08/02/10 – By MATTHEW LOPES
July 24th – A barricaded Bloor street played host to a festival which captured the energy, diversity and creativity of the Bloordale community.
Tables and tents turned the street into a canvas both figuratively and literally as artists from the community put their work on display and even created some new art with a bit of road chalk.
Dougal Bichan has organized the event for its entire existence and says he plans on doing it for many more.
“The event brings a positive energy to this community and for everyone involved I think it gives them a great deal of self-respect as well.” Out of the many booths set up at the festival Bichan had trouble picking a favorite but says “It’s just fabulous, there are so many favorites it’s hard to pick just one but I’ve really been impressed with some of the early performances and the artist’s section is just really great,” he says.
Performances were a big part of the event as two stages where set up, giving performers of all types a chance to show off their talents and with the municipal elections inching closer and closer, one of the stages was used for a bit of campaigning as well.
Ward 18 candidates Kevin Beaulieu, Hema Vyas and Joe Macdonald where in attendance to meet and greet with some local residents, along with mayoral candidate George Smitherman.
On the political side of the event, people had a chance to meet and talk with the candidates face to face on matters concerning both Ward 18 and the City of Toronto.
“I think people want a chance to be more engaged in their community and events like this can really bring people out of their shell,” said Hema Vyas, who also added that the festival is a great way to meet with residents and share opinions.
As for the future of the community Vyas says “The decisions we make in the next 10 years will shape this community for the next hundred years.”
Another Ward 18 Candidate, Kevin Beaulieu, says he to also enjoy the opportunity to gain feedback and opinion from the residents of Bloordale at the festival. “Its great (the festival) I get to meet people one on one and share my vision as well as listen to what they have to say,” says Beaulieu. In the upcoming months Beaulieu says he will be going door to door so if you didn’t get a chance to talk with him at the festival don’t be surprised to see him on your doorstep sometime in the near future.
With all the new shops and businesses going up in the community “the New Bloordale Festival” was a suitable title for the annual event, which Bichan says they want to do for “many years to come.”