December 2017 E-Newsletter

Dear Neighbours,

With the holiday break quickly approaching, it becomes a time to reflect on all that was in 2017 and to look ahead to 2018. That's why it was so wonderful to share the spirit of the holidays with our local businesses, community organizations and many of you at our Ward 18 Holiday Party earlier this month. Thank you for all that you do to help make our community a better place to live, work and play.

Holiday_Party_2.jpgThe TTC's extension of Line 1 is now open, connecting Ward 18 to York University and the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre. I encourage you to check out the first extension of the subway system since the Sheppard Subway opened in 2002. More transit expansion will be on the way here in our own community as the environmental assessments were approved to move ahead at City Council this month for the West Queen West and St. Clair and Old Weston SmartTrack Stations, which will also connect to our existing Bloor GO Station. The Bloor-Lansdowne GO Regional Express Rail station is also moving forward and the Eglinton Crosstown is currently under construction and will open in 2021. 

TYSSE Extension

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We also had two celebrations at Nathan Phillips Square over the past month with the Toronto Argos winning the 105th Grey Cup and Toronto FC winning it's first Major League Soccer Championship! Please join me in congratulating our teams in red and double blue. They have set the bar high for our Toronto Raptors and Maple Leafs to follow in 2018. 

Earlier this month, I held a Police Town Hall with Deputy Chief of Police, Peter Yuen, and Police Superintendents for 14 Division (Neil Corrigan) and 11 Division (Heinz Kuck) where we discussed the Toronto Police's Transformational Task Force Report and how to work together to keep our communities safe. Thanks to the recent hard work of the Toronto Police Service, they caught the person suspected to have started some of the arsons in the neighborhood and also someone who has been breaking into cars in the neighbourhood.  

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The Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto Canada (MOCA) was out and about this summer at our neighbourhood street festivals talking to residents about what MOCA and our community means to them. Check out their video.

I was also pleased to join Minister of Transportation Steven del Duca, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport Eleanor McMahon, MPP Cristina Martins and cycling advocates at Sweet Pete's bike shop to take part in an announcement that the Province will be providing the City $25.6 million to help the City implement it's 10-year Cycling Network Plan and double the amount of Bike Share Toronto stations across the City.

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I hope all of you have a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, a Joyous Kwanzaa and I wish you and your family the best for this holiday season. I hope that the new year brings you health, happiness and joy. See you in 2018! 

In community,

Ana Bailao
Deputy Mayor
Councillor, Ward 18 - Davenport 

Local Updates

Galleria Mall Community Consultation Meeting

Earlier this month, the City of Toronto Planning Division held an open house community meeting to discuss and gather residents' feedback on the revised Galleria Mall development proposal.

The revised application proposes the construction of 8 towers (reduced from 11), with a maximum height of 35-storeys (reduced from 42), an increase in the proportion of family sized units to 50% and the elimination of bachelor suites, the integration of 150 affordable housing units on site, a new Wallace Emerson Community Centre (double the current size), and an enlarged Wallace Emerson Park. The applicant has also included 2 new bus bays on Dufferin St to provide dedicated spaces for TTC bus loading.

The applicants also presented a construction phasing plan which seeks to ensure that access to the community centre is maintained at all times, with the new community centre to be constructed as part of Phase 1. City staff would undertake a separate design and community consultation process for the proposed new community centre and park space to ensure that the functional requirements and the community's priorities are wholly integrated into the design.

Residents at the meeting provided feedback on the revised proposal and raised concerns regarding traffic congestion, local transit services, and the amount of density proposed in the revised application. The applicant will be working together with City staff to incorporate this feedback into their proposal and I will continue to advocate for our community's priorities and keep you informed as this review process continues.

The revised proposal will go before the City's Design Review Panel for additional comments and City Planning staff expect to present a final report in Spring 2018 to the Toronto and East York Community Council.

City Planning staff have posted the associated documents with this proposal online at www.aic.to/GalleriaMall and you can continue to share your comments by contacting the City Planner, David Driedger, at David.Driedger@toronto.ca and by emailing me at councillor_bailao@toronto.ca.

