I hope this finds you and your family healthy and well during these challenging times.
My family and I wish you and yours a very happy Thanksgiving. This year, Melissa, Molly and I will be having dinner together while joining our extended family and friends by Facetime and phone. We’ll be reaching out to people we care about who live alone. I’m convinced, based on public health experts’ advice, that while we’d all prefer to gather with the people we love, the best way to show our love is to remain physically apart for the time being. I’m confident that if we continue to keep a physical distance of six feet, wash our hands, wear masks when necessary and be kind to each other, we’ll be able to come back together around the table again when it’s safe and responsible to do so.
As always, I hope you find my update informative and helpful. Please feel very welcome to contact my office if you ever need our assistance. Stay healthy and well.
Accessibility Link Available:As part of my commitment to ensuring that my community updates are available to all residents in Toronto-St Paul’s, my e-newsletter can be viewed with a variety of accessibility features. Options include changing text size, colour options, fonts and more. To access the accessibility panel, view my newsletters on my website by clicking here and then clicking on the person shaped icon on the left of your screen.
The Right Honourable Prime Minister John TurnerPrime Minister John Turner was my friend, and a beloved resident of Toronto-St. Paul’s. He loved our country, and our community, and was always generous in his advice and mentoring. I will miss our time together. My heartfelt condolences to Geills and their entire family.
Supporting Black-Owned and Operated Businesses and Preserving the Cultural Heritage of Eglinton Avenue West’s “Little Jamaica”
Historically, whether it be the construction of an expressway or due to gentrification, Black communities have been displaced in cities throughout North America. We cannot allow this to happen again. The heart and soul of Eglinton Avenue West, which is colloquially known as “Little Jamaica” or “Eglinton”, is home to the highest concentration of Black and Caribbean-owned and operated businesses in Toronto. From the barbershops and hair salons that act as community spaces to the various restaurants that remind many of home, “Little Jamaica” on Eglinton Avenue West’s history and character should be celebrated and its future must be protected. However, many Black-owned and operated businesses have been fighting a battle against the potential loss of the identity and roots of their neighbourhood for years. That is why, at last week’s Council meeting, I was pleased to move a motion that was seconded by Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson and supported by Mayor John Tory, to provide short-term supports and a substantive long-term vision to ensure the retention and growth of Black-owned and operated businesses, while celebrating the identity, and showcasing the resiliency, of the Caribbean community. I look forward to working with an interdivisional team of City Staff I have assembled, along with community and business leaders on this historic initiative. Click here to read more about the challenges facing “Little Jamaica” and the motion I moved at City Council.
Council Shamefully Puts Safe and Accessible Sidewalk Snow Clearing On Ice
Last winter, City Council called for improved standards for sidewalk snow maintenance due to valid concerns raised by residents that Toronto’s current standards are completely insufficient in the downtown and centre of the City. It is inequitable that residents in the former cities of North York, Scarborough, Etobicoke, and York receive sidewalk snow clearing while the majority of neighbourhoods in Old Toronto and East York do not. With the COVID-19 pandemic, walking will be more important than ever to our physical and mental health, especially for seniors and people living with mobility challenges. That is why I moved a motion, seconded by Councillor Mike Layton, at this week’s Council meeting to address this issue. While my motion was supported by a few of my colleagues, including the Mayor, it unfortunately did not receive a two-thirds vote for it to pass. It was however referred to an upcoming Infrastructure and Environment Committee. Please click here to learn more about my motion and about what you can do to help move this forward.
City to Study Banning Leaf Blowers During Summer Months
Since being elected I have heard from many of you that leaf blowers are both an environmental concern and a major source of noise pollution. That’s why, I’m pleased to report that my motion to thoughtfully study banning all leaf blowers due to noise concerns either entirely, or just from May-September, was approved at Council.
My motion was approved as an amendment to a motion introduced by my colleague Councillor Shelley Carroll, who requested a report on banning gasoline-powered leaf blowers due to environmental concerns. The process of incomplete fuel combustion by gasoline-powered blowers generates dangerous hydrocarbons 500 times that of an average automobile and produces toxic aerosols (including carcinogenic particulates) that can be inhaled. Councillor Carroll’s motion was also approved by Council. I look forward to reading the staff report, which expect will provide both the benefits and consequences of doing so.
Consultation on Ranked Ballots for City of Toronto Elections to Move ForwardThis week at Council, my colleagues supported a motion to move forward with Ranked Ballots for the 2026 municipal elections. This method of voting, increasingly being adopted in many cities across the world, would see voters choosing first, second, and third choices of candidates instead of just one. Second and third choices are considered if no candidate receives more than 50% of the first place votes
I support this initiative as Ranked ballots has led to less divisive elections that focus more on policy as each candidate is vying to also be a voter’s second and third choices. Experiences from other jurisdictions have also shown that elections conducted in this manner also lead to more diverse candidates running in, and winning, elections.
