As we approach the holiday season and look back at the year so far, we have accomplished so much to enrich our neighbourhoods and make our community a better place for everyone to live, work and play. The energy and unique qualities that make Ward 18 an incredible place, come from the hard work and efforts of our community organizations, residents, staff and volunteers. In the spirit of the holiday season, I invite you to join me, our neighbours and our community organizations at a Ward 18 Holiday Celebration on Tuesday December 6, 2016 from 7pm to 10pm at Lula Lounge (1585 Dundas St West). I hope you can join us in celebrating our community, and if you plan to attend please RSVP at the link below.
At City Council this month, we addressed some important issues which matter to Ward 18 and Toronto, including advancing our transit network plan, and moving the City's Skateboard Strategy forward. City Council and Mayor Tory also endorsed our community's priorities regarding Metrolinx's Davenport Diamond Grade Separation Project.
It was great joining neighbours last week at our Ward 18 Talks Revenue Tools panel discussion. Thank you to everyone who attended and brought your ideas and questions forward. These conversations are an important part of creating a better city for everyone and I look forward to continuing this discussion with you.
In addition to the Ward 18 Holiday Celebration, there are several upcoming events in our community including our 640 Lansdowne Community Meeting, a Ward 18 Laneway Suites Community Conversation and many more. I hope to see you at some of these and to hear your ideas on how we can create a better community for everyone.
Ward 18, Davenport
Transit Expansion Coming to our Community
Earlier this month, City Council voted to move forward on expanding our transit network. Together with the Province, the City is advancing SmartTrack which will provide Eglinton West LRT service to Pearson Airport and six new stations along existing GO lines including one in West Queen West. Our community will also receive expanded transit access through a new station at Bloor and Lansdowne on the GO Barrie Line.
As part of the Bloor-Lansdowne station plan, I gained the support of my Council colleagues to ensure that the multi-use trail that is proposed as part of the Davenport Diamond project be extended from Bloor St W to the West Toronto Railpath at Dundas St W. This section of the proposed multi-use trail will be included in the Environmental Assessment process for the station. With multi-use trail connections to the north and south, this new station has the potential to become an important transportation hub for our community.
At the southern end of Ward 18, our community will have a SmartTrack station which will alleviate some stress on the King and Queen streetcars. The West Queen West Station concept also identifies the proposed King High Line project and that additional consideration should be made to allow for pedestrians and cyclists to cross the rail corridor and provide additional access to the station.
The SmartTrack plan will include through service at Union Station so that trains from the west end will have a one-seat connection to Scarborough and points in-between including the proposed East Harbour station where there will be a large amount of development on the Unilever site in the east-end of downtown Toronto. As Toronto moves forward with these projects and others to expand our transit network, I will continue to keep you updated.
Pessoa Park voted as the new name of Ward 18's newest park!
I am pleased to share with you that the online survey to name Ward 18's newest park to be constructed at Peel Ave and Dufferin St has completed. Thank you to the hundreds who took part and cast ballots to name this great new community space. The preferred name voted for by residents was Pessoa Park!
I hope you can join me in Summer 2017 as we break ground and begin construction of Pessoa Park! I will keep you updated as we approach the official naming and groundbreaking ceremony.
The new park space was secured as part of the community benefits agreement from the 11 Peel development. The new park will include a square with water jets, seating, grass areas and a connection to the future extension of the West Toronto Railpath.
You can click here to learn more about this new greenspace with a detailed walk-through and renderings of the new park.
If you have any questions or would like more information about Pessoa Park, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 416-392-7012 or via email at [email protected]
Gaining Support for a Community Vision for the Davenport Diamond
Since Metrolinx first brought forward their Davenport Diamond Grade Separation Project, our community has been clear that any proposal must address our community's priorities and concerns. I have continually advocated for community benefits and for the ideas that residents have put forward. As mentioned above, we secured a new GO Station at Bloor and Lansdowne, but there is still work to be done.
