Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur
To those celebrating in our Jewish community this month, I wish you a Shanah Tovah and a meaningful fast this Yom Kippur!
A Safe Return to School
As Molly's dad, I completely understand the stress and anxiety families are feeling as they prepare for back to school. Whether or not children are attending school in person this year, residents are reminded that in order for schools to operate safely, everyone needs to do their part in helping to reduce the spread of the virus. For more information on measures to support a safe return to school and on what you can do to help, please click here.
Back to School Road Safety
As your local representative and parent of a 7-year old, I wanted to take the opportunity to remind everyone of how vital road safety is especially now that our kids are heading back to school after months of being at home. Road safety has been a major focus for me over my years at Council and when I served our community as our school Trustee. Please click here to read more about road safety as we head back to school.
A Special Message from TDSB Trustee Shelley Laskin
As we prepare to open TDSB schools and welcome back students and staff, we are doing everything possible to ensure the health and safety of all school community members, while also providing the best academic experience possible for students, supporting mental health and well-being and considering the needs of families and staff. School starts on September 15, 2020 with a staggered start for elementary students over the first three days (September 15 to 17). All secondary students begin school on September 15. For more information, please click here. Do not hesitate to e-mail me at [email protected] with any questions or concerns. We are all in this together.
A Special Message from TCDSB Trustee Norman Di Pasquale
School starts at the TCDSB on September 14th. Working towards a safe September, the TCDSB has implemented a number of safety measures including mandatory masks for all, plexiglass, upgrades to ventilation systems, and increased staffing. Our school communities' health and well-being is important to me; don't hesitate to email me at [email protected] with any questions or concerns.
CafeTO Extends into the Fall Season
During the spring season, I began advocating to City Staff on the exciting prospect of using curb lanes in Toronto for outdoor dining. I was thrilled to see this initiative come alive and pass at Council just months ago. Over this past summer you may have noticed and possibly even dined at dozens of the curb lane patios that popped up across Toronto as part of the CaféTO program, which aims to provide more outdoor dining areas to help some restaurants and bars create physical distancing for patrons on patios. With indoor capacity restrictions due to the pandemic, CafeTO has provided a lifeline to restaurant owners and their employees. It’s also created a vibrant patio culture Toronto’s needed for years. Please click here for an update regarding CafeTO as we head into the fall months.
The patios will remain, but the beard is gone.
Open Letter to Premier Ford: Extending the Protecting Small Business Act & Rent Support for Small Business Owners and Landlords
I speak with small and medium sized business owners almost every day of this crisis, and many of them are financially devastated. The challenges and struggles that our local businesses face demonstrate the need for every level of government to step up to support them. On August 31st, the Protecting Small Business Act, which temporarily halted or reversed evictions of commercial tenants and protected them from being locked out of having their assets seized during the COVID-19 pandemic, expired. Many business owners saw this Act as a lifeline that they needed to survive. That's why I wrote an open letter to the Premier asking that he extend this Act and provide small business owners with immediate and direct rent relief. Rent support from the Provincial government would provide relief for both small business owners and Landlords. To read my letter, click here. We need to take collective action to ensure that our main streets remain vibrant and come out of this better than ever.
Oakwood-Vaughan Neighbourhood Improvement Update
The repeated acts of violence committed over many years in our Oakwood-Vaughan neighbourhood are extremely upsetting and unacceptable. The most important initiative we can take is to invest in addressing the roots causes of the violence. Please click here to read more about the initiatives we are taking to support the Oakwood-Vaughan neighbourhood.
Renewing a Call to Preserve Little Jamaica
Between the COVID-19 pandemic and the traffic congestion, noise, lack of parking and mess caused by the LRT construction, small businesses along Eglinton continue to be faced with daily challenges. However, many of the Black-owned businesses on Eglinton West have been fighting a battle for years against the potential loss of the character, identity and story of Little Jamaica, and for the very survival of their businesses. Little Jamaica is a unique and important part of our city with a rich history. Please click here to read about what actions we are taking to preserve the character of the area and to support a vibrant and successful main street.
