COVID-19 and Ward 10 Updates - September 24th

Dear friends,

We are seeing COVID-19 cases rise significantly in our city, compared to last month. This is concerning, and will lead to serious consequences if we don’t act now. 

At the City we are doing everything possible to mitigate transmission. That means supporting enhanced surveillance testing, safe school reopening, and targeted supports for high-risk neighbourhoods and workplaces.

But we can't do it without your help.

We all need to work together to stop a devastating second wave. Living with COVID-19 circulating in our community has not been easy, but we can’t let our guards down now.  We must continue to wash our hands, wear our masks, and maintain physical distance from people who aren’t in our household. 

Please continue reading below for updates from the latest Board of Health meeting, advice from our Medical Officer of Health on the upcoming holidays, and ways that we can work together to keep our city safe. 

Sincerely, 

Joe


In this Edition

  1. Toronto Board of Health Approves Measures to Confront COVID-19 Resurgence
  2. Canoe Landing Playground Complete
  3. Toronto Music Advisory Committee Updates
  4. New Details on the Ontario Line and Our Community
  5. Updates from Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health 
  6. ShowLoveTO
  7. New Traffic Signals at Queen and McCaul
  8. City of Toronto Extends Cancellation of Outdoor Major Events and Provides Funding Support to Impacted Festivals 
  9. Nuit Blanche Moves Online
  10. Have Your Say on the Future of Yonge Street with yongeTOmorrow
  11. City of Toronto COVID-19 Resource Map
  12. COVID-19 Information and Resources

Toronto Board of Health Approves Measures to Confront COVID-19 Resurgence

Fighting COVID-19 is a marathon, not a sprint. The concerning resurgence of COVID activity that we're seeing in our city means that we have to keep evolving and adapting our response. Right now, we need to prevent a big second wave, and find ways to keep schools, child care centres, and other important services operating safely. We all have an important role to play in protecting ourselves and each other. 

At Monday's virtual meeting, the Toronto Board of Health unanimously approved a series of measures to target the increase of COVID-19 activity in our city. With the objective of curbing the rise in cases, the Board endorsed enhanced actions for Toronto Public Health to consider and called on the Provincial and Federal Governments to immediately improve testing, school re-opening procedures, and quarantine measures.

At the Provincial level, the Board approved recommendations from Toronto Public Health for adjustments to school operations, including recommending that class sizes be adapted to adhere to the 2-metre physical distancing requirements. The Board also called on the Ontario Government to fund infection prevention and control measures in long-term care homes, to improve turnaround times for laboratory tests and reporting, and to implement a testing strategy for identified high-risk areas (schools, workplaces, and neighbourhoods).

The Board called on the Federal Government to improve data management and sharing, in order to increase the ability to enforce isolation requirements under the Quarantine Act for international travellers. The Board also endorsed a push for collaboration between all three levels of government on the approval and implementation of new testing methods, including at-home and saliva-based testing options. 

Along with the above recommendations, the Board also expressed its unanimous support for Toronto's Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, to pursue any additional actions deemed necessary to combat a drastic spike in cases in the coming days and weeks. These actions could include, but are not limited to, a possible further reduction in social gathering limits, additional rules or restrictions for commercial settings, and an expansion of mask and face covering requirements.


Canoe Landing Playground Complete

Thank you to all of the CityPlace community members, residents, and parents who contributed feedback for the design of our new Canoe Landing Playground. The new playground has been added just south of the existing children's splash pad. It was designed with a safe rubber play surface and is suitable for young toddlers and school-aged children to enjoy. The playground was completed at the end of June and remained closed until Toronto officially entered Stage 3 in the Province’s reopening plan. It has been enjoyed by CityPlace children since its opening.

Outdoor playground equipment is not sanitized. Updated signage with public health guidance is posted. Residents visiting a park must practise physical distancing and avoid crowding, and children should be encouraged to regularly wash their hands before and after using equipment. If the playground is busy, Toronto Public Health recommends finding another park or coming back later. Additional guidance for outdoor play is available to parents and caregivers is available here. 


