Vaccinating Homebound Seniors in Toronto-St.Paul’s with Sinai Health:
We can’t wait for seniors, particularly those in lower income buildings, homebound and with mobility challenges to get vaccinated. We need to go to where they are. That is why I partnered with Dr. Nathan Stall and his team from Sinai Health to deliver vaccines to seniors in neighborhoods throughout Toronto-St.Paul’s. In our west end, thank you to the Executive Director- Lisa Tobio from the York-Fairbank Centre for Seniors and her team for providing outreach to our community’s seniors. Stay tuned for news on how I’m working with local organizations and health partners to get Toronto-St. Paul’s residents vaccinated.
Our Community Celebrates Diversity and Stands Against Hate
Like all of us, I was deeply saddened by the discovery of the graves of 215 children at the Kamloops Residential School. More than an isolated event, this was indicative of a fundamentally shameful story of the relationship between Canada and the Indigenous people with which we have a responsibility to reconcile. Please click here to read more about this issue and to learn about the city’s response.
Earlier this month, the country was shocked and saddened by the violent Islamophobic attack in London, Ontario. I am also sad to say that we have experienced acts of anti-Arab hatred here in Toronto-St. Paul’s. Please click here to read more about confronting Islamophobia and anti-Arab hate in our communities.
Toronto’s Jewish community has been facing a troubling rise in antisemitism in recent months. As a City Councillor and a member of the community myself, I stand firm against these abhorrent attacks. Please click here to read more about how we are confronting antisemitism in Toronto.
June is Pride Month, and while it should be a time for celebration, the 2SLGBTQIA+ community has faced numerous acts of hatred in the Greater Toronto Area. Please click here to read more about how we are fighting homophobia and celebrating pride in a virtual manner this year.
COVID-19 Vaccine Information & How to Stay Informed
One of the most important things you can do to help end this pandemic is to be vaccinated. This will not only keep you safe, but your family, friends and neighbours, too. I’ve heard from many of you that the Province’s vaccine roll-out has been confusing and it’s been hard to understand exactly when one is eligible. This is why I’ve decided to create a “one-stop shop” for our Toronto-St.Paul’s community to provide you with all relevant information available to us. Please visit my website here to learn more.
Sidewalk Snow Clearing Expanded to all of Midtown and Every Toronto Neighbourhood
This month, after years of advocacy from our community, City Council listened to our concerns and expanded sidewalk snow clearing to Midtown and Downtown areas to finally align with the service received in the rest of Toronto. This will improve the quality of life for our community’s seniors, parents with young children using strollers, and those with mobility challenges.
For too long, residents in the former cities of North York, Scarborough, Etobicoke, and some of York received sidewalk snow clearing while the majority of neighbourhoods in Old Toronto, areas of York and East York did not. This was especially concerning given that the levels of pedestrian traffic are much higher in these areas. Residents of our City’s inner suburban areas also frequently walk through downtown and midtown, and rightfully expect safe and accessible sidewalks too.
That’s why, Councillor Layton and I moved a motion last September requesting the General Manager of Transportation Services to provide a plan to harmonize sidewalk clearing standards across all City of Toronto neighbourhoods. After a pilot project over the winter, Staff came to Council with a plan to extend the program across all areas of the City that do not currently receive clearing.
I want thank the board of the Deer Park Residents Group, and local members of WalkTO for working with my office on this initiative and playing a leading role in advocating for safe and accessible sidewalk clearing!
Temporary Home Secured for SPRINT Seniors Services
SPRINT is a community agency that provides services to Midtown seniors including meals on wheels, rides to appointments, social activities, and other programs that allow older adults to stay in their home.
I am strongly supportive of the City’s plan to build affordable seniors housing at the current home of SPRINT at 140 Merton, but the construction of the site (scheduled to begin next year) will require the organization to find a new home for a couple years before they will move back into the base of the new building.
That’s why I moved a motion at Council last week to provide a temporary home for SPRINT. I want to commend City Staff for finding a suitable location right next door at 130 Merton, which will help ensure that the vital services offered to local seniors will continue uninterrupted.