Suspected Arsonist Arrested and Charged

I am pleased to share that Toronto Police has made an arrest and laid charges related to the fires that have taken place in the Junction Triangle area. Please see this press release from Toronto Police with more information. I would like to thank Toronto Fire and Toronto Police for their hard work on this case and for their public education efforts over the last couple of months. I am hopeful that we do not see any more fires of this nature in our neighbourhood in the future. Please remember, the best way to protect you and your family in the case of a fire is to have a working smoke alarm on every floor of your home and a carbon monoxide detector outside all sleeping areas.

Arrests Made in Connection with Car Break Ins

I am pleased to share with you that Toronto Police has arrested three people for breaking into cars over the weekend in our community. We are hopeful that this will spell the end of some of the recent car break-ins that have taken place.

Toronto Police would also like to remind residents to ensure that all car doors are locked, that all valuables are secured and not left in plain sight. Toronto Police also encourages residents to please report any incidents and crimes right away. This is very important because they can analyse the data, target their patrols in order to try and catch those who are responsible for damages and thefts in the future. Police reports can be filed online at: http://www.torontopolice.on.ca/core/

Protecting for the Northern Extension of the Railpath

I'm pleased to let you know that I moved a motion at the December 2017 City Council meeting to include integrating the future north-west extension of the West Toronto Railpath in the Environmental Assessment and design elements of the St. Clair-Old Weston SmartTrack Station and St. Clair West Transportation Master Plan. This is crucial so that we can plan and protect for this future connection to the north to benefit and connect our communities for generations to come. 

Railpath_Extension.jpgMetrolinx Plans for the West Toronto Railpath and Adding a Fourth Track on the Kitchener GO Rail Corridor

Metrolinx recently hosted a community meeting to share their plans to add a fourth track on the Kitchener GO Rail Corridor, which forms the western border of Ward 18. As part of the meeting, they also outlined impacts and proposed improvements to the West Toronto Railpath and Bloor GO Station.

In order to accommodate the fourth track, there are sections of the Railpath that Metrolinx is proposing to narrow, with the most significant section from just north of where the Henderson Brewery and Drake Commissary is to Ernest Avenue. The pavement width of the trail would remain the same but would have to be shifted in places, resulting in some areas with less green space. Please click here (large PDF)  for a copy of their presentation from the meeting.

As Metrolinx was developing their plans, the City worked together with Metrolinx to ensure that they significantly reduced the amount of land needed.

The Railpath is a cherished asset in our community and disruption from construction will never be easy but there are also some positive aspects of the plan. Some of these include:

  • A land swap so that the City can acquire the necessary land to extend the Railpath southwards;
  • Green Walls that our community has been advocating for years;
  • An underground connection via an elevator and stairs to Bloor GO Station and Dundas West TTC Station from Randolph Ave;
  • A new park and other features.

Throughout this process I will be vigilant and work with the Friends of the West Toronto Railpath and stakeholders to ensure that the impacts are as minimal as possible and that there is a long-term benefit for the West Toronto Railpath and our community as a whole. 

Davenport Diamond Update Fall/Winter 2017

Metrolinx held their final Community Advisory Council (CAC) Meeting for the Davenport Diamond Grade Separation Project in November. The CAC is comprised of local stakeholders and has been providing feedback to Metrolinx on the project. At the meeting, Metrolinx presented updates on their Integrated Art and Public Realm Plans, provided a preliminary construction management overview, in addition to receiving feedback and answering questions from CAC members. I encourage you to review the Meeting Presentation, download the Public Realm Plan and look at the Meeting Minutes by going to Metrolinx's Davenport Diamond project website at http://www.metrolinx.com/en/regionalplanning/rer/davenport.aspx. It is anticipated that Metrolinx will be holding a public meeting about the Davenport Diamond Grade Separation Project in the new year. 

Kristen Fahrig - The Heart of MacGregor Park

It is with great sadness that I share with you the news that Kristen Fahrig has passed away. Kristen was the founder of the Botanicus Art Ensemble and was a passionate artist and community member who poured her heart and spirit into the MacGregor Park community. I had the pleasure and humbling opportunity to work with Kristen Fahrig over the years and I know that her vibrancy and deep care for nature and creativity will live on for years to come. Please read this Park People tribute to Kristen.

