Fighting for an Affordable Toronto
I have heard personally from many younger people in our community that they have given up on their dream of owning a home in Midtown and will likely have to move from Toronto altogether to start a life with their family. That’s unacceptable.
Torontonians across almost all income brackets and family types are being priced out of the market or unable to afford a suitable rental apartment. So what can we do about it?
While there is a broad consensus that Toronto is in the midst of a severe housing crisis, there is no consensus, on how to address the problem or even which level government is most responsible.
Housing markets are complex and are driven by location specific factors including regulations, labour markets, and zoning. Studies from other jurisdictions are informative but not directly transferrable. We cannot fix the problem if we don’t first identify what the problems are.
There is undoubtedly more that can and should be done at the federal and provincial levels to address macro issues including the financialization of housing and investment in social housing, it is important to do everything we can at the municipal level to inform actions that City Council can take to support residents in finding an affordable home that suits their needs.
Please see my motion to read the comprehensive list of issues that require further study to inform actionable policy that will truly address housing affordability in Toronto.
Incentivizing Multi-Unit Homes: Improving Access to Neighbourhoods and Supporting Aging in Place
Many older homeowners in our city no longer have children living at home and are now over housed. Indeed, the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis as estimated that there are over 5 million empty bedrooms in Ontario, with likely a significant percentage of those in Toronto. That’s why I moved a motion at this past Council meeting to improve access to neighbourhoods and support aging in place by incentivizing single-family homeowners to retrofit their homes to build multiple units.
Currently, City Planning’s fee structure makes no distinction between a large developer and a single-family homeowner in regards to its condo application fee. The initial fee for both parties is $10,183.10. Another barrier for homeowners are the onerous legal and planning costs and bureaucracy associated with dividing their home. That’s why my motion requests staff to study the feasibility of creating a “one stop shop” with legal, planning, and permit support.
It is important to note that my motion requests City Planning to ensure that any recommendations put forward does not incentivize current owners of rental properties to turn their units into condos.
For more information, please see this article
Administrative Inquiry into Casa Loma North Campus
Casa Loma is owned by Toronto residents. The City has a responsibility to ensure that it is operated in the public interest with full transparency. The North of Austin Terrace site, in particular, was meant to be a site that showcased our history and help tell Toronto’s story. The recent push to privatize this site warrants answers to important questions. For more information, please read this Toronto Star article and my recent Administrative Inquiry to City Council. Unfortunately, City Council voted to receive (essentially burying) this inquiry rather than refer it to the appropriate committee. I will continue to fight to ensure proper public oversight over this beloved public property.
Council Votes to Keep Toronto’s Parks in the Prohibition Era
Over the pandemic, Torontonians have embraced outdoor areas for socializing more than ever. Council has recognized the importance of being able to enjoy a drink outside by loosening restrictions on patios with the successful CaféTO program, which will be brought back for a third year. Some residents will choose to enjoy a drink with loved ones in their backyards or on their balconies. However, what about Torontonians that can’t afford a drink in a bar or don’t have an outdoor space in their homes?
Public intoxication and underage drinking are already illegal under provincial law. Littering, excessive noise, and public urination are also ticketable offences and are already issued in many parks. In other words, those who behave irresponsibly are not concerned with existing policies.
Cities around the world, including Paris, London, and Sydney, and have allowed responsible adults to enjoy a drink in their parks together for years. Many Canadian cities like Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton have also allowed for this without issue. Unfortunately, Council chose to again ignore what’s worked everywhere else by voting against my motion to allow responsible adults to have a beer or glass of wine together in a park.
For more information, please see this Globe and Mail article.
Community Environment Days in Toronto-St. Paul’s
Asian Heritage Month
In honour of May being Asian Heritage Month, let us celebrate the diversity of all Asian cultures and remember their stories and contributions that has helped mould Canada throughout its history. Let’s appreciate that the first Asians had settled in Canada since the late 1700s and have been an integral part of the Canadian fabric and identity since.
Cedarvale Dog Park Reopens
We did it! It was a “ruff” journey to ensure it would be ready for the dog days of summer, but I’m happy to announce the Cedarvale Park Off Leash Area has reopened! I found this to be a very frustrating experience, as it certainly was for everybody affected by the closure. However, I am very grateful to the community for your patience as we engaged city staff to make the necessary repairs and retrofits.
Making our Parks More Fun: Bringing a Ping Pong Table to a Park Near You!
Given all the interest in outdoor ping pong in our community, City staff and I have added an additional table to Davisville Park near Sharon Lois & Bram playground. And as you may know, we recently installed new tables in Oriole Park and another in Graham Park. There will be another on its way to Lionel Conacher Park. Stay tuned for more updates!
A photo of Molly Matlow about to beat her father in a game of ping pong.
