Unprecedented Action Toward Preserving Midtown Toronto's Heritage Approved at City Council!
As part of the Midtown in Focus study, I’m very happy to announce that my colleagues supported Staff recommendations to include an unprecedented list of 258 main street properties on the City’s Heritage Register at Council this week. This represents the largest number of properties ever recommended for heritage protection in a single report brought forward at City Hall in Toronto’s history.
This report is the result of a huge undertaking by Heritage Preservation staff to evaluate the historic and cultural merit of each of these properties. I was delighted to work with them on this initiative through the Midtown in Focus study and look forward to continuing to work together to help protect what’s left of Midtown’s architectural heritage. We’ve lost too much already.
I have always advocated for the most appropriate development on a given site that’s respectful of its existing surroundings and community. This move will allow for more thoughtful and proactive evaluation of these sites, rather than developers automatically receiving demolition permits upon request.
It’s imperative that we identify an efficient and effective method for staying ahead of the wrecking ball when it comes to our ability to preserve the historical structures, sites and even views that help tell Toronto’s story. Shaping a vibrant and livable future for our great city must include an understanding of- and respect for- its past.
With this landmark step to protect our city’s heritage, we are making history.
Motion to Help Fund an Accessible Playground at Oriole Park PS Approved
I am very pleased to announce that my motion to provide $350,000 in local developers' fees to support the construction of an accessible playground at Oriole Park PS was successfully approved at City Council.
As Oriole Park students and parents know well, the current playground is too small and inadequate for children with special needs at the school and in the wider community. The new accessible playground equipment will allow children of all abilities to participate, and to be included, in recreational activities with each other.
I’ve had the opportunity to help fund other accessible playgrounds throughout Midtown, most recently at Deer Park PS, and I believe it’s important that kids of every ability have the opportunity to be included in the life of their school and play with all their friends.
I very much look forward to working closely with Trustee Laskin, Principal Quimby, the Parent Council, and local residents to build a wonderful new playground for all of our community's children.
UPDATE: Three Exciting Park Projects are Underway this Fall!
Now that the community consultation meetings, design and tenders are complete, I'm pleased to announce that shovels are (or will be in the ground shortly) for three park projects in our community! Below is an update on anticipated timelines to completion for each of these green spaces:
190 Manor Road East – I'm pleased to say that construction at the former Glebe Manor Lawn Bowling Club site has now begun. I look forward to it being ready for the community to enjoy by 2018.
250 Manor Road East - At the new playground park beside Manor Road United Church, I have been informed that construction should begin within the next few weeks. This brand new playground park is also scheduled for completion by the end of this year.
You can review the concepts and designs for both of these parks here.
Sharon, Lois & Bram Playground and June Rowlands (Davisville) Park – Construction for Phase 2 improvements began last week, will continue into the Fall and are scheduled to be ready by the end of this year. The illustrative plans showing the new playground and other programming can be viewed here.
If construction progresses as planned, and without any unforeseen impediments such an inclement weather, it is anticipated that work on all three parks will be completed by the end of this year.
Protecting Midtown Tenants from Extreme Heat
Earlier this year, many Midtown tenants suffered during a late September heatwave. Some residents reported temperature readings of over 30 degrees Celsius in their units as a result of their landlords turning on heat and/or not turning on air conditioning.
I first moved a Council motion in 2012 to protect our community's renters from the health impacts of extreme heat including heat stroke, morbidity and mortality. The health dangers associated with prolonged heat events is increased by the fact that indoor temperatures tend to climb with each hot day. This is significant because populations that are susceptible to extreme heat tend to be more likely to spend time indoors, including the elderly and those who are chronically ill.
Landlords are currently required to ensure that the temperature in a rental unit not be lower than 21 degree Celsius – not that the heating system is on. Unfortunately, some landlords misinterpreted the City by-law and turned on the heat in their buildings. Others reported being concerned that if they turned off their heat and/or turned on their air conditioning that they could be fined should the temperature suddenly drop.
I asked landlords to use common sense when making these decisions and assured them that our by-law officers would do the same. A request was unfortunately the only tool I had available during this Fall's heatwave. That's why I'm pleased to announce that my colleagues unanimously supported my motion at the October meeting of City Council to better regulate room temperatures in apartment buildings.
