Davenport Community Briefing - October 21st 2021

Dear Neighbours,

  1. Local Updates & Local Public Meetings
    1. Statement on the 900 Dufferin Grove Development Application Settlement
    2. Dufferin Grove Park
    3. Vhils "Scratching the Surface" Mural Unveiling
    4. MacGregor Playground Harvest Festival
    5. MacGregor Playground Basketball Court
    6. Geary Avenue Parkette Playground Improvements (Survey November 15th-29th)
    7. Reopening of the West Toronto Railpath Connection
    8. COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic - November 5th
    9. Neighbourhood Climate Action Champions Program - (Until October 25th)
    10. Upcoming Local Events:
      1. Earlscourt Park Centennial Celebration & Plaque Unveiling - October 23rd
      2. Pumpkin Carving @ Northcliffe & St. Clair West - October 23rd
      3. Bloordale BIA & Bloorcourt BIA Pumpkin Giveaways - October 23rd & 24th
      4. Sounds of Davenport Virtual Event - October 23rd
      5. Cultural Hotspot 2022 - Little Jamaica - October 26th
      6. Hallowe'en Hullabaloo - October 30th
      7. Community Pumpkin Parades - November 1st
    11. Community Notices & Consultations
      1. RapidTO: Bus & Streetcar Priority – Phase 1 of Consultation has Launched! - (Until November 28th)
      2. Bloor Street West Bridge Rehabilitation Under Metrolinx Rail at UP Express
      3. Dufferin Street at Dupont Street Bridge Rebailitation
  2. City Updates and Consultations
    1. Enhanced Vaccine Certificates - October 22nd
    2. Housing Now Announcement
    3. Expanding Housing Options in Neighbourhoods Public Survey - (Until December)
    4. Vacant Home Tax Public Survey - (Until October 25th)
    5. Inclusionary Zoning Public Consultation - TONIGHT
    6. Laneway Suites Virtual Meeting (October 27th)
    7. UHN NORC Ambassadors Program
    8. MusiCounts Music Instrument Grant
    9. PollinateTO Grants
    10. Neighbourhood Climate Action Champions Program
  3. Recent Municipal Announcements
    1. October 8 - Toronto Public Health issues Letter of Instruction requiring proof of vaccination for all persons age 12 and older participating in indoor organized sports
    2. October 12 - City of Toronto Automated Speed Enforcement devices issued more than 36,700 tickets in July and August 2021
    3. October 14 - City of Toronto celebrates 20th anniversary of Waste Reduction Week with virtual events and workshops
    4. October 16 - Toronto prepares to commemorate Terry Fox with landmark mural along University Avenue
    5. October 19 - Toronto Public Health launches annual influenza vaccination campaign prioritizing highest-risk settings
    6. October 19 - City of Toronto and CreateTO announce development partners for two Phase One Housing Now sites to build much needed affordable and market rental housing
    7. October 20 - City of Toronto report recommends plan to make CaféTO permanent and waiving fees in 2022
    8. October 20 - City of Toronto staff report lays groundwork for a new small business tax class in Toronto
    9. October 21 - City of Toronto announces new initiatives and programs to expedite the creation and protection of affordable housing

Local Updates & Local Public Meetings

Statement on the 900 Dufferin Grove Development Application Settlement

I am pleased to announce that we have secured a significant contribution toward affordable housing in Davenport as part of the recently approved 900 Dufferin Street development proposal.

On October 18th, 2021, a final Ontario Land Tribunal hearing took place where the revised plans for the 900 Dufferin Street (Dufferin Mall) development application were approved, in principle. Among the revisions: a substantial affordable housing package that had been sought by City Council, City Staff and Community Organizations. We achieved a precedent-setting agreement in terms of affordable housing contributions here and this was thanks to our community working together for a better outcome.