Roehampton Shelter: Progress Update & School Safety Plan
In the midst of a pandemic and housing and opioid crisis occurring simultaneously, our focus as a community has been on ensuring the safety of our neighbourhoods, while supporting our City's most vulnerable.
The Broadway site has closed and each client has been provided shelter or housing opportunities throughout the City. With regard to the Roehampton site, Mayor Tory and I have worked closely together to advocate for additional and necessary supports to be in place. Please click here to read about those supports, and to read a letter that Mayor Tory and I wrote regarding the newly released school safety plan.
Community Playground Updates:
I am excited to report that the Hillcrest Park Playground improvement construction started September 8th and is expected to be finished by mid-November! I want to thank everyone for your creative ideas and feedback during our community consultation, as we work together to improve the quality of life in our neighbourhood!
I am also thrilled to announce that, after working closely with local parents on achieving improvements to Humewood Park Playground, work will begin mid-September and is anticipated to end in mid-November. In response to some concerns I heard, I reached out to City Staff to ask that they temporarily delay construction given that both parks are within the same vicinity, however, due to contractual agreements, this was not feasible. For information about design, please contact: Rachel Weston, City of Toronto Construction Coordinator, at 416-392-3357 or Rac[email protected]. Final, detailed design can also be found by clicking here.
Council Stands up for Toronto residents against Construction Noise
As part of the Provincial government’s emergency orders to address COVID-19, The City of Toronto Act was amended to allow for any “construction activity in the City between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.” This represents a significant departure from the City’s by-laws, which permit noise from construction between 7 am to 7pm from Monday to Friday, 9am to 7pm on Saturdays, and not at all on Sunday.
I have heard from many of you that the constant noise during unreasonable hours has had a significant impact on your quality of life. That’s why I’m pleased to report that at last month's Council meeting, my colleagues supported my motion to request the province to rescind Limitation 2 to Ontario Regulation 130/20 , enacted April 7, 2020, which took away the allowance of the City to regulate or prohibit noise in connection with construction to the detriment of our residents.
It is now up to the Premier to do the right thing for Toronto residents. Check out this article here.
Planning & Development Meetings
After a brief summer break and the delays caused by the pandemic, the City has started receiving development applications and my office started receiving updates by City Planning on various development projects. As part of the development review process, the City holds public consultation meetings to share details of the proposal and gain important community feedback. Information on upcoming meetings - including 155 Wychwood and 2128 Yonge - is available at my website here. Join me at these meetings or feel welcome to call or email me with your questions, concerns or feedback.
Make Your Voice Heard: Tell Doug Ford to Put the Quality of Life of our Community before the Interests of Developers!
The Midtown in Focus plan (OPA 405) was the result of a 6 year, community-led process to help ensure that the Yonge-Eglinton, and Davisville Village areas had infrastructure and social services such as childcare, parks and recreations space to support the growing neighbourhood. Without any consultation, the Ford government ripped up these plans, making changes that support developers’ bottom lines instead of local residents.
Bell Box Murals Project Brightens Our Midtown Streets
The Bell Box Murals project beautifies neighbourhoods across Toronto by giving local artists an opportunity to paint Bell electrical boxes. Over the past year, we have worked with community members to identify locations in Ward 12 that could be beautified through the program and I was pleased to be able to dedicate Section 37 development funds to cover the costs of painting for a number of boxes. Thank you to the talented artists- Andrea Manica, Linh Thai, Melika Saeeda, Kevin Ghiglione, Jennylynd James and Nick Sweetman that made this happen for our community.
The Rights Project Webinar
The Rights Project would like to welcome you on September 17, 2020 from 6:00-8:00 pm to their first Webinar, “Human Rights and Advocacy: Understanding Your Rights While Demanding a Better Future”.
