Dixon Hall

We are community partners in creating opportunities for people of all ages to dream, to achieve and to live full and rewarding lives.

Our Story What We Do

History of Organization

Dixon Hall was established in November of 1929 and began distributing aid in December of that year. Since that time we have come a long way in terms of how we tackle social issues and how we engage our community. For the first thirty years we resembled a Christian relief agency. In the 1970’s we responding to the changing needs of our community by changing our strategy, and refocused our efforts on community involvement and capacity building. Since that time we have grown significantly in the breadth of programs and supports that we provide, particularly in the area of hostels and housing. Over 80 years Dixon Hall has seen many programs come and go, but at the core of our operation the same guiding principle has remained: to serve those with the greatest need, to give hope, dreams and possibilities to those who would otherwise have none. This guiding creed can be seen in everything we do, from engaging partnerships to innovative and community generated programs.

Accolades and Accomplishments

Dixon Hall is a respected, well-established community agency. It has sponsored and supported many community initiatives, such as the Regent Park Neighbourhood Initiative. In 2007 won the Maytree Foundation Diversity in Governance Award. Because of its impressive track record, Dixon Hall was asked by the City of Toronto  to provide staff support to the Out of the Cold program.

Our Programs How We Do It

Music School – Provides low-cost, private music lessons and the use of instruments for children and youth living in the Regent Park and St. Lawrence neighbourhoods.

Summer Day Camp- A day camp for children from ages 3-12 throughout the summer months. Local youth are employed as camp councillors and help to create fun activities for the children.

Youth Centre – Using a peer support and leadership model, at-risk youth from Regent Park receive anti-violence training, family support, health education; arts activities; employment support; and leadership training, all within a safe space.

Growing Up Healthy Downtown- To ensure that Regent Park children age 0-6 become the best they can be, GUHD offers education and safe and supportive places for children, parents and caregivers to meet and play.

Heyworth House Shelter - Heyworth House is a 70-bed shelter operating 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, providing meals and housing support services for men, women and couples. 

Out of the Cold- Through Out of the Cold, people who are homeless are guests of various synagogues and churches in the cold winter months.

Housing Support & Harm Reduction- Dixon Hall provides a continuum of service from streets to homes to jobs. Staff of the Housing Support, Housing Resource Centre and Harm Reduction programs use a multitude of approaches to help men and women stabilize their lives and find permanent housing.

Mandarin Outreach- Many newcomers from mainland China are now living in Regent Park and our Mandarin Outreach project helps with issues of immigration and integration through services, activities and referrals.

Elderly Persons Centre- To reduce isolation and promote wellness among seniors, the Elderly Persons Centre encourages leadership and creativity, lifelong learning and cultural integration and helps to prevent elder abuse.

Seniors Home Support- Seniors – many of whom are frail and shut-in – live independently through the provision of grocery shopping, telephone reassurance, friendly visiting, home help and client assistance.

Seniors Supportive Housing- As an alternative to institutionalization at a long-term care facility, this program allows ‘aging in place’ for seniors at 4 buildings on The Esplanade.

Regent Park Learning Centre- Small group literacy instruction in a classroom and hands on computer instruction at 19 work stations are provided to Regent Park residents.

The Mill Centre - This programs develops the skills of at-risk youth, women and other members of the community that want to rebuild their lives. At the Mill Centre, participants learn general carpentry and constructions skills in an excellent facility provided by Loblaw Properties Limited.

The Good Food Box- Service launched to promote community access to affordable produce.

Career Steps- Helps unemployed women find work. Employability workshops, counseling, action plans and computer skills development are components of the holistic approach to reach this goal.

The Employment Centre - Provides assistance to community members who are looking for work. We also work with employers to find them skilled workers within the community. 

MY Regent Park- Provides outreach to youth at risk of joining a gang or already involved in gangs, and their families. MY Regent Park will provide support, assistance and alternative options for gang-involved youth, co-coordinating and improving on the number of programs already available.


