Tomorrow we mark Canada Day where we can take some time with our family and friends to recognize all that is special to us about our country. At this time, it is also vitally important that we reflect on the realities of our history with respect to Indigenous peoples. The recent tragic discoveries of so many Indigenous children who have been buried in unmarked graves around residential schools is a stark reminder and realization that for Indigenous peoples Canada's history is one marked with pain, discrimination and intolerance. We must never forget these realities and also re-commit ourselves as never before to a full, equitable and thorough process of healing with Indigenous peoples.
This past weekend, the Mayor proclaimed Sunday as Toronto Vaccine Day. It was highlighted by a one-day clinic at the Scotiabank Arena called "Our Winning Shot." The result was a record-breaking 26,771 doses of vaccine being administered, both first shots and second shots. Our City has now had 3,311,071 vaccinations administered putting us in a very good space as we move to re-opening and recovery from the pandemic. As always, I encourage all of you to get either your first or second vaccination as quickly as possible and as you are eligible. As more and more of our City's residents are vaccinated we are able to move more closely to normalcy again. You can book your appointments through the City's website or through the VaxTO portal, simply text the word "VACCINE" to 1-833-750-0888 for booking appointments and information about vaccines.
Today we are also moving, along with most of the rest of Ontario, to stage two of the provincial government's re-opening plan. Along with re-opening personal care services, shopping malls will be able to re-open and other loosening of pandemic restrictions will occur. I encourage you to get out and support local restaurants, retailers and personal care service providers as much as possible as they have had a very challenging several months. I look forward to having my hair cut after what seems to have been an extremely long time and I'm sure many of you are looking forward to this further step towards full re-opening.
This week also saw a full agenda managed at the Planning and Housing Committee, of which I am the Chair. Among the many items on the agenda were those dealing with affordable housing, a report on the Keele-St. Clair Local Study which is in our Ward 9 Davenport community, expansion of housing options – garden suites and a very important report on a new regulatory framework for Multi-tenant houses (rooming houses) which will ensure that living conditions are made safer and that this very affordable housing option is properly regulated across our City. More details are available in the agenda for the meeting.
We also heard this week that 26,635 speeding tickets were issued in April to vehicle operators under the City's Automated Speed Enforcement program. A number of these tickets were issued to vehicle owners for speeding offences that were well above the speed limit on residential streets. While the number of tickets was 3,000 less than the month before, it is still concerning that many drivers continue to speed and drive dangerously on our roads. Along with live police enforcement, the Automated Speed Enforcement program should continue to ensure that drivers are made more aware that unsafe driving will not be tolerated in our communities.
Next week, on July 6th, the Executive Committee, on which I am a member, has a full agenda including a report back that recommends the renaming of Dundas Street, and update on our City's recovery from the pandemic, a report on SafeTO – the City's ten year community safety and well-being plan and an update on Metrolinx transit expansion projects in our City. A link to the full agenda, with reports, can be found here.
Our office 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
- Toronto for All
- Compost Days 2021
- Canada Post Building 1117 Queen Street West
- Toronto Public Library -- St. Clair & Silverthorn Branch
- Temporary Closure Advisory - Dovercourt Tennis Courts
City of Toronto Updates
- Planning & Housing Committee
- Transfer of TCHC Single-Family Homes and Small Buildings to Non-Profit Housing Providers
- City of Toronto Vaccination Updates
- Bikeshare Free Ride Wednesdays - Each Wednesday in July
- Keele-St. Clair Local Area Study - Community Consultation Meeting #3 on July 8th
- City of Toronto continues to help and support people experiencing homelessness
- City of Toronto to transfer TCHC’s single-family housing to non-profit housing sector
- Thank you, Toronto! Toronto Vaccine Day sets record with close to 27,000 vaccine doses
- City of Toronto staff report recommends renaming of Dundas Street
- City of Toronto vaccination clinics prepared for surge in second dose eligibility, adding 375,000 July appointments to booking system
- More than 1 million Toronto residents now fully vaccinated, Team Toronto reaches new vaccine milestone with more than 40 per cent of adults having received first and second doses
- Bike Share Toronto and CAA South Central Ontario bring back Free Ride Wednesdays for the month of July
- Free sunscreen program returns to select City of Toronto parks in collaboration with melanoma charities and Shoppers Drug Mart
Toronto for All
My office was contacted this week with regard to anti-Semitic graffiti in the area. Along with these anti-Semitic acts we have also noted that incidents of discriminatory behaviour against members of the Asian community have increased. Earlier this month, we were all deeply saddened upon hearing of the deaths of the Afzaal and Salman family in London. Their tragic loss was a very sad reminder of the fact that Islamophobia, hatred, racism and discrimination continues to exist in our society. While it was encouraging to see so many people in communities across the country come out and share their support for the victims of the attacks in London, we all have a part to play in combatting all forms of hatred including Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, anti-Black racism and anti-Indigenous racism. All people in our City and country have the right to live in a peaceful, tolerant and nurturing society. Let us all commit anew to standing together to combat all forms of hatred, discrimination and racism. Our City truly must be "Toronto for All."