City Council has directed the City Clerk to report back to City Council by the end of 2023 on implementing a Ranked Ballot election for 2026. For more information on Ranked ballots in Toronto, please visit the webpage for the Ranked Ballot Initiative of Toronto, which has been advocating for this voting reform
Bathurst and Eglinton Intersection UpdateLast week I was advised by Metrolinx that there would be major changes coming to the intersection of Bathurst and Eglinton, where the new Forest Hill LRT station is under construction. With the past and current iterations of the construction staging, Metrolinx had imposed a northbound left turn prohibition from Bathurst onto Eglinton. This has been a source of massive traffic disruption to our Cedarvale neighbourhood over the past few years. Through the use of GPS navigation, many commuters have been cutting through the neighbourhood in search of a way to access Allen Road, in part due to the turning prohibition at this major intersection.
I am happy to inform you that Metrolinx has now removed the prohibition and installed a new dedicated northbound left turn late with an advanced signal. Please click here to learn more.
2020 Toronto Book Awards: Frying Plantain by Zalika Reid-BentaCongratulations to “Frying Plantain” (set in Toronto’s “Little Jamaica” on Eglinton West) by Zalika Reid-Benta (House of Anansi Press) for being longlisted for the 2020 Toronto Book Awards! Happy reading!
Supporting Smaller Class Sizes to Stop the Spread of COVID-19As a City Councillor and parent myself, I wrote to the Minister of Education to request that smaller class sizes be mandated for elementary students from grades K to 8 throughout the duration of this pandemic. As seen in other countries across the globe, what happens in our schools inevitably ends up impacting the health and safety of our communities. To read my full letter, please click here.
Calling on the Ford Government to Support Small Business Owners & LandlordsI continue to speak with small and medium sized business owners every day of this crisis, and many of them are financially devastated. The challenges and struggles that our local businesses face demonstrate the need for every level of government to step up to support them.
On August 31st, the Protecting Small Business Act, which temporarily halted or reversed evictions of commercial tenants and protected them from being locked out of having their assets seized during the COVID-19 pandemic, expired. Many business owners, like yourselves, saw this Act as a lifeline that they needed to survive. That’s why, I wrote an open letter to the Premier asking that he extend this Act and provide small business owners with immediate and direct rent relief. Rent support from the Provincial government would provide relief for both small business owners and Landlords. That is why I wrote the following letter to the Premier advocating for an extension and immediate rent relief. We need to take collective action to ensure that our main streets remain vibrant and come out of this, better than ever.
New Child Care Centre at 45 DunfieldExpanding access to childcare is a top priority in the Midtown community. As a result of rapid development due to provincial legislation, the need for new daycare spaces has outpaced supply. That’s why, I’m pleased to report that a new childcare centre will open in the coming months in the Yonge-Eglinton neighbourhood.
Along with the new park and open space we successfully fought for, as part of the Lillian Park Development at 45 Dunfield near Yonge and Eglinton, we were also able to secure a new, not-for-profit, childcare centre. The City has acquired a total area of 8,449.67 square feet (consisting of 5,715.64 square feet of interior space and 2,734.03 square feet of outdoor space directly adjacent to the interior space) for 99 years to be operated as a daycare at no cost to the City.
Toronto’s Children’s Services has chosen the Canadian Mothercraft Society to operate the daycare. They are wonderful, reputable, and have many years of experience with multiple existing child care locations. Below is a rendering of the outdoor area (in yellow) of the new facility.
Planning & Development MeetingsAs part of the development review process, the City holds public consultation meetings to share details of the proposal and gain important community feedback. Click here to learn more about, and attend, meetings regarding 65 Raglan Ave, 141 Davisville, 63-91 Montclair Ave, 1637-1645 Bathurst Ave, 10-32 Raglan Ave, as well as other upcoming meetings. Please join me at these meetings, online and by phone during the COVID-19 pandemic, or feel welcome to call or email me with your questions, concerns or feedback.
Update on 733 Mount Pleasant Road Development ProposalThis week I attended the community meeting regarding the development proposal for 733 Mount Pleasant. I was there to support planning staff and our Davisville neighbourhood, as this is a development that is recommended as a midrise by City planners but has been changed by the Ford government to allow for a tall tower. Although this is not in my ward any longer, this is part of the community I represented for a decade and one that is near to my heart. Please click here to read my full update regarding the 733 Mount Pleasant Road Proposal.