The motion directs City Staff to consult with tenants, landlords and other relevant stakeholders to identify potential solutions, including the possibility of setting a maximum temperature for apartments and adjusting the heat by-law to allow for variable dates that reflect the weather instead of fixed dates that reflect an arbitrary rule.
It is unacceptable that members of our community were baking in their apartments this past Fall – everyone has the right to a comfortable and healthy home. I will continue working to ensure that our City's laws protect that right.
Council Proclaims Glenn Gould Day in Toronto
I'm pleased to announce that my motion to proclaim September 25 as Glenn Gould Day in Toronto was unanimously supported at Council this week. Gould is one of the most internationally revered Canadians ever and was a resident of the Yonge and St. Clair area. His 1955 Goldberg Variations is the best-selling classical piano record of all time. In addition to his more than 80 highly influential albums, there are 85 books in a dozen languages, more than 20 feature films, as well as plays, ballets, pop songs, and literally thousands of articles about Glenn Gould.
Glenn Gould’s significance extends far beyond the realm of classical Music. Gould remains an international icon of creative innovation who, along with Marshall McLuhan, predicted and embraced the transformative impact of technology.
Gould was Canada’s first cultural diplomat - the first Western artist to perform in the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War (1957). His playing was included on the celebrated Golden Record placed aboard the Voyager Spacecraft 40 years ago. Voyager, now 12.9 billion miles from earth, is the most distant man-made object from our planet. As the sole Canadian contributor to the Golden Record, Gould remains an enduring symbol of Canadian innovation and the embrace of the future, “the first Canadian in space.”
For more information on this unique genius, please visit the website for the Toronto-basedGlenn Gould Foundation.
I was pleased to support a new Ravine Strategy for our city at this week's Council meeting. Toronto's unique ravine system is one of our greatest and green assets. The scale and scope of this urban green space system – over 300 km and 11,000 hectares – makes Toronto the envy of urban areas across the world. In Midtown, we are lucky to have several ravines that offer peaceful escape from our busy lives.
The Strategy provides, for the first time, an intentional and coordinated framework, vision and approach to management of this natural resource through a series of 20 actions under the five guiding principles: Protect, Invest, Connect, Partner, and Celebrate. These actions aim to guide the management of the ravines and ensure the protection of these irreplaceable lands is balanced with their use and enjoyment such that they continue to function and flourish for the next 100 years and beyond.
For more information, please read these City Reports.
PUBLIC MEETING NOTICE: Improvements to Pottery Playground and Splashpad!
I have heard from several residents that the playground equipment and splashpad at Pottery Playground on Merton Street could use improvements. That's why I'm happy to direct developers' fees toward some much-needed enhancements at this beloved community park.
Please join me on Monday, October 16 at 7pm to discuss exciting, new playground improvements!
The meeting will take place in Room 174 at Greenwood College (443 Mount Pleasant Road) and will give you a chance to review new playground and splashpad concept designs with myself and Parks, Forestry & Recreation staff. I hope to see you there!
Neighbour-to-Neighbour 2.0 Program Launch
In my capacity as Toronto's Seniors Advocate, I was delighted to join Seniors Affairs Minister, Dipika Damerla, MPP Han Dong and the Neighbourhood Group in celebrating International Seniors Day (October 1) and to launch its expanded Neighbour-to-Neighbour (N2N) 2.0 program.
The N2N 2.0 program keeps seniors in the downtown core socially connected and enables their engagement with their communities. It knows that over 8,000 adults aged 65+ are living alone in downtown Toronto and acknowledges that social isolation has many negative impacts on overall health and wellbeing. Social connection through Friendly Visiting combats isolation. There are several organizations working on this collaborative program, including the Neighbourhood Group, Waterfront Neighbourhood Centre, West Neighbourhood House and Parkdale Activity-Recreation Centre. Each agency is working towards the same important goal - reducing social isolation.
For more information on the Neighbourhood Group and the N@N 2.0 program, please email [email protected] or call 416-392-1509 x 326.