At November's City Council meeting, I gained the endorsement and support of Mayor Tory and City Council for our community's concerns and priorities regarding Metrolinx's Davenport Diamond Grade Separation Project. This important endorsement is a testament to the effort and hard work residents and community groups have put in to ensuring our voice is heard. The motion adopted at the meeting endorses and requests that Metrolinx address our community's issues related to this project. To view the full motion, please click here. You can review my previous updates on this matter by clicking here.
Skateboarding in the West-End
As you may have seen in the media, a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) skatepark was recently constructed in Ward 18 on a public right-of-way and road way at the western terminus of Paton Rd. After being made aware of this structure by community members and city staff, I sought clarification of the rules surrounding the building of the skatepark and the possibilities of keeping it but unfortunately the skatepark structure was demolished by City staff at a surprising speed.
City staff have advised that this construction/encroachment is not permitted as it is in direct contravention of the City's Street Bylaw Chapter 743 and have expressed serious safety and liability issues with having concrete ramping structures on the City's right-of-way/road allowance. Staff further expressed concerns about water run-off from the concrete surfaces and area drainage issues.
Staff noted that the elevated ramps of the skatepark adjacent to the rail corridor could more easier allow people to climb the fence and enter the rail corridor. In the medium term, this area will also form a new pedestrian connection on Paton Rd between both sides of the rail corridor as part of Metrolinx's Davenport Diamond Grade Separation Project.
I have been in touch with the group that constructed the skatepark and at our November meeting of City Council we directed City staff from Parks, Forestry & Recreation to start discussions with this group and the Toronto Skateboard Advisory Committee to see how we can harness these energies and talents to fulfill their needs in the west-end of Toronto. To view the motion I moved at council, please click here.
At City Council we also voted to adopt Toronto's Skateboard Strategy to advance Toronto's network of skateboard facilities amenities and programs. You can view Toronto's Skateboard Strategy by clicking here.
West Queen West Launches Toronto's First Neighbourhood e-Gift Card!
One of Toronto’s trendiest shopping destinations, West Queen West (WQW) between Bathurst and Gladstone, launched Toronto’s first Neighbourhood e-Gift Card program this month. The WQW e-Gift Card provides shoppers with a more local alternative rather than a mall gift card or big box chains.
How it works: shoppers can purchase an e-gift card from the WQW website and send it by email, text, or Facebook message. The gift card is redeemable at a variety of local WQW restaurants, cafes, spas, salons, retailers, and specialty shops.
Some of the places you can use The WQW e-Gift Card include Downward Dog Yoga Centre, Gladstone Hotel, Jacob and Sebastian, Mini Mioche, Morba, Smoque N' Bones and many other local favorites. A full list of participating businesses can be found on the WQW website and can also be spotted with a WQW e-Gift Card sticker in their window.
The WQW Gift Card program was created in partnership between Toronto startup AnyCard, the WQW BIA, and local businesses. "
To help kick off the program, the WQW BIA will be giving away a $100 WQW Gift Card every Friday until mid-December and one grand prize of a $1000 shopping spree before Christmas. To learn more about the WQW contests and to enter for your chance to win please visit westqueenwest.ca/2016-giveaway/
Artist Space in Ward 18
You may recently have read an article in the Toronto Star highlighting the challenges artists at 224 Wallace are facing to secure work space. With the rapid growth and development pressures our city is experiencing, these challenges are affecting artists across Toronto.
Ward 18 this year experienced some of the highest property value growth in the city which has in some cases produced additional financial strain for residents and businesses. With a significant number of artists calling our community home, it is critical that we work to enable the flourishing of artist spaces in our neighborhoods. As a city, we must work together to ensure that in the face of growing development pressures we create an inclusive city with space for everyone and which respects and invites those who have contributed so greatly to the vibrancy and vitality Toronto is known for.
In Ward 18, I have been working hard with community members to confront this issue and include living and work space for artists who live in our community. Together with Active 18, City Staff and a development agreement, we secured close to 40,000 sq ft at 36 Lisgar St to support local artists and arts organizations. Our community has also been successful in securing other living and working spaces in the Queen West Triangle, through new developments including the Artscape Triangle Lofts, the inclusion of affordable live-work spaces in the 180 Sudbury St development in addition to the significant contributions made to the Theatre Centre's new home at Queen and Lisgar.
