With the fall colours coming into view, our community has been filled with activities and beautification initiatives. This past month, we welcomed a new community garden, a vibrant underpass art installation, a playful road mural on Emerson Ave, and an Azorean cultural exhibit to our neighbourhood. The artistic and cultural diversity of Ward 18 is a hallmark of what makes this such a special place and it has been great to see and speak with residents from across our community at the Westmoreland Block party, Lisgar Park Movie night and Brazil Day Flag raising to name just a few occasions. I hope to see you throughout the month!
This month at City Hall we made important progress in taking action on housing by approving the most affordable rental units in a decade. We will continue to build momentum and work hard to expand on the partnerships and progress that government, the private and non-profit sectors are making together.
I was recently appointed by Mayor John Tory as the Deputy Mayor for the Toronto and East York District. I am truly humbled by this opportunity and I thank you for all the support over the years. Together we have accomplished so much to make our community a better place and as your City Councillor I look forward to continuing to work on your behalf at City Hall.
You can find below a number of community and city updates and a list of upcoming events and meetings. As always, should you need anything now or in the future, please do not hesitate to contact me at 416-392-7012 or [email protected]
Ward 18, Davenport
New Community Garden in the Junction Triangle!
I am happy to announce that the new Edwin Avenue Hydro Gardens in the Junction Triangle has been completed. With the help of local residents and volunteers, all plantings were finished in a single day, transforming a grassy boulevard on Edwin Ave into a beautiful flower garden with nearly 600 plants provided by the City of Toronto. Over the summer, I worked with residents and City staff to find a way to beautify this underutilized space and residents will be helping to maintain the gardens in the future for everyone to enjoy.
Thank you to City staff, Toronto Hydro and all the volunteers for their hard work, along with a special thank you to our committed residents Kevin Putnam and Kendall Kennedy for working with my office to make this project a reality. I invite you all to enjoy this new space in the months and years to come!
Bridge to Earlscourt Park & South Extension of Davenport Diamond Multi-Use Trail to be Included in Bloor-Lansdowne GO Station EA
I am pleased to share the good news that Metrolinx has agreed to the community's request to include the bridge to Earlscourt Park and southward extension of the Davenport Diamond multi-use trail trail to the West Toronto Railpath as part of the environmental assessment for the Bloor-Lansdowne GO RER Station.
I look forward to continuing to work with community members and other elected officials to advocate for the community requirements that we established together to ensure our community benefits from this project. I look forward to sharing more information with you as it becomes available.
You can also read my previous updates on the Davenport Diamond by clicking here.
Bloor Dufferin School Lands Development Proposal Submitted
The owners of the Bloor-Dufferin School Lands recently submitted their development proposal application to the City of Toronto, commencing the City's formal application review process. City staff will be leading this review process, which will include a number of opportunities to gather community input and I will be sure to keep our community updated and involved as this review gets underway.
Due to the history of this site, it was expected that there would be pressure for density here. However, the proposed height and density on this site are excessive and much work needs to be done to address the priorities which our community has laid out. This includes affordable housing, onsite childcare, a community hub, green space, heritage preservation and a development proposal which fits within the character of neighbourhood. I am committed to these priorities together as a community, and I will continue to strongly advocate for them.
I believe firmly that resident input and engagement is a vital part of the review process and as with other development applications in Ward 18, I will continue to keep our community informed of upcoming opportunities to participate and provide your input.
New SmartTrack/GO Stations in Ward 18
The City, TTC and Metrolinx are seeking feedback from the public on new SmartTrack and GO Stations in advance of undertaking a Transit Project Assessment Process (TPAP) to assess the environmental effects of each of the new stations.
The stations are located in communities across Toronto, which will greatly increase access to rapid transit and get Toronto moving. As part of this plan, there are two new transit stations being proposed directly within Ward 18:
- A SmartTrack Station called King-Liberty with an entrance in our West Queen West community; and
- A GO Regional Express Rail station at Bloor-Lansdowne on the GO Barrie Line.