(Josh with the Minister of Seniors Affairs, Dipika Damerla, MPP Han Dong, City staff and aging experts at the Neighbour-to-Neighbour 2.0 program launch)
Ward 22's Annual Pumpkin Parade
Please join me, my family, Apple Tree Markets, friends and neighbors, for a community gathering at Glebe Manor Square East (Belsize Parkette) at 6:30-8:30pm on November 1st.
This is a fun community event where kids come in costumes, parents often bring drinks and everyone brings their pumpkins for an encore performance from Halloween the night before. I've arranged for your pumpkins to be picked up by the City if you'd like to leave yours at the park!
Parks, Forestry and Recreation Parkland Strategy Update
A city builds a park so that people can build community. Toronto is known for our parks and natural environment, and as Toronto grows, our parks system must grow along with it.
However, there are gaps in the system; areas in the city where more must be done. And we must reinvest and re-invigorate our existing green space.
Toronto's parks system is much more than official city parks; it includes open spaces, conservation lands, ravines, hydro corridors, schools and other privately owned, publicly accessible lands. We need to work together to ensure a livable Toronto for today, and for future generations.
The Parkland Strategy is a 20-year plan that will guide long-term planning for new parks and expansion and improved access to existing parks. It will aid in the decision-making and prioritization of investment in parkland across the city.
To learn more, and to join in the conversation, visit toronto.ca/parklandstrategy.
Forest Hill Village Streetscape Masterplan Public Workshop Consultation
When: Monday October 30th from 6:00 to 8:30pm
Where: Grace Church on-the-Hill - Gymnasium, 300 Lonsdale Rd.
Forest Hill Village community members are invited to join me and my colleague Councillor Mihevc, members of the Forest Hill Village BIA, and representatives from PLANT Architect Inc. at a Public Consultation Workshop for the Streetscape Master Plan of Forest Hill Village.
The local BIA is seeking community feedback and input on the proposed Master Plan and invite the public to share their ideas on how to enhance Forest Hill’s village-like feel and improve the streetscape. Using the recently refreshed Village Master Plan and Urban Design Guidelines I initiated as a starting point, the public will be encouraged to provide input on how to enhance pedestrian safety and activity, provide additional soft landscaping and social space, and increase bicycle activity in Forest Hill Village.
Cycle Toronto Midtown Welcomes You to a New Members Night
Can safety be improved for people who bike in Midtown Toronto? On Thursday October 26, joinCycle Toronto's local ward advocacy group, over pub food and drinks, to learn what they do and how you can get involved. Feel welcome meet at 7pm at The Abbott Pub on Eglinton, between Spadina Road and Avenue Road.
For more information, please click here.
New Parking Violation Dispute Process
The City of Toronto has introduced an Administrative Penalty System (APS) - an easier, more convenient process for disputing parking violations. Disputes will be handled by the City instead of through the court, providing you with faster resolutions and a more efficient process.
Screening reviews are now available online or in-person with a City of Toronto Screening Officer. The Screening Officer can affirm, vary or cancel the penalty, and vary or cancel any fees. The Screening Officer can also provide individuals with additional time to pay the penalty, if required.
Not satisfied with the decision of the Screen Officer? You may request an additional review with an Administrative Penalty Tribunal Hearing Officer. The decision of the Hearing Officer is final and will not be reviewed further.
Harvest Moon Cabaret
On Saturday, October 28 at 7:30pm, Glebe Road United Church (20 Glebe Road East) will be hosting their annual Harvest Moon Cabaret fundraiser! Prepare to be scared, enchanted and bewitched in this year's Halloween themed show. Enjoy a fun evening of music, food, wine and raffle baskets!
For further details and ticket ordering, please click here.
Nominate a Woman of Distinction
Do you know a woman who is making a difference and improving the lives of women and girls? Every year, YWCA Toronto honours the work of remarkable women who are creating new opportunities for women and girls in a wide array of areas such as leadership, business, education, social justice, advocacy, art, health and philanthropy.
For more information, please click here.
