Once upon a time

on Mabelle Avenue...

At MABELLEarts, we believe that art has the power to transform people and neighbourhoods. We’ve spent the past 11 years proving it.

11 years ago, the Mabelle Park was just a shortcut. Now it’s the vibrant heart of the community: a place where strangers become neighbours. Over the years, our shopping cart has been filled with the stories, songs and aspirations of thousands of Mabelle and Etobicoke residents.

Thanks to your generous donations, MABELLEarts has had one of its best years to date. We worked with the Mabelle community to keep offering some of our flagship arts programming. We took our work to other parts of Etobicoke and worked with hundreds of asylum seekers looking to make Canada their home. And 2018 was the year we went national with the successful launch of Welcome To This Place—a cross-Canada initiative that enlivened parks in Vancouver, Winnipeg, Halifax, Toronto and Montreal through inclusive and welcoming arts-based initiatives.

Over 4,000 participants took part in events and workshops we hosted across Canada in 2018.

We hired 11 Mabelle community members as summer staff in 2018.

This year we are poised to offer more. Help us dream even bigger by helping us Fill The Cart for 2019.


Scroll down to find out what we’ve been up to this year!


Fill the cart

for 2019!
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Welcome To This Place

In Welcome to This Place, a 2018 cross-Canada project, artists and organizations in Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver came together to make art and build community in five urban parks and public spaces. The goal was to promote parks as places of arrival, where newcomers to Canada can find friendship, cultural expression, and connection to the places they now call home.

11 Mabelle community members were hired on as staff to help us over the summer. Most of them tagged along as we travelled the country to see the largest project MABELLEarts has ever undertaken come to life. It was one of our greatest joys to sprinkle Mabelle love all over the country thanks to our artful approach to hosting.

This winter, help us plan an even bigger year ahead by giving to Fill The Cart.

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"It (travelling for Welcome To This Place) made me more open minded to how there's different people that grew up in different environments. I learned how to work with other people. It's different, it's not all the same. You have to to know how to communicate."

Nada, MABELLE Leader, MABELLEarts

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Asylum Seekers

MABELLEarts is working in close collaboration with Etobicoke settlement agencies to provide free arts-based workshops and activities to asylum seekers in the area. This year, our visual arts, music and theatre workshops were made available to more than 500 participants.

This holiday season, donate to Fill The Cart and help us provide newcomers with an artful welcome to Canada.


"My heart is always with you Mabellearts. During my stay at the shelter you really uplifted my spirit. Through art you made it very easy to forget my traumatic experience and challenges I had. Through art my kids were able to make friends and learn new skills. Through music you united all the different nationalities by different songs from different countries. [This] united us and made us know more about one another. Thank you for your time and dedication. Some of us were healed.”

Cleopatra Mbali Masinga, Community Participant

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MABELLEarts transforms parks and public spaces into places of welcoming for newcomers, refugees and asylum-seekers! Places where diverse Torontonians get to know one another and become friends!  Places where low-income residents can build a sense of community pride and connection!

You can help us reimagine the role parks and public spaces can play in Toronto. All you have to do is scroll down and decide how you want to #FillTheCart!

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"This highly successful park project remains one of the most exciting in Toronto."

Dave Harvey, Executive Director, Park People

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Ten years ago, Mabelle kids came running down their apartment stairs when they heard the rattling shopping cart travelling down Mabelle Avenue and into the Mabelle Park. Today many of these same kids are now pushing the Mabelle cart themselves.

Young people play a crucial role in hosting MABELLEarts events, providing translation, childcare, and workshop assistance to hundreds of community members in Central Etobicoke. They're learning how to build community in some of Toronto's most underserved places. This winter, show these bright, creative minds that their impact matters by giving to Fill The Cart.

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"I helped plan everything out, set it up, and it became as good as it could be. I found myself taking charge and engaging with everyone who was there. I wasn’t just shown the magic: I was making it happen."

Tasmeen Syed, Youth Leader

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Iftar Nights

Every year, MABELLEarts works with community leaders to create four intercultural celebrations to mark the holy month of Ramadan. For Iftar, we invite residents from a range of cultural backgrounds to gather in Mabelle Park and join their Muslim neighbours as they break their Ramadan fast.  Each night,  we welcome bus-loads of asylum-seekers and refugees from across the GTA, who join the Mabelle community for festive evenings of musical performances, art-making, fire-side stories, and a meal served at sundown.

This holiday season, donate to Fill The Cart and make it possible for more people to experience the magic of Iftar Nights. 


"First Iftar for me ever in Canada. We enjoyed our time. We heard Azaan, we shared food, we celebrated and enjoyed arabic traditional songs and music. People from everywhere, from every religion were there. This is what humanity looks like. Thank you MABELLEarts, no words can explain how precious your work is."

Islam Rezk, Community Participant