Kristen_Fahrig.jpgDundas Street West Planning Study

I moved a motion alongside Councillor Layton to do a Planning Study of Dundas Street West in order to effectively plan for the new development that will compliment the existing built form and heritage attributes as much of the existing build form still remains along this street. Our motion requests City staff to conduct a review of development on the street, including an inventory of current applications and development pressure in the area along with working with Transportation Services to review potential streetscape improvements in the context of current and future development proposals. 

In addition, our motion will direct City staff to assess the applicable policy framework in the area and consider developing additional urban design and built form guidelines, including an assessment of heritage resources, to be used to inform the review of current and future development proposals, and to develop an understanding of what defines the character of the street. I look forward to their review. 

Relief for Small Businesses on our Main Streets

Many small businesses and low-rise commercial property owners are under stress from the Current Value Assessment model employed by MPAC for assessing the value of properties. That’s why I'm pleased to share with you that I supported an item at City Council which directed the Interim Chief Financial Officer to:

a)    undertake a review of various tax policy tools that can be used to provide relief to small business owners facing unsustainable Current Value Assessment-related tax increases;

b)    report back to the February 6, 2018 Executive Committee meeting with recommendations on which tool or tools would most effectively achieve this; and

c)    include evaluations and costing of the following specific mechanisms in the review:

  1. the creation of a small business tax classification for independently owned, non-franchise businesses operating in a low-rise built-form context;
  2. changes to commercial graduated tax rate bands to lessen the burden on small businesses by either adjusting the graduated rates or creating a third band;
  3. a capping mechanism for properties experiencing Current Value Assessment-related tax increases substantially higher than average; and
  4. examining the frequency of Municipal Property Assessment Corporation's reassessment of Ontario property values to mitigate significant changes in assessment values.

I look forward to reviewing the results of this review to help inform ways to ensure that our small businesses have the tools they need to be thriving hubs of entrepreneurship in our communities.

Bloor Street West Planning Study Guiding Principles Adopted

Following community meetings in June and October 2017, City Council has endorsed the Bloor Street West Planning Study Guiding Principles and have directed City Planning staff to review all current and future development applications for consistency with the Guiding Principles within the Planning Study Area from St. Helens Ave to Palmerson Ave. The Guiding Principles were developed with resident input and will inform the review of development applications and further work on the Bloor Street West Planning Study.

The Guiding Principles focus on five general themes: Supporting and Growing the Local Economy; Social Cohesion and a Strong Community; Form and Scale of Development; Heritage and Street Character: and Public Spaces, Connections and Sustainability. I encourage you to review the Guiding Principles and City staff report by clicking here.

Events

Junction Triangle Library Consultation Kickoff Meeting - Perth/Dupont Toronto Public Library Branch (1589 Dupont St) - Wednesday January 17, 2018 from 6:30pm to 8pm

I invite you to join me, your neighbours and Toronto Public Library (TPL) staff to help kickoff the community consultation process for a brand new library in the Junction Triangle neighbourhood as part of the 299 Campbell Ave development. The new library will replace the Perth-Dupont branch which is currently one of the smallest libraries in the entire TPL system and the expansion will result in a significantly larger library, growing to approximately 10,000 square feet. I hope you can join us to learn more about next steps and to provide your feedback to TPL staff and the architects designing the library. 

Ward 18 Budget Town Hall - Bloor/Gladstone Library (1101 Bloor St W) - Saturday January 27, 2018 from 1pm to 3pm

I encourage you to attend my Ward 18 Budget Town Hall on Saturday January 27 from 1pm to 3pm at the Bloor-Gladstone Library to learn more about the City's 2018 tax-supported budget, ask questions and share your thoughts on what the budget should include. You can also find out more about the budget and budget process at www.toronto.ca/budget

Important Notices

Steps to Justice from Community Legal Education Ontario

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Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO) is excited to announce the launch of Steps to Justice http://www.stepstojustice.ca/. Steps to Justice is a new website that gives reliable, step-by-step information on common legal problems related to social assistance, criminal, employment, housing and other areas of law. You can learn more about this project in this video.