Toronto For All is a public education initiative to generate dialogue among Toronto residents in order to create a city that says “no” to all forms of discrimination and racism, including systemic racism. View and participate in these campaigns to get the knowledge and skills you need to identify, question and challenge systemic barriers through a multi-staged conversational approach.
Compost Days 2021
Summer is here, and a new season of greening and growing is kicking off in gardens around Davenport! Join in at our upcoming compost days where we are offering freshly composted soil for your garden. Please bring your own containers, a shovel, and your green thumbs!
Canada Post Building 1117 Queen Street West
As you may know, postal services at the Canada Post building at 1117 Queen Street West ceased operations as a post office over a year ago. Canada Post, a crown corporation owned by the federal government, declared the building as surplus to their needs. Since 2017, when Canada Post began reviewing their use of the building, I have been advocating that it be made available to our community and City for a use that would provide public space, including a potential cultural hub. At the beginning of this month Canada Post transferred control of the building to their real estate division for sale on the open market, essentially to the highest bidder. As you can imagine this is very disappointing for all of us. I have written and conveyed to our Member of Parliament my concerns about the sale of this building and I know she did reach out to the federal minister responsible for Canada Post. Unfortunately, Canada Post has gone ahead with the sale. I continue to advocate for publicly available space at this location regardless of who eventually purchases the building and site from Canada Post. After over three years of advocacy it is as noted very disappointing that the Canada Post would sell the building in this way.
I intend on moving a motion at this month's Toronto City Council meeting to call on Canada Post to review its decision in favour of recognizing the importance of this site for community and cultural use.
Toronto Public Library -- St. Clair & Silverthorn Branch
On Tuesday July 20th at 12:30pm, the St. Clair and Silverthorn branch of the Toronto Public Library will reopen. The Library will resume its regular hours: Tuesday & Thursday 12:30-8:30; Wednesday & Friday 10:00-6:00 and Saturday 9:00-5:00. The Toronto Public Library is excited to give us all a warm welcome back!
Temporary Closure Advisory - Dovercourt Tennis Courts
Due to necessary surface repairs and improvements, from approximately June 30th until July 14th the Dovercourt Tennis Courts will be closed for the public. These improvements will ensure that the use of these tennis courts will be both safe and enjoyable going forward.
Planning & Housing Committee
In addition to the approval of more than 1000 affordable housing units on various projects throughout the City, some of the key items we advanced through Planning & Housing Committee on June 28th were:
Keele St. Clair Local Area Study
With a new SmartTrack station coming to Union Street and Townsley Street, alongside major road network realignment and improvements I saw the need to plan for a “complete community” in the area, where people can live, work, shop and play without having to travel long distances to meet their daily needs. With this aim in mind, I initiated a Local Area Study for Keele St Clair and have been working closely with City staff, residents and landowners to plan growth in the area for decades to come. At Monday's Planning and Housing Committee, City Staff tabled the Directions Report; a final report expected in October 2021. City Planning is continuing to consult to ensure the community’s vision is reflected. You can register here and join us on July 8, 2021, 6:00- 8:00pm for an update.
The Garden + Suites study is one of several that the City of Toronto is leading through the Expanding Housing Options in Neighbourhoods initiative. Staff have been working over the past year, looking at examples from other cities and consulting with stakeholders and the public to put together a Proposals Report that represents a made-in-Toronto approach for this housing type. The report was adopted by Committee and forms a basis for for further community and stakeholder consultation and technical review. The Committee also requested a final report detailing Official Plan and Zoning By-law amendments for Garden Suites that will be brought to the Planning and Housing Committee Meeting in the fourth quarter of 2021.
