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Youth Action Series 2017: Turning spaces into great places across Canada

Planning is underway for Evergreen's Youth Action Series, which empowers youth about their ability to positively impact their cities across Canada.
Top image caption: The Toronto Youth Environmental Council get to work planning for the city's Youth Action Series at Evergreen Brick Works

Published on May 18, 2017

"Spaces only become places when they are invested with multiple experiences and multiple meanings. How can we help children and young people ‘read’ the city and invest its streets, parks and public places with their own experiences?" - Ken Worpole, Emeritus Professor at The Cities Institute, London Metropolitan University

The Youth Action Series (YAS) is an annual event series that empowers youth about their ability to positively impact their local ecosystem and community. In five cities across Canada, youth will be participating in hands-on workshops that will introduce them to innovative ways they can create change in their communities. What makes this event series unique is youth themselves are invited to participate in the planning process for their local event.

Now in its 7th year, the 2017 YAS will explore what it means to make places into great spaces. Youth will engage with a public space in their community and create unique, place-based experiences for themselves and their peers. The location of each event varies from city to city and includes a peri-urban farm (Montreal), a conservation area (Calgary), a public school ground (Edmonton), sidewalks around a restored heritage warehouse (North Vancouver) and Evergreen Brick Works in Toronto. In each city, Evergreen coordinators and local non-profit partners are creating the events based on interests identified by the youth participants themselves. In Toronto and Vancouver, the planning process with youth has been the most intensive. Here’s some insight into the process so far.

In Toronto, Evergreen is working with the Toronto Youth Environmental Council (TYEC) in planning the event. For the past five months, TYEC youth have been dreaming up a rich offering of innovative hands-on workshops intended to inspire their fellow youth to actively participate in their communities. Through this process, they have created and adapted different workshops on topics including urban cycling, creative exploration of people’s relationship to a place and the power of taking action in your own neighbourhood.

Students participate in a workshop in North Vancouver for the city's Youth Action Series event.

In North Vancouver, Evergreen is collaborating with the City of North Vancouver and youth from three local high-schools. Youth will be activating public spaces around Lower Lonsdale, along North Vancouver’s waterfront, to explore and share their ideas for a better city. To date, the planning process for YAS 2017 has been full of ideas, collaboration and inspiration. The event is inspired by 100In1Day, and will challenge youth to come up with “urban interventions” to engage the public with their city.

The Youth Action Series is made possible thanks to the generous financial support and staff volunteers from HSBC Bank Canada.

Evergreen is grateful for the support of national partnerships including Santropol Roulant, City of North Vancouver, Braemar Public School & the Terra Centre, and the Ann and Sandy Cross Conservation Area.