People who live in the St James Town apartment towers in Toronto’s inner city don't have air conditioning. But if the power goes out, they’ll suffer more than most. Many residents are seniors or use mobility aids to get around. As the most diverse neighbourhood in North America, language can be a barrier, social connections may be weak, and most residents don’t have incomes that allow them to store extra supplies of food, water and cash. ...continue reading Cooking great food for weather emergencies

Our Toronto Island neighbours have been battling severe flooding since mid-May. But a Toronto future weather projections report says that rainfall will get much heavier, especially in June and July. West Bend resident Jim Baxter understands the risk. Extreme rain in July 2013 was flooding basements and causing power outages. An experienced contractor, Jim had brought a sump pump to his work site but he needed a generator. He knew the city was in trouble when he got to Home Depot and saw the lineup.

Jim drove to Rona where they were locking the doors because they’d lost power. He  talked himself in, grabbed a generator, and headed for the checkout. But he didn’t have cash. Finally a sympathetic manager put his job on the line, took a paper imprint of Jim’s credit card, and let him through. It was an emergency, and the planning that might have prepared everyone for it had never taken place.

Jim’s next concern was the well being of two of his neighbours. Over the years he’s helped his elderly neighbour with the maintenance that makes it possible for her to stay in her home, and does the same for a single mom raising kids on her own. They help him out too. That’s what neighbours do.

Rain is just one hazard that’s worth preparing for. Extreme heatwaves are a serious risk to public health and we’re going to see more of those. How many more folk are in need of neighbourly care? Jim’s going to find out. An active member of the West Bend Community Association, Jim cares deeply about his neighbourhood’s resiliency. Supported by Toronto’s Office of Emergency Management, Jim is talking to his neighbours about emergency preparedness and helping out their vulnerable neighbours. If you live in West Bend you’ll be meeting Jim soon. Say hello!


In January 2017, Professor Elizabeth Hobart (Zab) challenged her York University students to design campaign visuals for Community Resilience to Extreme Weather (CREW). Deliverables were married to the course requirements. Excited about working on a socially meaningful project, students were free to select their target audience for their extreme weather emergency preparedness campaigns. ...continue reading York University Design Challenge

It didn’t just rain at the Toronto Annex Centre for Social Innovation (CSI) on Wednesday March 8, it poured!  Floodwaters rose—and this was inside the building where about 90 people had gathered to play Resilientville Canada. Fortunately the rain was brightly coloured confetti and the floods were round blue mats. But the work was very real: the day’s objective was to demonstrate through role playing the importance of neighbourhood level response to natural disasters. With that happily achieved, participants turned their attention to innovative thinking around local disaster risk response and the future job opportunities and career paths for youth that climate adaptation will deliver. Because extreme weather events are coming with rapidly increasing frequency and severity. ...continue reading Making it rain in Toronto


The Art of Resilience

On February 8, 2017, while Toronto battled extreme weather warnings and freezing rain, participants gathered on an unusually mild morning in Hamilton for a Resilient Hamilton workshop. Hosted by CLARION (Community-Led Action to Resilience in Our Neighbourhoods), Environment Hamilton, and Faith & the Common Good, the day’s project was to identify and support the social capital that’s critical to effectively responding to, withstanding and recovering from adversity. ...continue reading Building Resilient Communities in Hamilton

When Community Resilience to Extreme Weather (CREW) decided to pilot a neighbourhood resiliency map for Toronto’s Wards 13 & 14 it asked Jose A. Lao and Santessa Henriques for help. Resiliency is the ability of a community to cope with extreme stressors, make the very best of them, and bounce back afterwards. It sounds straightforward but measuring it is not so simple. ...continue reading Telling a neighbourhood resiliency story by reading the data

Originally posted  on

By: Hurania Melgar (DEMSA Logistics Coordinator) and Catherine Kenny (DEMSA Academic Liaison), MDEM Candidates, York University

Students map resources in Resilientville.

Students map resources in Resilientville.

A few weekends ago, Catherine Kenny and I represented DEMSA and the MDEM program, and volunteered our afternoon to help out with the Social Change and Youth Leadership Challenge (SCYLC) run by the Engineers Without Borders—University of Toronto Chapter. We volunteered with the community organization Community Resilience to Extreme Weather (CREW)  to help facilitate a live exercise and dialogue with high school students, where they developed strategies for community disaster mitigation and engaged in thoughtful reflection on the communities we all live in and share. ...continue reading DEMSA teams up with CREW Toronto and U of T Engineers Without Borders to offer high school youth emergency exercise

Extreme weather events are no longer once-in-100-years occurrences, extremeweather_report thanks to climate change. Take the City of Toronto; it has experienced three super storms in the last 12 years alone. But extreme weather impacts are predicted to increase and government clearly can’t do it all.  So what happens to the vulnerable residents of our communities? Here’s where faith groups are stepping up and exploring how they can be of service within their neighbourhoods. ...continue reading Local faith community buildings can be extreme weather resiliency hubs.

“I thought, someone has to do something!
And then I realized that the someone was me.”

- Lisa Levin

At the height of the December 2013 ice storm Lisa Levin was in lisa-croppedcharge of the north Toronto Circle of Care office, covering for staff who were on Christmas holidays. Her regular job is VP of Community Relations and Communications. She knew that conditions outside were treacherous—so when the United Jewish Appeal offered help she immediately asked for salt. Circle of Care is responsible for 8,600 vulnerable seniors and its meals and transportation teams were slipping and sliding on ice as they continued to do their jobs. The city was out of salt, but Lisa knew that UJA had two campuses and must have stockpiles. They did, and so the first wave of collaborative community response was launched. ...continue reading How to mobilize 100 volunteers during a holiday ice storm

Mariko Uda


img_1025_0When Mariko was about 13 years old she saw a video on global warming and it had an impact that's helped to shape her life. Now she’s pursuing a Ph.D. in civil engineering that's focused on the resillience of neighbourhoods to climate change. It’s a field that's moving as fast as climate change and she’s in a hurry to get her work published. ...continue reading Green maps build stronger communities