I have always maintained that having a safe, stable and comfortable place to live is critical for all people of this City. The pandemic has not changed this reality, but it has heightened the urgency of addressing housing challenges. Even as we faced unprecedented financial and operational difficulties last year, we still managed to make enormous progress in our efforts to advance our housing agenda. Over the course of the year, we have successfully placed in permanent housing more than 3,220 people experiencing homelessness from shelters. In addition to the existing 75 shelters, at least 40 new shelter locations, including hotels, were opened during the pandemic to ensure physical distancing and provide a safe space for over 6,000 people to get out of the cold or to receive needed support. The City has used every measure available to provide needed housing, and we continue to expand and accelerate our housing efforts as we meet our objectives to support over 341,000 households set out in our 10 Year Housing Plan.
While I am proud of what we have accomplished, our work must continue. That is why we continue to work with other levels of government, our community partners and local neighbourhoods to invest in creating meaningful housing solutions that transform lives. This week, we shared updates on two of our many housing programs – Modular Housing and Open Door.
On Tuesday, we announced the second phase of our Modular Housing Initiative, with sites at 175 Cummer Avenue and the corner of Trenton Avenue and Cedarvale Avenue. Between these sites, we will provide housing for over 120 people experiencing homelessness. Having started this initiative in late 2019, it has proven to be a cost-effective program we can rely on to rehouse individuals rapidly and to provide them with the necessary supports. Having worked on many housing programs, modular housing has proven to be one we can rely upon to create responsive housing solutions much quicker than ever. This expansion was made possible with the City's commitment and with the federal government's support, which provided over $10 million in funding for the project.
I look forward to expanding the program across the city.
Yesterday, the City also announced the results of the Open Door 2020 call for applications, which will create 971 new affordable homes. The Open Door program is designed to accelerate the creation of affordable housing by providing financial incentives and contributions from the City. Still subject to final Council approval, 11 of the 15 affordable housing developments are proposed by non-profit housing providers, three of which are Indigenous groups. Since 2016, this critical program has approved a total of 10,172 affordable rental homes, and I am happy to see that it will continue serving as a valuable incentive to create more affordable housing in Toronto.
As you can read in our e-newsletter, a lot is happening, and our team continues to work to serve you remotely. If we can be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us by email at [email protected] or by phone at 416.392.7012.
Table of Contents
- Question from the Community!
- Food Share: The Recipe for Change Event
- Get Involved in the Future of Little Jamaica and Eglinton West
- Registration Window for CafeTO Opens Tomorrow!
- SafeTO Survey
- Free ToGoToronto.com listing for restaurants
- Oakwood Collegiate's Official Virtual Open House Website!
- The Black Pledge
- 20th Anniversary of Being Scene! Opening Ceremony
- Creating Better Parks in Oakwood-St. Clair
- Geary Works – Upcoming Public Consultation
- UrbanArts – MindARTSoul
- Haven Toronto Sock Drive
- Your Arena Board Needs You!
- Aangen's All Dried Up Series
- Save the Date! the Toronto Virtual Seedy Saturday is on Sat February 27, 10 am to 2 pm
- Learn about the City's Snow Maintenance Programs
- Round Two of the TO360 local map consultation will be live from February 5 to 26, 2021
- Park People Grant
- Lansdowne Station – Entrance Closure for Accessibility Work
- TTC Construction – Dovercourt and Queen
- Infrastructure Improvements at the Intersection of King Street West, Queen Street West, The Queensway and Roncesvalles Avenue (KQQR)
- Metrolinx Caisson Drilling
- Call for submissions for the 2021 Toronto Urban Design Awards now open
- Toronto Public Health working with schools to respond to variants of concern linked to school settings
- City of Toronto update on COVID-19
- City of Toronto extends cancellation of in-person major events to July 1
- City of Toronto update on COVID-19 (Feb 22)
- City of Toronto COVID-19 immunization clinic staff preparing to launch clinic operations as soon as vaccine supply available
Each day, we are working to answer important questions from our community. To keep you all informed, we will feature some of these questions each newsletter. Have a question you think would be good to share? Reach out to us at [email protected].
Where can I find information on travel restrictions and exemptions?
The Government of Canada sets the rules regarding international travel. New rules will take effect soon. All information regarding travel restrictions and requirements can be found here.
Food Share: The Recipe for Change Event
At 3:00 PM tomorrow, Friday, February 26, Ministers Ahmed Hussen, Todd Smith and I will participate in FoodShare Toronto’s event to listen and respond to folks reflections and questions on the topic of “What does the right to food look like to you?”
