A Summer Celebration of
Music, Dance, Food & Film

The Team

John Filion | Founder

John Filion, Councillor for Ward 23, has been a Willowdale homeowner since 1978. He has held elected office continually since 1982, first as a member of the North York Board of Education for nine years, including four years as Chair (1987-1990). In 1991, John was elected as a Councillor for Ward 11 in the former City of North York. With amalgamation in 1998, John was elected to the new City of Toronto Council.

John sees cities as a collection of neighbourhoods which need to be supported and protected. He believes in keeping residents informed and involved in decision making. John maintains an office in North York Civic Centre and spends much of his time dealing with local issues. www.johnfilion.ca


Dan Watson | Producer

Dan Watson is an award-winning Theatre Artist who has created and performed theatre across Canada, Scotland, France, the United States and Japan.  He is Artistic Producer of Edge of the Woods Theatre in his home town of Huntsville where he produces Nuit Blanche North. Through this event, he has collaborated with hundreds of artists including Order of Canada Recipients R Murray Schafer and Charles Pachter. More recently with the company, Dan created and performed in Ralph + Lina (4 Dora award nominations including Outstanding Production, Play, Ensemble and Individual Performance). This production continues to tour across Ontario and the country.

Dan is a co-founder of the international theatre company Ahuri Theatre with whom he conceived and directed A Fool’s Life (6 Dora Nominations, Winner Outstanding Sound Design) and created Yabu No Naka:distruthted at the prestigious Setagaya Public Theatre in Tokyo. Most recently, the company developed and presented This is the Point: an original play about love, sex and disability through a 3 year residency at The Theatre Centre in Toronto.

Dan also works in community engaged art making projects both in Toronto and Muskoka. He has collaborated on a number of projects with Jumblies Theatre, MABELLEarts, and ARTS4ALL Creative Society. In February 2017, he partnered with the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre to present What Dream it Was: an interactive and immersive installation inspired by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream that engages people with profound complex disabilities through art making and performance.

Dan is a graduate of Humber College in Toronto and École Jacques Lecoq in Paris.


Lila Karim | NYA Executive Director

Lila Karim has over 15 years experience in arts programming, administration and special events management in the cultural sector. Lila is currently the Executive Director of North York Arts. She has previously worked for several non-profit organizations including the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition, ReelWorld Film Festival + Foundation and Harold Greenberg Fund.

Lila is active within the arts community as a board member with Work in Culture and sits on several committees including Friends of the Arts, Creative Spaces Outside the Downtown Core, and Community Arts Action Advisory. Lila has also produced award-winning work as a digital photographer and filmmaker.


Melissa Foster | NYA Program & Outreach Manager

Melissa holds a Community Arts Practice Certificate and BA (hons) in Theatre Studies from York University, and holds a post-degree diploma in Arts Management from Western University. Melissa has collaborated on numerous community arts projects related to social justice and community relations and helped develop and facilitate arts programs both abroad and within Toronto. Her primary focus is on the development and implementation of public art and community driven, arts-based programming. Melissa has over 8 years working in the public sector, primarily as a Youth Worker for various shelters and supportive housing programs in Toronto. It is here that she began to use her artistic background as a way to engage communities. It is through this experience that she now finds herself with North York Arts. She is excited to be working on initiatives that provide opportunities for artistic participation within the wider community and contribute to Toronto’s vibrant and diverse art scene.


Ely Rosenblum | NYA Development & Communications Manager

Active as an arts and culture educator, Ely has directed documentary films and produced recordings for the British Library, the Smithsonian Institution, the MIT Media Lab, and CBC Radio 1. His previous projects have focused on American Sign Language performance art, West African storytelling through song, and spoken word poetry in maritime Canada. Ely trained as a documentary filmmaker at the Centre for Visual Anthropology at Goldsmiths, University of London, where he co-founded ART/E/FACT, a publication and event series of art and anthropology. He is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Music at the University of Cambridge, where he co-convened the conference Sound Studies: Art, Experience, Politics


Derek Andrews | Music Consultant

Derek Andrews is a veteran concert and festival promoter based in Toronto. He is involved as a consultant on a variety of projects in the music industry, locally, nationally and internationally. Derek provides management consulting services for a variety of Canadian independent folk, jazz, blues and world music artists.
Derek works with a number of organizations, among these are the Toronto Blues Society, Luminato, Small World Music, Worlds of Music Toronto, and Folk Alliance Canada. Derek is the North American Consultant member of the European Forum of Worldwide Music Festivals. Derek produced eighteen seasons of concerts and festivals at Harbourfront Centre from 1986 to 2003. www.globalcafe.ca


Brant Matthews | Busker Consultant/The Fire Guy

Dispatch Talent is an agency that delivers quality performers. From supplying solo performers for parties to organizing multiple entertainers for festivals and events. Brant Matthews, The Fire Guy is an expert in:Fire eating, Juggling (Workshops), LED light performances, Fire breathing, Skateboarding, Fire on film. Based in Toronto Canada FireGuy works at a wide variety of events both in Canada and internationally. FireGuy ignites interest.


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