As some of you know, our community was instrumental in ensuring that these new stations were proposed and have been strong voices to ensure that our community benefits from the expansion of rapid transit.
In addition, the SmartTrack/GO Regional Express Rail Plan will include additional service at Bloor GO Station and have a new station located just to the north of Ward 18 in the St. Clair West/Old Weston Road area.
To learn more about these stations, please visit http://smarttrack.to/. You can also provide your feedback to the City and Metrolinx teams working on these projects by emailing [email protected] and [email protected].
Direct Connection from Dundas West TTC Station to Bloor GO/UP Express Station Advanced
This September, Metrolinx announced that it is moving forward to create a direct connection between Dundas West TTC Station and Bloor GO/UP Station. The creation of direct connection between the stations has been a long standing matter in our community and I am pleased to see that Metrolinx is moving forward to acquire necessary land and construct this important link. When completed, passengers will be able to connect directly between both subway station platforms and the GO/UP Express platforms above, helping to create a seamless link for riders.
Celebrating and Enriching Portuguese Azorean Diaspora in Toronto
This September, our community proudly hosted the large Verbos Vivos da Culture Açoriana exhibit, exploring Portuguese Açorean literature and culture at Bloor-Gladstone Library, in celebration of the 20th Anniversary Casa dos Acores Global Summit, which was hosted in Toronto.
As part of these celebrations, I welcomed the Government of the Acores' donation of 300 culturally significant and valuable works of literature to the City of Toronto in recognition of the rich Portuguese diaspora in the Toronto. The books, including essential works by authors Antero de Quental and Vitorino Nemesio, will be housed at the Toronto Reference Library, expanding the Library's rich collection of cultural and artistic works from communities across the world.
Thank you to the Government of the Acores, Casa dos Acores do Toronto, the Toronto Public Library and our Portuguese community for this initiative and all of your contributions to enriching Toronto's multicultural landscape!
New Road Mural Installed in Bloordale!
I am happy to share that the new Bloordale road mural is now completed on Emerson Ave (just north of Bloor). Designed by local artist Victor Fraser with the support of the Bloordale BIA and reflecting the diversity of Ward 18, this "carpet for the street" was completed during the Bloordale Cleanup on October 1st. Both community residents and Victor enjoyed this rare opportunity to get artsy in the street and mingle with neighbourhood residents. I invite you all to take a look at our community's beautiful new public art piece!
The new road mural is part of a pilot program launched by the City of Toronto's StreetARToronto Division to install new murals on low volume local streets and each mural is created in collaboration with local residents and artists. Thank you to everyone who came out and lent your hands and ideas to help paint it!
Create Your Path Mural Celebration and Update
The first mural of our community's Create Your Path public art project is now completed! Created by renowned artists Bacon (@vizsla_bacon) and Que Rockford's (@qrockski) the artwork is inspired by Indigenous culture and Street Art language. I invite you to join me, the artists and our community for a mural unveiling celebration with light refreshments provided on October 21, 2017 at 11am near the west side of the Dupont St Underpass near Dundas St West (click here for a map).
Create Your Path is a community initiative created with local residents, myself and StreetARToronto to transform the West Toronto Railpath through new public art and mural installations. Work on the next phase of murals is currently underway with priming on the Red Cross Building being carried out in preparation of mural painting in 2018. Thank you to everyone who has been involved and shared your feedback with me on this project. I look forward to sharing more updates with you!
College Streetscaping Update
The College Promenade Business Improvement Area (BIA) approved a streetscape project that first broke ground in early July 2016. The project included replacing the existing curb and sidewalks with decorative pavers on College St. between Shaw St. and Havelock St; TTC accessibility improvements; new side-street parkettes; light fixtures; additional trees; plantings; bike rings; and public art.
Over the summer, the City of Toronto's new contractor has been undertaking construction work along the south side of College St in stages to minimize disruptions to businesses and the community. City crews have now indicated that streetscaping work on the south side is largely completed with only minor works including tree guard installation and area cleaning to be completed.