After City Planning held the initial Community Consultation Meeting in February 2020 and the developer appealed their application to the provincial appeal body, I created a Community Working Group composed of area residents and local stakeholder organizations who met regularly with my office and City Planning Staff. Its purpose was to meaningfully consult the community by looking in-depth at the proposal and to team up in demanding greater accountability from the developer. Occasionally we would invite the developer to the table to hear our proposals. I want to thank the Community Working Group for the strong vision it advanced in late 2020 on behalf of the broader Davenport community. The Working Group's vision helped set the tone for negotiations with the developer, making it clear that this community expected benefits contributions far greater than the required minimums.

Appeal processes are never easy. As soon as the developer launches an appeal, final approval authority is taken out of the City’s control and it becomes up to the provincial appeal body to approve. The Ontario Land Tribunal is less accountable to our community and not very accessible to everyday citizens. Despite this, there were several community members who dedicated additional hours to this process by becoming a party at hearings. Standing out in this respect, I would like to recognize the concerted efforts of local residents’ group, Build a Better Bloor Dufferin. BBBD had party status at the Tribunal alongside the City and they advocated for the Bloor-Dufferin community’s interests. Additionally, BBBD was a great contributor through the Community Working Group and supported the overall vision.

I would also like to thank the hundreds of Davenport residents who provided us with comments over the years in relation to the 900 Dufferin proposal. Through the many calls and emails we responded to, at pre-application community meetings, public meetings and online, my office and City Planning appreciated hearing your views. It is critical that the community is engaged and has a strong say in how our City is built. Therefore, I am always happy when residents reach out and I make a point of incorporating this feedback continuously.

With the amazing support of the Working Group, BBBD, residents and City Staff, we were able to secure 120 affordable housing units for 99 years.

Further, the Housing Secretariat will be working to develop a Housing Access Plan where the affordable housing units will be rented to tenants provided by local referring agencies and tenancies will comply with the City of Toronto's requirements for tenant selection, income verification, reporting and overall administration of affordable rental homes.

The overall revised development proposal includes three towers; on the East Block there will be one 19-storey tower on a 9-storey podium with retail at-grade. The West Block consists of two towers (20 and 36 storeys) on a base building which ranges from 2 to 7 storeys in height, with various step backs starting above the 2nd floor. The total new gross floor area proposed in the revised application is 101,272 square metres - 84,200 residential and 17,072 non-residential (mostly commercial/retail). A public park with a minimum size of 2,079 square metres is identified, and a POPS at the northwest corner of the site of a size of 435 square metres. Parking and bicycle parking will be determined through a revised transportation impact study. The West Block has been shifted east to protect for an 18.5 metre future public right-of-way along the west edge of the site, as an extension of Pauline Avenue.

My commitment to the community is that I will continue working on your behalf to ensure that all aspects of this project are delivered to the highest standards and all terms are adhered to according to the agreement. I look forward to providing you with ongoing updates as additional milestones are reached in the delivery of these community benefits.

Dufferin Grove Park

Over the course of the pandemic there have been many different challenges faced by residents of our City. One of the most significant has been of course with respect to the provision of shelter services, housing and supports for those who are most vulnerable.

Many of you reached out to me with respect to concerns about the encampment situation in Dufferin Grove Park. Residents of the encampment faced different challenges in terms of their housing needs including their need for supportive housing. For those without homes, encampments like that in Dufferin Grove often felt like safer alternatives to indoor accommodation. But, as we know these are not safer in the short-term and certainly not in the long-term. Those in our City who are most vulnerable both need and deserve better and the City has been working to provide this support.

As your local Councillor, I have been reaching out to local residents in the community as well as those within the encampment. I have been working with City staff and local agencies to find alternatives and supports for people sleeping in the park.

In the case of Dufferin Grove Park the supports we have put in place include providing:
• Employing a housing focused approach
• Access to income programs to pay the rent
• Counselling and support services
• Housing options in the private and non-profit housing market
• Continued access to the City’s temporary Shelter Hotels
• Financial assistance for individuals to return to their home communities

Our approach to work with each encampment resident on a case-by-case basis to find appropriate accommodation and supports will also achieve our goal of restoring the park to full public access and during the past eight weeks the presence of City officials and support agencies has been welcomed by both encampment residents and community members. Tangible progress has been made in providing permanent and affordable housing and accommodation to some residents. As late fall and winter approaches the plan is that the work will intensify in a concerted effort to provide encampment residents with options other than living outside.