Steps to Justice:

·  helps people to understand their legal problems through easy-to-understand steps

·  includes practical tools, such as checklists, fillable forms, and self-help guides

·  gives referral information for legal and social services across Ontario

·  has live chat and email-based support for users with additional questions

Add More Blue & Green to your Holidays

'Tis the season for great food and getting together with friends and relatives. It is also a time when we create a lot of waste. 

Holiday_Waste.pngDid you know that 46% of what is found in the Garbage should have been put in the Green Bin (organic waste) or Blue Bin (recycling)? This is a missed opportunity to recover valuable resources and minimize what is sent to landfill. Learn how to properly sort these common holiday items. For more information on how to sort holiday waste, visit toronto.ca/wastewizard.

News Clippings

Issue of 2017: Affordable Housing in Toronto - Toronto Storeys

Find permanent housing for the homeless - Toronto Star

22 new apartments for homesless people set to be build in Toronto's Kensington Market - News Release

In the eye of a perfect storm: Time for action on affordable housing - Toronto Star

City and Council Highlights

First Laneway Suites Community Meeting Held by the City

On November 30, 2017, the City Planning Division hosted a community meeting on Changing Lanes: The City of Toronto's Review of Laneway Suites, as a result of the motion that I moved with Councillor McMahon earlier this summer at the Toronto and East York Community Council. The meeting was held to introduce the idea of laneway suites, communicate the scope of the City's review process and to receive initial comments on bringing laneway suites to Toronto.

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Over 250 people attended the meeting and provided constructive and thoughtful comments to inform and guide the City's review of Laneway Suites. Thank you to those who attended. If you did not have a chance to attend, you can download the two files below for more information on what was presented. Please note that the files are large PDFs so it is recommended that you download them over wi-fi.

There will be additional consultation meetings scheduled in early 2018 as City staff continue their internal review, consideration and development of a laneway suites strategy. I encourage you to provide any feedback you might have on laneway suites by downloading this comment form and sending it to George Pantazis with the City of Toronto at george.pantazis@toronto.ca. 

Child Care Growth Strategy

The City's Children Services Division has started to implement Phase One of Toronto's ambitious Child Care Growth Strategy. The growth strategy commits to creating 30,000 new licensed spaces by 2026 to increase affordability, build capacity and support a thriving workforce. Continued and consistent funding from all three levels of government will be crucial to successfully execute this plan. The plan builds on City Council's decision to fund an increase of over 600 child care fee subsidies over the last two years, in addition to Provincial and City investments since 2014 which have resulted in more than 4,000 new subsidies and almost 11,000 new licensed child care spaces being created. 

Toronto's emergency shelter capacity  

Council approved funding for about 400 more emergency shelter spaces as part of a plan for 2018 and longer-term shelter infrastructure in Toronto. Among the many actions specified, Mayor John Tory was asked to hold a meeting with community leaders about their role in providing shelter and winter respite spaces in addition to the City's sites across Toronto. Council also directed staff to identify opportunities to add beds at existing City shelters – including some women-only spaces – and to lease more motel rooms to help meet shelter needs.   

Next steps for SmartTrack   

Council approved concepts for six SmartTrack stations as the basis for completing station design work and authorized the City to work with Metrolinx in the assessment process for the stations. The six stations are St. Clair-Old Weston, King-Liberty, East Harbour, Gerard-Carlaw, Lawrence-Kennedy and Finch-Kennedy. Council's approval included additional recommendations as part of next steps for moving ahead with the SmartTrack project.

Short-term rentals  

Council adopted recommendations to create a new bylaw and regulations for short-term accommodation rental in Toronto. The new regulations will allow a property owner or tenant to participate as operator/host of a short-term rental in their principal residence for a maximum of 28 consecutive days, typically facilitated through companies/platforms such as Airbnb. Short-term rental operators will need to register online with the City and there are operator fees. The new regulations take effect June 1, 2018.

Developing the Port Lands  

Council approved a planning framework to guide the revitalization of the Port Lands and endorsed a precinct plan for the area's Villiers Island. Completion of the Port Lands Planning Framework and Villiers Island Precinct Plan is the culmination of four years of collaborative work by the City and Waterfront Toronto with support from the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority and numerous City divisions and agencies, all shaped by robust public consultations.