Maintaining affordability for small scale artisans and manufacturers has also been a priority in Ward 18 to support the various creative and entrepreneurial initiatives underway. As part of the proposed redevelopment of the employment lands at 440 Dufferin St, our community made clear that any redevelopment must preserve all employment space on site. Working together with City staff and our community, we negotiated an agreement to construct a new 60,000 sq ft light industrial work building as part of the redevelopment. We also secured a 25-year long term agreement for below market rent spaces on the first and second floors in the building to support a manufacturing incubator program. This agreement ensures the complete replacement of current employment land square footage while providing the facilities and long term viability of diverse local manufacturing and artisan spaces in our community.
As part of the work underway to welcome the Museum of Contemporary_Art_Canada to our community, the former Tower Automotive Building on Sterling Road will be revitalized to support the space needed for the museum and include dedicated working space. The development plans will also incorporate more affordable housing.
In addition to creating and preserving and creating spaces for artists in our community, it is also important that we continue to support artist initiatives through funding and programs. An important measure I am proud to support is an increase in per capita arts funding to $25 as of 2017. The City is also undertaking a review to determine what regulatory and tax mechanisms we have and which we can put in place to incentivize the creation and inclusion of spaces for small, independent businesses and operators. I look forward to the results of this study and will continue to advocate for initiatives which support our arts community.
The proposed redevelopments at the Galleria Mall and Bloor Dufferin TDSB School Lands are further opportunities to support arts and cultural activity and small business spaces which make our neighborhoods unique. It is critically important that as Toronto manages this growth, that we do not price out those who have contributed to building the vibrant city we have. I look forward to continuing to work with you to support the creative activities and artists who live and work in Ward 18.
Theatre Centre Successfully Finishes Fundraising Campaign
I am pleased to share with you that the Theatre Centre has completed its fundraising campaign. As an important space for artists and creatives in our community, the success of this campaign ensure that the Theatre Centre will continue to play a vital role in Toronto's arts scene.
The campaign successfully raised $6.2 million in private and public contributions towards revitalizing the former Carnegie Library in West Queen West and transforming it into an vital local arts hub and incubator. Through a Section 37 Community Benefits Agreement from nearby development, the City of Toronto is contributing $250,000 towards this landmark artistic space.
In honour of his 13 years of hard work and dedication which make all of this possible, the mainspace theatre was named in recognition of Theatre Centre Artistic Director and visionary, Franco Boni. Thank you to Franco for all of efforts and to Hon. Margaret Norrie McCain whose continued support helped to make this commemoration possible.
ULI Bloor-Dundas Neighbourhood Study
The Urban Land Institute (ULI Toronto) is launching a unique mid-career leadership program for professionals working in the broader land use/city building realm. Led by former Toronto Chief Planner, Paul Bedford, 30 professionals spanning from architecture, urban planning and design, civil engineering and public infrastructure, law, finance, marketing and development will explore the precinct of the city centered by the intersection of Bloor and Dundas streets.
The area of study will straddle Wards 14 & 18, north to Dupont & Annette, east to Landsdowne, west to Parkside & Keele, and south to Howard Park and Dundas St. W. While the outputs of this educational endeavor are theoretical, the exercise presents a real world opportunity for local communities to interact with city builders to consider the future of our local neighbourhoods - how to protect, enhance and shape the development and infrastructure pressures that will define their futures.
Moving Forward on Housing this National Housing Day
On November 22, we recognized National Housing Day, a call to action to improve the housing conditions in Toronto and across Canada. I took part in an event at the Church of the Holy Trinity to pay my respects at the Toronto Homeless Memorial and to thank the individuals and organizations that play a vital role in creating safe, secure and affordable housing including those who advocated for a National Housing Strategy. I also wrote an op-ed in Torontoist to highlight the opportunity for the first time in more than a generation to change direction and move forward with positive actions and a people-focused approach on housing to improve housing for all Torontonians. You can read my op-ed here.