I want to assure you that as your Councillor and as Deputy Mayor, I am committed to working with all concerned to address the challenges presented by encampments in our City and tackle the underlining conditions that have led to people living in our public parks.

Vhils "Scratching the Surface" Mural Unveiling

It was a great pleasure to bring the internationally recognized artist Vhils to our Little Portugal community to honour an often-forgotten part of Toronto’s labour movement history - the Cleaner’s Action movement. This mural entitled "Scratching the Surface," now has a prominent spot in the public space in our community at 1628 Dundas Street West.

These largely Portuguese women are an inspiration, taking courageous action to stand up against anti-immigrant prejudices and fighting for better working conditions in their place of work - the downtown office towers & the Ontario Legislature.

I want to thank everyone involved in this — the artist Vhils, the Little Portugal BIA, the Embassy of Portugal in Canada, LiUNA Local 183 and IUPAT DC 46, and especially the women who made this possible so many decades ago. This work honours you - now in public for everyone to see.

If you missed this event and want to watch the unveiling, visit the Little Portugal BIA's Facebook Live event here

MacGregor Playground Harvest Festival

Last week I joined the with community members to congratulate the Dovercourt Boys and Girls Club on their successful Harvest Festival at MacGregor Playground! It was great to see the community enjoying the festivities & activities - especially the kids!

It has been my pleasure to ensure that the Dovercourt Boys and Girls Club has the support of the City in their programming across Davenport. Among their many programs, their Teaching Garden is great for the children in our community as they connect with each other and learn about the importance of gardening and obtain knowledge about food systems.

MacGregor Playground Basketball Court 

Big news for basketball fans in our community! The court at MacGregor Playground has be redone in partnership with Reebok & the City. I’m so glad that my office has brought this partnership together & organized this refurbishment so that our community can become more involved in sport and remain active!


Geary Avenue Parkette Playground Improvements (Survey November 15th-29th)

The City of Toronto will be improving the playground at Geary Avenue Parkette, located at 15 Geary Ave between Dovercourt Rd and Ossington Ave. The City's survey will open on November 15th, and run until November 29th. For more information on this project, visit toronto.ca/GearyParkettePlayground.

Reopening of the West Toronto Railpath Connection

My office has been informed that work to re-open the West Toronto Railpath connection south of the townhomes on Perth Avenue has been fast-tracked and completed! This connection is in a temporary, graded condition and will need to be temporarily closed again in the spring to allow for final landscaping and paving to be completed. The connection is accessible by walking southbound on the sidewalk on the west side of Perth Avenue.

COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic - November 5th 

Join us on Friday, November 15th from 6:00-9:00pm at the Casa das Beiras Community Centre (34 Caledonia Rd) for a pop-up clinic focusing on the Portuguese-speaking community. All are welcome, no health card is required. Call to book your shot, or join us for walk-in!


Neighbourhood Climate Action Champions Program - (Until October 25th)

Residents and community leaders are invited to help inspire climate action in Toronto by becoming Neighbourhood Climate Action Champions. Participants will receive training and assistance to empower them to support residents in developing innovative climate action projects that reflect the needs and values of their communities. Learn more and apply by October 25 at Toronto.ca/livegreen


Upcoming Local Events:

Earlscourt Park Centennial Celebration & Plaque Unveiling - October 23rd

Did you know that 2020 marked the 100th anniversary of Earlscourt Park? 

To celebrate the Earlscourt Park Centennial anniversary, we are inviting the community to join us for the unveiling of a plaque to mark the occasion, as well as a variety of celebratory activities with members of our community. This event will continue to follow COVID-19 and Toronto Public Health guidelines. 

