March 2019 E-Newsletter

Dear neighbours,

Today is International Women's Day and this morning I had the opportunity to address a lot of the inspiring women who help run our city in the Toronto Public Service. The theme of this year's International Women's Day is Balance for Better. Gender balance is essential for economies and communities to thrive and I was proud to thank them and all of you in our community for what you do to create a more inclusive society. Also, did you know that all four of the City's Deputy City Managers are women, plus our City Solicitor, City Clerk and all four Accountability Officers? Happy International Women's Day!

Yesterday, Toronto City Council approved the 2019 operating budget and 2019-2028 capital budget and plan. The budget enables the City to provide more than 150 distinct services that are supported by capital assets and infrastructure worth more than $94 billion. You can read more about the approved budget below.

City Council has created a Special Committee on Governance to consider the impacts on the City's governance structure and processes arising from the reduction in the size of Council and to make recommendations to City Council on any further changes to its governance structure. I have the privilege to sit on this Committee and believe that we have very important work to do to re-imagine our municipal government. In that spirit, I moved a motion at our first meeting to look at what an Office of Neighbourhoods could do to improve engagement & create livable communities. For those of you that were not aware, Toronto has been referred to as a City of Neighbourhoods. We see it in our own community where neighbours come together to build community & improve our city.  I look forward to exploring what is possible.

There has been much discussion about the challenges of clearing snow this past winter and as someone who walks around our community every day, I share the frustration that many of us have experienced. Transportation Services is currently undertaking a review of the City's winter operations program and how we can maximize our service levels and harmonize services across Toronto. The results of this review will be reported back in the 2020 budget process.

My annual Easter Egg Hunt at Dufferin Grove Park (875 Dufferin St) is coming up next month on Saturday April 20th 2019 from 1pm to 3pm! This is a great family oriented community event where I encourage you to bring your kids to hunt for Easter eggs in the park. With chocolates, arts & crafts, dancing, face painting and more, this egg-citing Hunt is a great way shake off the winter chills and have some fun with the kids! Please RSVP by clicking here.

With March Break starting next week, there is a whole host of activities across our city for you and your family to enjoy. I have included a listing of what the City is offering in this e-newsletter. I hope that you have a wonderful weekend and I look forward to seeing you out in the community this March!

In community,

Ana Bailão
Deputy Mayor
Councillor, Ward 9 - Davenport 

City Budget 

Yesterday, Toronto City Council approved a 2019 tax and rate combined operating budget of $13.47 billion and a 10-year capital budget and plan of $40.67 billion. The budget enables the City to provide more than 150 distinct services that are supported by capital assets and infrastructure worth more than $94 billion.

Because of last year's municipal election, the first budget of the new term is traditionally a staff led budget process in order to give the new Council time over the next year to determine its priorities.

We have experienced a significant drop in the Municipal Land Transfer Tax (MLTT) revenue which has contributed to a tough budget year. However, balancing strategies including a reduction of the solid waste subsidy have ensured that the City of Toronto's budget does not include any service cuts and continues to make new investments in the services that Torontonians rely on while we take steps reduce the reliance of the MLTT on the operating budget.

The 2019 budget property tax increase is 2.55% for residential properties and is in line with the rate of inflation. This is in addition to a 0.5% increase for the City Building Fund which supports important infrastructure projects in transit and housing. After taking into account the City's overall strategy to enhance Toronto's business climate, the average home assessed at $665,605 will incur an additional $104 in municipal property taxes. The needs of a 21st century city are very different than when Toronto was founded 185 years ago. That's why Council also voted to receive a report on revenue tools so that we can have an important and necessary conversation on how to fund the city of the future.

The budget annualizes the significant operating investments made in mid/late-2018 in the TTC. This means that we needed to find additional funds to ensure that low-income residents can better access public transit through the Fair Pass program, continue the widely popular hop-on, hop-off two-hour fares and expanded service including the new Dufferin Express Bus to better serve you. Over the last four years there has been a 32% increase in TTC funding to ensure that our public transit system continues to serve all Torontonians.

