Exciting changes at Manor Park Community Council (MPCC)

MPCC Chair Mark Smith details new developments, including opening of 1805 Gaspé

By Manor Park Chronicle

Hello Manor Park neighbours and Chronicle readers. My name is Mark Smith and I was recently elected to the role of chair of the Manor Park Community Council (MPCC)’s Board of Directors. I have served on the Board since 2019 as a director and, most recently, as vice-chair.

I’m excited about the opportunity to serve our community in a new capacity, and at a very exciting time for the MPCC.

Before saying much more about myself, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my friend and neighbour, Allison Seymour, for her six years of service as the chair of the MPCC’s board of directors. As chair, Allison helped lead the MPCC through the:

  • highs of opening the renovated Manor Park Community Centre (a.k.a., the fieldhouse) and launching Pints in the Park
  • significant challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • renewal of our strategic plan and expansion to 1805 Gaspé.

I’m happy to report that her talents and leadership skills will remain on the board, as Allison will continue to serve as vice-chair.

I would also like to welcome new director Liam White, as well as thank Mike Kremmel (treasurer), Vessela Zaykova (secretary), and directors Kailey McLachlan, and Kelsey McMahon for their continued service and significant contributions.

My wife, Kristina (Kay) and I moved from Lowertown into our home on Kilbarry Cres. in the summer of 2012, along with our then 3year-old daughter Sloane. In March 2014 we welcomed a son, Jonah, to our family. Tragically, Jonah passed away in September 2015.

We were reeling and devastated, but the love and support we got from neighbours from across this community, some of whom we had never met, was unbelievable and touching, and that will stay with us forever.

A visible sign of this support are the Manor Park tennis courts, whose renewal in honour of Jonah in 2017 was spearheaded by the MPCC. A bench bearing Jonah’s name now sits courtside. We love this neighbourhood and are so thankful that we found such a beautiful and tightknit community to call home.

MPCC programming

Before joining the board of directors, my family and I benefited from the MPCC’s excellent and diverse programming. Sloane was in the before and after school (BAS) program for many years, and had a great time at MPCC summer camps. (She now volunteers at the camps for a week each summer.)

Rock the Block and the Annual Skating Party & Chili Cook-Off have always been not-to-be-missed events for our family. When I can find the time, I try to take advantage of recreational programming, like the 4-on-4 pond hockey league. I’m an active person and the joke around my house is that I’ll never turn down an invitation to “sport”. I’m an avid cyclist (road, mountain, bikepacking) and skier. I also play tennis, hockey, and basketball, and will try my hand at pretty much anything. As such, I’m a big proponent of the MPCC’s sports and recreational programming.

While serving on the board these past four years I’ve witnessed firsthand how the talented staff at the MPCC have continued to dream up exciting new social events to bring us together (Pints in the Park!), and develop innovative programming to meet the needs of the communities that we serve. Now, with our new location at 1805 Gaspé, the MPCC has the opportunity to do even more! For starters:

  • In September, 1805 Gaspé will have licensed daycare for up to 54 children.
  • The newly renovated building offers a beautiful, newly-renovated, light-filled studio space for recreational programming and community events.
  • Spaces will be available to rent for birthday parties, gatherings, meetings, etc.

If you have yet to visit 1805 Gaspé (the former “Encounters with Canada” building) then we invite you to join us on September 19 from 5 to– 7 p.m. when we welcome the community to its grand opening and the unveiling of a beautiful new mural painted on the side of the building.

You’ll have the opportunity to tour the building, the daycare facilities, eat some dlicious food, and participate in various activities and workshops. Come see for yourself what an amazing space this is, and can be, for our community.

I look forward to meeting you around the community!

1805 Gaspé grand opening