Planning process for Rail Deck Park    

Council voted to authorize City officials to proceed with the planning required to establish a new downtown park popularly called Rail Deck Park. The proposed project involves an eight-hectare (20-acre) decking structure and park facility to be built in the Union Station rail corridor between Bathurst Street and Blue Jays Way. The work outlined for the next two years will include discussions with Metrolinx on a Spadina-Front GO station at the west end of the proposed park.  

Establishment of Indigenous Affairs Office   

Council supported the establishment of an Indigenous Affairs Office in the City Manager's Office, with five staff positions including a youth intern position. A consultant will work with the City on ensuring that the office reflects the Indigenous community's vision for this municipal office. The Indigenous Affairs Office will provide more focused and co-ordinated leadership on Indigenous affairs.

Confronting anti-Black racism   

Council adopted the Toronto Action Plan to Confront Anti-Black Racism along with steps for implementation, which include the establishment of an "accountability circle" group of diverse Torontonians of African descent to support the plan's implementation. Studies show that anti-Black racism still exists in Toronto, affecting the life chances of more than 200,000 Torontonians of African descent.

Support for survivors of human trafficking    

Council authorized the City's use of funding available for Covenant House Toronto to pursue new initiatives providing support, transitional housing and rent supplements for women and girls who are survivors of sexual exploitation and human trafficking. An estimated 2,000 homeless youth in Toronto are vulnerable to being trafficked on any given night.

Enhanced security at Toronto City Hall      

Council approved measures to enhance security at Toronto City Hall and Nathan Phillips Square with the aim of providing a reasonable level of protection from potential threats while maintaining an accessible City Hall and public square. The direction provided by Council includes surveying members of the public and City staff for their input on the matter of potentially using metal detectors to screen people at the entrance of City Hall.

Policy on City investments    

Council adopted a revised investment policy in response to changes to the regulations that cover City of Toronto investments. The policy is intended to assist the City's Investment Board in guiding the management of the City's investment portfolio to achieve improved returns while reducing the City's exposure to risk.

Updated Toronto Green Standard   

Council approved the Toronto Green Standard, Version 3 as a framework for Toronto's buildings, including demolition and construction work, to achieve near-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 in support of TransformTO. Related motions were adopted on matters such as infrastructure for electric vehicles, bird-friendly treatments for glazing and green infrastructure for residential properties with less than five units. The Toronto Green Standard Version 3 is scheduled to come into effect in May 2018.

Traffic-related air pollution  

A series of measures to address health risks from traffic-related air pollution in Toronto received Council's support. Measures include, for example, pursuing opportunities through the Toronto Congestion Management Plan (2016-2020) to reduce traffic-related air pollution. Council supported a related motion that calls for all City reports addressing traffic measures and controls to routinely include related information about traffic congestion and air pollution.

Developing low-carbon thermal energy  

Council directed City staff to negotiate with Enwave Energy Corporation for an agreement on jointly developing low-carbon thermal energy networks in Toronto, consistent with the City's TransformTO strategy addressing climate change while also supporting other City goals. The technologies involved could include, for example, sewer-heat recovery, ground-source heat pumps, solar thermal collectors, waste heat recovery and use of urban biogas and urban biomass.

City's rate-supported budgets for 2018 and Launch of the Tax Supported Budget

Council adopted the 2018 rate-supported budgets and fees for Toronto Water, Solid Waste Management Services and the Toronto Parking Authority. The rate-supported budgets are funded primarily by users through the payment of fees. In 2018, Toronto homeowners will pay an average of five per cent more for water services in order to service, renew and repair our water infrastructure that provides safe, clean and fresh drinking water along with two per cent more for residential curbside waste collection.