Visiting the Hellenic Home for the Aged
For the first time since the pandemic began, I was able to visit with the staff and residents at the Hellenic Home for the Aged. It was emotional for all of us to be back together again.
Avenue Road Safety Update:
There are many residents living on or nearby Avenue Road who’ve expressed concerns about the existing configuration of the street and the speeding cars, loud revving engines throughout the night, and an overall unsafe experience for most road users. Along with an option to include bike lanes, there’s been a very clear request from community members that the narrow sidewalks be expanded to provide a safer path for pedestrians.
My office and I have been actively engaging with the Avenue Road Safety Coalition, along with many engaged residents in the area. At our request, City Staff have finally initiated a study to determine what a safer Avenue Road could look like. No matter the outcome, I believe that it is critical that this is a genuinely consultative initiative. Please feel welcome to provide your initial feedback through the City’s online form at this link until May 29th. The City of Toronto will then hold broader community consultation into the Summer and Fall of 2022.I’ll be certain to provide updates on their progress as it becomes available.
Next Stop: Davisville – A Vision For New Services and Green Space to Support Our Community
Yonge and Davisville is an evolving, thriving mixed-use community. A significant asset, The Davisville Yard and adjoining TTC trench represent an unparalleled opportunity to provide a signature park and amenity space for this growing community, in addition to critical transit infrastructure.
Having served as TTC headquarters for over 50 years, the McBrien Building at the corner of Yonge and Davisville represents a unique opportunity for adaptive reuse and the re-imagining of Davisville’s most prominent intersection. Providing opportunities for development on the site will serve to balance the overall costs of constructing a signature park and decking.
The reinvigoration of both the Davisville Yard and McBrien Building Site will improve amenity, park space and services to support the emergence of a transit-oriented community hub.
To get involved in the future of the Davisville Yard and the McBrien Building (1900 Yonge Street) please join the virtual community visioning session on May 26, 2022. A link will be posted at the City’s website here.
Mental Health Week
Join the Canadian Mental Health Association for the 71st year to raise awareness of Mental Health Week from May 2nd to 8th. During that week, CMHA would like to focus on empathy: our ability to relate to our fellow human beings and share in their feelings and experiences. Let’s take a moment to reflect on how we can be more empathetic to those around us and contribute to a more understanding and compassionate world. For more information, please click here.
Leafblower Ban Update: A message from Gas Busters Toronto
Given the documented evidence that noisy gas-powered leaf blowers are a serious health and environmental hazard they have been banned in many jurisdictions around the world. In Toronto, on May 30th, the Economic and Community Development Committee (ECDC) will recommend, or not recommend, a ban of gas-powered leaf blowers. Two weeks later, June 15th Toronto Council will hopefully vote to protect people and the environment by stopping the use of gas-powered leaf blowers and garden equipment in Toronto. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on how to advocate for this important change.
COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic at Fairbank Memorial Community Centre
Although we’re at a much better place today, vaccinations are still critical to end the pandemic & keep us healthy. We’ve worked with partners to organize COVID-19 vaccine clinics accessible to you. Our Fairbank clinic will be open each Tuesday until June 7. See below for details:
Compost Day at St. Michael and All Angels Church
I was thrilled to be able to hold our annual compost day with our friends at St. Michael and All Angels Church on St.Clair West. Thanks to those community members that went door-to-door to drop-off leftover compost to our neighbours!
Community Clean Up Round-Up
Thanks to the Friends of Cedarvale, Tarragon Village, and Friends of Kay Gardner Beltline Trail for organizing and bringing our community together to clean up our ravines, parks and trails!
Eglinton Avenue West Clean Up Sinting
On-Street Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Come to Toronto-St. Paul’s!
After extensive deliberations with Toronto Hydro and Permit Parking staff, I’m pleased to announce that our community is getting two on-street EV double charging stations, in Davisville, on Cuthbert Crescent, and in the Wychwood area, on Christie Street. This is just a start! With more stations on their way, this a step in the right direction towards supporting the goals and targets of the City’s Transform TO Net Zero climate action strategy, an ambitious plan to reduce community-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Toronto to net zero by 2040. This is only a pilot, as we continue to further understand EV charging usage in Toronto to identify several more suitable residential on-street parking locations. I’ll be supporting the staff report at the Infrastructure and Environment Committee next Wednesday, and will subsequently vote to approve this at Council. More to come!
Little Jamaica Deep Listening Circles
The City of Toronto is inviting Little Jamaica community members to guide the future growth and development of this community. See Get Involved below and register to participate in a Deep Listening Circle. I hope to see you there!
Cultural Districts Program
Wychwood Barns Farmers’ Market
Join us at the Barns to check out the selection of local products and treats at the indoor/outdoor Farmer’s Market (located at 601 Christie Street). You can locate them every Saturday from 8:00am to 12:30pm, year round—support and shop local!