As Ontario braces for the second wave of COVID-19, there have been a variety of updated policies at all levels of government. Please click here to review changes to Toronto’s public health bylaws, visitor policies for Long-Term Care Homes, and Toronto Public Health’s reporting dashboard, as well as updates regarding pharmacy testing and where spread is occurring in our community. As always, to learn more about COVID-19 related resources such as how to protect yourself, supports offered to tenants and small businesses, financial assistance programs available, access to community supports, volunteer opportunities and much more, please visit my COVID-19 website here!
Signage at Mabel’s Fables has a new look!
Mabel’s Fables’ Design Team are pleased to announce the completion of the new mural design on the sign near the entrance to Mabel’s Fables Children’s bookshop has been completed. Check out the before and after photos below and click here for more information!
ActiveTO UpdatesOver the past several months, I’ve actively supported the City’s ActiveTO initiative, which ensures people have space to get around while respecting physical distancing. This measured, and data driven approach, to support essential trips, front-line workers, and vulnerable road users, comprises of the Quiet Streets Program, the closure of major roads, and the expansion of our City’s cycling network and infrastructure.
As the City prepares for the winter season, Transportation Services, which has delegated responsibility over ActiveTO, will be bringing the Quiet Streets program, and the closure of major roads, to an end. However, you still have a few weeks to safely enjoy walks, runs, and bike rides with your family, friends and loved ones. Click here for more information about the final weeks of AcitveTO as well as plans for next year!
Oakwood BIA Bench ProjectThe Oakwood Village BIA is repainting the benches on the Vaughan and Oakwood traffic island. The mural design selected for the project represents a quilting pattern. The BIA is creating a patchwork of Oakwood Village stories to complement the design and wants to hear from you. Please submit a story about a memory, event or reflection about the neighbourhood at www.oakwoodvillage.ca.
COVID-19 Hotline: Income and Food Supports
Women’s Cycling Network Needs Ready-to-Ride BikesThe Women’s Cycling Network, an inclusive group of now nearly 100 women from the Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park communities as well as neighbourhoods close by, find freedom, empowerment and health benefits by riding a bike. Because of many generous donors, 70 women have bikes and have learned to ride.
What is needed are READY-TO-RIDE BIKES, particularly: HYBRIDS & CITY BIKES to fit those 5’ 3” OR UNDER.
If you have a bike to give, read about the Women’s Cycling Network #BikeMatch program and complete the form. Your bike will be matched with a woman from our waiting list and a contact-free donation arranged.
Beltline Lost Stations and Sir Winston Churchill Park UpdatesToronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation staff have informed us that completion of the Beltline Trail Lost Stations at Yonge and Upper Canada College is scheduled for this Friday, October 9th. The Heritage Toronto plaques for each station are currently being designed and will be installed as soon as they are ready. A construction contract for the Eglinton Station has been awarded and construction will begin in the coming months.
I am also pleased to announce that all benches and armour stone have been installed at the Sir Winston Churchill Park Off-Leash Area. The garden is currently being excavated and Urban Forestry has informed us that they will soon begin planting trees and shrubs. Once this process is complete, staff will install padding and a custom wood bench around the tree inside the off-leash area.
In 2013, as Toronto’s Seniors Advocate, I initiated Toronto Senior’s Strategy 1.0, which set out 91 recommendations across 8 WHO age-friendly domains. 90 of the 91 recommended actions were implemented by 2018, however, due to the lack of funding available, the recommendation to increase access to free dental services for seniors, was unfortunately not met. While I did meet with the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care’s team to discuss this further, they could not commit funds at that time.
As we fast forward to present day, I’m pleased to announce that through the Province’s Ontario Seniors Dental Program, Toronto Public Health is able to expand the dental services that they offer to low-income seniors across 6 clinics located in Toronto. To read more, please click here.
Recreation programs have changed to help you stay safe and take part in your favourite activities. Learn more or register at here. Many spaces still available at Fairbank Memorial Community Centre and Hillcrest Community Centre.
https://efun.toronto.ca is the easiest and quickest way to register online or call the program at 416 396-7378.
Secret Fountains is a series of 30 large-scale black and white photos of derelict concrete fountains, taken prior to their removal from the modernist Brentwood Towers. They are now displayed on the Beltline, west of the Yonge Street bridge. It was a pleasure to join artist Leala Hewak and other community members
City of Toronto invites residents to become Neighbourhood Climate Action Champions
The City of Toronto invites residents and community leaders to help inspire climate action by becoming a Neighbourhood Climate Action Champion. Participants in this new City program will receive virtual training and support to empower them to support residents in developing innovative climate action projects that reflect the needs and values of their communities.
Participants must be willing to commit four to five hours per month (minimum 50 hours per year) to engaging their community in developing and implementing neighbourhood-based projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Participants will receive an honorarium of $500.