The federal government released "What We Heard," a summary and analysis report of the consultations and feedback the Federal Government heard from Canadians as they develop their long term National Housing Strategy, to be released in 2017. This fall, I was pleased to submit on behalf of City Council, Toronto's submission to the National Housing Strategy with a comprehensive set of 6 strategic recommendations and 25 recommended actions that the Federal government can take to help address Canada’s housing crisis. You can view the City of Toronto's submission to the National Housing strategy at anabailao.com/torontonhs
Evaluating Laneway Suites in Toronto
I have been working with my colleague, Councillor Mary Margaret McMahon (Ward 32, Beaches-East York), Evergreen, and Lanescape to advance the idea of building laneway suites in Toronto. The specific type of laneway suites that we are looking at would be serviced (water, sewage, electricity) from the main house and the land would not be able to be severed or sold separately.
Laneway suites take advantage of underused laneway spaces, like garages and parking pads to construct additional housing – gently increasing density and respecting the existing character of our neighbourhoods. By introducing a new diversity to the housing supply, much like basement apartments, laneway suites have the potential to provide an additional income for homeowners and can be well suited for aging seniors or adult children who want to be close to their existing family support systems.
The end goal is to produce a consultant’s report to establish laneway suites performance standards for the Toronto and East York Community Council District.
I will be hosting a local community conversation at St. Mary's Catholic School on Monday November 28 at 7pm, with an optional walking tour of nearby laneways at 6:15pm. There will also be a city-wide consultation at the Evergreen Brick Works on Monday December 5 at 7pm. I hope that you are able to attend to learn more about laneway suites and to provide your ideas and feedback.
Ensuring a Robust Hotel Supply to Strengthen Tourism
As you are aware, Toronto is undergoing rapid economic and population growth. Through the development pressures our city is facing, there have been an increasing number of hotels being redeveloped into condominiums, removing hotel space supply from the market. Some recent proposals would remove over 1,000 hotel units from the heart of our downtown core.
With a robust and growing convention, tourism and travel business sector, it is critical that Toronto's hotel industry remains strong and vibrant with a sufficient number of hotel rooms. In 2015, over 40 million people visited Toronto and spent $7.2 billion in our local economy.
It is important that we analyze and consider the impacts that hotel redevelopments may have on Toronto's tourism/convention business and develop possible strategies to ensure that these industries remain strong in light of development pressure.
At City Council earlier this month I moved a motion with my colleague Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam directing City Staff to undertake an analysis of the hotel industry, its development pressures, impacts on tourism, and strategies for strengthening Toronto's hotel, tourism, hospitality and convention industries. This motion will now be considered by the Economic Development Committee. To read the complete motion, please click here.
Dufferin Grove Park and Clubhouse Improvements Community Meeting - St. Wenceslaus Church (496 Gladstone Ave) - Thursday November 24, 2016 from 7pm to 9pm
The City of Toronto has identified an opportunity to improve the north-west corner of Dufferin Grove Park. City staff are beginning to explore opportunities to improve the clubhouse and surrounding area, and would like to work with the community to identify a shared vision that retains and respects existing programs, while providing new opportunities for programs and community gathering.
Bloordale Kid's Dance Party - Bar Neon (1226 Bloor St W) - Saturday November 26, 2016+ from 1pm to 4pm
Aangen Vintage Holiday Market - Orchard (1174 Bloor St W) - Saturday November 26, 2016 from 10am to 4pm
This year, Aangen has put together a holiday market to showcase local artists as an encouragement to shop and support local! We have also pulled together some unique vintage items for this sale. Come and shop at our Holiday Vintage Market, Saturday November 26th at Orchard located at 1174 Bloor St. between 10:00am-4:00pm!
If you would like to rent a table to showcase your art please contact Gurbeen at 416-569-2787. Table rentals are $30 and ALL proceeds are devoted to serving the community.
Cavalcade of Lights - Nathan Philips Square (100 Queen St W) - Saturday November 26, 2016, festivities start at 7pm
Celebrate the 50th annual Cavalcade of Lights presented by Great Gulf on Saturday, November 26, 2016 at Nathan Phillips Square.
This holiday tradition features the first illumination of Toronto’s Official Christmas Tree, spectacular fireworks, a skating party, and performances by some of Canada’s top musical talent!