This event will feature essential workers, gig workers, folks experiencing food insecurity, migrant agricultural workers, Indigenous food sovereignty advocates and others whose work and lived experience relates to the right to food. I hope you can join us!
Get Involved in the Future of Little Jamaica and Eglinton West
We want to hear from you! The City is responding to the community's desire to sustain, support and celebrate the Little Jamaica retail corridor on Eglinton West. Together let's develop a plan for the commercial main street and local Black businesses, the surrounding residential neighbourhoods, and the area's vibrant cultural character. Share your ideas at the launch event on March 4, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Please register in advance.
Registration Window for CafeTO Opens Tomorrow!
The first registration window for the expanded CaféTO program will open Friday, February 26 at 9 a.m. The first window will remain open for a full month, until Friday, March 26, and the second window will open immediately afterward.
The City is developing an updated Community Safety and Wellbeing Plan called SafeTO. This plan will guide how social systems that serve Torontonians work together to meet community needs by changing how we think about safety. Provide your feedback through the link above.
Free ToGoToronto.com listing for restaurants
Restaurant operators are encouraged to add their restaurant to Destination Toronto's ToGoToronto.com, a free listing of more than 700 Toronto restaurants that are open for safe takeout, delivery and patios as public health restrictions allow. The platform was created by Destination Toronto in partnership with the City to continue to support the economic recovery of the restaurant community.
Oakwood Collegiate's Official Virtual Open House Website!
Everything you need to know about Oakwood Collegiate is here. Learn about the school's mission, culture, and goals - listen to parent and student testimonials about why they love Oakwood. Find out why this community school is so incredibly special.
The Oakwood Virtual Open House site also features a recording of OCI's virtual open house presentation.
The Black Pledge
The Black Pledge is an open call for positive, lasting change in live arts spaces across Canada, so that they truly reflect the beautiful mosaic tapestry of our nation. Their mission is to foster greater inclusion and awareness surrounding the needs of underserved communities in the Arts, especially the Black community. They stand in solidarity with Indigenous peoples and other communities of colour seeking equity, while retaining Black-centric advocacy.
Workman Arts' annual Being Scene exhibition is back for its 20th anniversary! Going digital for the first time, Being Scene 2021 will be offered virtually and includes three exhibitions in one: a guest-curated exhibition of 11 commissioned artworks titled To Speak Without Speaking, and a juried exhibition of 60 artists, a retrospective exhibition honouring the 20th anniversary of Being Scene.
Please join them on March 4 at 7 PM for the Zoom opening reception, which includes a discussion with Executive Artistic Director Kelly Straughan, Workman Arts founder, Lisa Brown and To Speak Without Speaking guest curator Jacqueline Kok.
Creating Better Parks in Oakwood-St. Clair
We're talking about parks in the Oakwood-St. Clair neighbourhood! The City of Toronto is studying the parks and outdoor spaces around the Oakwood Ave. and St. Clair Ave. W. intersection to identify opportunities to upgrade and create new parks and recreation facilities. The findings of this study will be used to guide short and long-term investments in the local park system. The area was identified as a priority area for new and improved parks in the City of Toronto's Parkland Strategy adopted by City Council in 2019.
Your local knowledge, experiences, and ideas are essential to creating the Oakwood-St. Clair parks plan! We need your help to understand which parks you like to visit, how you think local parks can be improved, and what types of new parks and park facilities you think are needed in your neighbourhood. For more information about the Study, please visit the project website. You can help identify ways to improve the parks system by participating in a fun and interactive online mapping exercise and online survey. Help us to shape the future of your community!
Geary Works – Upcoming Public Consultation
The third consultation on Geary Works will be held on March 3 at 6:30 PM. Geary Works is a study to determine how to best support businesses and creative enterprises and improve the public realm on Geary Avenue. Register and learn more through the link above.
UrbanArts – MindARTSoul
UrbanArts hosts an ongoing series called MindARTSoul every Wednesday at 1PM, which focuses on Indigenous art and reconnecting with our roots. These art workshops are hosted by Indigenous artists via Zoom. They also provide free art kits and Goodfood boxes for each participant.
Haven Toronto Sock Drive
Did you know that socks are one of the most requested items from people using shelters? Haven Toronto has partnered with Dovercourt Boys and Girls Club, Toronto Police 11 and 22 Divisions, and the Port Credit Academy of Martial Arts for a sock drive between February 15 and 28. New socks can be dropped at any of their locations to help someone in need.