When: October 23rd, 2021
Start time: 2:30pm
Where: By the entrance at the northwest corner of Earlscourt Park on St. Clair Avenue West

After the event other activities will be occurring in the park - including the Luminous Garden Mural & Lantern Installation (5:00-9:30pm)! This event is a City of Toronto Cultural Hotspot SPARK Project & ShowLoveTO event.


Pumpkin Carving @ Northcliffe & St. Clair West - October 23rd

Join in on some COVID-safe Halloween pumpkin carving fun in your community! On Saturday October 23rd from 1:00-4:00pm, join with your neighbours in the parkette at Northcliffe Blvd. and St. Clair Avenue West and carve your pumpkins -- rain or shine!

Bloordale BIA & Bloorcourt BIA Pumpkin Giveaways - October 23rd & 24th

The Bloordale Business Improvement Area Association is hosting a Pumpkin Giveaway on Saturday, October 23rd from 11:00am to 1:00pm at Susan Tibaldi Parkette near Brock Street (while supplies last)! Their event page can be found here.

Additionally, the Bloorcourt Business Improvement Area Association is hosting their inaugural Pumpkin Giveaway on Sunday, October 24th from 11:00am-1:00pm at Westmooreland Parkette (while supplies last). Their event page can be found here.

Join in on the Halloween festivities with your community at either of these events!


Sounds of Davenport Virtual Event - October 23rd

You are invited to take part in a very special event featuring over 25 musicians from our Davenport Community -- the Sounds of Davenport! This event will take place on October 23rd at 7:00pm through the Soundsofourtowns YouTube Channel.

The COVID-19 Pandemic has been especially hard for musicians, and our community has come together to provide support in many ways.

I am looking forward to this virtual event -- if you are interested in more information, see the poster below, or watch the teaser for the event.

Cultural Hotspot 2022 - Little Jamaica - October 26th

Cultural Hotspot is back for another annual celebration! By connecting and investing in Toronto’s diverse outside-the-core neighbourhoods, Cultural Hotspot shines a spotlight on East York/East End, Etobicoke, North York, Scarborough and York with new community-based public art projects.

The 2022 Cultural Hotspot, which runs June through October will be focused on two communities: Little Jamaica and Scarborough's Golden Mile. The Cultural Hotspot will be delivered in partnership with arts and community organizations, and will offer opportunities for youth employment and mentorship.

The City be hosting a series of Community Connect sessions where we invite arts and community organizations and artists to join and learn more about the program, how to get involved and about existing funding opportunities. Additional dates will be announced in the near future.

Hallowe'en Hullabaloo - October 30th

Theatre Direct's free HALLOWE'EN HULLABALOO for kids is back!

SATURDAY OCTOBER 30, 2021 at Earlscourt Park!

Sign up to receive a FREE kids craft kit full of items to design a Halloween-themed box at home that will then be incorporated into a Haunted Castle. The installation will be unveiled at the Earlscourt Park Gazebo as part of the Hullabaloo festivities on Saturday October 30th!

Sign up to receive a free kids craft kit from Theatre Direct. Pick up the kit from our studio on the Thurs/Fri before Thanksgiving and take it home.

Over the Thanksgiving weekend your child paints and designs their Halloween box. Then return it to the studio and we will build it into a big art installation that will be on display in Earlscourt park on Saturday, Oct. 30th.

Come with your family, in costume, and see how your art has been incorporated in the installation!
There will be puppet shows, treats and a whole lotta fun!

This free event is intended for kids aged 5-12 years old. Pre-Registration is required.

Pick-up and drop-off at the Theatre Direct Office (1 Wiltshire Avenue Unit 127, Toronto ON, M6N 2V7).
Pre-Registration is required.
PICK UP DAYS: Thursday October 7th AND Friday October 8th
DROP OFF DAYS: Wednesday October 13th TO Friday October 15th.