Applications for the Neighbourhood Climate Action Champions program are now being accepted. Residents can learn more and apply online here.
Local Issues at Community Council in OctoberToronto and East York Community Council’s responsibilities include making recommendations and decisions on local planning and development, as well as neighbourhood matters including traffic plans and parking regulations. Community Council reports to City Council but they also have final decision-making power on certain items, such as fence by-law exemptions and appointments to local boards and Business Improvement Areas. To check out what’s happening at community council, please visit my website here.
Eglinton Way BIA Farmer’s Market
As the clock hits 8AM the chatter in 125 Burnaby Blvd grows. The Farmers are placing their final bundles of produce on their tables, completing the artful display of colourful vegetables and fruit. Mad Bean fills the lot with the smell of freshly roasted coffee complementing the sweet smell of Goûter pastries. For three years now, the Eglinton Way BIA Market has 15 vendors that gather in the parking lot each Sunday to sell local produce. If you ever wanted to know more about them, please click here. I look forward to seeing you there!
I care about u- Midtown Mask Initiative
Two young entrepreneur sisters from our ward (Justine and Bailee Sneiderman) were looking for a way to help our community through the COVID-19 pandemic. They came up with the idea to sell masks with the logo I care about u. The phrase, I care about u stood out to them because it can help build a community of kindness and support. When you wear your mask it benefits everyone around you, and encourages others to wear one too. When buying their masks, you are purchasing more than a mask, you are helping our community. They are donating 100% of all profits to the Canada Food Banks COVID-19 Response Fund. Please visit www.icareaboutu.ca to purchase your mask.
Toronto Public Library’s Career Coaches in Residence ProgramThe Toronto Public Library is excited to announce the upcoming launch of the Career Coaches in Residence (CCIR) program on September 28. This new program, which runs until Spring 2021, offers remote career and job search help for younger adults (18-29) through one-on-one appointments, workshops and seminars.
Customers will be able to book a free one-hour phone or video consultation with one of TPL’s four career coaches for one-on-one advice on their career journey. Coaches can help with general career advice, résumé and cover letter support, job or employment searching, interview preparation and more.
Bilton Laneway VisitMolly and I enjoyed a visit to see some creative placemaking and gardening by local residents in Bilton Laneway. They’ve created a special place in the heart of Forest Hill Village. I welcome you to go and check it out.
Play4AllMerton Street ProjectThe time has come… I am so excited to announce Play4All’s upcoming farmers market book sale event called: Surprise Book n’ Play! Taking place on October 18th, 2020 at the Kensington Flea Market from 11AM-7PM. That’s not all that Play4All Merton has coming up! Click here for more details and for volunteer opportunities.
Feeling Lonely? We Care About You:
During the COVID-19 crisis, and even during “normal times”, too many seniors are isolated. I’ve organized a team of caring volunteers who are ready to reach out to seniors in our community who feel lonely. Please feel very welcome to post this notice in your building or street. For a printable version, please click here.
Check Out What’s Open in Toronto-St. Paul’s and Find Out How to Donate to Your Favourite Business!
Our Toronto-St. Paul’s community is home to some of the most unique and remarkable shops, bars and restaurants. Many of them do online sales and food take out and delivery. The following BIAs have put together a list of businesses that remain open amidst this crisis- Dupont By the Castle BIA, Oakwood Village BIA, Eglinton Way BIA, Mt. Pleasant Village BIA ,Yonge+St.Clair BIA, York-Eglinton BIA, Midtown Yonge BIA, Uptown Yonge, Upper Village BIA, Rosedale Main Street, Wychwood Heights BIA, Hillcrest Village BIA and Forest Hill Village BIA.
In case you’re looking for a way to support your favourite local shop right at home, you may want to consider making a monetary donation to them (if they’re listed) on Distantly. For business owners looking to create a profile, you may do so by clicking “Add My Business”, located on the top right section of their home webpage.
The Stop Wychwood Barns’ Farmer’s Market is Back!
It’s an amazing feeling to be back with my family and community at our beloved Thee Stop Wychwood Barns Farmers’ Market! Honey sticks, fresh produce, delicious food, and so much more. I look forward to seeing you there on Saturdays from 8:00am-1:00pm at 601 Christie Street (outside)!
If You Require Assistance or Information
My team and I remain actively working. However, our physical offices will be closed until further notice and my staff will be working remotely. In the interim, the best way to connect with us is by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, rather than phone, and we’ll respond to you at our earliest opportunity.
Due to the high volume of correspondence we’re receiving, there may be a delay in our response, but we’ll certainly following up with you. We deeply appreciate your patience.
For any information related to COVID-19, please click here for the Toronto Public Health website to learn more and for important contact information.