The City of Toronto has eight indoor ice arenas operated by boards of management. These boards oversee the programs and operations of the arenas and are a way for local residents to get involved in supporting facilities in their community.
We are looking for local residents with an interest in community engagement and recreation to serve as public members on the following arena board:
- McCormick Playground Arena Board (4 positions) - located in the west end of Toronto, at Dundas Street West and Brock Street. Apply at:
Application deadline for the above Arena Board: March 9, 2021.
If you have any questions about this opportunity or the application process, please contact the City of Toronto's Public Appointments Secretariat at 416-397-0088 or [email protected].
Aangen’s All Dried Up Series
All Dried Up is a dehydrated meal product developed to support seniors' nutrition and ensure adults with physical or cognitive barriers can access healthy, nourishing meals that are safe to prepare and easy to serve. Created in consultation with a geriatric nutrition specialist, All Dried Up is heart-healthy, supports digestion and contains antioxidants that address joint pain and swelling. One cup of hot water added to our pre-portioned soups is all that is needed to prepare and serve a delicious meal. It's as simple as toast and tea!
Brought to you by Seeds of Diversity Canada, Toronto Urban Growers and Toronto Seedy Saturday organizers, this Virtual Seedy Saturday promises to be full of great gardening and growing advice. There will be links to seed and gardening companies, a resource library, webinars by gardening experts, a live question/answer forum, kids activities and info re local seed exchanges.
Webinars include Balcony/Container Gardening, Starting Seeds Indoors, Garden Planning, Saving Seeds and many more! If you have extra seeds, please consider contributing them to the local seed exchanges! (see website for drop off points)
No sign up required! Visit ongoing and day of http://www.seedysaturday.ca/toronto to connect to info, webinars and live chats. For questions mailto:[email protected] And like their event page for updates https://www.facebook.com/events/879640102868936
Learn about the City's Snow Maintenance Programs
Have questions about City snow services? Use the link above to access the City plow map, learn about snow removal, salt management and more.
Round Two of the TO360 local map consultation will be live from February 5 to 26, 2021
TO360 is the pedestrian wayfinding system central to the City's ambition to make Toronto a more walkable, welcoming, and understandable place for residents and visitors. TO360 provides consistent wayfinding information through a unified signage and mapping system delivered by the City and project partners.
The City's Transportation Services has prepared some draft wayfinding maps for St. Clair West and Eglinton West and is looking for feedback from people in Ward 9 (Davenport) who are passionate about their neighbourhood and want to make walking in their community better.
Go to www.to360survey.com to learn more about TO360 and the ways to get involved!
Park People Grant
TD Park People Grants will provide $2,000 to groups from the Greater Toronto Area to help build vital connections between people and city parks. Enhance green spaces by hosting three online or in-person activities such as nature webinars, scavenger hunts or photo contests.
Applications close on March 1st. Visit the website to get all of the details, helpful event ideas and application forms for the TD Park People Grants program.
Lansdowne Station – Entrance Closure for Accessibility Work
The main entrance to Lansdowne station will be closed until May, as the TTC is installing elevators to make Lansdowne Station accessible. The station will also be getting additional enhancements, including a new canopy for the main entrance.
TTC Construction – Dovercourt and Queen
TTC will be rebuilding an existing underground utility chamber and duct bank on the east side of Dovercourt Road just north of Queen Street West. The utility chamber is located at the north-east corner of the Queen/Dovercourt intersection, and the duct bank runs along the east curb lane and connects to a utility chamber in front of 127 Dovercourt Road (which was rebuilt in 2019). The chamber is part of a network in the city that provides access to electrical and communication cabling for the TTC, as well as for other utility companies.
The TTC is working in cooperation with the City's ongoing watermain project in the area. The City's contractor will demobilize the area prior to TTC's start date of February 1 and will be completed in 8 weeks.
Upcoming Infrastructure Improvements at the Intersection of King Street West, Queen Street West, The Queensway and Roncesvalles Avenue (KQQR)
Beginning February 12, 2021, work crews will begin advanced preparation work on The Queensway and KQQR intersection, ahead of the closure of the KQQR intersection scheduled for March 31, 2021.
Metrolinx Caisson Drilling
Metrolinx is conducting caisson drilling over the next five months. This involves boring (or drilling) a hole into the ground down to more supportive bedrock, lifting in steel reinforcements (or rebar cage), and then pouring concrete. This creates reinforced concrete columns underground that will form structural piers to support the load of the elevated guideway structure above.