Canada Square Working Group Acheives A New Vision for Yonge-Eglinton
The proposal submitted to redevelop the Canada Square site at the south west corner of Yonge and Eglinton by Oxford developments late last year, did not include nearly enough public space, amenities, institutional uses, or affordable housing for a site of this size and importance. That’s why I moved a motion to establish a Working Group of community leaders to inform a Special Study Area report by City Planning. This Group was tasked with putting forward a community-led vision for what we would like to see on the site. The Working Group composed of neighbouring Councillors, the local School Trustee, Residents’ Associations, Tenants’ Associations, Business Improvement Areas, community organizations, and other stakeholders to inform the Report.
The Group’s recommendations for the site included:
I will share the report from the Working Group process when it is presented to the Planning and Housing Committee later this month. If you would like to have your voice heard on this project, please contact the Senior City Planner for the project, Alex Teixeira, at 416-392-0459 or at Alex.Teixeira@toronto.ca. For more information, please see this article.
Helping Businesses and Supporting Road Safety: A CafeTO and ActiveTO Update
As the world has changed over the last year and a half, the way we use public space in our city has to change as well. As restaurants and bars have faced interior capacity restrictions implemented by provincial regulation, we have worked as a city to ensure that we provide a lifeline that allows businesses to remain open and staff employed. In our first pandemic summer, the feedback to CafeTO, which allows restaurants and bars to open European style patios on sidewalks and curb lanes, was phenomenal. I am happy to announce that we have worked to reintroduce this program across Toronto-St. Paul’s this summer.
Throughout the pandemic, I have also heard that residents are looking for new ways to get around the city. As many feel hesitancy riding the subway due to social distancing, people want new and safe alternatives to driving. In different parts of the city last year, we introduced ActiveTO, which adds temporary bikelanes that support communities needs for active transportation. For this summer, along with the curb lane patios, there will be a safe and protected bike lane along Yonge Street from Davisville to Bloor. As part of the implementation of this pilot project, I have heard many valid concerns from you about the impact of construction. I have been working closely with city staff to address these concerns and ensure that construction happens in a way that results in a minimal impact on quality of life. Please click here to see the City’s Construction Notice sent out to the community last week with more information on the timelines and impacts on the neighborhood.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel welcome to reach out to ActiveTO at Active_TO@toronto.ca or by calling 416-338-2850 or 311.
Cycling Network Update: Winona Drive Contra-flow Bike Lanes Approved
I’m happy to let you know that City Council has approved additional cycling infrastructure improvements in the western part of our ward. This comes as part of the second quarter update of the Cycling Network Plan on infrastructure projects across the city, which will be implemented in 2021 and 2022. The new approvals will allow for almost 10 km of new cycling infrastructure in seven wards, including 1.8km on Winona Drive in our ward. To learn more, please click here.
Update on the Midtown Infrastructure Implementation Strategy
City Planning is reporting back to City Council next month with the Midtown Infrastructure Implementation Strategies report, which encompasses a myriad of improvements for our community around Yonge-Eglinton: cycling, schools, transit, zoning, parks, public realm, community services and recreation. On top of being an update on numerous aspects of the secondary plan vision for this area, the report also features a recommendation for the extensive “Eglinton Green Line Landscape and Public Realm Standards.” The Standards are focusing on detailed design and implementation direction for the north part of Eglinton Avenue East, between Yonge Street and Mt. Pleasant Road. The goal is to create a strategy to create a continuous, seamless, publicly-accessible open space, which will be fully integrated with the future Eglinton Connects.
For a quick overview of what has been achieved thus far and what next steps are, please see the “Midtown Dashboard” here. For a more detailed overview of the implementation strategies’ update, please see the staff report at this link. If you are interested in reviewing the proposed Eglinton Green Line Landscape and Public Realm Standards, you can see those at this link.