Back in 2007, City Council established a volume-based solid waste rate system to help the City divert waste from landfills and into organics and recycling. As part of this plan, a rebate program was established that meant the cost of garbage collection continued to be subsidized. The rebate program meant there was less incentive for residents to recycle through the blue bin and compost through the green bin.

With the growing pressures the City is facing on transit, policing and housing and the reduction of MLTT revenues, it has made it difficult to justify subsiding garbage bins. For the 2019 budget, City staff are recommending that the rebate for the large bin be fully eliminated, the medium bin rebate reduced by 55%, and the small bin rebate reduced by 29.5% with the goal of fully phasing out rebates over three years. However, to ensure fairness for seniors and low-income Torontonians, those who already receive a discount on their water bill will also receive a discount on their bin fee. The change in solid waste rebates allows us to continue to invest more in transit and other City services while also ensuring that we pay for the true cost of solid waste service.

Much has been said about the challenges of clearing snow this winter and I share the frustration that many of us has experienced. Transportation Services is currently undertaking a review of the City's winter operations program and how we can maximize our service levels and harmonize services across Toronto. Over the last four years we have seen an increase of $10 million spent on winter operations. Multiple motions were successfully moved at City Council including to have the results of the review reported back to the 2020 budget process.

The 2019 budget makes roughly $17 million in new investments as part of the City's Poverty Reduction Strategy, including the annualization of some programs, extending opening hours for libraries, establishing more youth hubs to serve marginalized youth and increasing investments in the Student Nutrition Program. The City's Arts and Culture Plan has also been fully phased in to achieve the $25 per capita spending benchmark in our arts and culture sector for the second year in a row.

As part of the City's Child Care Growth Strategy, the City has made a commitment to fund 20% of child care operating expenses, with the upper levels of government funding the rest. In this year's budget, there is a 4.5% increase in City funding as the City continues to fulfill this important pledge. The additional funding will go towards creating new fee subsidies and making existing subsidies more affordable for families.

We have made great strides over the last few years to ensure Toronto Community Housing has the funding needed to maintain operations and repair units that were neglected under previous administrations. This year's budget commits $313 million to capital repairs, up from $60 million in 2013 and will help us re-open over 100 previously closed units. I also successfully moved a motion to ensure the City Manager and CFO to make it a priority to continue this important work.

Important city building investments will be made through the City's $26.2 billion capital budget, with 70 per cent of the capital plan being allocated towards mobility to renew our public transit and road infrastructure, and expand transit across Toronto – including SmartTrack Stations in our community.

This budget will also make important capital investments right here in Davenport over the next few years with investments into many of our parks, community centres, libraries, road resurfacing, Vision Zero and the purchasing of new buses to name just a few initiatives to serve a growing population and enhance livability in our city.

The investments made in the 2019 City of Toronto Budget will help keep Toronto affordable and continues to make the important investments in public transit, housing and social infrastructure that are crucial for our long-term prosperity.

Community Updates

Dupont-Annette Underpass Shines at Film Festival!

A little slice of Davenport is hitting the big screens! Pushing Start, a film by Karl Man, about the making of the StART mural by street artists Alexander Bacon and Que Rockford on the Dupont-Annette Street Underpass at Dundas West has been accepted to THROUGH MY EYES 2019, an Indigenous Film Festival in LA organized by The Tribe Project. Screening is March 22nd. Pushing StART received an Award of Distinction from the 2018 Canada Shorts Festival. You can view these and other StART videos by clicking https://youtu.be/AFaS5CbJ1NU.

TTC Adds 2 New Wheel-Trans Stops in Davenport

The TTC is installing new two new Wheel trans stops to improve local access to their services. The new stops will be located at 1112 Ossington Ave (corner of Salvadore Allende Court) and at 164 Oakwood Ave (at St. Clair Ave W). To book an appointment or learn more about the service, please call 416-393-4111. 

