Heritage Toronto is a charity and agency of the City of Toronto that celebrates Toronto's heritage and tells the diverse stories of its people, places, and events. Working with the Manager of Marketing and Communications, I liaise with program managers to research, fact-check, and create content that supports Heritage Toronto's core walking tour, awards, and plaques programs. I also participate in communications planning and help develop editorial calendars.
When I joined the organization as a Social Media Coordinator in April 2019, my first task was to write multi-channel posts for the summer walking tour program, a series of 60 historical walks between May and September. My skills were next stretched when I was asked to live post to Instagram from the 45th Annual Heritage Toronto Awards in October. I am now responsible for two ongoing campaigns, #ThrowbackThursday and #PlaqueFriday, in which I peg Toronto history to current events. As the organization pivots its digital strategy in response to COVID-19, I have been tasked with writing web articles about Toronto's history for the Heritage at Home series.
Friends of Cedarvale Park
Friends of Cedarvale Park is a volunteer stewardship organization dedicated to maintaining and improving Toronto's 35-acre Cedarvale Park and ravine. Jane Jacobs famously led the protest that saved the ravine from being turned into the Spadina Expressway in the 1960s. I established Friends of Cedarvale's social media presence in May 2017.
My work has increased awareness of the organization in the neighbourhoods that surround the park and has engaged a younger – and previously unreached – demographic in nature walks and caring for the ravine. This role has seen me provide digestible education about the park, its flora and fauna, non-native and invasive species, and conservation. It has also found me in some positions I did not anticipate when I took on the role of communicating for a green space, including advocating for the place of the coyotes in the park and responding in a crisis capacity when news broke that Toronto's ravines were experiencing ecological collapse due to invasive species. In the big picture, I use social media to ensure that users of the park reflect the diversity of its surrounding neighbourhoods; we want everyone to feel welcome in Cedarvale. My ultimate goal is to help folks repair their sense of community by creating an online space that encourages them to feel ownership over where they live and inspires them to make real-world connections. Working closely with the steering committee, I continue to be actively engaged in content strategy and curation, event and initiative promotion, and organically growing the organization’s social media community.
Ryerson Mood Routes
“You built a brand.” — Tesni Ellis, Coordinator, Student Affairs and Storytelling, Ryerson University
Along with another Professional Communication student, Miranda Diez, I led the social media strategy for Ryerson Mood Routes between 2017 and 2020. Mood Routes encourages Ryerson students to prioritize walking in community as both a self-care and study strategy. I planned and executed social media campaigns that emphasized wellness and reiterated Mood Routes key values as well as sought out and shared content that supported our followers. I was the primary photographer documenting walks for social media during the spring and summer semesters and provided back-up photography for Miranda during the fall and winter semesters.
My primary objectives were to find subtle and creative ways to suggest Mood Routes' key messages, to promote important Ryerson accomplishments that reinforced Mood Routes' mission, to provide reciprocity to the spaces we visited, and to ensure that walkers saw themselves reflected in our feeds. It was important to me that Mood Routes' social media was not seen as promoting a product, but as a resource that students could rely on to check in on them during high stress points in the semester and that they felt safe reaching out to if they needed help.
Because use of the land is fundamental to Mood Routes, connecting the program to Reconciliation became an essential communication goal. Noting growing sentiment that territorial acknowledgements were becoming superficial, I developed graphics for Facebook and Instagram that added context to Ryerson's official Land Acknowledgement. Mood Routes now challenges students to view such acknowledgments as a starting point for their engagement with Canada's history and Reconciliation and asks them to consider what we can do better for the land, its original nations, and our collective future.