Founded in 1945, the Toronto Vegetarian Association is Toronto’s go to resource for all things veg.
Director of Operations
Denyse Mehta is the Director of Operations of TVA. She has been with TVA since September 2017. Her primary interest in vegetarianism emerged from her cultural and religious upbringing. As a volunteer with TVA, she was very inspired about the new knowledge gained about a full plant-based diet and has embraced a vegan diet for its compassion and health. During her corporate life, she advocated for vegetarian food to be offered at all events to respect and value each person’s individual choices, notwithstanding the opposition she faced. She believes that the work that TVA has done since 1945 with the support of all its volunteers has contributed towards the mainstream growth of veganism.
Over the last year, Denyse has overseen the growth of TVA’s calendar of events and has ensured that TVA runs in an operational excellent and efficient manner to meet the needs of all its stakeholders including members, donors, and volunteers. She is the holder of an Executive MBA from the Henley Business School, University of Reading, and is currently pursuing her Certified Association Executive (CAE) certification from CSAE to boost her skills to build TVA’s growth and impact. In her spare time, she loves vegan cooking and baking in her downtown Toronto home.
Donor and Volunteer Resources Coordinator
As Donor and Volunteer Resources Coordinator, Barbi is responsible for maintaining and enhancing communications and relations with TVA’s dedicated donors and volunteers. In this role, she edits TVA’s electronic newsletter, Toronto Veg News, and leads the TVA Volunteer Appreciation Team. She is also responsible for ensuring the efficient day-to-day operation of the TVA office, always keeping everything, and everyone organized and up to date.
Barbi graduated from York University, where she helped the York Animal Rights Group to introduce a Vegetarian and Vegan Directory for the Keele Campus. She has served as a dedicated member of community groups in her hometown of Thornhill, such as the Pomona Mills Park Conservationists the Thornhill Historic Society and the Markham Animal Care Committee. She currently leads the TVA social group, Vegetarians of High Park, and volunteers at the Toronto Humane Society and her local Tenants’ Association.
Festival and Events Coordinator
Lainey Oleka is the Festival and Events Coordinator. She first joined the TVA team in the summer of 2018 as the Festival Assistant for Veg Food Fest before being hired for her current role in November 2018.
Aside from having always been an animal lover (especially for those with scales), it was during her Bachelor of International Development at Humber College where she became more actively involved in advocating for compassionate living.
Her primary responsibility is the curation of Veg Food Fest, as well as supporting other TVA events including the Veg Spring Market and Veg Holiday Market. She works with vendors, presentors, sponsors, and location production staff to create experiences where everyone can learn why being plant-based is awesome!
Veg Guide Coordinator
Sarah is the Veg Guide Coordinator since April 2018. She is responsible for putting together the annual Veg Guide which is Toronto’s go-to resource for restaurants and other local businesses offering vegan/vegetarian food and related products and services. She is responsible for all of the restaurant mouth-watering updates you see online and on social media, using her graphic design and photography skills to the max.
Sarah has been a vegan for many years and she puts her love of eating at Toronto’s veg friendly establishments to good use in her role! When she’s not at Apiecalypse Now, Sarah can be found baking, sewing, knitting or playing video games all while covered in copious amounts of cat hair.
Sarah earned her Master’s of Arts in Photographic Preservation and Collections Management at Ryerson University and the Eastman Museum, and as a result she knows way too much about Kodak advertising in the early twentieth century. She also has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography which she uses to take beautiful photos of vegan food, her rabbit, and cat.