FOR MORE INFO AND/OR REGISTER HERE: https://theatredirect.ca/halloween-hullabaloo-2/

Community Pumpkin Parades - November 1st

Join with your neighbours on November 1st to enjoy the artistic expression of our community's Halloween Jack O'Lanterns and Pumpkins! There will be events at Dovercourt Park, Carlton park, MacGregor Park, and Earlscourt Park. All pumpkins will be properly disposed after the event has concluded.

Community Notices & Consultations

RapidTO: Bus & Streetcar Priority – Phase 1 of Consultation has Launched! - (Until November 28th)

The TTC and City of Toronto are developing a RapidTO: Bus & Streetcar Priority plan to deliver safe, efficient and equitable bus and streetcar service improvements through transit priority solutions over the next ten years. Transit priority can make bus and streetcar service more reliable, reduce delays and shorten travel times on congested roadways.

You may be wondering about the roadways identified as part of TTC's 5-Year Service Plan & 10-Year Outlook. The Eglinton East Bus Lanes were installed in 2020. Jane Street is being studied and is expected to begin public consultation in 2022. Dufferin Street, Steeles Avenue West, Finch Avenue East and Lawrence Avenue East will be evaluated and prioritized as part of RapidTO: Bus & Streetcar Priority. The complete list of roadways identified for evaluation and prioritization is available on the project web page.

Find all details at toronto.ca/RapidTO. The comment deadline ends on November 28, 2021, at 11:59pm.


Bloor Street West Bridge Rehabilitation Under Metrolinx Rail at UP Express

My office has been made aware of a change in the expected end date for this project. The full notice can be found below:

Dufferin Street at Dupont Street Bridge Rehabilitation

My office has been made aware of a change in the expected end date for this project. The full notice can be found below:

City Updates and Consultations

Enhanced Vaccine Certificates - October 22nd

As of October 22nd, the Ontario Government will be using the enhanced vaccine certificate with official QR code and the free, made-in Ontario verification app, Verify Ontario, available for download. Together, these tools will make it easier, more secure and convenient for individuals to provide proof of vaccination where required to do so, and for businesses and organizations to verify vaccine certificates while protecting people’s privacy.

The current vaccine receipt without a QR code remains valid and will continue to be accepted. Ontarians will need to continue to show a piece of identification with their name and date of birth along with their proof of vaccination when visiting select businesses and organizations.

In addition, businesses and organizations can now download the free Verify Ontario app from the Apple App and Google Play stores. The made-in-Ontario app has been designed to help businesses by making it quicker and easier to confirm if a person is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, while protecting their privacy. The app never stores personal information and only shows the minimum amount of information necessary to confirm vaccination

To download your Enhanced Vaccine Certificate, visit the Ontario COVID-19 Website here. For additional information on the Enhanced Vaccine Certificates and their use, see this Background from the Ontario Government

Housing Now Announcement

On October 19th, I joined Mayor Tory and Councillor Gary Crawford to announce major progress for our Housing Now sites. The announcement of our development partners is a major step forward, and through Housing Now we will provide thousands of affordable units on formerly vacant city land.

Insufficient affordable housing in Toronto has been prevalent for many years, and the COVID-19 pandemic has shone a light onto the true impact of what happens when so many of our residents don’t have access to safe, affordable housing — especially our front line workers.

There are currently 17 Housing Now sites across the city, each of which will include a minimum 30% affordable rental homes that will be rented for an average of 80% of Toronto’s average market rent (AMR). Some units will be deeply affordable & rented for as low as 40% of AMR.

The two sites announced today will have 2084 residential homes, including 795 affordable rental units. In addition, both sites will include improved community & green spaces, new childcare facilities, and easy access to public transit.

We know that access to good quality, safe, affordable housing is an important social determinant of health and also improves the social and economic status of an individual. It also supports the environmental and economic health of the city, region and country as a whole.

I am committed to ensuring Torontonians can live in safe, well-maintained & affordable housing in vibrant, healthy neighourhoods with a range of amenities and access to transit. I look forward to continuing to advance the Housing Now Initiative and seeing these sites progress.

For more information on these projects, see the City’s announcement here.