Work has since moved to the north side of College St where crews are addressing outstanding deficiencies with work which was previously done. The contractor is working aggressively to complete the project and it is expected that they will complete all major sidewalk and beautification work in the coming weeks.
Parkette installation is currently underway throughout the project area and crews are working to complete major installation by the end of October. Finishing on the Blue Rooms and Parkettes will be completed this Fall, weather permitting, and any outstanding minor works, including remaining painting work, will be completed in Spring 2018, to ensure the high quality of these finishes.
Dundas-St. Clarens Parkette Revitalization Coming to Life
I am happy to share that the revitalization of Dundas-St. Clarens Parkette is well underway! Construction work on the upgrades, which were designed with extensive community input, is now underway and you can see the progress in the photo to the left.
Work is expected to wrap up later this fall and when complete, Dundas-St. Clarens Parkette will include a new pathway, accessible swings, benches, trees and a new plaza complete with seating, plantings and a community chess table!
College St Zoning Changes Public Meeting - St. Helen's Catholic School (1196 College St) - Monday October 16, 2017 from 6pm to 8pm
Bloor Street West Planning Study Meeting - Bob Abate Community Recreation Centre (485 Montrose Ave) - Monday October 16, 2017 from 7:30pm to 9pm
Toronto Police 11 Division Crime Prevention Webinar - Thursday October 19, 2017 from 7:15pm to 8:15pm
Toronto Police 11 Division is hosting a webinar to discuss crime prevention with residents. For a list of topics, and more information on how to join the session, please click here.
Create Your Path Dupont Mural Celebration - Near Dupont St and Dundas St W intersection (West Side of the Underpass) - Saturday October 21, 2017 from 11am to 12pm
Bloordale BIA Pumpkin Giveaway - Bloor Collegiate Institute school yard (1141 Bloor St W) - October 22, 2017 from 10am to 1pm
Join your neighbours and grab your free pumpkin for Halloween carving!
12th Annual Pumpkin Lighting in Carlton Park - Carlton Park (20 Edith Ave) - Wednesday November 1, 2017 from 6:30pm to 11:30pm
Checkout the creative pumpkin carvings created by residents from across our neighbourhood at the 12th Annual Pumpkin Lighting in Carlton Park!
3rd Annual Dovercourt Park Pumpkin Parade and Dog Costume Parade - Dovercourt Park (155 Bartlett Ave) - Wednesday November 1, 2017 from 6:30pm to 8:30pm
Checkout the creative pumpkin carvings created by residents from across our neighbourhood at the 3rd Annual Dovercourt Park Pumpkin Parade! At 7:30pm residents will also be gathering for the Dovercourt Park Dog Costume Parade. For more information about this event, please visit
Achieving Results to Improve Housing for Torontonians
Tackling Toronto's housing affordability challenges is vital to the long term prosperity of our city and to creating a place where everyone including our sons and daughters can have the opportunity to have a home of their own. As Toronto's Housing Advocate and Chair of Affordable Housing Committee, I know that meeting these challenges takes cooperation between all levels of government, private and non-profit developers and all our housing partners.
This year, we've made important progress with our Open Door Program and the City is on track to approving 1,200 new affordable rental units, surpassing our 1,000 unit target. Recently, I joined Mayor Tory and Daniel's Corporation to break ground on a new 102 affordable homeownership units in Scarborough and just this September, the City and Province announced that 600 new affordable rental units would be created as part of a 2,000 unit rental development. This will be done in partnership with the private and non-profit sectors by taking advantage of surplus public land and lowering the building costs for these units.
As we continue to create housing opportunities for seniors, families, young people and all who are striving to make Toronto their home, we must also ensure that our current housing stock is well maintained. This August, I joined with Ontario's Minister of Housing MPP Peter Milczyn to welcome a $300 million dollar investment as an important down-payment towards the Provincial portion of Toronto Community Housing's (TCH) $2.6 billion capital repair plan.