Ward 18 Laneway Suites Community Consultation - St. Mary's Catholic School (66 Dufferin Park Ave) - Monday November 28, 2016 starting at 7pm, with an optional walking tour of nearby laneways at 6:15pm.
West Queen West Heritage Conservation District Community Consultation - Theatre Centre (1115 Queen St W) - Tuesday November 29, 2016 starting at 6pm
The City is holding a community meeting on the West Queen West Heritage Conservation District (HCD) Study where you can ask questions of City Staff and share your comments.
640 Lansdowne Community Meeting - Propeller Coffee Co. (50 Wade Ave) - Wednesday November 30, 2016 starting at 6pm
As you may be aware, the vacant TTC lands at 640 Lansdowne were recently designated for redevelopment through the City of Toronto's Open Door Program to build affordable housing.
I am holding a meeting on Wednesday November 30, 2016 at 6pm at Propeller Coffee Co. (50 Wade Ave) to discuss with our community the ideas and possibilities on this site. This meeting will be an important opportunity to feed the community's ideas into shaping an RFP for this site. I hope you are able to join me and your neighbours for this important conversation.
If you have any questions or are unable to attend this meeting, please do not hesitate to contact my office via telephone at 416-392-7012 or via email at [email protected] to share your feedback.
First Portuguese CCC Christmas Market - First Portuguese Canadian Cultural Centre (60 Caledonia Road) - Saturday December 3, 2016 from 12:30pm to 5pm
Kid's crafts making, great food, faffle prizes, balloons and more!
Citywide Laneway Suites Consultation - Evergreen Brickworks (550 Bayview Ave) - Monday December 5, 2016 from 7pm to 9pm
A citywide consultation for those interested in further exploring laneway suites in Toronto.
Ward 18 Holiday Celebration - Lula Lounge (1585 Dundas St W) - Tuesday December 6, 2016 from 7pm to 10pm
Join me and your neighbours to celebrate our community this holiday season! In the spirit of the holiday season, please bring a non-perishable food item to be donated to our local food bank at Oasis Community Center.
Please RSVP at anabailao.com/HolidayParty
St. Anthony's Church Christmas Concert - St. Anthony's Church (1041 Bloor St W) Saturday December 10, 2016 from 7:30pm to 9pm
St. Anne's Church Christmas Cantate - St. Anne's Church (270 Gladstone Ave) Sunday December 11, 2016 starting at 3pm
Ward 18 Budget Town Hall - Wallace Emerson Community Centre (Ambrico Room) - January 28, 2017 from 11am to 1pm
Join me and your neighbours for a discussion about the soon to be released 2017 Budget.
City of Toronto launches public consultation on Long-Term Financial Plan
The City of Toronto is launching its public consultation on the development of its Long-Term Financial Plan. Information about the consultation, including background reports and engagement opportunities, a series of online surveys and two rounds of community meetings, is available at http://www.investinginto.ca/. The public is also invited to participate in the conversation on social media, using the hashtag #InvestinginTO.
The City is asking for the public's input on some challenging questions about how the City can manage expenses, raise revenue and optimize its assets. People can share input, ideas and solutions at a series of public meetings or by participating online.
The consultation process is being conducted in two phases:
Phase 1 – fall
• December: A second online survey – open from December 5 to 23 will gather input on long-term financial options and strategies related to expenditures, revenue and assets.
• A series of in-person community meetings will be held (schedule and details below). For all meetings, the open house will begin at 6 p.m., followed by a presentation at 7 p.m. Visit http://www.investinginto.ca/ to register to attend, request accommodations or attend via webcast.
o Monday, December 5 2016 at Etobicoke Olympium, (590 Rathburn Rd).
o Tuesday, December 6 2016 at Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Toronto, (5183 Sheppard Ave. E.)
o Wednesday, December 7 2016 at Mitchell Field Community Centre, (89 Church Ave.)
o Thursday, December 8 2016 at Toronto Reference Library, Epic Hall, (789 Yonge St.)
Consultation toolkits will be available online in early December for groups and organizations who wish to conduct their own meetings.