Join myself and a number of other amazing panelists for an informative and meaningful conversation about our human rights, how young people can create necessary change and get more involved in their communities, and how we can work towards ensuring that Black, Indigenous, and racialized voices are represented in political and justice systems.
Register using the link: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_hZAkFfaCSgWKPXDNSF83LA
Follow The Rights Project for more exciting events below!
Brentwood Towers AGM
This past Wednesday, I enjoyed an evening with our Brentwood Towers community at their outdoor annual general meeting. It was so nice to see everyone- it really felt like being with family again.
City of Toronto to hold Community Environment Days at Drop-Off Depots
The City of Toronto will be holding Community Environment Days at the City’s seven Drop-Off Depots on Sundays throughout September and October. The events begin September 13 and will run until November 1, 2020. The drive through events will allow for the safe disposal of household hazardous waste and electronic items and donation of materials such as household goods and clothing for reuse. Please click here to learn more about the Community Environment Days scheduled for this fall.
Registration for City of Toronto’s fall recreation programs begins this weekend
Registration for City of Toronto fall recreation programs as well as December holiday camps starts Saturday, September 12 and continues next week. Torontonians can expect to see many of their favourite registered recreation programs, including swimming and skating lessons, on offer this fall. The City is Toronto’s largest provider of safe, fun and high-quality recreation programs for people of all ages, skill levels and interests. Please click here to learn more about how to register.
The Stop Wychwood Barns' Farmer's Market is Back!
It’s an amazing feeling to be back with my family and community at our beloved Thee Stop Wychwood Barns Farmers’ Market! Honey sticks, fresh produce, delicious food, and so much more. I look forward to seeing you there on Saturdays from 8:00am-1:00pm at 601 Christie Street (outside)!
I care about u- Midtown Mask Initative
Two young entrepreneur sisters from our ward (Justine and Bailee Sneiderman) were looking for a way to help our community through the COVID-19 pandemic. They came up with the idea to sell masks with the logo I care about u. The phrase, I care about u stood out to them because it can help build a community of kindness and support. When you wear your mask it benefits everyone around you, and encourages others to wear one too. When buying their masks, you are purchasing more than a mask, you are helping our community. They are donating 100% of all profits to the Canada Food Banks COVID-19 Response Fund. Please visit www.icareaboutu.ca to purchase your mask.
Positivity Pebbles Beltline Initiative
Positivity Pebbles is an initiative started by two high school students, Alya Seker and Alyssa Pather, to bring positivity and community spirit to the Beltline trail. The project encourages people to paint rocks and place them along the trail to brighten the path for all to enjoy.
They are documenting contributions to the project on Instagram @positivity.pebbles and at https://positivitypebbles.wordpress.com/ – check them out and keep an eye out for the positivity pebbles the next time you take the Beltline!
Back to School Neighbourhood Clothing Swap
Please save the date of September 19th (with a rain date of September 20th) for a Back-to-School neighbour to neighbour clothing swap. This is being organized by local eco/art group Works-in-Progress and local volunteers, you can sign up to volunteer or host online at their website works-in-progress.ca or contact organizers through the website to find out more. It is $5 to fill a bag (or best offer) and the money goes to cover costs for the swap. Yards will be hosting one size per yard so start sorting out your gently loved outgrown clothes to pass on, and look for some new-to-you clothes the next size up. Please note, you do not need to have a yard to host! We are matching wannabe yardless hosts with yards.
Please come out to celebrate with the community, and help give old clothes a new home.
Update on the Beltline Trail’s Lost Stations Initiative
We’re making improvements to our beloved linear park, creating age-friendly places to rest while celebrating the story of the railroad that once had stations throughout our midtown neighbourhoods!
