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. Vaccination is underway for Phase 1 and Phase 2 in the Province’s vaccination program. Details about Phase 3 timing, who is eligible and the status of completed vaccinations for Ontario is on the Province’s website. 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.
The following residents can currently book appointments at city immunization clinics:
- Residents 18+ (born in 2003 or earlier) who live in hotspot Postal code (M6E)
- Residents aged 40+ (born in 1981 or earlier)
- Elementary and Secondary education workers
- Childcare workers
- Residents who are pregnant
- First Nations, Inuit and Metis residents
- Residents with highest-risk, high-risk or at-risk health conditions
- Most frontline workers who cannot work from home
Residents may also be able to book at Hospital Immunization Clinics including Baycrest Clinic, Sunnybrook Hospital and University Health Network. Please review the eligibility for each site.Learn more about who is currently eligible to book at City immunization clinics and at hospital immunization clinics or pharmacies.
To call the Provincial Vaccine Information Line dial: 1-888-999-6488 (TTY 1-866-797-0007).
My Letter to Premier Ford: Vaccine Pre-Registration & Proactive Rollout Plan for Ontario’s Children
This week, the Province announced that they are planning to vaccinate children 12-17 years of age in June. This is a significant step taken towards the possibility of resuming in-person learning for the next school year and contribute toward protecting us all.
However, as we’ve experienced, the process to obtain a vaccine has required significant legwork and research on the part of individuals leading to added stress at an already difficult time. Those that do not have the time or resources to put into finding a vaccine appointment continue to be at a significant disadvantage in obtaining immunity from COVID-19.
That is why, I’ve written a letter to the Premier requesting that they offer a specific category on their call-in and online booking systems that gives parents and guardians in Ontario an opportunity to pre-register their children for the vaccine. Moreover, I’ve requested that the Premier use this pre-registration list to develop a proactive rollout plan for local public health units and school boards by utilizing all existing resources available such as school vaccine programs, family doctors, and other viable options. To read my full letter, please click here or see this Toronto Star article.
Province Must Reverse Ban on Outdoor Recreation Activities
Last month, as part of Premier Ford’s now infamous speech in which he responded to rising COVID-19 case counts by shuttering playgrounds and providing police unprecedented powers to arbitrarily stop people instead of providing paid sick days, he announced that all outdoor recreation activities would be closed. While he reversed his position on playgrounds and pulled back on police powers, facilities for basketball, golf, tennis, baseball, soccer and other sports remain off limits.
This measure is not only not supported by evidence from any public health expert I’ve seen, but runs counter to advice the Premier directly received. Ford’s own provincial Science Advisory Table actually recommended, and continues to support, individuals getting outside during the pandemic for recreational activities due to the greatly reduced risk of COVID-19 transmission in outdoor settings.
Public health experts do advise, however, that the chances of virus spread outdoors is not eliminated altogether and still encourage mask wearing when 2 metres of separation cannot be maintained with people outside your household.
I hope that Premier Ford listens to provincial health experts’ call to support physical and mental health by opening up outdoor recreation amenities as the weather begins to warm up. After more than a year of this pandemic we know that getting outside is so much safer than socializing indoors.
For more information, please see my interview on CP24.
Enjoying a Drink Outdoors: Update
Last month, my proposal to have a pilot program that would allow adults to enjoy a glass of wine, beer or cider, in Toronto parks was unfortunately rejected by the Economic and Community Development Committee. The pilot would have allowed those without backyards a safe option to have a drink outside during this pandemic summer while seeing increased enforcement for underage drinking, public intoxication, littering, public urination, excessive noise, and other illegal behaviours that are already issues in our parks.
While I will still push for our drinking laws to follow the lead of cities around the world and, now, many in Canada including Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton, a compromise has been implemented. In response to significant public outcry after the Committee defeated my motion, the Toronto Police and Municipal By-law Enforcement announced that officers will not be enforcing public drinking laws as long as people are not congregating in large groups.
For more information, please see this article.
You’re Invited to Our Toronto-St.Paul’s Little Jamaica Community Conversation
Thank you for your continued participation and interest in supporting efforts towards preserving and protecting Little Jamaica.
As you may have heard, my motion requesting City Staff to undertake a heritage survey, with the community, that explores and identifies the right tools that will preserve and protect the architectural and cultural heritage of Little Jamaica, was unanimously approved during April’s City Council meeting. Your letters of support were greatly appreciated and contributed to the success of this motion. Thank you!