This funding builds on the $1 billion in capital repairs that the City of Toronto has already invested in TCH since 2013, completing almost 50,000 capital repair projects during this period to ensure that tenants can live with dignity in units that are safe.
In addition to this needed funding, we are also transforming TCH to be more responsive to tenants needs and set it on a path towards fiscal sustainability. This summer, City Council unanimously passed Phase 1 of the Tenants First Implementation Plan which will create a new Seniors Housing and Services entity, a new funding model and enable the creation of stronger partnerships with the public and not-for-profit sectors to better provide services and support for all TCH tenants.
We are also moving forward to tackle homelessness and this September, I welcomed the Province's $90 million investment in Toronto. This funding will make a real and immediate difference, helping nearly 2,000 of our most vulnerable people and families get off the streets and into a home with the supports they need to move forward and lead successful lives.
Together these efforts can make a real difference in the lives of so many across our community and our city. At City Hall, I am continuing to push forward with other initiatives like "laneway suites," which can generate new inter-generational and more affordable housing opportunities, while sensitively adding new rental options. The City is also developing a framework to regulate short-term rentals, like AirBnB, to ensure our rental supply is not being abused as vacation rentals for tourists and that Torontonians can access this stock for long-term housing. The City is also evaluating a vacant homes tax mechanism to further incentivize property owners to bring these unoccupied units into the market for Torontonians.
There is not one single solution which will solve all our housing problems but all of these efforts are vital to creating a city where all of us and our next generation have an opportunity to share in our prosperity. Finding solutions to these challenges is not always easy, but what we are proving is that it can be done when we work together.
Free Home Delivery Service from Toronto Library
Toronto Public Library offers home delivery service for residents who are homebound for three months or longer due to age, illness or disability. Eligible residents can receive a monthly delivery, free of charge, of up to 20 items (including regular print hardcovers and paperbacks, large print books, magazines, CDs, DVDs, audiobooks, and DAISY talking books). During the winter months from December to march, service is also available for people who are homebound due to physical condition during the winter months only (e.g., unable to negotiate icy/snowy sidewalks due to age or physical disability).
To enrol in this service, please contact Toronto Public Library at 416-395-5557. You can learn more about this service by visiting www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/home-library-service/.
Holiday Shopping Bylaw Review
The City of Toronto is reviewing the bylaw that governs holiday shopping and the impact of allowing grocery stores and other retailers that sell prepared meals to be open on public holidays.
Toronto's Holiday Shopping Bylaw states that most retail stores, including grocery stores, close on public holidays. There are some exceptions to the bylaw, including restaurants. Over time, grocery stores have changed their business models and now sell some food that is similar to restaurant fare, such as prepared and ready-to-eat meals.
The bylaw, which regulates the types of retail establishments that can be open on public holidays and specifies the types of services that can be provided, generally requires retail businesses to be closed on nine public holidays. Those holidays are New Year’s Day, Family Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Victoria Day, Canada Day, Labour Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
Dovercourt Boys and Girls Club Reflects on 60 Years of Opportunity - InsideToronto.com
Creating More Affordable Housing Must Be A Priority - Toronto Star
Toronto to Get 2,000 Market-Rent and Affordable Units - Toronto Star
Toronto Gets $90 Million to Help End Homelessness - Toronto Star
Queen West's Lisgar Park sets new standard for seating - Metronews
Helping a family buy their first home - Toronto Sun
Toronto City Council met on october 2, 3, 4, 2017. Council Highlights is an informal summary of a selection of the decisions that Toronto City Council made at its recent business meeting. The City Clerk's formal documentation is available at http://www.toronto.ca/council.
Creating new affordable rental housing
Council authorized financial incentives for the construction of 600 new affordable rental homes on provincial lands at 27 Grosvenor/26 Grenville Streets and in the West Don Lands. The City incentives include exemptions from development-related charges as well as from municipal taxation. In a separate action, Council authorized capital funding and City incentives to support another 298 new affordable rental homes at sites across the city through Toronto's Open Door Program.