Toronto should clear the path for laneway housing: Editorial - Toronto Star
Councillors Push to allow laneway housing - Toronto Star
Now is the Time to Move Forward on Housing - Torontoist
Certain door-to-door sales banned under new bill - Toronto Sun
Bailao seeks more details on Metrolinx's Davenport Diamond bridge plans - Bloor West Villager
Canadians Want to Prioritize Social Housing: Report - Torontoist
Dufferin Bridge Widening Transit Diversions
Metrolinx is carrying out work to expand the north side of the Dufferin Street Bridge at Queen Street which carries the Kitchener GO Transit Corridor. Expanding the bridge will support the ongoing work to bring electrified SmartTrack and GO Regional Express Rail transit service to the West Queen West community. This work will also accommodate the space required for the proposed southward extension of the West Toronto Railpath. Metrolinx expects to complete the bridge project by June 2017.
In order to ensure the safety of the public and construction crews, and to complete the bridge expansion in a timely manner, Dufferin Street will be closed to vehicles and pedestrians from Queen Street West to Peel Avenue from September 12, 2016 to December 31st, 2016. During this closure, traffic will detour via the old "Dufferin Jog" route of Peel, Gladstone and Queen.
During this work, residents and businesses in the area can expect an increase in noise and construction activity. Crews will also need to conduct work in the evening and overnight periods when trains are not operating for safety concerns. Overnight lighting will be focused away from homes when possible and noisier work will be undertaken during the daytime to reduce evening disruptions. This accelerated work schedule aims to mitigate community impacts and reduce the duration of work. You can read the complete project notice for this project by clicking here.
As this is a Metrolinx project, I encourage you to contact Jennifer Capan, Community Relations and Issues Specialist at Metrolinx for any questions or concerns via telephone at 416-202-4732 or through email at [email protected]
Toronto City Council met on November 8th and 9th, 2016. Council Highlights is an informal summary of a selection of decisions made by Toronto City Council. The City Clerk's formal documentation is available at http://www.toronto.ca/council.
Toronto's transit network
Council approved recommendations on negotiated terms for cost sharing and revenue sharing with the Province of Ontario and its transit agency, Metrolinx, and authorized City officials to enter into intergovernmental agreements on a range of transit initiatives. A "Stage Gate" process will be established for the planning, design and delivery of the SmartTrack project. The integrated SmartTrack/Regional Express Rail scenario includes six new stations and the Eglinton West LRT.
Decision on ward boundaries
Council voted in favour of moving from the current 44 wards to 47 wards. The 47-ward structure will achieve an average population of 61,000 people in each ward, with one councillor elected for each ward, reflecting the principle of effective representation. Certain parts of the city have experienced significant population growth since ward boundaries were previously reviewed in 2000. The intention is to have the new ward boundaries in place for the 2018 municipal election.
Filling councillor vacancy in Ward 42
Council decided to hold a byelection to fill the vacancy on Council for Ward 42 Scarborough-Rouge River that resulted from former councillor Raymond Cho's resignation after he was elected to the Ontario legislature. Nominations opened on November 10 and will be accepted until December 30, culminating in the byelection on February 13, 2017.
World Expo bid
Council discussed the possibility of Toronto mounting a bid to host the World Expo 2025 world's fair and decided the City will not develop a bid. Council affirmed that it remains open to considering future Expo bids, including for Expo 2030.
Flood protection for the Port Lands
Council approved plans and the anticipated funding arrangements – involving City, federal and provincial funding – to undertake the Essroc Quay project as a component of flood protection work required for development of Toronto's Port Lands. Flood protection is needed to prepare for possible catastrophic flooding of the Don River. The project will involve the creation of a naturalized mouth of the Don River and other flood protection measures. Proceeding with the work still requires confirmation of federal and provincial funding commitments.
Gender diversity in public appointments
Council supported setting a goal of achieving gender equality in appointments to City corporate boards, such as the boards of Toronto Hydro and Toronto Community Housing, by 2020. Council also asked for an annual report on the gender composition of appointments made on the recommendation of Council's nominating panel for corporations. At present, about 30 per cent of the public members appointed to the corporations' boards are women.