In the coming weeks, I’ll be co-hosting a town hall with BlackUrbanismTO and Community Developer, Kojo Rakanwu Geb, to hear directly from you on how Little Jamaica’s local neighbourhoods and businesses can flourish now and into the future! City Staff from the Little Jamaica Interdivisional Team will be in attendance. For further details, please check out the flyer below. We hope you’re available to join!
Please visit my website: www.joshmatlow.ca/little-jamaica to register!
Fighting for Our Quality of Life at Yonge and Eglinton: Canada Square City Council Update
The Canada Square site at the northwest corner of Yonge and Eglinton presents a historic opportunity to improve the quality of life for Midtown residents. Designated as a Growth Centre by the Provincial government in 2006, the Yonge-Eglinton area has experienced rapid development and a corresponding increase in population over the past decade and a half. Unfortunately, the Province did not ensure that community services and infrastructure would keep up with the pace of growth. As a result, there is a recognized lack of schools, parks, recreation space, child care, and other neighbourhood amenities. For more information on the work being done to improve the quality of life for Midtown residents, please click here.
Sidewalk Snow Clearing Update and Public Meeting
Since my initial motion asking for an enhanced mechanical sidewalk clearing pilot at the Infrastructure & Environment Committee in October 2019, we have finally made some progress toward achieving a more equitable and fair sidewalk snow clearing service in Toronto. We collaborated closely with our local Toronto-St. Paul’s Deer Park Residents Group, who spearheaded an advocacy campaign to harmonize the city’s sidewalk clearing policies. We worked as a team to convince Mayor Tory and other Councillors to ensure that every sidewalk, in every neighbourhood in our city, is safe and accessible to every resident. The massive success of our Clearing the Path Towards a Safe and Accessible Winter campaign this past winter, led to an almost unanimous Council decision in support of winter maintenance improvements. You can see more information on the campaign here, and Council’s decision at this link. For information on next steps, and details regarding an important public meeting, please click here. Please note that the public meeting focusing on Toronto-St. Paul’s is on May 17th at 7:00 pm.
Update on 206 Russell Hill Road
In 2018, an application was submitted to the City that proposed demolishing the home at 206 Russell Hill Road and replacing it with a four-unit, 3-storey townhouse building. At the community consultation meeting, a number of South Hill residents raised concerns over the configuration of the townhouses, impacts to the ravine and shared insight on potential heritage value of the building. Please click here for an important update regarding the development application for 206 Russell Hill Road.
Improving Traffic Safety in Deer Park – Realigning the Yonge and Heath Intersection
The offset intersection at Yonge and Heath has caused confusion for drivers and pedestrians alike for decades. While there have been many attempts by City Transportation Staff to ease our concerns, I believe it has become clear that the only real way to solve the problem is to address the root cause. That’s why, I moved a motion requesting the city examine purchasing the property at the Southwest corner of Yonge Street and Heath Street West in order to properly align the intersection. I am pleased that my motion was adopted by City Council this past month. As part of the reconfiguration, I am also calling on the city to add desperately needed green space to the neigbourhood. Please read this article for more information.
Local Issues at Community Council in May
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 Toronto-St. Paul’s issues are discussed at Community Council this month, please visit my website here.
Community Consultation Meeting: 101-103 Heath Street West
My office is organizing a community consultation meeting for the development proposal at 101-103 Heath Street West. There are three different processes underway, which City Staff will explain in more detail at the meeting. There is a variance application that will be reviewed by the Committee of Adjustment, a site plan application that is reviewed by City Planning, and a proposed heritage designation that will be discussed at Community Council on May 19th (see “Local Issues at Community Council in May” section of the newsletter). The applicant will also have an opportunity to present the details of the proposal, which will be followed by a Q&A for community members to ask questions and share feedback directly with the applicant and City Staff.
Online Public Meeting Date: June 1st; 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
How to Participate:
Via computer/tablet: You can register for the community meeting at this link and access it from the same link the day of the meeting.
Via phone: Call 416-915-6530 and use access code: 177 979 3837
- Site Plan Application: click here
- Committee of Adjustment application: click here
- Toronto and East York Community Council item: click here
City Planning Contact:
Catherine Jung at Catherine.Jung@toronto.ca or 416-338-3735
SAVE THE DATE: Public Consultation for Yonge & St. Clair Apartment Neighbourhood Study
A couple of years ago I initiated an updated planning study for the Yonge and St. Clair neighbourhood in response to growing redevelopment pressure. This resulted in the Yonge and St. Clair Planning Framework which provided urban design, public realm, open space and other built form guidance for any new development on the main streets adjacent to the intersection. You can review the final plan for the first phase here.
