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August 10, 2009
Toronto Mayor and Microsoft Canada to open ProTech Media Centres in three more of Toronto’s Priority Neighbourhoods for Investment
  
Eglinton East-Kennedy Park, Malvern and Weston-Mount Dennis youth to receive free digital arts and technology skills training

Together with Toronto Mayor David Miller, Microsoft Canada today announced the expansion of the successful ProTech Media Centre program to three Priority Neighbourhoods for Investment. The announcement was made at the opening of the Kennedy-Eglinton ProTech Media Centre, located within the Toronto Public Library - Kennedy/Eglinton branch at 2380 Eglinton Ave E.

The Pro Tech program offers free digital arts and technology skills training. The expansion effort is made possible by a Microsoft Canada Unlimited Potential Community Technology Skills grant of $1 million in cash, digital learning curriculum and Microsoft-based technology. The City of Toronto is also supporting the program through its Partnership Opportunities Legacy Fund, which has set aside $13 million for Toronto’s 13 Priority Neighbourhoods for Investment, to be leveraged by funding from outside partners for youth-focused social and recreational infrastructure projects.

ProTech Centres provide neighbourhood youth with free access to state-of-the-art technology including digital arts (animation, web design, digital photography, audio and video editing) and Microsoft curricula to introduce youth to potential careers in new media while providing computer literacy skills and creating opportunities for self-expression.

The Kennedy-Eglinton ProTech Media Centre is the second centre to open after the Rexdale ProTech Media Centre in Jamestown launched in July 2007. Rexdale’s centre has been an overwhelming success; since the doors first opened the centre has attracted more than 1,000 registered members and more than 9,600 repeat visits from local youth. Planning for additional ProTech Media Centres in Malvern and Weston-Mount Dennis is underway, with those centres set to open in the near future.

Partners for the Kennedy-Eglinton ProTech Media Centre include Tropicana Community Services, the City of Toronto, the Toronto Public Library and Centennial College. Tropicana Community Services is acting as the grant trustee and will be responsible for the day-to-day centre operations. The City of Toronto paid to create a brand-new space for the centre, which is supported by and housed within the Toronto Public Library - Kennedy/Eglinton branch. Centennial College is helping to develop the centre’s programs and providing volunteers to mentor youth and coordinate new media workshops.

"This is a perfect example of private and public-sector partners coming together to provide innovative opportunities in Toronto's Priority Neighbourhoods," said Mayor Miller. "It's especially important that local youth have been involved in this project from the start, and that many more youth will pass through these doors. The creative possibilities and career benefits provided by ProTech are boundless."

“The overwhelming success of the Rexdale ProTech Media Centre in Jamestown is motivating Microsoft Canada, the City of Toronto and community partners to expand the program to three additional neighbourhoods,” said Eric Gales, President, Microsoft Canada. “Today’s youth incorporate technology into every part of their daily lives. By providing access to technology and education we’re feeding their curiosity and creativity with the hope of generating interest in pursuing careers in technology related fields.”

“Tropicana is thrilled to be a part of this initiative. We envision the Kennedy-Eglinton ProTech Media Centre becoming a real hub for youth in this community,” said Sharon Shelton, Executive Director, Tropicana Community Services. “Many of today’s youth are very excited about technology. The media centre is a great opportunity to really connect with youth and assist them in turning a curiosity or passion into a lifelong hobby or career.”

"We were so pleased that the local youth wanted the library to be the location for the Kennedy-Eglinton ProTech Media Centre," said Jane Pyper, City Librarian, Toronto Public Library. "This really speaks to the library's role as a dynamic community destination that engages youth in meaningful ways, that encourages them to develop their skills and interests, and that provides them with opportunities to advance their education and explore their creativity."

“Centennial College has long been a community touchstone for outreach projects in Scarborough, and I am delighted that we can be part of this excellent initiative to introduce new media skills to local youth,” said Ann Buller, President and CEO, Centennial College. “I’m especially happy to see our own creative communications students taking a lead role in coordinating the workshops and mentoring other young people. Learning is especially engaging when it’s peer to peer.”

Fast Facts:
• The first ProTech Media Centre opened in Rexdale in July 2007
• ProTech Media Centres introduce youth aged 13 to 24 to the digital arts through multi-media based software and curricula.
• While courses evolve to meet students’ needs, each centre begins by offering introductory courses in web page design and digital media including digital photography, digital audio, and digital video.
• Registration for all programs is free of charge and students can enroll in as many programs as they like.
• The first ProTech Media Centre opened in Rexdale in 2007, and the ProTech model is now being expanded to more three Priority Neighbourhoods for Investment- Eglinton East-Kennedy Park, Malvern and Weston-Mount Dennis
• Microsoft Canada has donated over $1.5 million to the program to date
• The program is funded through Microsoft Canada’s Unlimited Potential Community Technology Skills (CTS) grants. In Canada, $4 million (ProTech inclusive) has been given to CTS programs since 2004. Organizations that have received grants in Canada include:
- Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada
- Frontier College - Beat the Street Program (Toronto)
- Dixon Hall (Toronto)
- The Manitoba E-Association
- The LOCUS project (Vancouver)
- JobStart (Toronto)
• The City of Toronto supports ProTech Media Centres through the Partnership Opportunities Legacy Fund, an initiative born in 2007 when Mayor Miller and City Council committed $13 million in seed funding over a four year period for investment in the city's 13 Priority Neighbourhoods. This investment is intended to leverage equivalent funding from outside partners for youth-focused social and recreational infrastructure projects.

About Tropicana Community Services
Tropicana Community Services, a Toronto-based multi-service organization, provides all youth, newcomers, people of Black and Caribbean heritage and others in need with opportunities and alternatives that lead to success and positive life choices. More information can be found at http://www.tropicanacommunity.org

About the Toronto Public Library
Toronto Public Library is the world's busiest urban public library system. Every year, more than 16 million people visit our 99 branches and borrow almost 30 million items. To learn more about Toronto Public Library, visit our website at http://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca.

About Centennial College
Centennial College is Ontario’s first public college, established in 1966, primarily serving
the eastern portion of the Greater Toronto Area with four campuses. It has earned an international reputation for exemplary teaching, innovative programming and extensive partnership building. Centennial (http://www.centennialcollege.ca) is recognized as one of the most culturally diverse post-secondary institutions in Canada, supporting enrolments of 12,500 full-time students and 25,000 part-time learners annually.

About Microsoft Canada
Established in 1985, Microsoft Canada Co. is the Canadian subsidiary of Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq "MSFT") the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential. Microsoft Canada provides nationwide sales, marketing, consulting and local support services in both French and English. Headquartered in Mississauga, Microsoft Canada has nine regional offices across the country dedicated to empowering people through great software - any time, any place and on any device. For more information on Microsoft Canada, please visit http://www.microsoft.ca. For more information on Microsoft Canada’s citizenship initiatives, please visit http://www.citizenship.microsoft.ca.

About the City of Toronto
Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. 2009 marks the 175th anniversary of Toronto's incorporation as a city. Toronto's government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

Media contacts:
Kieran Lawler / Meg Sinclair, Media Profile, Office: 416-504-8464 / Cell: 416-303-0799
kieran.lawler@mediaprofile.com / meg.sinclair@mediaprofile.com
Cher Jones, City of Toronto Social Development, Finance and Administration,
Senior Communications Coordinator, 416-392-5349, 416-894-5891 (cell), cjones5@toronto.ca


 

 

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