Dixon Hall Music School

Every year, hundreds of children from low-income families are exposed to the joy of music through high quality instruction for fees as low as $3.00 per lesson. Acquiring and excelling at a new skill in turn promotes self-esteem and builds a positive self-image. Moreover, early exposure to the arts shows children what life can offer—creativity, fun and beauty. A wonderful world of possibilities opens up and a lifelong passion for music can take root. Many of Dixon Hall’s music students go on to perform, win awards and launch successful careers in music. In addition to the regular music instruction offered at the school, Dixon Hall Music School offers subsidized opportunities to attend music camps around the province. Our own Overnight Summer Music Camp provides students with the opportunity to make new friends and to do things they have never done before, like hiking on the Niagara Escarpment, swimming in a quarry pond and stargazing around a campfire in the serenity of beautiful and quiet countryside, far from city streets

Program Impact

Dixon Hall Music School has provided lessons for over 4,500 children and youth since opening its’ doors in 1978. There are 15 different instruments\subjects that are taught. This program gives children the opportunity to experience music lessons that they otherwise would not be able to afford.

Toronto's Vital Signs® indicator(s) addressed by Program

“The average cost of basic nutritious food for a family of four in Toronto rose by 9.4% over two years. This same family on social assistance would need to spend 33% of its income on food and 72% on rent – that’s more than they have and doesn’t include other basic needs.” “More than 30% of children five and under are in families that are below the Low Income Cut-off and the median employment income for families in 2006 was 20% below the provincial median.”

Participant Vignette

Thompson Egbo-Egbo has been playing piano from the tender age of six. The Nigerian born pianist started his studies at the Dixon Hall Music School. There is where he learned the piano skills to start what has been an incredible journey for the young man. Now at only twenty six years of age, he has graced the presence of figures such as Quincy Jones, H.R.H. Prince Phillip and many others. Thompson was the only student invited to perform at the Toronto Olympic Bid Gala Fund raiser. He performed for H.R.H. Prince Charles at a Celebration of Canadian Artists, an evening hosted by Galen and the Hon. Hilary Weston, and for H.R.H. Prince Philip at a Duke of Edinburgh Award reception and once again at the Carlu for another evening hosted by the Weston's. He was also invited to play for H.R.H. Prince Edward at a dinner/reception held at a private Forest Hill residence. Thompson went on to study music at Humber College and is now attending Berklee College of Music in Boston.

The Youth Centre

Dixon Hall has a youth drop-in centre at 44 Blevins Place, an apartment building in Regent Park, from which a variety of activities are planned, among them film and radio projects, computer training, graffiti art mural painting projects, indoor soccer, a weekly Friday night social, learning disability supports, girls in motion and a community basketball league. A recently introduced Girls in Motion program enganges young girls in physical activity and promotes a healthy lifestyle. In addition to the array of on-site activities offered, the staff continuously engages young people with the planning of special trips and outings that take them out of the city setting, such as camping trips in Algonquin Park. Experience has shown that these types of trips enable young people to engage with staff in a manner that facilitates openness, discussion and the exploration of how behavioral choices can impact on their futures. Forging bonds of respect, offering forums for trust, broadening horizons, encouraging dreams and growth—these are the goals of Dixon Hall’s Youth-at-Risk initiatives. Many youth have also found employment through Dixon Hall’s programming as Camp Councilors and Youth Mentors.

Program Impact

The Youth Centre gives youth living in Regent Park a safe space to engage in positive activities. Our youth workers both grew up in the community and therefore can easily relate and connect with the youth in the area. The Youth Centre gives youth the opportunity to stay away from the gang and drug culture and become something more. Many youth that have been associated with the centre have gone on to college.

Toronto's Vital Signs® indicator(s) addressed by Program

“The youth unemployment rate surpassed 20% in June 2009, up 5% in just one year and 4% higher than the national rate.”

“There are almost twice as many youth gangs as in 2000.”

Participant Vignette

Growing up in Regent Park, O’Neil was exposed to all the dangers of the community, seemingly on a path towards crime and considered a youth at risk. But Dixon Hall was there. O’Neil connected with Kenneth, Dixon Hall’s Youth Worker whose office in Regent Park was a refuge for many youth in the area. O’Neil began dropping in on Kenneth to chat. Their conversations ranged from the mundane to issues of being stuck in a rut of crime and poverty. And so their friendship grew. One day, O’Neil was distraught. A violent incident involving some of his friends caused him to worry about his own future and he could see no way out. But Kenneth helped O’Neil see new possibilities. The two worked together and soon O’Neil was enrolled in the Social Work program at George Brown College. By 2008, O’Neil was working at Covenant House, helping others like him. Dixon Hall’s multi-service support and presence in Regent Park provides youth like O’Neil with the important knowledge that when they are ready to make changes and lift themselves up, we are there to help improve lives in meaningful ways.