The Yonge and St. Clair study is composed of two phases, with the second phase being focused on providing clear guidance and direction on the two apartment neighbourhoods located in the northwest and southeast quadrants of the intersection. I’ve been working with City Planning staff to begin work on this second phase and it will be initiated through an upcoming public meeting held on Thursday, May 27th at 6:30pm. I will be joined by my colleague Councillor Layton and City Planning staff who will be presenting initial concepts for the plan as well as seeking feedback and input on your vision on the future of your neighbourhood.
Details of the meeting will be posted on the City’s website soon and mailed notices will be sent to residents. If you are interested in attending and would like to receive details on how to access the meeting, please email my office or contact City Planning staff who are organizing it.
Annual Deer Park Residents Group (DPRG) AGM & Town Hall
The annual meeting of the DPRG is an opportunity for residents of our neighbourhood to learn about activities during the past year. I’ll be attending to provide important community updates and answer any questions you may have. Any persons attending who are not already members of the DPRG will be encouraged to join.
Wednesday June 2, 2021
6:30 pm – Annual General Meeting portion
7pm-8pm – Town hall discussion
Zoom invite will be provided to paid up DPRG members the week before the AGM/Townhall. Please visit their website for details on membership.
If you would just like to attend the town hall discussion, please email email@example.com for more information. You can also learn more about the work DPRG does for your community through their website here.
Call for Outdoor Wooden Furniture Donations in Oakwood Village
This Oakwood Village BIA needs community support to help realize an amazing opportunity to create an art inspired temporary public seating area along Oakwood Avenue during the Summer 2021 CafeTO roll-out. The BIA and STEPS Public Art are looking for donations of outdoor wooden furniture:
- Picnic tables
- Muskoka chairs
- Wooden planters
They would be happy to receive the furniture pieces as a contribution to the main street or to “borrow” the furniture pieces for June – September, as long as they can be given creative license to paint the furniture. You will recieve the “art pieces” back.
Please let my office or Aadila at Oakwood Village BIA firstname.lastname@example.org know by May 21, 2020 if you have any outdoor furniture to donate or lend.
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.
Community Inputs May 25 – June 12.
Community Engagement Zoom Panel June 10, 2021
Discovery Trail Unveiling June 27, 2021 (tbc)
Oakwood Village Discovery Trail Installation June 27 – September 12.
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.
Location: remote due to COVID-19, though the ideal candidate lives in the Oakwood-Vaughan neighbourhood per the OVCO member boundaries: east – Bathurst St., Cedarvale Ravine, Everden Road and Allan Road; north – Roselawn Avenue; west – Dufferin St.; south – St. Clair Avenue.
Level: INTERMEDIATE and PART-TIME contract.
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 May 3 and end of day May 17, 2021: please email email@example.com
Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORCs): Advocating for Aging in Place Town Hall
On Tuesday May 18th from 6:00pm-8:00pm, I’ll be moderating a discussion with panelists: Christine McMillian, Simone Parniak, Sue Lantz and Dr. Catherine Donnelly to discuss the history of NORCs and the benefits of these communities for independent living and healthy aging. To register and learn more, click here.
The Stop’s Farmer’s Market Returns Saturday May 22nd
Have you heard the news? The Stop will be re-opening their Farmer’s Market on Saturday May 22nd! Toronto Public Health has given the green light to this essential service. I hope to see you there!
AppleTree Farmer’s Markets Open This Week
AppleTree Markets is so pleased to be able to reopen two of their community marketplaces here in Toronto-St. Pauls after a year of closure. The Davisville Village Market in June Rowlands Park opened on Tuesday May 11th and will run each Tuesday from 3-7pm. The Midtown Market opens tonight at Yorkminster Park (Yonge and Heath St) and will run each Thursday from 3-7pm. Toronto Public Health has given the green light to this essential service. Please show your support for our farmers, producers and community groups and do some shopping in the great outdoors! For more information follow them on social media at Appletree_TO.
Carifika Needs Your Help
Carifika is a non-profit, global initiative to set up African-Caribbean ecosystems across the world. Its purpose is to empower people of African descent socially and economically. By setting up Carifika’s all over the world, it would make it easier for people to navigate the area when you either visit or if you live there. We look to educate our people on financial literacy so that we can have spending power and keep our money circulating among ourselves and build the African family by expressing our culture and practicing our traditions. To learn more, please visit this link here.