The tax-supported budget launched on November 30 and I encourage you to attend my Ward 18 Budget Town Hall on Saturday January 27 from 1pm to 3pm at the Bloor-Gladstone Library to learn more, ask questions and share your thoughts on what the budget should include. You can also find out more about the budget and process at www.toronto.ca/budget

Management of City real estate   

Council amended municipal code chapters and shareholder directions to establish appropriate authority for the Toronto Realty Agency over Build Toronto and Toronto Port Lands Company. The action is part of centralizing the City's real estate authorities and decision-making with real estate transactions now directed through the City's new real estate service-delivery model. Council adopted the framework for centralizing real estate authorities earlier this fall.

Film studios on Lake Shore Boulevard   

Council endorsed the City's ongoing negotiations to buy the former Showline Studios properties on Lake Shore Boulevard East from Canada Post in order to keep the site as a studio complex. The City is currently pursuing the transaction so the complex's three studios can go back on stream for movie and television productions. The film, television and digital media industry is a major economic driver for Toronto.

Bayview extension speed limit   

Council voted to designate a 60 kilometre-an-hour (km/h) speed limit instead of the current 50 km/h on Bayview Avenue between the southerly section of Pottery Road and the River Street ramp. On account of the change to the speed limit, the City will look into implementing measures such as the installation of sidewalks for pedestrian safety.

Consolidation of civic theatre boards   

The consolidation of the City's three civic theatre boards will take effect on December 31, as specified in Council's approval of recommendations on management of the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, the Toronto Centre for the Arts and the Hummingbird (Sony) Centre for the Performing Arts. A single, merged board for the three facilities is to be called Board of Directors of Civic Theatres Toronto.

Community project - Thorncliffe Park Hub  

Council authorized staff to enter into an agreement for the construction of community space in the Thorncliffe Park Hub at the East York Town Centre Mall. Staff resources were also approved for this project, part of the Toronto Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy 2020. In addition, Council agreed to pursue establishing a job skills training centre/community hub for the Kingston Road/Galloway Road/Orton Park area to help alleviate high youth unemployment in that area.

Growth plan for community recreation    

A community recreation growth plan covering the next four years was approved by Council, with the target (conditional on funding) of adding 70,000 program spaces at Toronto community centres where demand and projected future demand exist. The target for 2018 is 20,000 more spaces in City recreation programs. One of the specific targets that was set involves expanding the Swim to Survive program to cover all of Toronto's Grade 4 students by 2021. 

Taxation and small businesses  

Council voted to ask the Interim Chief Financial Officer to review and report on tax policy tools that can be used to provide relief to small business owners facing unsustainable tax increases that have resulted from Current Value Assessment. A motion on the matter said small business and low-rise commercial property owners, such as those on historic Yonge Street, need to see a change in how they are taxed if the retail and built-form character of these neighbourhoods is to survive.

Managing curbside space  

Council approved the Curbside Management Strategy and related actions such as undertaking a pilot project involving permit-only zones for deliveries in the financial district. Curbside space, which is the access point between road and sidewalk, tends to be in high demand by competing users. The City considers it vital to prioritize curbside uses, especially downtown, as part of managing traffic movement while supporting the downtown core's economic activity.

Internet access in Toronto  

Council supported undertaking City efforts to improve access to affordable high-speed Internet service for all Toronto residents and businesses, and to ensure City infrastructure evolves in line with improving technology standards. Efforts to address the "digital divide" include working with low-income households as well as with Toronto businesses that lack high-speed broadband services.

Uber data breach  

A motion adopted by Council calls on Uber Technologies to disclose information about a data breach in late 2016 so the City knows more about it. The reported breach occurred five months after the City licensed Uber as a private transportation company. The licence requires such companies to implement security measures for data collected about their passengers and drivers. The Council motion was made as part of an effort to enforce the licence's requirements. 

Rogers community television   

A motion to ask Rogers Communications to reverse its decision to discontinue its Toronto community channel received Council's support. The motion also asks for a report on why the action came about earlier this year and what options could be pursued to restore the live televised broadcast of Toronto City Council meetings.

City of Toronto Holiday Activities and Services

The City of Toronto encourages residents and visitors to take advantage of City programs and attractions offered during the year-end holiday period. Most City of Toronto operations and all municipal offices will be closed on December 25 and 26, as well as January 1. City services that regularly operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week such as 311 Toronto and emergency services will be available. Information about curbside waste collection is provided later in this news release.