Supporting Small Businesses & Creating Vibrant Main Streets: CafeTO Kicks Off Toronto’s Summer Season
Our community’s business owners have been trying to the best of their abilities to adapt to our constantly changing environment. While our favorite local shops and restaurants are working to protect our health and safety, let’s shop and eat local to support them. We need our main streets to survive this pandemic. I welcome you to check out the shops and patios in the many Business Improvement Areas on my website here!
Little Jamaica Community Conversation: Meeting Highlights & Next Steps:
On Monday May 31st, BlackUrbanismTO, Kojo Rakanwu Geb and I co-hosted a town hall to hear directly from community members on how Little Jamaica’s local neighborhoods and businesses can flourish now and into the future. With over 100+ community members in attendance, the evening was filled with honest, fruitful and helpful feedback. To review the meeting highlights and next steps, please click this link.
A Little Jamaica Summer Staple: Afro-Caribbean Farmer’s Market Opens July 4th
While I’m focusing on the future of Little Jamaica, Lori Beazer (organizer of the Afro-Caribbean Farmer’s Market), the York-Eglinton BIA and I have been working together to transform the parking lot at 1531 Eglinton Avenue West (Oakwood Avenue & Eglinton Avenue West) into a vibrant animated food space, and cultural food hub that forms a collective platform for sharing food and exchanging food culture with the community.
Through select imported food from the Caribbean and Africa, alongside a curated group of lifestyle items made by local food artisans, such as freshly baked bread, juices, desserts and sauces/jams, people will gather at this “town square” each Sunday starting July 4th to October 3rd from 11:00am-3:00pm.
While the market’s focus is to elevate racialized farmers alongside food-producers in densely urbanized neighbourhoods, it will also feature it’s own market currency called Callaloo Cash, which is a program that aims to subsidize and limit financial barriers for people with low incomes. For further details, please click here. I hope to see you soon!
You’re Invited to Have Your Say on Proposed Improvements to Pump Park (the High Level Pumping Station Park)
I know the Rathnelly community has had to suffer through what seems like endless construction for Toronto Water infrastructure. That’s why I’m happy to report that we were able to secure $150,000 from Toronto Water towards improvements to Pump Park (the High Level Pumping Station Park). I’ve been working closely with The Rathnelly Area Residents Association [RARA] and City Staff to identify priorities. RARA and I are excited to provide background on the project, present some of the initial concepts and obtain your feedback during my upcoming virtual public meeting on July 13th at 6:00pm. Please click here for more information on how to access the meeting.
June is Seniors Month
As Toronto’s Seniors Advocate, I invite you to join me in celebrating Seniors Month. We owe it to our seniors, along with their caregivers, families and friends to recognize the amazing contributions they have made for our communities. At a municipal level, I’ll continue advocating for age-friendly policies, and City-wide enhancements that will improve the quality of life for our seniors. If you are interested in nominating a senior living in Ontario for the Ontario Seniors Achievement Award, please click here.
2020 Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program
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 a number of clinics in our City.
Beginning August 1, 2021, single residents aged 65 and over with an income of $22,000 or less and couples with a combined annual income of $37,100 are able to access free routine dental care. TPH currently operates 24 dental clinics, including its Mobile Dental Clinic, for free routine dental care for those who are eligible, including the Ontario Seniors Dental Care program. TPH clinics offer dental services such as examinations, X-rays, fillings, cleanings and extractions, as needed. Eligibility information can be found here.
New Bell Box Mural on Pleasant Boulevard
It has always been my great pleasure to support so many beautiful murals, created by talented local artists, on Bell’s boxes throughout our community. This is a creative partnership that we value. I’m happy to present the latest box mural, a napping red panda, by Yen Linh Thai on Pleasant Boulevard.
ParkFitTO Offers Free & Affordable Options to Stay Fit this Summer
As Toronto enters into Step 1 of the Provincial Reopening roadmap, provides both free and affordable paid options for individual and instructional group fitness in our City’s parks. In addition, the City is offering private businesses access to free permits for fitness classes, yoga and much more. To learn more about how to register, please click here.