Help Shine a Light on Homelessness in our City!
We are all stuck at home during this difficult time but people without homes in our city are in crisis. Outbreaks of COVID-19 in shelters have forced more than 10,000 people to face homelessness each night. Join MyCity Impact’s Through the Lens of Homelessness campaign at by clicking here for an easy way to help! All dollars raised go to the non-denominational charity Ve’ahavta to fund crucial outreach programs and all donations are 100% tax deductible. Plus, anyone who contributes at least $100 will receive a beautiful photobook that raises awareness by sharing an inside look at Toronto from the perspective of people living on its streets.
Understanding the Challenges of the Opioid Crisis Event
ACORN Support Network: Grocery Delivery & Transportation Options to Vaccine Clinics
Last year during the first lockdown, with the generous support of our volunteers, ACORN was able to deliver groceries and other essentials to our low to moderate income members. With lockdowns coming back and variant cases increasing we are starting up the ACORN Support Network to help those who may need grocery delivery or need a ride to the nearest vaccination clinic.
ACORN has very deep roots in the neighbourhoods we organize in and many of our members are at high risk of developing severe complications from COVID 19. Seniors, people who are immunocompromised, the disabled, people with language barriers, and those who live alone – all are in need of help.
What the ACORN Support Network does:
• Engages with people on a regular basis
• Grocery delivery and vaccination clinic drop offs
• Gives up to date info on unfolding crisis
• Connects people with services available in their community
If you need extra support during this time – register for the ACORN support network using this form or reply to this email and we will be in touch. Also – if you know anyone that would benefit from using the Support Network, pass it on!
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day: Free Community Event
Mosaic Home Care Activities
Our friends at Mosaic Home Care have a number of social programs and events online. Please feel welcome to check them out here.
Interested in Helping Care for Natural Areas Across the City?
The City’s Community Stewardship Program offers opportunities for participants to:
- learn about native trees, shrubs, herbaceous plants, invasive species, ecological monitoring and more
- participate in additional training workshops
- learn about sustainable trail design (Crothers Woods team)
- meet new people, gain new friendships and network within the community
- gain experience, leadership and interpersonal skills
- acquire documented volunteer hours (if requested)
While the program has been temporarily put on hold due to COVID-19, we invite you to click this link to learn more about how to get involved.
Give a Gift of Art to a Frontline Worker!
Our frontline workers have done an exceptional job in these trying moments and we owe them a debt of gratitude. That is why, I, together with the Toronto Outdoor Art Fair (TOAF) and their 400 participating artists invite you to bring the joy of art to our frontline workers while also supporting artists through TOAF’s ‘Gifts of Heart’ program! Give a tax deductible charitable gift towards gift cards for art purchases. TOAF will distribute the gift cards to frontline workers to redeem during the fair slated for July 2 – 11, 2021, with 100% of proceeds going directly to the artists! To learn more and give a gift, please click here.
Self-Guided Jane’s Walk of the Nordheimer Ravine
Check out this self-guided Jane’s Walk of the Nordheimer Ravine to learn about our community’s history, while getting your steps in. For more details, please click here.
Early ON at the TDSB
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.
Let your Imagination Run Wild with InTO The Ravines Grants
InTO the Ravines grants are dedicated to helping communities connect to, celebrate and champion Toronto’s one-of-a-kind ravine system with simple creative and engaging environmentally-focused events.
What: $1000 InTO the Ravines grants help you host two simple environmentally-focused events either in person or online. Imagine sketching, bird watching, scavenger hunts, Indigenous knowledge sharing about the ravines. Let your imagination run wild.
Who: Grassroots community groups and non-profits such as park friends groups, community associations, BIAs, neighbourhood groups, local community agencies, Indigenous organizations, and more.
When: Applications are due June 6, 2021, and all events must take place between July 14 and November 14, 2021.
For more information, please click here.
Drop-In Online Youth Counselling
MindBeacon: Free Mental Health Support for Ontario
In partnership with Kids Help Phone, MindBeacon provides free real-time support in times of crisis and to clients of all ages. Get help immediately by text messaging “MindBeacon” to 741741. If it is an emergency, please dial 911 or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.
Protect Your Basement from Flooding with Prevention Tips
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.