Clean Toronto Together – Registration is now open! 

Individuals, community groups, schools and businesses can now register their Clean Toronto Together cleanup events. Registration helps the City arrange for special litter and recycling pickups, and helps to avoid duplicate cleanups. Learn more, register your event and find out where to get free GLAD® garbage and recycling bags for your cleanup at livegreentoronto.ca or call 311.

Events

Canada Nos Une International Women's Day Events – March 8th & 9th 2019 at various locations.

Canada Nos Une is celebrating International Women's Day with programming across Davenport & Toronto! For more information visit https://www.facebook.com/canadanosune.ong/#IWD2019

DPNCHC Community Singing Drop-In - Thursdays 6pm to 7pm from March 21st to May 9th, 2019 at Davenport Perth neighbourhood Centre (1900 

Davenport Perth neighbourhood health Centre is holding Free Community Singing Drop Ins from March  21st to May 9th 2019. For more information, please contact Gabrielle Langlois at 416-656-8025 or glanglois@dpnchc.ca

Davenport 2019 Easter Egg Hunt - Saturday April 20, 2019 at Dufferin Grove Park (875 Dufferin Grove Park)

My annual Easter Egg Hunt at Dufferin Grove Park (875 Dufferin St) is coming up next month on Saturday April 20th 2019 from 1pm to 3pm! This is a great family oriented community event where I encourage you to bring your kids to hunt for Easter eggs in the park. With chocolates, arts & crafts, dancing, face painting and more, this egg-citing Hunt is a great way shake off the winter chills and have some fun with the kids! Please RSVP by clicking here.

Northcliffe Village Residents's Association Games Night – Thursday March 14, 2019 at 6:30pm at Spielhaus Boardgame Café (1187 St Clair Ave W)

Arts + Puppetry Summer Camps at George Chuvalo Community Centre

The George Chuvalo Community Centre is hosing Arts + Puppetry Summer Camps for kids in grade 4-6! For more information and to register, please contact Julia Gonsalves at 416-668-3492 or Julia@conc.ca or visit https://www.facebook.com/pg/GChuvaloCentre/

City Updates

2019 Open Door Affordable Housing Applications are now open!

I'm pleased to inform you that the 2019 Open Door Program Call for Affordable Rental Housing Applications is now open. The Open Door Program was approved by City Council in 2016 to accelerate affordable housing construction by providing City financial contributions, fast-tracking planning approvals, and activating surplus public land. The Call for Applications will close on May 3, 2019 at 12 pm noon.

If you encourage you to share this news with non-profit and private sector housing organizations. An information session has also been scheduled for Monday April 8 at 9 am – Metro Hall, Rooms 308 and 309. All questions regarding the Call for Applications should be sent to opendoor@toronto.ca.

The program guidelines and the application package can be found here: https://www.toronto.ca/community-people/community-partners/affordable-housing-partners/open-requests-for-proposals/

City of Toronto Offering Affordable and Free March Break activities

Monday, March 11 to Friday, March 15 is March Break for elementary and high school students in Toronto. The City of Toronto offers many free and affordable activities for students and their families that week.

Drop-in programs

City community centres offer free or low-cost programs for all ages. More information is available at http://www.toronto.ca/rec or call 311.

Skating

Many outdoor artificial ice rinks will be open during March Break, weather permitting. Locations and live rink status updates are available at https://www.toronto.ca/data/parks/prd/facilities/outdoor-rinks/index.html.

Indoor leisure skating programs, including caregiver and tot, family skate and shinny, are free for all ages. Hockey helmets approved by the Canadian Standards Association are mandatory for children under six years of age and all shinny hockey participants, and are recommended for skaters of all ages. Schedules and locations are available at http://www.toronto.ca/skate.

Skiing and snowboarding

Earl Bales and Centennial Ski and Snowboard Centres will offer downhill leisure skiing and snowboarding during March Break. More information about drop-in rates and equipment rentals is available at https://www.toronto.ca/explore-enjoy/recreation/skating-winter-sports/downhill-skiing-snowboarding-centres/.

