Cu­ra­tor of cul­ture in Kore­atown

Midtown Post - - Main Street -

The par­ent: Mia Nielsen, direc­tor of arts and cul­ture at the Drake Home: Two floors of a rented house in Kore­atown Kid: Ian Le Que­lenec, 13

What is the best part about your nabe?

Mia: It’s a re­ally creative neigh­bour­hood. There are lots of lit­tle par­ties and fes­ti­vals in the sum­mer that are very unique to the area. I walk a lot, and my son skate­boards, so we’ll walk down to Kens­ing­ton Mar­ket. We’ll go to the AGO. We’ll go to con­certs. That’s what I love about the city.

What has your ex­pe­ri­ence been like with school­ing in Toronto?

Ian goes to an amaz­ing school: Hori­zon Al­ter­na­tive. I was look­ing for a pro­gram that was aca­dem­i­cally ad­vanced and chal­leng­ing but some­thing with a lit­tle bit of a dif­fer­ent ap­proach than the gifted stream. It’s a lot of work, but I think it’s a good fit. There’s also a lot of room for cre­ativ­ity. It’s a re­ally neat pro­gram.

What has your jour­ney been like as a sin­gle par­ent?

I think there are lots of pros and cons to be­ing a sin­gle par­ent. I feel like Ian and I have a re­ally spe­cial bond be­cause it is just the two of us. He of­ten comes with me to open­ings and re­cep­tions and per­for­mances. I feel like, with it just be­ing him and I, there isn’t as much dis­tinc­tion be­tween “adult time” and “kid time.” Some­times I’ll have friends over for din­ner, and he’s usu­ally there at the ta­ble with three other adults, dis­cussing pol­i­tics or what­ever. One thing I’m re­ally for­tu­nate to ex­pe­ri­ence is that, be­cause I work in cul­ture, I’m al­ways re­ally cu­ri­ous about it — whether it’s new mu­sic or street art — and I think that aspect of my job has al­lowed me to con­nect with him in dif­fer­ent ways as he gets older.

Do you feel that city kids grow up with cer­tain ad­van­tages?

City kids learn to be in­de­pen­dent be­cause of the pub­lic tran­sit sys­tem. My son told me a story where he was on the sub­way with a friend en­grossed in con­ver­sa­tion and they missed the stop where they had to trans­fer. When you’re 11 or 12 years old, you have to think on your feet and be con­fi­dent that you can solve this.

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