Register your Bicycle with Toronto Police’s New Online Registry
During 2020, the Toronto Police Service reported nearly 4000 bicycles having been stolen. Given that bicycle theft has risen immensely since the start of the pandemic, the Toronto Police has advised our office to encourage local residents to register their bicycle using this online portal. Bicycle registration can greatly assist the Toronto Police in its recovery if stolen. For more information regarding bicycle registration and theft prevention, please contact the Crime Prevent Officer at either 13 Division or 53 Division.
Addressing the Digital Divide with Toronto Public Library
Earlier this year, I moved a motion at City Council requesting for further funds to be committed to Toronto Public Library’s Seniors Tech Help program. Thanks to my colleagues on Council for supporting my motion, Toronto Public Library was able to continue offering this amazing service to our City’s seniors. For further details, please review the flyer below.
JOB OPPORTUNITY: Tenant Organizer for OVCO
OVCO (Oakwood Vaughan Community Organization), a non-profit volunteer group, in partnership with CP Planning, is seeking a tenant organizer (TO) as part of the Tenant Solidarity Program. The TO will a) Organize new tenants’ associations, b) Educate tenants about their rights, c) Support existing tenants’ associations.
Estimated Hours: 10+ hours/week, some weeks with more and some with less time over the span of 18-24 months.
For a full description of responsibilities, please email: email@example.com or call 647-470-6658. If you require accessibility accommodation for any part of the application and/or hiring process, please contact, in confidence, 647-470-6658 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Ensure your subject line states: “Confidential: insert name of position”. Applications accepted between June 14 and end of day June 28, 2021: please email email@example.com.
Local Issues at Community Council in June
Toronto 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 also has final decision-making power on certain items, such as fence by-law exemptions and appointments to local boards and Business Improvement Areas. To check what local ward 12 issues are discussed at Community Council this month, please visit my website here.
Electric Vehicles: The Future of Cars
Earlier this month, I was pleased to write a column for wheels.ca on why the future of cars is electric. When it comes to electric vehicles, cities like Toronto should be helping pave the way. Please click here to read my column and learn more.
Toronto-St Paul’s Farmer’s Markets
Ward 12 is lucky to have a variety of wonderful farmer’s markets across our neighbourhoods. Join me at
AppleTree’s Davisville Farmer’s Market: Every Tuesday between 3:00pm and 7:00pm at June Rowlands Park.
Shifting Perspectives on Homelessness
How often have you walked by people living on the street because you don’t know how to help? MyCity Impact will help you see homelessness in a whole new way, while offering an easy way to support this marginalized community.
Each year, people facing homelessness take photos of our city from their unique perspective. At MyCity Photo, you can see Toronto through their lens, meet the artists, donate, shop, and learn about their lives. Check out their remarkable images offered for sale as photo prints, greeting card collections, and a collectible photobook that raise awareness and make truly meaningful gifts. Proceeds go to charity to help people move out of desperate circumstances toward a self-sufficient life.
See MyCity Photo in action in this video!
Toronto & Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) Offering Free Virtual Events
As Board Member of the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, I’m pleased to share their exciting free webinars and e-learning activities, guided hikes, festivals and other seasonal events, educational workshops, and public consultations. Come explore nature, culture, and the environment in Toronto and the GTA! To learn more, please click here.
Oakwood Village Roots and Routes Discovery Trail
The Oakwood Village BIA is working with Muse Arts to develop a fun summer street art installation and Treasure Hunt along our main street this summer. The Oakwood Village Roots and Routes Discovery Trail is a series of sidewalk and window installations that will take us on a neighbourhood journey honoring the people, the land and the pathways that are part of our collective experience.
We are looking for your inputs; modern and oral histories of the area, tales, myths and experiences of nature, people and migration (whether from another neighbourhood OR another country). Starting May 25 – June 12 look for our Roots and Routes Community Questions and Zoom Engagement Panel announcement. Follow Oakwood Village’s social media @OakwoodVillageBIA for opportunities to participate. All activities are subject to COVID protocols and safety. This is a City of Toronto Arts & Culture SPARK project.