Barns Art Market
Spring has finally sprung! What better way to celebrate the beautiful weather than checking out our talented exhibitors at the Spring BAM! Arts Market!
Artscape and Wychwood Art Advisory Board invite you to come on out and show our community some love, add some pieces to your collection and learn more about the talented roster of exhibitors!
The event will take place at Wychwood Barns Park (76 Wychwood Ave) from 10:00am to 4:00pm. RSVP via the following link here.
Davisville Village Market
I’m delighted to support AppleTree Markets, a local Toronto-St.Paul’s non-profit organization, which will once again be transforming June Rowlands Park, every Tuesday between 3pm and 7pm, into a vibrant “town square” for the seventh year of our community’s popular farmers’ market. The market is a place where you are sure to see friends and neighbours, while buying fresh produce, fish, meats, chocolate, and so much more.
I look forward to seeing you there!
Doors Open at St. Matthew’s United Church
Please visit St. Matthew’s United Church as part of their Doors Open weekend on May 28-29. They’ll be open from 10:00am-5:00pm on Saturday and 1:00pm-5:00pm on Sunday. Built in 1924, we are featuring the unique Sanctuary space, designed by Architects Wickson and Gregg as well as the three-year old Noojimo’iwewin Gitigaan Indigenous Healing Garden on the west side of the Church building. You won’t want to miss the delicious strawberry shortcake and drinks offered in the St. Matt’s Cafe from 1:00pm-4:00pm each day. Check-out the webpage for more information here.
Basement Flooding Prevention Campaign
Basements can flood for many reasons. While the City of Toronto is working to improve its complex system of underground pipes, sewers and catch basins, these improvements alone cannot completely protect a home from basement flooding. During heavy rain, the sewers can become overloaded and it’s important for homeowners to take steps to help protect their homes from basement flooding. For basement flooding prevention tips, City subsidies and related programs and services from the City of Toronto, please visit toronto.ca/basementflooding.
Seasonal Jobs with the TRCA
Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) is hiring Lifeguards, Camp Counsellors, and Park Maintenance Staff for its 2022 Summer Season! To check out the postings and apply today, please click here.
Trash Talk: Ways You Can Reduce Your Waste
Waste management in a city the size of Toronto is a complex task. Every year, the City of Toronto manages more than 900,000 tonnes (almost two billion pounds) of waste. This requires money, energy, and resources and takes up valuable landfill space. With a growing population, limited space in landfill, the changing nature of waste and evolution of packaging, reducing the amount of waste we produce is key.
Small changes can have a big impact. Here are some simple ways you can reduce your waste:
- Say ‘no thanks’ to bags, receipts, extra napkins, straws, condiment packages and cutlery
- Choose reusable bags for shopping and gift giving, and reusable bottles and mugs when you’re on the go
- Repurpose things you would otherwise throw away like reusing glass jars as vases
- Borrow or share less frequently used items, such as tools, camping gear and sports equipment
- Repair items like clothing, appliances and electronics to extend their life
Upcoming Programming form For Youth Initiative
Canada Learning Code
The Power of Storytelling with Keosha Love
Guided Birding Hike
Check Out What’s Happening at Central Eglinton Community Centre
Pal-O-Mine Summer Day Camp
Shepherd’s Pie Lunch Pick-up and History Presentation
Mt.Pleasant BIA’s Call for Artists!
Mount Pleasant Village BIA is happy to share that will be home to 2 new murals this summer and we’re looking for artists! The work will be a diptych double-wall mural at 621 and 624 Mount Pleasant Rd. The murals are expected to complement each other.
The mural should reflect the community’s resilience and vibrancy. We’re looking for vivid imagery and flowers (abstract or not) to evoke solidarity, community, support, and togetherness.
ShopMountPleasant2Win from May 2 to June 12
Bike Match- Women’s Cycling Network
The SafeTTC App is a mobile app for both iOS and Android that offers TTC customers a quick and discreet method for reporting harassment, safety concerns or suspicious activity directly to the TTC’s Transit Control Centre. To learn more about the app, please click here.
Toronto Hydro Interactive Streetlight Map — New!
Toronto Hydro has launched an interactive streetlight map. Customers can now easily locate, report, check the status and receive notifications about new or existing streetlight issues online at https://www.torontohydro.com/streetlight-map
Anyone can use the map to locate a Toronto Hydro streetlight, check its status and report an issue. If a streetlight is displayed as green and “active”, this means that no issues have been reported yet. If it’s displayed as yellow, this means Toronto Hydro is aware of a problem with the streetlight and are working on fixing the issue. With thousands of streetlights to maintain across the city, Toronto Hydro appreciates help from residents identifying streetlighting issues.