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MEDIA RELEASE                                                                                        

June 15, 2023


Sistema Toronto’s Free Music Programming Receives Support From Ontario Trillium Foundation


TORONTO, ON – On Thursday, MPP Bhutila Karpoche had the opportunity to see Sistema Toronto’s free after-school music program in action. The program provides students with a friendly, welcoming space to spend their evenings four days a week – providing a healthy snack and 10 hours of weekly musical instruction. The program offers a safe, inclusive space and supportive learning atmosphere that help keep students not only interested in the program but thrilled to be there. Now, with the help of a $148,400 Capital grant awarded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation in late 2022, these students will receive brand new musical instruments and equipment.


I am so pleased that Sistema Toronto is a recipient of this Ontario Trillium Foundation Capital grant,” said Bhutila Karpoche, MPP for Parkdale-High Park. “This grant has been essential in helping Sistema provide updated and brand new instruments and equipment, and continue their important work cost and barrier-free music education to children in our community.”


A core value of the Sistema Toronto program is providing music education that is cost and barrier free for all participants and their families. In service of this, the program provides everything the students need to participate, including violins, violas, cellos, double basses, and a range of percussion instruments. With these instruments in hand, Sistema’s model uses ensemble-based music education to teach social development skills with the goal of inspiring transformative social action. The instruments are the avenue through which students develop social skills as they mentor one another, collaborate on creative projects, and help each other grow as musicians.


The Ontario Trillium Foundation Capital grant has enabled Sistema Toronto to buy new instruments and equipment including violins, cellos, speakers, music stands, xylophones, metallophones, hand drums, and 80 new djembes - a shift for students who have been drumming using buckets. The move from buckets to djembes allows percussion teachers to develop nuanced percussion techniques and focus on how the hand can make various sounds on the instruments if used in different ways.


“We are deeply thankful for the support we have received from the Ontario Trillium Foundation,” said Shawn Earle, CEO of Sistema Toronto. “Support such as this keeps our students learning, playing, and growing as engaged leaders, which is especially important for them and their families during turbulent post-pandemic times.”


Sistema Toronto provides musical and intellectual opportunities to over 300 children and youth in four of Toronto’s marginalized neighbourhoods: Parkdale, East Scarborough, Lambton Park, and Jane and Finch. More information can be found at:


The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF), an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations celebrates 40 years of grant-making in Ontario and making a lasting impact in communities. Last year, OTF invested over $110M into 1,022 community projects and partnerships, which included funding for the Government of Ontario’s Community Building Fund. Visit to learn more.


For additional information, please contact:

Kelsy Vivash, Marketing and Communications Manager

416-545-0200 | [email protected]