Swimming

City pools will offer free leisure swimming during March Break. More information is available at https://www.toronto.ca/swim.

Riverdale Farm
Visitors can tour Riverdale Farm's scenic grounds to see domestic farm animals such as pigs, horses and sheep. The farm is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. More information is available at http://www.toronto.ca/riverdalefarm.

High Park Zoo
Established 120 years ago, the High Park Zoo is home to domestic and exotic animals, including bison, llamas, peacocks, reindeer, highland cattle and yaks. Admission to the zoo is free and it is open daily from dawn to dusk. More information is available at http://www.toronto.ca/parks/zoo/.

Toronto Island Park

Just minutes away from downtown by ferry, Toronto Island Park is a great place to walk, cycle, explore and enjoy the city skyline. The ferry schedule and fees are available at http://www.toronto.ca/ferry.

 Conservatories

Spring flowers are in bloom at Centennial Park Conservatory, 151 Elmcrest Rd. and at Allan Gardens Conservatory, 19 Horticultural Ave. Both conservatories feature various flowering plants, including tulips, daffodils and hyacinths. The conservatories are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and admission is free. More information is available at http://www.toronto.ca/conservatories.

Toronto History Museums

Many of the City's 10 History Museums are open during March Break. The sites highlighted below will offer drop-in family activities including crafts, games and tasty treats from historic kitchens. Regular admission fees apply. Times and activity details vary by location. More information is available at http://www.toronto.ca/museum-events

Colborne Lodge (Colborne Lodge Dr. in High Park) 
March 9 to 17, noon to 4 p.m. 

Families can engage in a sleuthing adventure by searching for modern items that do not belong in the Lodge's 1870's home. Participants can learn about the Victorian era items in addition to dress-up activities, games and treats.

Fort York National Historic Site (250 Fort York Blvd.) 
March 11 to 17, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 
Children can try soldiers' drill classes, officers' sword drill, music workshops and dressing-up in period costumes. Visitors of all ages can sample treats from the hearth of the 1826 historic kitchen and learn about the Fort's exciting history through colourful exhibits, including the Fort York Visitor Centre and Battle of York Experience. A Kids' Guide to Fort York will add to the fun as families can find the clues to complete games and puzzles throughout a site tour.

Gibson House Museum (5172 Yonge St.) 
March 9 to 17, noon to 5 p.m. 
Explore 19th century family life through self-guided tour, hands on time in the historic kitchen and the Discovery Gallery.

Mackenzie House (82 Bond St.) 
March 9 to 17, noon to 5 p.m. 

Visitors can enjoy a guided tour of the home of Toronto's first mayor and typeset their name on the 1845 printing press and print a personalized souvenir.

Montgomery's Inn (4709 Dundas St. W.)

March 9 to 17, noon to 5 p.m. 

Participants can find out what it might have been like to visit the Inn when it was run by Thomas and Margaret Montgomery by playing house detective and exploring some of the Inn's hidden histories.

Scarborough Museum (1007 Brimley Rd.) 
March 9 to 17, noon to 5 p.m. 

Families can sample butter tarts and maple lemonade, make a four leaf clover bookmark, and play musical instruments.

Spadina Museum (285 Spadina Rd.) 
March 9 to 17, noon to 5 p.m. 

Visitors can create a family crest this March Break and also decide on what creature might appear on the crest – a dragon, or perhaps a mermaid? Families can also learn about the meanings of colours, plants and animals and how they could come together to represent their family. Tours of the home will also take place at 12:15, 1:15, 2:15, 3:15 and 4 p.m.

Todmorden Mills Heritage Site (67 Pottery Rd.) 
March 9 to 17, noon to 5 p.m. 

The public is invited to enjoy a tasty treat, make a unique take-home craft and discover toys and popular games from past generations while looking for signs of spring in the wildflower preserve with a round of outdoor nature bingo.