The work is scheduled to take place during the day and overnight from February to July 2021. While most of this work is carried out during the day, crews will also be working overnight as the equipment will be available and they will be able to work more safely and efficiently.
Call for submissions for the 2021 Toronto Urban Design Awards now open
The Toronto Urban Design Awards, held by the City of Toronto every second year, recognize achievements in urban design, architecture and landscape architecture. The call for 2021 submissions is now open. Designers, developers, project owners, community groups, design students and others are invited to enter eligible projects. The deadline for submissions is 4 p.m. on Monday, April 26.
Toronto Public Health working with schools to respond to variants of concern linked to school settings
Toronto Public Health (TPH) is currently working with schools in Toronto in which at least one individual linked to the school has screened positive for a COVID-19 variant of concern (VOC). To date eight local schools have at least one case linked to a screened positive or probable VOC.
City of Toronto update on COVID-19
Since the start of the pandemic there have been a total of 96,007 cases of COVID-19 in the city, an increase of 389 new cases today. There are 351 people hospitalized. To date, there have been 2,620 COVID-19 deaths in Toronto. In total, 89,474 people have recovered. Case status data can be found on the City’s reporting platform.
City of Toronto extends cancellation of in-person major events to July 1
To slow the spread of COVID-19, the City of Toronto is extending the cancellation of in-person City-led and City-permitted major outdoor events to July 1, including Canada Day parades, festivals and fireworks.
City of Toronto update on COVID-19 (Feb 22)
Mayor Tory and Dr. de Villa delivered encouraging news about vaccines and the situation in Toronto’s long-term care homes. Toronto Public Health has seen a substantial decline in testing positivity rates among long-term care home residents in the city.
City of Toronto COVID-19 immunization clinic staff preparing to launch clinic operations as soon as vaccine supply available
The City of Toronto’s Immunization Task Force continues to prepare for the launch of City-operated COVID-19 immunization clinics while waiting for vaccine supply and direction from the Province of Ontario to restart clinic operations. Staffing of City-operated clinics is now well underway.
Ontario Invests in Historic Campaign to Accelerate Training for Personal Support Workers
The Ontario government is investing over $115 million to train up to 8,200 new personal support workers (PSWs) for high-demand jobs in Ontario's health and long-term care sectors. In collaboration with Colleges Ontario, all 24 publicly assisted colleges will offer this innovative, fully funded program starting in April 2021. This is part of the government's Long-Term Care Staffing Plan, one of the largest PSW recruitment and training drives in the province's history.
Ontario Administers over Half a Million Doses of COVID-19 Vaccines
The Ontario government has administered over 500,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines to Phase One priority populations, which now includes adults 80 years of age and older. At the same time, the province is working with public health units to build and expand its capacity to immunize Phase Two populations by increasing delivery networks and preparing a booking solution and customer service supports for mass vaccination clinic registrations. Ontario has administered more vaccines than any other province.
Ontario Supports Training of Hundreds of Personal Support Workers
The Ontario government is investing more than $4.1 million to help train 373 new Personal Support Workers (PSWs) and provide them with additional health and safety resources. This funding will ensure Ontario has more PSWs to provide the best care for seniors and residents in long-term care homes, while connecting people with meaningful work.
Ontario Supporting Young Black Entrepreneurs
The Ontario government is investing $1.2 million over three years to help young Black entrepreneurs and Black-owned tech start-ups access the resources and tools they need to succeed in the province's changing economy. The funding will be provided through Ryerson University DMZ's Black Innovation Programs, which support Black-led businesses by connecting them with customers, capital, experts and a community of entrepreneurs and influencers.
Prime Minister of Canada welcomes plan to revitalize and expand ties with the United States
The Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, met with the President of the United States of America, Joe Biden, during a bilateral meeting.
Minister Ng provides update on Black Entrepreneurship Program
Black Canadian business owners and entrepreneurs make important contributions to the Canadian economy, yet they continue to face systemic barriers in starting and growing their businesses. This has been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Government of Canada is working to address these long-standing, systemic barriers with its first-ever Black Entrepreneurship Program.
Government of Canada to host Canada’s Feminist Response and Recovery Summit to mark International Women’s Day
The COVID-19 pandemic is the most serious public health crisis Canada has ever faced. It has highlighted fundamental gaps in our society and disproportionately impacted those who were already marginalized, vulnerable or struggling. Women have faced steep job losses or shouldered the burden of unpaid care work at home, and many have bravely served on the front lines of this crisis in our communities.