Dufferin Mall

Dufferin Mall

August 15, 2007 09:00 ET

Dufferin Mall Rewards "Champions of Change" and Hopes to Inspire Others to Change for the Better

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 15, 2007) - It began as a campaign to involve shoppers in the revitalization of the Dufferin Mall. But it quickly transformed into an engaging exercise in which 1,300 community members participated, some submitting compelling accounts of how they were able to change their own lives for the better.

From the entries to the Change Could Make You Famous contest, Dufferin Mall awarded $4,800 in mall gift certificates to GTA residents for their inspiring affirmation of transforming pain, frustration and isolation into academic achievement, community involvement and overall happiness.

"Dufferin Mall has a new look and spirit and has changed for the better," says Lana Vukelic, Dufferin Mall general manager. "But we felt the transformation was not complete without learning how lives of people in the community have changed along with us. That is why we devised the Change Could Make You Famous campaign.

"The response from people was truly incredible and inspirational. We are pleased to recognize and reward members of the community who have overcome difficult circumstances and changed for the better. Now we can truly celebrate our new community identity together and lead the way for embracing change."

Entries were submitted in two categories: written and photo, where some "before and after" photos were received in addition to the written stories. Entries were judged using a points system. The $2,500 grand prize photo winner was Raghia Bahawudin, of Scarborough, while Sandra Mageau, of Toronto, was the $1,500 grand prize written winner. Eight additional winners received $100 individual certificates.

Other notable mentions include Ian Patrick Whalen, Jaime Reynolds and Marita Claver in the photo category, and Sherry Alves, Monica Neumann, Arjuna Thaskaran, Christina Vazquez and Keisha Walcot, all of whom earned recognition in the written category.

"The judging process was not easy," says Avijit Yadav, one of four contest judges and Dufferin Mall marketing manager. "In fact, there was a tie in the written category, where we awarded six winners instead of the original four. This decision was important to truly recognize the change our community has undergone and encourage our members to share their inspiring stories with others who might need support."

Whalen, who will be featured in billboard and print advertisements as part of the mall's brand campaign from August to September 2007, is a budding Toronto artist who not only radically changed his life, but also his name. He described his personal transformation process as "looking back, reflecting on accomplishments and failures and analyzing how you have grown from the decisions you made."

For Claver, a successful entrepreneur and mother of two from Mississauga, a key element in turning one's life around is "when we experience a tragedy, we need to embrace clear and positive thinking to achieve goals and build a healthy mind and happy life."

Reynolds, a community volunteer and aspiring actor who lives in Brampton, noted: "change is not always creating a new physical appearance. Change is going deeper within to find the courage to know who you are. Yes, change is difficult, but if I am doing it, anyone can."

Contact Information

  • For additional information or to arrange an interview
    with the winners and/or mall management please contact:
    Torchia Communications
    Kristen Marano
    (416) 341-9929 ext. 227
    Email: kristen@torchiacom.com, Website: www.dufferinmall.com