Councillor Josh Matlow

Councillor Matlow’s City Hall and Community Update – Summer 2020

COVID-19: Toronto Enters Stage Three of the Recovery

Today, the Ontario Government announced that Toronto will move to Stage 3 reopening on Friday, July 31. This decision was based on positive local trends of key public health indicators, including a lower transmission of COVID-19, ongoing hospital capacity, capacity for rapid case and contact management and an increase in testing. In the City of Toronto, masks continue to be mandatory in all public indoor spaces as well as the common areas of residential buildings. For more information on what Stage 3 entails, please see the province’s website here.

As Toronto enters Stage 3 of recovery, let’s do it carefully & responsibly. By avoiding indoor gatherings, continuing physical distancing, wearing masks where necessary & keeping good hygiene, we can maintain our progress. We may be done with COVID-19, but it’s not done with us.

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 resource page here!


Farewell to Bailey, Welcome Sarah!

Many of you know and have already been helped by Bailey Bradshaw, who has served our community with passion, professionalism and dedication serving residents in our community office. Bailey has decided to be a student again and I wish her, on behalf of all of us, my deepest gratitude. We are all better because of her work.

I also want to welcome Sarah MacKell to our team as my new constituency assistant. Sarah has already jumped in to her new role, in the midst of a pandemic no less, and is already impressing me with her ability to demonstrate empathy while focusing on getting results for our Toronto-St. Paul’s community.


55-65 Broadway & Roehampton Residence (former hotel) Update:

Our community understands and supports the need to provide shelter for vulnerable people in Toronto- and certainly in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic along with an opioid and housing crisis.

However, concerns raised about the recent behavioral impacts on Midtown residents’ safety from the new shelters at the Roehampton Hotel and 55-65 Broadway are real and should not simply be dismissed as “NIMBY”. The behavior affecting neighbourhood safety is unacceptable and, on behalf of our community, I have requested it be fully, and immediately, addressed by City Staff. Please click here for more information about 55-65 Broadway and Roehampton Residence including details of an upcoming public meeting.


Cy Townsend and Hillcrest Park Playground Updates

I am excited to announce that the new Cy Townsend Playground is complete! Thank you to all of the community members who provided input on the final design, and to Toronto Parks for their work on this project. Unfortunately, due to Provincial COVID-19 restrictions, we will all have to wait a little longer to fully enjoy the new playground. As soon as we are able, I look forward to celebrating the opening of this wonderful addition to our community together!

Earlier this year my office worked with the Parks and Recreation Department to host a community meeting regarding redesigning the Hillcrest Park playground to make it more fun, safe and exciting! I am happy to announce that work on the Hillcrest Park Playground will begin the Week of August 10th, 2020 (the timing of reconstruction was impacted by the COVID-19 emergency). The City anticipates the project to be complete in approximately six to eight weeks, weather permitting. The redesign will also make the playground more physically accessible for all our community members. The splash pad, dog park, tennis courts and other park facilities will not be impacted and will continue to be open to use by the community.


City Council Votes to fight Bill 184 in Court

I am pleased to report that City Council voted overwhelmingly in favour to stand up for Toronto tenants by sending City Legal staff to fight Bill 184 in court. The ironically titled Protecting Tenants and Strengthening Community Housing Act, 2020 would make it easier for Landlords to evict tenants in Landlord Tenant Board proceedings.

Please click here to learn more or click here to take action directly.


Update on the Beltline Trail’s Lost Stations Initiative

Work has now begun on constructing the “Lost Stations” on the Beltline Trail! We’re making improvements to our beloved linear park, creating age-friendly places to rest while celebrating the story of the railroad that once had stations throughout our midtown neighborhoods.


Make Your Voice Heard: Tell Doug Ford to Put the Quality of Life of our Community before the Interests of Developers!

The Midtown in Focus plan (OPA 405) was the result of a 6 year, community-led process to help ensure that the Yonge-Eglinton, and Davisville Village areas had infrastructure and social services such as childcare, parks and recreations space to support the growing neighbourhood. Without any consultation, the Ford government ripped up these plans, making changes that support developers’ bottom lines instead of local residents.

Please click here to learn more and to tell Premier Doug Ford and Minister of Municipal Affairs Steve Clarke to reverse the changes made to our Midtown in Focus plan.


CafeTO Update

Over the past month you may have noticed dozens of curb lane patios popping up all across Toronto as part of the CaféTO program, which aims to provide more outdoor dining areas to help some restaurants and bars create physical distancing for patrons on patios during the summer months. The first stage was to set up the program as quickly as possible to provide our local businesses a lifeline while the pandemic imposes indoor capacity restrictions. The next stage is that the city will be making adjustments to ensure that conflicts with parking, delivery and accessibility requirements, along with other concerns, are addressed. I wanted to take this opportunity to support and promote our local BIAs and their business that are participating in this program, in hopes that many of you will go out and enjoy the summer weather on one (or several!) of the patios that have been created. Ultimately, I would like to see CafeTO evolve into something like this example on Mount Pleasant Road. Supporting the success of our small businesses while creating a vibrant patio life with sturdy and really beautiful planter boxes. If you are interested in reading more about the CaféTO program you can do that at this link and you can see a map of all the installations across the City at this link. To read more about what our ward’s BIAs are doing, please click here.