Seniors Program

Our community is proud to include young and old. Dixon Hall has an active and ambitious seniors program, because everyone deserves companionship and interaction, especially the older community members. Our seniors can regularly be seen or heard dancing or singing about the building, whether it is at choir practice, Tai Chi, educational programming or anything in between, the seniors keep us all young at heart with their active and social lifestyles. For seniors who cannot make it out of the house, Dixon Hall goes to them. We provide 18,000 hours of personal care and essential housekeeping annually. This allows seniors to age in their community, rather than having to be relocated to a new environment, and provides not only a compassionate and dignified way to age, but also a cost-effective way to care for seniors

Program Impact

The Seniors Program ensures the seniors in the community do not become isolated. It provides programs where seniors can come out and socialize and become part of a community. Our outreach and supportive housing also helps seniors to be able to live on their own for as long as possible.

Toronto's Vital Signs® indicator(s) addressed by Program

Toronto has the highest proportion of seniors in the GTA and nearly double the rate of low income seniors in Ontario. Sadly, more seniors are living alone, cut off from family and community.”

Participant Vignette

When I was a Home Help Worker at Central Neighborhood House, I was helping a client who lived across the street from Dixon Hall. I asked about the place and found out that it was a good place to meet people and learn things. A while later, I went to Dixon Hall and learned that there was a Sewing and Craft class on Tuesdays with Mary Watterson. Sixteen years ago, before I fully retired, I started taking Tuesdays off to come to the programs. Ever since I moved to Canada and living in Toronto, I have found Dixon Hall has meant a lot to me, I enjoy the fellowship and the staff too. I have learned to make my clothes, learned to knit, enjoy the singing class and I enjoy the day trips.”

Carmen continues to be an active participant in Dixon Hall seniors programs. Recently she was one of several seniors who made a deputation to the Toronto District School Board to advocate for continuing education funding for seniors. She did a fantastic job representing Dixon Hall.

What You Can Do

Dixon Hall Music School

Activities a donation will support

$750.00 will allow you to sponsor 1 child for a full year at the Dixon Hall Music School, this includes private weekly lessons and instrument rentals. Currently there are over 200 students enrolled at the Dixon Hall Music School, with many on our waiting list.

Donation impact

A donation to Dixon Hall’s Music School will allow the children who are on the waiting list to experience the joy of music.

The Youth Centre

Activities a donation will support

A grant of $5500.00 would provide campsites, food and transportation for 40 at risk youth to go to Algonquin park during Summer Slam (Dixon Hall’s Summer Youth Camp). This would allow the youth to get away from the city streets and experience things they have never done before such as sitting by a campfire, hiking through a forest, and gazing at the stars. This is also a great setting to have real group discussions about the current issues they are facing, as well as their hopes and dreams for the future.

Donation impact

By funding the Youth Centre you are giving the youth in Regent Park a chance to participate in positive activities which can keep them out of gang and drug activity. It will give the youth an opportunity to be a part of a positive community where they are encouraged and challenged to make the best choices for themselves and their situation.

Seniors Program

Activities a donation will support

A grant to our seniors program would allow us to provide more activites to seniors that are living in the community and at risk of becoming isolated. A gift of just $5.00 will provide one senior with a healthy meal at our monthly birthday celebration lunches. A donation of $5060.00 would allow us to continue to run our popular seniors' chior for a whole year which is at risk of being cancelled due to funding cutbacks.  

Donation impact

With a grant we will be able to provide more classes and services for seniors. We will be able to grow our seniors program and be able to reach out to many more seniors in the area that are living on very low incomes.


Lynn Deutscher Kobayashi
Manager, Fundraising & Communications
416.956.4949 x210
Charitable Number: 118886308RR0001

Finance & Governance


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