Dominique Russell, Co-Chair
Dominique Russell is a writer, activist, scholar and teacher. She founded Friends of Kensington Market in 2013, and is also one of the founders of the Kensington Market Land Trust. She is the author of Instructions for Dreamers (Swimmers Group); Kensington, I Remember (Russell Creek Press); Taking the Waking Slow (Balmer Press); and the editor of Rape in Art Cinema (Bloomsbury). Dominique holds a Ph.D. in Hispanic Studies from the University of Toronto and has taught at UBC, York, Western and Brock University.
Kevin Barrett, Co-Chair
Kevin Barrett is a guitarist, producer, musical director and composer based in Toronto, Canada. He has lived and worked in the Kensington Market area for most of the past 30 years. Kevin performs as a band leader, side musician and musical director at jazz festivals, clubs and concert venues across the country and internationally, while maintaining a continuous presence on the Toronto scene. Outside of music, Kevin has also been a long time organizer in community housing and civic issues.
Michael Petrasek, Treasurer
Michael Petrasek has lived and worked in Kensington Market for 25 years. Born in Toronto, he graduated with distinction from Concordia University in Montreal with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, (Specialization in Theatre Performance). After a couple of years performing, he took a position with the Playwrights Guild of Canada, where his responsibilities eventually included national and international promotion of Canadian plays and playwrights; negotiating and monitoring the collective agreement between the Playwrights Guild of Canada and the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres; representing the Guild on the board of the Canadian Copyright Institute, as well as other creator copyright coalitions; and co-supervising a script publishing and distribution service. In 2004, Michael founded Kensington Literary Representation, an agency focussed on representing playwrights. He serves as treasurer on the board of the Kensington Market Community Land Trust.
Leslie Armstrong, Secretary
Leslie Armstrong has lived and worked in Kensington Market for the past five years. She is the manager of I Deal coffee on Nassau Street, an unofficial community hub for Kensington Market’s residents and community members. There, she has become acquainted with its activist community. A musician and a renter, she has a keen interest and passion in affordable housing.
The Reverend Maggie Helwig is an author whose novel, Girls Fall Down, was chosen as the Toronto Public Library’s One Book Toronto in 2010, and was the executive director of the Scream Literary Festival from 2004 to 2009. Rev’d Helwig has been the incumbent priest at St Stephen-in-the-Fields, in Kensington Market, since 2013. She has served on the boards of PEN Canada and the Kensington-Bellwoods Community Legal Services, and continues to serve on the board of Friends of Kensington Market. She chairs the Social Justice and Advocacy Committee of the Anglican Diocese of Toronto, and is actively involved in homelessness and housing advocacy in that capacity, and as a member of the Toronto Drop-In Network.
Timothy Maxwell has lived and/or worked in the Kensington area for many years. He is responsible for Community Initiatives and Communications at Kensington-Bellwoods Community Legal Services, our local community legal clinic.
Su Alexanian is the current chair of KMAC (Kensington Market Action Committee), and also volunteers with Friends of Kensington. Su works for good development that continues to anchor the neighbourhood in its roots–being inclusive–for artists, newcomers and visitors. Su works in the arts, making music, soundtracks, and films. Su raised her family in Kensington and continues to make Kensington her home.