Update on 30 Merton

In 2017, the property owners of 30 Merton filed an application to the City to redevelop the parking garage. At the community meeting held later that fall, I heard a number of very valid concerns about the development proposal. These include: the size and scale of the building, vehicular and pedestrian safety on both Merton and Al Green Lane, the location of the vehicular ramps on Al Green Lane and the overall cumulative impact of increased density on infrastructure and social services. Subsequently, the 30 Merton property owner filed an appeal to the provincial Ontario Municipal Board (now called the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal or LPAT). This is a provincial tribunal that ultimately has the final say on all development in Toronto. Please click here to read a detailed update regarding the development proposal.


Bayview and Davisville Intersection

It’s so nice to see the traffic signals I moved for approval a couple of years ago finally installed at Bayview and Davisville. This highly travelled intersection, right near a childcare, was risky to navigate before for drivers and pedestrians. We made it safer for everyone. I was also very happy that council supported my motion to approve a new traffic signal at Davenport and Shaw. We are making progress at making other problem intersections in our ward safer, including by installing a red light camera at Nina and Bathurst. More updates to come!


Virtual Community Safety Forums

The City of Toronto invites you to attend the Community Safety and Wellbeing Unit’s 5th Annual Community Safety Forum. This year’s theme is: Transformative Healing and Recovery. Please click here for further details and for information on how to register.


Glebe Manor Square

A few years ago, I worked with the community to beautify and improve Glebe Manor Square on Belsize. Recently, Rogers installed two large electrical boxes without permission. Earlier this month, we had a productive conversation in which they owned their mistake and agreed to relocate them to a better location.


Toronto Public Health releases new COVID-19 Case Data Trends

Toronto Public Health has released new individual-level COVID-19 data on the City’s Open Data platform today. The information includes non-identifiable COVID-19 case data and includes many important variables to help understanding the outbreak, including details on when an individual became ill, their infection source, outcome, hospitalization, age group, gender and neighbourhood. It is intended to help people to examine the pandemic’s trends over time. To read more and see a preview of the data, please click here.


Happy 100th Birthday to Mary Mason

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of stopping by to wish my friend, Mary Mason a happy 100th birthday. Mary is a strong, vibrant and beloved member of our Midtown community.


DriveInTO

A few weeks ago, the City launched DriveInTO which will allow for temporary drive-in entertainment experiences across Toronto this summer. From films to concerts to sports broadcasts, drive-in entertainment will offer an opportunity for Torontonians to re-engage with their city.

Toronto residents will be able to experience DriveInTO at the following locations:

  • Ontario Place, featuring screenings. Free DriveInTO nights will include programming by Hot Docs, imagineNATIVE and TIFF.
  • CityView Drive-In at 20 Polson Pier, featuring concerts, screenings and broadcasts. Free DriveInTO nights will include programming by Inside Out LGBTQ Film Festival, Reel Asian Film Festival, Reelworld Film Festival and Regent Park Film Festival.
  • Friday Night Lights at Downsview Park, presented by Canada Land Corporation and MADE, featuring free made-in-Canada films.
  • CF Movie Night at CF Sherway Gardens.

More information about DriveInTO is available by clicking here.


Talk About Peace by Sharon & Bram

Over the years, I became friends with Sharon, Lois & Bram- who were a special part of my (and likely your) childhood. I’m happy to share this song titled “Talk about Peace” (written 50 years ago by Joe Hampson, Sharon’s late husband), now performed by Sharon & Bram and friends. Check out the catchy tune by clicking here.

Wildlife in Midtown

I’ve been hearing from a number of residents that there has been an increase in wildlife sightings in our community. On behalf of Toronto’s Animal Services, I’d like to reiterate that residents should not feed wild animals. Feeding wildlife can increase the population of wild animals in a community and cause the animal to lost its natural fear of people. If you see injured, sick or very young wildlife, call 311. Some residents have specifically noted sightings of deer in the area. Should you encounter a deer, please click the following link, to learn more about what to do.


Positivity Pebbles Beltline Initiative

Positivity Pebbles is an initiative started by two high school students, Alya Seker and Alyssa Pather, to bring positivity and community spirit to the Beltline trail. The project encourages people to paint rocks and place them along the trail to brighten the path for all to enjoy.

They are documenting contributions to the project on Instagram @positivity.pebbles and at https://positivitypebbles.wordpress.com/ – check them out and keep an eye out for the positivity pebbles the next time you take the Beltline!


Hiroshima and Nagasaki Day Commemoration

The annual August 6th commemoration of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki will take place online this year due to COVID-19. The commemoration will focus on 75 years of living with the threat of nuclear war, the wisdom gained from survivors, and the steps we can all take to rid the world of nuclear weapons. The main speaker will be Setsuko Thurlow who accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. To register for the event, taking place from 7:00 to 8:30pm on Augst 6th, please click here.


Development Proposal at 63-91 Montclair

The Forest Hill community is strongly opposed a large development proposal on Montclair. I share their concerns and have been asked to let you know that the South Forest Hill Residents’ Association is fighting this application. You can contact them at southforesthillra@gmail.com to learn more.

For more information on my position and the local planner’s contact information, please visit my website 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 BIAOakwood Village BIAEglinton Way BIAMt. Pleasant Village BIA ,Yonge+St.Clair BIAYork-Eglinton BIAMidtown Yonge BIAUptown YongeUpper Village BIARosedale Main StreetWychwood Heights BIAHillcrest 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.


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.


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 councillor_matlow@toronto.ca, 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.


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 this newsletter on my website by clicking here and then clicking on the person shaped icon on the left of your screen. 

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