Zion Schoolhouse (1091 Finch Ave E.)

March 12 to 14, noon to 4 p.m.

Artists from Vibe Arts will re-examine and reconstruct the traditional subjects of the 1910 schoolhouse through art.

Four of the historic sites are also offering March Break day camps. More information about these camps is available at http://www.toronto.ca/museumcamps.

Toronto Public Library

Toronto Public Library will host more than 400 activities for children, teens and the whole family during March Break. Highlights include magic and science camps as well as puppet shows and robotics for children. Exclusively for teens, library branches will offer hands-on workshops on sushi making, hip hop, photography and more. Details are available at http://www.tpl.ca/marchbreak.

Toronto Zoo

The Toronto Zoo offers extended hours during March Break from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. with the last admission at 5 p.m. Visitor highlights include Thomas & Friends, daily keeper talks, the indoor Orchid Oasis, animal babies and the Wildlife Health Centre viewing gallery. More information is available at http://www.torontozoo.com.

Union Station

Union Station offers free kids programs March 11 to 14, including an opportunity to join Canada’s National Ballet School Sharing Dance Kids Program, participate in an interactive opera performance with the Canadian Opera Company. colour and draw. Hot chocolate and coffee will also be available, compliments of Union Station retailers. No registration is required. More information is available at https://torontounion.ca/events/.

Public Consultations

Vehicle-For Hire Bylaw Review 

Consultations Run Until March 19, 2019
The aim of the review is to discuss potential updates to the bylaw for taxicabs, limousines and private transportation companies, such as Facedrive, Lyft and Uber. The City is hosting various meetings and the topics to be discussed include accessibility, vehicle equipment and public safety. You can find more information at toronto.ca/vehicleforhirereview

Body Rub Parlours and Holistic Centres Bylaw Review

Consultations Run until March 19, 2019
The aim of the review is to update the licensing bylaw to promote public health and safety, as well as effective oversight and enforcement. You can find more information by clicking here.

Important Notices

Public Space Incubator Grant Applications Open!

Park People's Public Space Incubator grants are now open! The Public Space Incubator provides funding and support to five projects that propose creative ways to bring people together in under-used publicly accessible open spaces, which could include parking lots, streets, parks, plazas, and schoolyards.

The grant provides up to $50,000 to support the implementation of the project. You can read more about the guidelines and eligibility requirements on our website at www.parkpeople.ca/publicspaceinc. The deadline to submit a letter of intent is coming up on Friday, March 22.

The City of Toronto's Home Energy Loan Program Applications are open to help you save money!

Through the City of Toronto's Home Energy Loan Program (HELP), Toronto homeowners can get a low-interest loan of up to $75,000 to cover the cost of home energy improvements, such as:

  • High-efficiency furnaces / boilers / air conditioners
  • Air source heat pumps
  • Window / door replacements
  • Basement/attic/exterior wall insulation
  • Air sealing (e.g. weather stripping or caulking)
  • Geothermal systems
  • High-efficiency water heaters
  • Drain-water heat recovery systems
  • Toilet replacements
  • Solar hot water systems
  • Rooftop solar PV panels

With low fixed interest rates, and terms of up to 15 years, HELP makes it easy for homeowners to pay for these home improvements over time, and access rebates offered by the Province of Ontario and utility companies. Once funding is approved, homeowners can hire the contractor of their choice and complete their renovations. For more information please visit https://www.toronto.ca/services-payments/water-environment/environmental-grants-incentives-2/home-energy-loan-program-help/ 

City offers grants to support the creation of pollinator gardens

Through its new PollinateTO Community Grants, the City is offering grants of up to $5,000 to support community-led projects that:

  • create pollinator gardens and rain gardens on public and private lands, including residential streets, neighbourhoods and school yards
  • enhance or expand existing gardens with native pollinator-friendly plants

Native pollinators are under threat from climate change, habitat loss and other stressors. You can help! Learn more and apply by May 1st by visiting livegreentoronto.ca.

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