Cold weather services this winter
Council authorized the addition of beds to the emergency shelter system for temporary winter services, as well as new locations and funding as needed to support other measures to help homeless people in Toronto cope with the cold this winter. The City's Shelter, Support and Housing Administration division works with community partners to deliver a range of winter services, including during extreme cold weather alerts.
Aboriginal flags at City Hall
Council voted in favour of installing the flags of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, the Metis peoples, the Haudenasaunee and the Huron-Wendat at Toronto City Hall on a permanent basis, demonstrating the City's support for its First Nations communities. Toronto is situated on the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation and the Metis peoples.
Police car graphics
Council agreed to ask the Toronto Police Services Board to respond to public concerns about the grey-coloured police cruisers Toronto police have started to introduce as a replacement for cars with the long familiar white, red and blue colour scheme. If a review finds that a change from the current look is warranted, Council wants steps taken to make sure the colours and graphics chosen "reflect the City’s values of diversity, inclusiveness and mutual respect."
Response to audits
Council considered reports from the Audit Committee and approved actions to improve the City's management of long-term disability benefits and prescription drug claims under the City's benefits program, as well as actions pertaining to the City’s fair wage policy. The fair wage policy is in place to make sure employees of companies doing business with, or working for, the City of Toronto receive a fair wage.
Licensed childcare in Toronto
Council adopted measures to support the development of a multi-year growth strategy for the City's licensed childcare system, which involves working with the provincial and federal governments to address capacity and affordability. On another agenda item involving childcare in Toronto, Council approved the establishment of a new funding model to support agencies providing home-based licensed childcare under contract with the Children's Services division.
Interim home for Red Door shelter
Council approved a proposal to lease a building at 1430 Gerrard St. E. for about three years as an emergency shelter for women and children while the shelter's Queen Street East site is redeveloped as a mixed-use building that will include a permanent Red Door family shelter. The plan envisages the Gerrard Street site eventually being used to provide transitional housing for families.
Use of service animals
Council endorsed amending the Toronto Municipal Code on the subject of service animals. The changes, which update the definition of service animal and provide exemptions for people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal, are intended to ensure the equitable treatment of people with disabilities who are accompanied by service animals.
Training for servers of alcohol
Council adopted a motion to ask Ontario's alcohol and gaming commission to include in its Smart Serve training program – training for alcoholic beverage servers – instructions on identifying and intervening when incidents of sexual assault, harassment and violence occur involving colleagues or customers. Research has shown that bars, nightclubs and other establishments where alcohol is served have relatively high rates of sexual violence in and around them.
Live music venues in Toronto
A motion calling for the City to devise a strategy for the preservation of live music venues in Toronto received Council's support. There are concerns that gentrification and redevelopment, especially in the downtown core, could have a negative effect on the city's live music industry.
Caribbean Carnival safety
Council adopted a motion calling for staff to meet with Toronto Caribbean Carnival organizers and stakeholders as well as the City's liaison committee to work on a plan addressing safety and security issues during the annual carnival. Next year is the parade's 50th anniversary and more people than usual may attend the popular event. Concerns have been raised about large numbers of "stormers" – spectators who join and disrupt the parade of mas bands.
A motion addressing the matter of Canadian flags on City property received support from Council. As a result, City of Toronto divisions, agencies and corporations will need to create a schedule for inspecting and maintaining their national flags in good condition.
Transporting food in the Toronto area
Council voted to support an effort by the transportation industry and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs to move more of the transportation of food off Greater Toronto Area (GTA) roads and onto rail. About a million truckloads of food and packaged goods move through the GTA annually. Greater use of trains would help food manufacturers lower their transportation costs while reducing road congestion and carbon emissions.
High Park Zoo
Council declared the High Park Zoo Master Plan a priority for the City of Toronto. The designation will open grant opportunities from outside organizations and other levels of government to help cover the costs of repairs and upgrades identified through work on the master plan. The zoo has been part of High Park for almost 125 years.
Skateboarding in Toronto
Council approved a skateboard strategy to serve as a guide for the City in creating a network of skateboard facilities and programs in Toronto, including for deciding on the locations of future skatepark facilities. Toronto currently has 14 outdoor skateparks. Council also supported a motion pertaining to informal, do-it-yourself skateboar