I am happy to announce that the construction of the Beltline Trail Lost Station at Yonge and Upper Canada College is going very well and that most of the construction should be completed by the end of September, weather permitting. The Eglinton Beltline Lost Station is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Local Issues at Community Council in September
Toronto and East York Community Council’s responsibilities include making recommendations and decisions on local planning and development, as well as neighbourhood matters including traffic plans and parking regulations. Community Council reports to City Council but they also have final decision-making power on certain items, such as fence by-law exemptions and appointments to local boards and Business Improvement Areas. To check out what's happening at community council, please visit my website here.
Check Out What's Open in Toronto-St. Paul's and Find Out How to Donate to Your Favourite Business!:
Our Toronto-St. Paul's community is home to some of the most unique and remarkable shops, bars and restaurants. Many of them do online sales and food take out and delivery. The following BIAs have put together a list of businesses that remain open amidst this crisis- Dupont By the Castle BIA, Oakwood Village BIA, Eglinton Way BIA, Mt. Pleasant Village BIA ,Yonge+St.Clair BIA, York-Eglinton BIA, Midtown Yonge BIA, Uptown Yonge, Upper Village BIA, Rosedale Main Street, Wychwood Heights BIA, Hillcrest Village BIA and Forest Hill Village BIA.
In case you're looking for a way to support your favourite local shop right at home, you may want to consider making a monetary donation to them (if they're listed) on Distantly. For business owners looking to create a profile, you may do so by clicking "Add My Business", located on the top right section of their home webpage.
Castle Hill Neighbourhood Association
This past month, I had the pleasure of meeting with a few folks from the Castle Hill Neighbourhood Association to discuss local green space improvements. More news to come on this!
Play4All Merton Street Project
Play4All.MertonProject is a grassroots project initiated by the residents of the Hospital Workers Housing Coop (HWHC) and is fundraising to build a playground for the HWHC community.
HWHC is a not-for-profit organization that provides subsidized housing to CUPE healthcare workers and to over 200 persons from refugee, minority, and low-income households. In communities like ours, many families face major barriers to play. In fact, almost 60% of minorities and low-income households face some type of barrier to play. Whether it’s financial and you can’t afford to take your family to the park, or it’s residential and you just don’t feel it’s safe for your kids to play in a dangerous neighbourhood, we understand. Play4All.MertonProject aims to reduce barriers to physical activity experienced by children, youth, and families of HWHC. Everyone deserves the chance to go outside, play and reach their full developmental potential! Please click here to learn more about the Play4All Merton Street Project and about how to contribute!
Wildlife in Midtown
I’ve been hearing from a number of residents that there has been an increase in wildlife sightings in our community. On behalf of Toronto’s Animal Services, I’d like to reiterate that residents should not feed wild animals. Feeding wildlife can increase the population of wild animals in a community and cause the animal to lost its natural fear of people. If you see injured, sick or very young wildlife, call 311. Some residents have specifically noted sightings of deer in the area. Should you encounter a deer, please click the following link, to learn more about what to do.
In this spirit, I wanted to bring to your attention the amazing work of the Toronto Wildlife Centre. Each and every day they are working to build a healthy community for both people and wildlife. However, at this time they need your help to build their forever new home in the Rouge National Urban Park. To learn more, click here.
If You Require Assistance or Information:
My team and I remain actively working. However, our physical offices will be closed until further notice and my staff will be working remotely. In the interim, the best way to connect with us is by email at [email protected], rather than phone, and we’ll respond to you at our earliest opportunity.
Due to the high volume of correspondence we’re receiving, there may be a delay in our response, but we’ll certainly following up with you. We deeply appreciate your patience.
For any information related to COVID-19, please click here for the Toronto Public Health website to learn more and for important contact information.
Accessibility Link Available:
As part of my commitment to ensuring that my community updates are available to all residents in Toronto-St Paul’s, my e-newsletter can be viewed with a variety of accessibility features. Options include changing text size, colour options, fonts and more. To access the accessibility panel, view this newsletter on my website by clicking here and then clicking on the person shaped icon on the left of your screen.