The City of Toronto Archives at 255 Spadina Rd., usually open on Saturdays, will be closed on December 23 and 30 as well as on the dates noted above for municipal offices.

Winter recreation activities

Winter has arrived at Toronto’s parks, community centres and natural environments, as detailed below.

Fitness, camps and recreation programs

The City offers fitness classes, weight rooms, camps and more, offering something for everyone. Community recreation centres will be open until 4 p.m. on December 24 and 31 (later for those with scheduled permits) and closed on December 25 and 26 and January 1. Some facilities may be closed during the holiday period for annual maintenance. More information and schedules are available at http://www.toronto.ca/rec or by calling 311.

Swimming

Drop-in swim programs at pools across the city make it convenient to make a splash this holiday season. Schedules vary by location and are available at http://www.toronto.ca/swim.

Skating

The City offers a variety of free, leisure ice-skating programs for all ages and abilities at indoor arenas and outdoor rinks. Outdoor rinks that are open may be unsupervised. Indoor arenas will be closed on December 25 and 26 and January 1. Schedules vary by location. More information is available at http://www.toronto.ca/skate.

Riverdale Farm

The City's Riverdale Farm is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. More information is available at http://www.toronto.ca/parks/featured-parks or by calling 416-392-6794.

High Park Zoo

The High Park Zoo is home to domestic and exotic animals, including Toronto's famous capybaras, Bonnie and Clyde, and is open daily from dawn to dusk. Admission to the zoo is free. More information is available at http://www.toronto.ca/parks/featured-parks.

Flower shows

Christmas flower shows at the City's Allan Gardens and Centennial Park conservatories are a tradition during the holiday season. The flower shows are open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. until January 7 and admission is free. More information is available at http://www.toronto.ca/conservatories/.

Toronto Zoo

The Toronto Zoo will be open throughout the holiday season except on December 25. More information is available at http://www.torontozoo.com/.

St. Lawrence Market Complex

To serve Toronto residents and visitors, the St. Lawrence Market Complex has modified hours over the winter holiday season, including extended Sunday hours for the South Market from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on December 24 and 31. The South Market will be closed on December 25 and 26 as well as January 1 and 2. Regular hours of operation will be observed on all other days throughout December and January.

The South Market features 64 merchants and is open five days a week, year-round. During the holiday season, the St. Lawrence Market will also offer a variety of paid classes and free drop-in cooking demonstrations and seminars on holiday meal ideas.

The St. Lawrence Market Saturday Farmers Market and Sunday Antique Market operate year-round in the temporary market at 125 The Esplanade. Both markets will be open during the winter holiday season. The Saturday Farmers Market will be open from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. on December 23 and 30. The Sunday Antique Market will be open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on December 24 and 31.

More information about the St. Lawrence Market Complex holiday hours and holiday-themed activities is available at http://www.stlawrencemarket.com.

Toronto History Museums

Six of the City's History Museums are offering holiday-themed events and tours for families and adults. Most of the museums are open daily except Mondays. All the museums will be closed on December 25 and 26 as well as January 1. Highlights for individual locations are noted below. Times and participant age details for activities vary by day and by location. Holiday season admission prices apply. More information is available at http://www.toronto.ca/museum-events.

Colborne Lodge (11 Colborne Lodge Dr., High Park) Through January 7, visitors to Colborne Lodge can enjoy a holiday themed tour of the historic site complemented by the new exhibit Innovation Circa 1867, which highlights Canadian inventions from the Confederation era.

Fort York National Historic Site (250 Fort York Blvd.) During special programming from December 27 to 31, at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. daily, children can join the cooks in the historic kitchen to help make gingerbread cookies. Upon arrival, sign up at the Museum Store for a tour of the fort – included with regular admission.

Gibson House Museum (5172 Yonge St.)

Visitors to Gibson House will experience the elegant traditions of the Scottish holiday season and learn how the Gibson family celebrated Hogmanay in the 19th century. On December 28 and 29, evening dinner events will celebrate the Scottish traditions of Hogmanay. Pre-registration with payment is required. Gibson House will be closed for maintenance from January 1 to 15. 

Mackenzie House (82 Bond St.)