Discovery Trail Unveiling June 27, 2021
Celebrating the Sunflower Murals at Christie Gardens
I had the pleasure of visiting the “Sunflower” murals at Christie Gardens with Indigenous artists Johl Whiteduck-Ringuette, Angela Aula and Trina Moyan. Thanks to Christie Gardens Foundation, StreetART Toronto and the Red Urban Nation Artist Collective.
Follow My Updates on Social Media
I’m grateful to provide you with regular updates through our e-newsletter. Make sure you don’t miss a beat by connecting on social media as well! Follow me on Facebook (Josh Matlow), Twitter (@JoshMatlow), and Instagram (@joshmatlow) to keep up with the latest news from our community and City Hall.
Deer Park Residents Group “Gas Busters” Initiative
John Watt and Dundee Staunton, are two Deer Park neighbours who are concerned about the environmental impact and health hazards from gasoline leaf blowers. They took action and created a flyer that informed their neighbours of the harmful effects. The flyer asked neighbours to stop using gas leaf blowers and join “Gas Busters,” a fun name based on the Ghostbusters theme. The result of the flyer distributed on Duggan Avenue, met with success. Eight neighbours on their street convinced their gardening service to convert to an environmentally friendly alternative and to stop using the noisy and polluting gas-powered leaf blowers. They explained that discontinuing the use of one gasoline powered leaf blower is equivalent to taking 93 times the hydrocarbons of one sedan and many times as much carbon monoxide and nitrous oxides off their street. If you are concerned about the health implications of gas powered leaf blowers and want to implement a “Gas Busters” on your street, become an “Amgassador” by sending an email to Dundee Staunton, firstname.lastname@example.org, John Watt, email@example.com or Chris Keating, Chris@hvq.com , (DPRG, Noise and Pollution Action Committee).
#BikeMatchWCN is BACK!
The Women’s Cycling Network is repeating our successful #BikeMatchWCN program, connecting people with bikes they no longer need with women in need of a bike to ride. Last year, thanks to so many generous people, we were able to give 75 women a bike to ride. These women, many who are newcomers to Canada, cycle for a variety of reasons, including their physical and mental health, for freedom and empowerment, and to get to work and run errands. Originally established in the Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park communities, the Women’s Cycling Network is an inclusive group of more than 100 women and is expanding across the city. This year #BikeMatchWCN is being offered in more neighbourhoods throughout Toronto and we are adding more supports, such as learn-to-ride programs and basic bike mechanics. Already 30 women are waiting for a bike and more are registering every day. If you have a bike to give or need a bike to ride, visit this link.
Summer Camp Opportunities in Toronto-St.Paul’s
For Youth Initiative Presents: Post-Secondary Scholarship
Wychwood Barns Community Association Recruits New Board Members
The Wychwood Barns Community Association needs people to serve on its Board of Directors who have a commitment to community building and to using the Artscape Wychwood Barns to involve and engage our community. The Board welcomes applications from persons with diverse backgrounds. The Nominating Committee is currently accepting applications. Please see this website for more information and the application form. Application Deadline is June 18th, 2021.
St. Clair Oral History Project
In 2013 the Wychwood Barns Community Association organized a hugely successful celebration of the 100th anniversary of the opening of both the St. Clair streetcar line and the Wychwood Barns. The celebrations brought so many people together; those who have lived in the neighbourhood for decades; those who moved here as immigrants; those who raised families here or ran a business.
The stories and excitement inspired us to launch the St. Clair Oral History Project. This sub-committee of the Wychwood Barns Community Association, have worked hard to collect these stories and were thrilled to launch the St. Clair Oral History Website to share the results, just before Covid hit. Please check it out.
Thank you to everyone who agreed to be interviewed. Their memories and stories enrich us all, especially those from people who are no longer with us. But of course there are many more stories to tell. The team is getting ready to begin a new round of interviews when Covid restrictions allow, so please be in touch with suggestions or your interest in joining this project. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org