New Ontario Place Proposal Still Privatizes our Waterfront
Austrian spa company Therme and the provincial government’s revised proposal for Ontario Place is still the wrong project for our waterfront. While the redesign has slightly reduced the footprint of the proposed facility, the project would still require cutting down hundreds of mature trees and privatizes much of the West Island.
While everyone agrees that Ontario Place needs revitalization, the province should listen to Torontonians and create an iconic, modern new park on the waterfront, building on the 2018 Celebration Common plan for a year-round destination public space.
Renderings of Celebration Common by DTAH for Ontario ministry of Tourism, Culture, and Sport 2018
I am encouraged by Mayor Chow’s statement that she will fight the provincial government must respect the City's process to review this proposal. I will continue to work closely with community advocates, including Ontario Place for All, to keep our waterfront public at Ontario Place, while fighting for a green natural destination for everyone. For your information, please see this "better idea" from Ontario Place for All and Ken Greenberg.
For information on Therme’s most recent proposal, please see this article.
Minister’s Resignation Doesn’t Address the Root of Greenbelt Corruption Scandal
The Greenbelt, which includes important ecological features the Oak Ridges Moraine and the Niagara Escarpment, is vital to Toronto’s future. It forms the headwaters of our city’s rivers, including the Humber, Don, and Rouge, while providing recreation space and food security through agricultural land. In fact, the greenbelt runs through Toronto itself, along the urban river valleys down to Lake Ontario. A threat to the Greenbelt is a threat to Toronto’s future.
Minister Clark’s resignation is only the first step the Ford government must take to address the Greenbelt scandal that saw $8 billion worth of land carved out of protected areas to benefit wealthy developers under a very flawed process. First, and foremost, the land must be returned to the Greenbelt.
The recent Auditor General’s Report and the findings from a housing task force commissioned by the current government both found that the protected lands are not needed nor desirable for new housing. There is more than enough land to meet Ontario’s housing targets and the greenbelt land is likely 25 years away from being developable as the properties aren’t serviced with water, electricity, or roads.
The OPP has turned over the criminal investigation into this matter to the RCMP and the provincial Integrity Commissioner has signaled that there will be further investigations. I will provide updates on the scandal and continue working with municipal representatives from across the GTA and environmental leaders to protect the Greenbelt. For more information, please see this article.
Protecting the Ontario Science Centre in North York
Earlier this spring the Provincial Government announced their intention to move the Ontario Science Centre to a much smaller location at Ontario Place. This announcement was done without consultation with residents of Thorncliffe and Flemingdon Park who rely on the Centre for employment and education opportunities. The Science Centre is also part of a burgeoning cultural district that includes the Aga Khan Museum and the Japanese Cultural Centre.
The cultural attraction is an important economic driver for the local community as it brings visitors from across the city and around the world to Don Mills and Eglinton. It would be a real blow to this community to lose the Science Centre just as the opening of the Eglinton Crosstown’s “Science Centre” station is about to make the attraction more accessible to the entire city.
The City of Toronto has an obligation to explore all possible means to keep the Science Centre at its current location. I was proud to successfully move a motion at City Council requesting Staff to explore avenues to have the Province continue operating the Don Mills and Eglinton site and, if necessary, the feasibility of the City operating the Science Centre as it does the Toronto Zoo. For more information, please see this article and consider signing up to help save Ontario's Science Centre here.
I was saddened by the news that Artscape, which operates City facilities such as the Wychwood Barns along with many other buildings throughout our city, was going into receivership. However, I am happy to report that Mayor Olivia Chow is actively working toward a resolution to protect both the residential tenants and the business operators and artists who would be impacted by Artscape's failure. Locally, I am working closely with the Wychwood Barns Community Association to support the tenants, but also to ensure that the many events that our community values, such as the farmers' market, continue for many years to come. I will be certain to provide an update once I hear more from the Mayor's office.
City to Study new Revenue Tools to Fund Services
We have all seen the decline in City services over the last decade. Austerity under the previous two administrations has led to overflowing garbage bins, crumbling roads, locked or dirty park bathrooms, waiting longer for your bus, and not being able to find a space in a recreation program for your child. These issues will get worse if significant action isn’t taken.
Toronto is facing a $1.5 billion deficit this year and a $47 billion capital shortfall over the next decade. While the City continues to look for savings wherever possible, multiple review from outside consultants confirm that without new sources of revenue, Toronto’s ability to purchase new buses, build libraries and community centers, repair roads, and improve parks will be threatened. That’s why Council supported studying the feasibility of implementing new revenue tools last week that would allow the City to invest in improving city services while addressing its structural deficit.
Unlike most large cities in North America, Toronto is almost solely reliant on property taxes to fund city services and infrastructure. Cities like New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles have access to a range of tools that grow with the economy and capture revenue from visitors.
Since Premier Mike Harris downloaded several provincial services to the City, including community housing, and withdrew significant contributions to the TTC's operating costs, the City of Toronto has been tasked to provide several provincial services without being resourced to do so successfully. The status quo is unsustainable.
Some of the measures being looked at to improve our city include a parking levy for large commercial operators, a municipal portion of the HST, increased land transfer tax for homes valued over $3 million, and an increase to the Vacant Homes Tax. For more information, please see this City report.
Subway Cell Service Finally coming for all users – not just Rogers customers
The federal government and Mayor Chow announced on Monday that Rogers will be forced to share cellular infrastructure in subway tunnels to other providers by October 3rd. Service is currently offered at stations and some tunnel sections in the downtown core and is expected to be available across the whole subway network by 2025. To learn more about this announcement. Please see this article.