Through January 7, visitors will learn the story of how families celebrated Christmas in 19th century Toronto. Until December 24, children are invited to write a letter to Santa Claus during their visit and select a card from the 1845 printing press. From December 27 to 31, children can make a New Year's Eve noisemaker in the print shop.

Market Gallery (95 Front St. E., second floor) Building Toronto: Stories of the St. Lawrence Neighbourhood explores how the city's first planned neighbourhood contributed to Toronto's commercial, cultural, social and political history. This free exhibit is on display until February 24.

Montgomery’s Inn (4709 Dundas St. W.)

The inn will be open regular hours offering tours throughout the holiday season, though the weekly farmers market will not run December 27 and January 3.

Scarborough Museum (1007 Brimley Rd.)

On December 27 to 29 and January 2 to 5, the museum offers camps for children six to 11 years of age. Pre-registration is required online at http://www.toronto.ca/torontofun or by calling 416-338-4FUN (4386). 

Spadina Museum (285 Spadina Rd.)

Through January 7, visitors can experience a 1920s holiday season on a guided tour of Spadina Museum. Holly wreaths, evergreen garlands and mistletoe adorn the house. In the re-created 1930s kitchen, visitors can have holiday treats including mulled cider.

Todmorden Mills Heritage Site (67 Pottery Rd.) Visitors can experience two different eras' Christmas traditions – the 1890s and the 1940s – through January 7. The public can tour Todmorden Mills' two historic houses, sample historic recipes and create a take-home craft.

Special events

In addition to the City's annual New Year's Eve celebration, tickets are now on sale for the Winterlicious 2018 Culinary Event Series (both highlighted below). More activities can be found on the City's online Festivals and Events Calendar at http://ow.ly/IMye30heuqo.

New Year's Eve at Nathan Phillips Square

Toronto's largest New Year's Eve celebration will take place at Nathan Phillips Square on December 31 starting at 8 p.m., culminating with a spectacular fireworks display at midnight. Audiences will experience a DJ set by Hamilton's internationally acclaimed electro-pop artist Jessy Lanza and live music from Toronto's dancehall/soul sensations Bonjay alongside DJ sets from OBUXUM, Nino Brown and Classic Roots. Other activities will include a skating party sponsored by Tim Hortons and visuals by Roxanne Luchak. This event will be the finale of TO Canada with Love, the City's year-long celebration of Canada's 150th birthday. Full program details are available at http://www.toronto.ca/newyearseve.

Winterlicious Culinary Event Series tickets Tickets are now on sale for the Culinary Event Series that will be part of Winterlicious 2018, running from January 26 to February 8. The series will feature seven unique cooking and dining experiences hosted by some of Toronto's finest venues and chefs. Details are available at https://www.toronto.ca/winterlicious.

Solid waste pickup

There will be no night collection on Monday, December 25. Those who receive Monday night collection will receive night collection on Tuesday, December 26. Collection will begin earlier than usual, so material should be placed out no later than 5 p.m.

There will be no night collection on Monday, January 1 and all those who are on night collection that week will receive night collection one day after their regularly scheduled collection day. For the week of January 1, Monday night collection will be shifted to Tuesday night; Tuesday night collection will be shifted to Wednesday night; Wednesday night collection will be shifted to Thursday night; and Thursday night collection will be shifted to Friday night. Daytime collection will proceed as scheduled that week.

All transfer stations and drop-off depots for residential drop-off of garbage, yard waste, recyclables, household hazardous waste and electronics will be closed on December 25 and on January 1.

The City will not book any Toxic Taxi appointments to pick up household hazardous waste from residential properties from December 25 to 29.

More information is available at http://www.toronto.ca/waste.

Winter Operations

The City's winter operations will continue as usual during the holidays. Local road plowing will begin when the snow stops falling and if the snow accumulation has reached at least eight centimetres. Residents are reminded that 311 will only take service requests for specific snow clearing after the crews have had a chance to clear the snow. Please don't call 311 during the storm to ask when a street will be plowed. Residents can track where plows and salt trucks are and which roads have been serviced using the City's real-time, online tracking map, available at http://www.toronto.ca/PlowTO.

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