon and her family have used the After School program, and the Joy of Writing group at the Ralph Thornton Community Centre. They value the affordable and accessible space that the Centre provides especially at the time when the community is changing and becoming less affordable in some ways for people to live and gather. Sharon is currently a financial journalist, but has a long history of working and volunteering for non-profits.
Alan has been a resident of the Ralph Thornton Centre catchment area since 1981. Having raised a family in our neighborhood, he is concerned about the future for young families, newcomers and seniors in the downtown of Toronto. For him, a vibrant community requires a mix of demographics, activities and supports for its citizens.
He spent 25 years working in the labour movement in Toronto both as an activist and a staff member representing workers for the federal government. Using the skills in organizing, administering and analyzing policy learned and developed through those experiences, Alan hopes to contribute to the building of the Ralph Thornton Centre as an institution supporting all parts of the community. Such community centers, in his view, must provide both needed services as well as facilitate the building of the capacity to develop and maintain an inclusive and citizen-oriented neighborhood and city.
Megan moved to Leslieville in 2004, where she and her husband are raising their children and operating a consulting firm. Megan has dedicated her time to amplifying the voices of underrepresented peoples, ensuring they are represented in public policy development, and encouraging broader civic engagement.
Megan has a wide range of management experience, including program design, implementation and evaluation, human resources and financial oversight. With a certificate in Not-For-Profit Governance Essentials, Megan has assisted Boards and staff with updating, developing and implementing policies and procedures for achieving compliance and best-practices in NFP management. Megan has provided organizations of various sizes with fundraising, public engagement, event management, media relations and social media strategies.
Megan and her three children have benefited from the wonderful programming at the South Riverdale Child-Parent Centre; she looks forward to giving her time and expertise to the Ralph Thornton Community Centre to ensure families and community members feel similarly welcomed and supported in their neighborhood.
Daniella is a lifelong lover of all things Toronto (initially loving from the Prairies) and a resident here for the last decade. Her family chose to move to Riverside just before having their first child, due to its warm and diverse neighborhoods, and the joy of having children in the heart of the city (including a son who already loves the streetcar!) As a new mom she has been active at the South Riverdale Parent Child Centre, as well as attending meetings for breastfeeding and baby wearing support at the RTCC.
Daniella is a nurse with a wide range of experience supporting healthy communities—everything from blood pressure checks, to working to create more trans-inclusive healthcare. She also has significant finance and fundraising experience supporting indigenous communities. She hopes to contribute her experience to help build a strong, accessible and reflective community Centre, and have fun along the way.
Julia has been living, playing and raising a family in the Riverdale and East Toronto neighborhood for over 10 years and has actively navigated the community, education and health sectors. As an active member in the community, Julia is committed to fostering diversity and community well-being in order to strengthen the neighbourhood and is passionate about building supports for families, parents and children. Professionally, Julia brings expertise in healthcare, governance and IT and has been facilitating strategic change through active engagement with individuals and organizations for over 15 years. Julia has advanced degrees in developmental psychology.
Janet has resided in Leslieville for 11 years and is a strong supporter of local businesses in the neighborhood. Janet is passionate about civic engagement. Ensuring all community members feel represented will be a priority for her at the Ralph Thornton Centre Board of Management. Janet welcomes the opportunity to contribute to RTCC’s vision, helping to meet community needs. Her career has been focused on information technology in healthcare at both the provincial and continuing care level, and dedicated to inclusive strategic partnership and engagement specifically to community care settings. For the past 6 years, she has led a walk/run clinic for mental health and addiction outpatients, family members and staff at her former workplace, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.
William (Bill) Somerville
Bill is a native Torontonian and has lived in Ward 30 (soon to be Ward 36) for the past 11 years. He and his family enjoy the community parks and are always interested in urban exploration. He supports small business and enjoys shopping and eating local. Bill has worked in the service industry for over a decade. He also has a degree in public relations and communications and is a freelance writer and blogger. Bill has produced pieces for various community newspapers such as the Beach Mirror and content for the YMCA of Greater Toronto. He has been involved in various community events such as the Taste of the Danforth and the Danforth Thrill of the Grill. Bill strives to support the communiy and is always looking for volunteer opportunities and encourages others to help out.
Ejay has been a Downtown East Toronto resident for over 12 years, currently residing in the Riverdale/Leslieville area. He is passionate about the neighbourhood and particularly interested in serving marginalized people in this area.
He has been involved in serving vulnerable people for over 13 years by working for the Yonge Street Mission as a Case Manager, serving as the Community Chaplain at Cornerstone Dinner in Regent Park, and employed as a Youth Minister for Church in the City in St. Lawrence area. Ejay currently runs his own not for profit start up serving individuals in the downtown neighbourhood who are in cyclical poverty. His extensive experience in public speaking, fundraising, and teaching, has served him well in his past experience and current role.
Ejay is best known for his compassionate heart, his love of people, his music and his great sense of humour.