Among the most affordable of housing forms that can be built in our city is multi-tenant housing, commonly known as rooming houses. The City licenses multi-tenant houses, to ensure that they are safe and well-maintained. Currently, multi-tenant houses are only permitted in the former city of Toronto and some parts of the former cities of York and Etobicoke. Staff have put forward the City’s proposed comprehensive zoning approach and enhancements to licensing and enforcement to encourage and regulate safe, liveable, well-maintained and affordable multi-tenant houses across the city. Read the full report, refer to the item or rooming house review website for details.
Toronto Green Standard Version 4 (TGS v4)
The Toronto Green Standard performs an important role as a market transformation tool to progressively push development beyond the minimum standards of the Ontario Building Code towards the Toronto's zero-emissions targets as set out in TransformTO, and City Council's 2019 declaration of a climate emergency. Since 2010 the Toronto Green Standard (TGS) has been required for development applications and per Council direction is to be updated approximately every four years. TGS v4 is proposed to be applied to applications submitted under the Planning Act commencing May 1, 2022.
Transfer of TCHC Single-Family Homes and Small Buildings to Non-Profit Housing Providers
I have been working on affordable housing initiatives and serving on the Board of Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) for about ten years now. One of the early opportunities for me to be a strong advocate in housing came in 2011 when I asked Council to re-examine plans to sell of the single-family homes and to put forward a new plan for the portfolio as part of our Putting People First Special Housing Working Group on Transforming TCHC.
Thanks to this Working Group process and that decision to retain the single-family homes portfolio nearly a decade ago, all of this time, most of these homes have continued providing public housing to our neighbours in need. I am pleased that they will now continue to do so in perpetuity under a new non-profit operating model.
On June 25th the City of Toronto announced that it is preparing to transfer Toronto Community Housing Corporation’s (TCHC) portfolio of single-family homes and selected small buildings to the non-profit housing sector. The transfer will help improve service to the tenants, bring the units into a state of good repair, protect the houses as affordable housing in perpetuity, and build capacity in the non-profit housing sector. The Neighbourhood Land Trust will assume the role of landlord for the homes predominately located in the west end with YWCA Toronto as operating partner. They are committed to bringing the houses to a state of good repair and are well positioned to offer tenant-focused services such as timely repairs and responsive property management.
City of Toronto Vaccination Updates
As of June 28th, everyone in Toronto age 12 and older is eligible to book an accelerated second dose of COVID-19 vaccine. To accommodate this surge in demand for vital second doses, the City of Toronto immunization clinics will be adding more than 375,000 vaccination appointments – 125,000 appointments each for the weeks of July 5, July 12 and July 19 – to the provincial booking system. Appointments for City-run immunization clinics can be booked by residents through the dark blue “Book a Vaccine” button on this website or by calling the provincial vaccine booking line at 1-833-943-3900.
Bikeshare Free Ride Wednesdays - Each Wednesday in July
Bike Share Toronto riders will ride for free every Wednesday in July. Riders can take out a bike for up to 30 minutes, return the bike to any station, and take out another bike for an additional free 30-minute ride for a 24-hour period. In addition to providing free rides in July, Bike Share Toronto staff coordinated with the City's ActiveTO program to ensure people can get outside while still being physically distanced by activating “Valet Stations” around popular ActiveTO routes. The stations are staffed with Community Ambassadors who have extra bikes and docking points to ensure hassle-free riding. Learn more about Free Ride Wednesdays on the Bike Share website.
[click either image above to open a PDF copy of the notice]
June 25 - City of Toronto continues to help and support people experiencing homelessness
June 25 - City of Toronto to transfer TCHC’s single-family housing to non-profit housing sector
June 27 - Thank you, Toronto! Toronto Vaccine Day sets record with close to 27,000 vaccine doses
June 28 - City of Toronto staff report recommends renaming of Dundas Street
June 28 - City of Toronto vaccination clinics prepared for surge in second dose eligibility, adding 375,000 July appointments to booking system
June 28 - More than 1 million Toronto residents now fully vaccinated, Team Toronto reaches new vaccine milestone with more than 40 per cent of adults having received first and second doses
June 29 - Bike Share Toronto and CAA South Central Ontario bring back Free Ride Wednesdays for the month of July
June 29 - Free sunscreen program returns to select City of Toronto parks in collaboration with melanoma charities and Shoppers Drug Mart