Expanding Housing Options in Neighbourhoods Public Survey - (Until December)

From now and until December 2021, the City is looking for your feedback on expanding permissions for multiplexes across the city. Fill out a short survey and have your say!

Expanding Housing Options in Neighbourhoods is a City of Toronto initiative to facilitate more low-rise housing in residential neighbourhoods to meet the needs of our growing city. The City is working to expand opportunities for “missing middle” housing forms in Toronto, ranging from duplexes to low-rise walk-up apartments. All of these housing types can be found in many parts of Toronto today, but they are also limited in where they can be newly built. Expanding Housing Options in Neighbourhoods is one solution among a range of City initiatives to increase housing choice and access and create a more equitable, sustainable city.


Vacant Home Tax Public Survey - (Until October 25th)

A vacant home tax has been approved in Toronto. Homeowners who choose to keep their properties vacant, rather than opening them up to the rental or real estate market are subject to a tax. The City wants to hear from you on the elements of this tax. Visit toronto.ca/vacanthometax for additional information, as well as a link to the public survey which runs until October 25th.


Inclusionary Zoning Public Consultation - Tonight!

The City of Toronto is advancing an inclusionary zoning policy that would require new residential developments to include affordable housing units, creating mixed-income housing. Our city is growing and we want to make sure new housing is affordable for those who call Toronto home. Inclusionary zoning is one solution among a range of City initiatives to help address Toronto’s housing needs.

On October 28, 2021, Planning and Housing Committee will consider a proposed inclusionary zoning Official Plan Amendment, Zoning By-law and draft Implementation Guidelines. Join in at a public open house TONIGHT (October 21, 2021) from 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. to learn more about this affordable housing initiative. More information about this consultation, including call-in details can be found here

Laneway Suites Virtual Meeting (October 27th)

On Wednesday, October 27th from 7:15pm to 9:00pm the City is hosting a virtual meeting to present our work on the Laneway Suites Review and Monitoring Initiative, respond to some questions raised at previous consultation meetings, preview the draft amendments to the Laneway Suite By-law for comment, and discuss other findings and potential recommendations. If you would like to attend and participate in this virtual meeting, a link to this session will be posted to the Changing Lanes website under the “Meetings & Events” tab in the next few days.

UHN NORC Ambassadors Program

The NORC Ambassadors program is an initiative of University Health Network’s OpenLab that aims to partner with senior residents to transform their high-rise buildings into vibrant communities that support healthy aging in place. They are currently recruiting new groups to work with in early 2022, and are looking for residents who are interested in forming an 'aging in place' group in their own building.

If you are interested in learning more, please contact Giselle at 437-290-8033 or via [email protected] Check out their website: https://norcambassadors.ca

MusiCounts Music Instrument Grant

As you may know, Toronto will again be hosting the JUNO Awards in May 2022. The City's partnership with the JUNOS is helping to advance the Toronto Music Strategy by advancing key shared goals. MusiCounts is the JUNOS' affiliated charity, focusing on making music education accessible for youth across Canada by providing musical instruments, equipment, and resources. One of MusiCounts' annual pillars is the Band Aid program, through which under-resourced schools can apply for grants of up to $15,000 that they can spend on musical instruments and equipment at their discretion -- including "non-traditional" instruments and equipment used in contemporary genres. Applications are now open until November 25th, 2021. 

PollinateTO Grants

Grants of up to $5,000 are available to support community-led projects to create or expand pollinator habitat in Toronto. Projects eligible for funding through PollinateTO include those that:

- create pollinator gardens and rain gardens on public mand 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 by creating a pollinator garden! Learn more and apply by November 1, 2021 at www.livegreentoronto.ca

City Hall Address:

Toronto City Hall
100 Queen Street West, Suite C42
Toronto, ON M5H 2N2

Open: Monday - Friday 8:30AM - 4:30PM

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 416-392-7012

Fax: 416-392-7957

Constituency Office:

1240 Bloor Street West
Toronto, ON M6H 1N5

Open: Wednesday, Thursday and Friday
1pm - 6pm

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