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RARA Summer Newsletter

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In this issue...

Turnover on the RARA Executive

Following the May AGM (find the minutes here if you haven’t seen them yet), there was some turnover in the membership of the RARA Executive as we welcomed new members and said a big thank you to others as they stepped down from their positions.
The RARA presidential torch has been passed on, with Kendra Thompson of Cottingham Street stepping in to succeed Pym Buitenhuis as President. Kendra has been involved with RARA for two years and led the redesign of the Rathnelly Republic website (more on that below). Pym served as President of RARA for nine of the ten years between 2006 and 2016.  Over Pym’s tenure as President, she fostered strong relationships with our Ward 22 City Councillor, Josh Matlow and his team, as well as between RARA and the Rathnelly Day committee, chairing and co-chairing several Rathnelly Days. RARA also welcomed Rail Safety First into the fold, galvanizing the neighbourhood around an important local and national issue while also ensuring Rathnelly was at the table on many significant local development projects. She built a strong executive committee and leaves it fiscally sound, engaged and stable. But fret not, Rathnellians. Pym won’t be going far and will remain engaged with the RARA Executive as Past President, bringing insights from her encyclopaedic institutional memory to bear on the Association’s activities – an invaluable contribution from a longstanding resident. For all her work over the years, Pym has the thanks of a grateful neighbourhood.
Additionally, Heli Donaldson stepped down from her role as the street rep for Poplar Plains Crescent and RARA is grateful for her contributions over the years. Grace Zepilli steps in as the new street rep for Poplar Plains Crescent, Emily Morgan joins the team as co-rep for MacPherson Avenue, and Staci Clayton will be serving as RARA’s Rathnelly Day liaison. Find a complete list of all the street reps here (scroll all the way down).

New Rathnelly Republic website

Have you visited lately? It’s gotten a bit of an upgrade. With a new look and more up to date information, is poised to become your one stop shop for everything you ever wanted to know about our little corner of Toronto, from a treasure trove of photos from the archives to contact information for our local political representatives.
A few other things worth checking out on the new site:
We’ve made it easier to pay your RARA membership dues with a new online payment form. No more messing about with cheques and paper membership forms – renewing your membership is as easy as clicking on this link.  Don’t want to worry about filling out the form each year? You can now pay for three years at a time (that’s right – if you choose this option, you won’t have to think about dues again until 2019!)
We’ve also developed a vision statement for our neighbourhood association. You can find it here, and it goes a little something like this:
"The Republic of Rathnelly is one of Toronto’s great historic neighbourhoods; a special island in the heart of the city where we care about each other and value neighbourliness, open-mindedness, and a good party.
RARA strives to deliver value to our members by creating a platform for community connection focused on the following priorities:
  • Engaging the whole community in inclusive & unexpected ways
  • Supporting a communal environment that is a great place to grow up & where we take care of each other
  • Taking Stewardship for our shared green spaces & our safety
  • Representing our priorities to the city through political representatives at all levels
  • Bringing the community together to have fun and celebrate our history 
Long live the Republic!"

Lane naming project (we need your input!)

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of RARA, we’re working on a campaign to name the lanes in our neighbourhood. The goal is for the new lane names to reflect our neighbourhood’s history and strengthen the sense of community (need a bit of a refresher course on Republic of Rathnelly history? Check out the history page on the website). There are seven lane segments in total and you can check out a map of the lanes that need to be named here. Have a brilliant idea for a lane name? Fill out the form on (you guessed it!) the snappy new RARA website

Rathnelly Day 2017

The Republic turns 50 next year, making Rathnelly Day 2017 an extra special celebration! You can look forward to the much-loved breakfast in the park, fun family activities, and street dinner and dance.  We are also hoping to reach out to former Rathnellians to return to the Republic and join in the festivities, so get ready to spread the word.  The more the merrier!  Interested in volunteering this year?  Send your contact info to Colleen Baldwin at  Stay tuned for more exciting details in early 2017!

Canada 150 grants

In the same year that the Republic of Rathnelly turns 50, Canada (from which we once tried to secede – no hard feelings though!) turns 150. To mark the occasion, RARA proposes that the Republic undertake a community art project under the auspices of the Canada 150 Grants program. Have an idea that you’d like to propose? We want to hear from you! Send it along to Kendra at

Save the date - Winter solstice lantern parade

Mark Wednesday, December 21, 2016 in your calendars for the third annual winter solstice lantern parade. More details to come in the next newsletter.
Copyright © 2016 Rathnelly Area Residents Association, All rights reserved.

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