Black Healthcare Professionals Network - Recruiting Healthcare Professionals
The Black Healthcare Professionals Network (BHPN) is an Ontario based non-profit organization focused on advancing entrepreneurship for Black healthcare professionals. They are currently recruiting Black healthcare professionals for their new public directory. You can learn more here: https://bhpn.ca/directory/join-bhpn/
Vaughan-Oakwood Youth Network Volleyball Tournament
The Vaughan-Oakwood (VO) Youth Network, a youth and volunteer-led network working to strengthen the Vaughan-Oakwood community, is hosting their community basketball tournament this September 30, 2023. You can learn more at: voyouthnetwork.ca
Central Eglinton Community Centre - Seniors Trip, Oct 19th
The Central Eglinton Community Centre is hosting a trip for seniors to Niagara-on-the-Lake. The trip will be on Wednesday, October 11th from 8am to 5pm and will include a tour of the town and lunch at The Irish Harp Pub. Registration is free, and you can register in person at the Centre, by calling 416-392-0511 (ext 0) or by emailing [email protected].
Bayview Outdoor Art Tour
On September 9th and 10th from 11am to 5pm, the Artists’ Garden Cooperative is hosting a free art tour and exhibition at Venue#1, 354 Balliol St. This event will gesture works from Bernadette Badali (mixed media), Susan L. Brown (mixed media), Millean Kung (glass & ceramics), Joan McGivney (oil painting). You can reserve your tickets here: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/bayview-fall-outdoor-art-tour-venue-1-welcomes-you-to-a-free-event-tickets-706792725067
Bathurst and St. Clair Park Survey
Ahead of a new park coming to Bathurst and St.Clair (1528 Bathurst St) the city is hoping to consult with residents about the visioning and layout. You can complete the survey here: https://s.cotsurvey.chkmkt.com/?e=340430&h=D43192C256C713F&l=en
Noise By-Law Public Consultation
The City of Toronto is reviewing the successes and challenges of implementing the Noise Bylaw, which was amended in 2019. Residents are invited to provide feedback at public consultations, starting Tuesday, September 12. There are multiple in person and virtual consultation options, and you can learn more here: http://www.eventbrite.com/cc/implementation-review-of-noise-bylaw-2516039
The City of Toronto is conducting public consultations for the Toronto Public Electric Vehicle Charging Network Study. Residents can give feedback on their needs, preferences, and expectations for public electric vehicle (EV) charging, as well as their current and planned EV ownership.There are multiple virtual and in person consultation options, and you can learn more here: www.toronto.ca/ev
TVCA Summer Social and Art Sale
On Saturday, September 9th the Tarragon Village Community Association will be hosting a Summer Social and Art Sale. The event will be from 1pm to 4pm at Albany Park playground, and will feature art, clothes and other yard sale goods.
Afro-Caribbean Farmer's Market
The Afro-Caribbean Farmer’s Market is back on September 10th and 24th from 11am to 3pm at 1531 Eglinton Ave (Green P Parking). Hosted in partnership with the York-Eglinton BIA and our office, this event offers clean, culturally appropriate fruits and vegetables from the Caribbean islands and continental African countries, along with a healthy mix of clean produce grown by our local urban farmers from the diaspora.
Davisville Village Farmer's Market
Every Tuesday from 3pm to 7pm, the Davisville Village Market takes place in June Rowlands Park. The farmers market is planned for every Tuesday until October 3rd.
Mt. Pleasant Village Harvest Fair
The 11th annual Mount Pleasant Harvest Fair is September 23rd from 10am to 4pm at Mount Pleasant Station. This family-friendly event will see the return of Harvest Fair much loved activities such as pumpkin carving and bouncy castle as well as new and exciting additions. To get tickets or learn more, go here: https://allevents.in/mobile/amp-event.php?event_id=80003222102798
Seniors Information Fair at Maria A Shchuka Library
Maria A. Shchuka Library will be holding a Seniors Information Fair at the library on Thursday September 21, from 10:30 to 1:30. Organizations that will be present include: TTC Riders, Metrolinx, Unison Health & Community Services, Canadian Hearing Services, Toronto Police (13 Division), Toronto Fire Services, North York Community House, Oakwood Vaughan Community Organization, the Toronto Public Library, and others.
CCDP Rummage Sale
On September 16th between 10am and 2pm, there will be a rummage sale at Christ Church Deer Park at Yonge and Heath St. You support a good cause while shopping for clothing, household items, records, baked goods and more.
Hillsdale Avenue Park Closure
Hillsdale Avenue Park will be closed for five (5) days between September 18 to 22 for park lighting repairs. As soon as work is complete, the fencing will be removed and the park will be fully accessible again.
Free Trees From Our Friends at OVCO:
Art Exhibit Space: Call for Artists for 2024 Season:
Autism Meets Art! An Intersectional Art Exhibit This Fall:
Join the City’s new Housing Rights Advisory Committee (HRAC)
Are you passionate about housing in #CityofTO and committed to advancing the right to adequate housing? Help shape your city by joining the new Housing Rights Advisory Committee. The deadline to apply is Oct. 13. Learn more: www.toronto.ca/ShapeYourCity
Come Stand in Solidarity with the Land Alliance to Protect Their Lands and Waters!
Date: Wednesday September 27th, 2023
Location: Grange Park
Sign up: https://freegrassy.net/land-alliance-march/
On September 27th, 12 pm 2023 five First Nations from Northern Ontario will come to Toronto to lead a march calling on Premier Ford to end unwanted mining activity on their Territories. These five First Nations are powerful leaders in the movement for Indigenous sovereignty and environmental justice. They have shown that together we can fight for justice against all odds and make real gains. Join the Land Defence Alliance to demand respect for Indigenous rights and protect the sources of life on their Territories in the face of mining incursions. Through this march the Land Alliance will show their strength, present their demands, and build public support for their struggle for control over their lives and their lands.