Noise Management Program Benchmarking and Best Practice Study
As a part of Toronto Pearson's commitment to mitigating noise impacts for residents who are negatively affected by aircraft noise, the GTAA commissioned a Noise Management Benchmarking and Best Practices study. The purpose of the study is to determine what successful measures other international airports have taken to reduce the impacts of operational noise. The study looked at 11 areas of noise management at 26 comparative airports around the world to identify potential new programs to be adopted at Toronto Pearson.
Recommendations from this study will be used to help inform the GTAA’s updated five-year Noise Management Action Plan, which will also include input from NAV CANADA’s Independent Toronto Area Airspace Noise Review, Toronto Pearson Residents’ Reference Panel report, their recent survey on noise fairness and airport growth and public consultations over the last year.
The full Noise Management Program Benchmarking and Best Practices Study is available here.
Ecumenical Annual Food Drive
Churches in Rosedale, Moore Park and Leaside are again sponsoring a Christmas Drive (the 46th consecutive) to assist local food banks and agencies that are in urgent need of help at this time of year. Flyers are delivered to area households on Saturday, November 18 and donations are then picked up on the following Saturday, November 25. There are two locations. The first is Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church (OLPH) on St. Clair Avenue East, one block west of Mount Pleasant Road. The other is St. Cuthbert’s Church on Bayview Avenue, south of Millwood Road near Humphreys Funeral Home.
Times on both days begin at 9:30 am. Donations are sorted and packed at OLPH with same day delivery to recipient food banks and agencies. In 2016, about 16,000 items were collected and it is hoped to better this figure this year as the demand is still great. Financial donations are also welcome and tax receipts are available. About 300 volunteers are required and community hours (generous ones) are available for high school students who require for graduation or other reasons.
In addition, two area Sobeys stores (St. Clair Avenue just east of Yonge Street and Wicksteed Avenue near Laird Drive) are once more supporting this effort by holding in-store drives throughout the Christmas season. These sources typically add another 10,000 or so to the overall total.
This is a fun event for both families and young persons and is in aid of a worthwhile cause to benefit the less fortunate members of our community.
If further information is required, please contact the Campaign Chair, Brian Kearney, at 416-972-0585 or by e-mail at [email protected].
Central Eglinton Community Centre's "Discovering Technologies" Program
Sign-up for Central Eglinton's "Discovering Technologies" Program! Children in grades two and three are welcome to join Storytelling with Lego, Keyboarding and Coding with Scratch and Intro to Robotics with Lego WeDo. To register, please call 416-392-0511 ext. 0 or visit theirwebsite.
Annual Charity Auction at Central Eglinton Community Centre
You're invited to attend Central Eglinton's Annual Charity Auction on Monday, October 23rd at the Granite Brewery! The silent auction begins at 6pm, and the live auction starts at 7pm. Some of the fabulous items up for bid include movie and entertainment passes, salon and spa vouchers, dinners for two, children's toys and games, sporting event tickets and much more! Please phone 416-392-0511 ext. 0 or visit the CECC website for more information.
Nominate Your Outstanding Neighbour!
In honour of Canada 150, Hon. MP Carolyn Bennett is celebrating the amazing neighbours and ‘unsung heroes’ of Toronto-St. Paul’s. Send your nomination of someone who has made outstanding contributions to our community to [email protected] by October 15, 2017. A panel of Order of Canada recipients will select the winners and a reception will be held in late October to celebrate!
For more information, please click here.
PUBLIC MEETING NOTICE: 75 Broadway Avenue Development Meeting
A rezoning application has been submitted to City Planning to replace the existing 10-storey apartment building with a 40-storey apartment tower containing 402 units.
This meeting will take place at 6:30pm on Tuesday, October 24 in the Auditorium at Northern Secondary School.
To speak to the planner directly, please contact David Driedger at 416-392-7613 or [email protected]. Also, you may mail your comments to the planner at Toronto and East York District, 100 Queen St W Floor 18 E Toronto On, M5H 2N2.
"Not Down the Drain" TO Water Campaign
Do you know what can and can’t go down your drain? Putting the wrong things in your pipes can have some pretty nasty consequences, including basement flooding, polluting our streams, rivers and the Lake, as well as clogging City pipes – something that ends up costing us all. Please note that items like grease, wipes and dental floss should not go down the drain.
For more information, please click here.