Home for Good
Council voted to authorize staff to take appropriate steps for the use of funding that the Ontario government is providing to the City under the program called Home for Good. The program will support the City's provision of supportive housing and services for people who are chronically homeless and/or homeless with mental-health treatment needs.
Ravine strategy for Toronto
Council adopted a new Ravine Strategy for managing Toronto's 10,500-hectare ravine system, directing that an implementation plan be developed and a Ravine Leaders Table convened. Staff were asked to consider incorporating the concept of ecological integrity into the final strategy. Related motions that were adopted address, for example, funding needed to support a ravine maintenance and litter strategy and to pay for a biological inventory and report.
Review of tow truck industry
Council approved a series of amendments to the Toronto Municipal Code as it pertains to tow truck operations in Toronto. The changes follow the City's comprehensive review of the tow truck industry and responds to complaints made by the public and issues raised by the industry. The amendments aim to improve Toronto's towing industry by balancing the public interest and the industry's business needs.
Toronto for All initiative
Council adopted recommendations for making the "Toronto for All" public education initiative an annual City program that will help give Toronto residents and City staff the knowledge and skills to identify, question and challenge systemic discrimination and racism. The Toronto for All campaign for the period 2018 to 2021 is conceived as a municipal tool supporting Torontonians' civic resiliency.
Filling Ward 28 vacancy on Council
Council declared a vacancy in the office of Councillor, Ward 28 Toronto Centre-Rosedale and plans to fill the vacancy by appointing a person qualified to hold office in the City of Toronto. The selection will be made at a special meeting in the City Hall council chamber on November 2. The vacancy resulted from the recent passing of Deputy Mayor Pam McConnell. Application details are available on the City's website, www.toronto.ca.
Process for recognitions
Council voted in support of an approach presented by the Mayor to identify appropriate recognitions for the late Deputy Mayor Pam McConnell and Councillor Ron Moeser.
Heat in apartment buildings
Council called on staff to hold consultations to identify and report to the Tenant Issues Committee on ways to effectively deal with heat in apartment buildings, including maximum heat in apartment units. In September, many tenants suffered during a late September heatwave, in some cases as a result of their landlords turning on the heat and/or not turning on the central air conditioning that provides ventilation in tower-block apartment buildings.
Acceleration of Vision Zero planning
Council advised Transportation Services to include options that will accelerate Vision Zero planning, including the acceleration of the School Safety Program, as part of a progress report being prepared for the November meeting of the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee.
Changes to City's management structure
The structural re-alignment of the Deputy City Manager & Chief Financial Officer position in the Toronto Public Service received Council's approval. The change establishes the separate positions of Chief Financial Officer and Deputy City Manager of Internal Corporate Services, and eliminates the existing position of Chief Corporate Officer. Council approved the appointment of an interim Chief Financial Officer and the permanent appointment of the Deputy City Manager, Internal Corporate Services.
Drug overdoses in Toronto
Council decided to designate the Medical Officer of Health as co-ordinator of the City's response to the drug overdose crisis, with the authority to direct and co-ordinate the City's response across divisions and agencies. Council also agreed to make requests of the federal and Ontario governments to help with the response to, and reduction of, drug overdoses.
Naloxone training for Council members
Council agreed to ask Toronto Public Health staff to conduct a naloxone training session for members of Council as part of the effort to train more people on how to use the lifesaving medicine to reverse an opioid overdose. Public Health has significantly expanded delivery of the training, including to municipal service providers across the city who are in a position to potentially save a life.
TOcore downtown plan
Council considered a planning document called TOcore: Proposed Downtown Plan that is in the works as a blueprint for growth and infrastructure in downtown Toronto over the next 25 years. This TOcore document will also provide an updated policy framework for downtown as the cultural, civic, retail and economic heart of Toronto and as a great place to live. Council directed staff to undertake consultation on the proposed plan, which is expected to lead to amendment of Toronto's Official Plan in 2018.
Midtown heritage properties
Council approved the inclusion of 258 properties – all located in the Midtown in Focus planning study area adjoining the Yonge-Eglinton intersection – on the City's Heritage Register. This listing of numerous commercial Main Street properties in a growth centre is piloting an improved procedure for identifying potential heritage properties to include on the City's Heritage Register. The aim is the timely listing of heritage properties when undertaking local area studies.
City of Toronto Sport Plan
Council expressed its support for the implementation of a City of Toronto Sport Plan that will serve as a guide to the City and its partners in supporting the ideal of lifelong participation in sport for all Torontonians. Parks, Forestry and Recreation and its partners will work collaboratively over the next five years to implement the plan's recommendations, measure progress and communicate outcomes.
Financial support for cultural facilities
The City is taking steps to establish a flow of property tax revenue designated to support arts and cultural facilities in Toronto. Council called for work on a new property tax sub-class for that purpose and also on making a formal request to the Ontario government concerning the new classification. This initiative is an effort to ensure that Toronto’s arts sector continues to thrive, helping make Toronto a destination for tourists and employers while contributing to a great quality of life for all residents.
Energy storage strategy
Council approved an energy storage strategy for the City of Toronto and asked staff to identify local opportunities for energy storage partnerships. Energy storage projects are seen as a low-carbon way to help achieve energy savings, provide local grid services, facilitate participation in provincial energy revenue programs and enhance the resilience of City facilities.
Council approved a proposal to add legacy logos to new and replacement street-name signs within the boundaries of the legacy municipalities that make up Toronto. The term legacy refers to the six former municipalities involved in amalgamation in 1998, establishing a single municipality and local government. Street-name signs now reflect the identity of the amalgamated City of Toronto.
Council agreed to denounce racism in all its forms and re-affirm its commitment to recognize the dignity and worth of all people, along with several other statements and directives for action. On the latter, City divisions, agencies and corporations were advised to review their policies and procedures, and those of their grant recipients, to ensure consistency with City Council’s commitment to human rights.
Symbols/flags promoting hate
Council asked for a review of City policies pertaining to displays on public property and for a report with recommendations to improve policies so as to hold event organizers/managers accountable and equip them to assess any symbol or flag, including the Confederate flag, used to promote hate and to remove them from events or from City property.
Backyard chickens pilot project
Council authorized a three-year pilot project permitting hens in backyard pens in Ward 5 Etobicoke-Lakeshore, Ward 13 Parkdale-High Park, Ward 21 St. Paul's and Ward 32 Beaches-East York for personal consumption of eggs produced. Only residential properties – not apartment or condominium buildings – with sufficient outdoor space qualify for the pilot and participants will need to register with the City. The decision was part of a broader item about animals in the city.
Municipal election advertising
Council adopted several motions pertaining to enforcement mechanisms now available to the City for the 2018 municipal election as a result of the newly established framework in the Municipal Elections Act, 1996 to regulate registered third-party advertisers.
Internship program for Muslim youth
Council authorized staff to work with organizers of the Muslim Youth Fellowship to organize an internship program of aide positions in Toronto councillors' offices. The fellowship, a program hosted by the Urban Alliance on Race Relations in partnership with DawaNet, aims to increase in civic engagement among Muslim youth.
School food campaign
Council endorsed the Coalition for Healthy School Food's current campaign calling for a national school food program in Canada enabling all students to have access to healthy meals at school every day. The coalition is working at a national level to advocate for a program of that kind.
Neighbourhood lending libraries
Council agreed to affirm its support for "little lending libraries" that are popular for sharing books in neighbourhoods, provided that the book displays do not pose a public safety concern or vision hazard. The General Manager of Transportation Services was asked to reiterate policies and protocols with staff to ensure support for these community initiatives.
Glenn Gould Day
Council agreed to proclaim September 25 as Glenn Gould Day in Toronto. Gould (1932-82), a Toronto resident whose birthday was September 25, acquired worldwide fame for his classical piano performances and recordings. His 1955 "Goldberg Variations" is the best-selling classical piano record of all time. The release of numerous albums of his music and the publication of many books about him have contributed to Gould's continuing international renown.