Toronto Music Advisory Committee Updates

The Toronto Music Advisory Committee (TMAC) will be meeting today to discuss our continued advocacy for supporting Toronto's live music culture during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On the agenda is a presentation discussing support for artists, a summary of current impacts on live music venues, and continuing staff work on the city's evening economy. TMAC will discuss how we can advocate for adequate financial support for self-employed artists, how we can assist our venues with financial support through the pandemic, and how we can build back as a stronger, fairer, and more resilient cultural city.

We know that our cultural sector is rooted in group events and celebrations, and was one of the hardest hit sectors of our economy.  Live venues were some of the first businesses to close, and will be among the last to reopen. We also know that these institutions are essential to making Toronto the vibrant city it is. I'm proud of the work that staff and TMAC members have done to advocate for our city, and will continue to support these efforts going forward. 

Click here to view the TMAC agenda


New Details on the Ontario Line and Our Community

Metrolinx, the Provincial transit agency responsible for the planning and construction of the Ontario Government's Ontario Line, has released new maps and some details on the proposed route, alignment, and station locations that are slated for the western and central portion of the line. This section runs from the proposed Exhibition station to the Don River.

The maps, which are available on Metrolinx's website, provide high-level information on the station platforms, as well as which portions of the line are intended for tunneling, and which are to be at grade or elevated, including the Exhibition section that is intended to run from Strachan Ave to Dufferin St. 

You can read more about this update here

I will be meeting with Metrolinx staff in the coming weeks to learn more about the latest proposal and raise the questions and concerns that we receive from the surrounding communities. Please send any concerns or questions you have to my office, by emailing: councillor_cressy@toronto.ca

On the website, Metrolinx has also provided a link where residents can submit feedback and questions by email. I encourage you to share your thoughts with the agency directly, which you can do here.


Updates from Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health 

Our Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, and other City division leaders have been providing twice-weekly updates on the current situation and response to COVID-19 in Toronto. You can view the press conferences live at 2pm, and access past updates here

Yesterday in her update Dr. de Villa spoke about how it was not surprising to see some degree of increase in COVID-19 cases as we reopened our city and more people began interacting. This was to be expected because of what we saw in other jurisdictions. 

Dr. de Villa reminded us that the virus moves from one person to another to keep replicating. So if we keep our distance, wear our masks, and wash our hands, the virus has fewer places to go and begins to die out.  It won’t be right away, but with sustained commitment, the infection rate will drop. 

Dr. de Villa also shared that Toronto Public Health has updated the COVID-19 dashboard to include new information. The numbers are now organized to tally up overall new case counts, new hospitalizations, new outcomes as cases resolve, and new outbreaks. There is also more detailed outbreak information. Visit the dashboard here to stay informed

Dr. de Villa also spoke about how we have a particular challenge ahead with many important holidays that typically include large gatherings of family and friends. Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and we know that this holiday is typically a time of celebration with loved ones. Dr. de Villa is asking everyone to think seriously about this event now and to plan ahead. 

Close contact with extended family and friends at holiday gatherings is risky, and could well contribute to a further rise in cases. We know this is a big ask, but this year following tradition and having a big celebration with family or friends is discouraged.

Dr. de Villa is encouraging you to talk to your family and make a clear plan in advance on how to mark the occasion of Thanksgiving in a way that limits in-person contact with others from outside your home.  Taking steps for self protection will produce the results we want as we continue to fight this virus. 

Read Dr. de Villa's full update here.


ShowLoveTO

From hitting the patio to supporting local art, restaurants and shops, it’s time to get out and do the things we love, safely. ShowLoveTO is an initiative by the City of Toronto to encourage the safe exploration of our city’s arts and culture. There are many activities, shops, and restaurants within Spadina—Fort York to explore and enjoy. 

StrollTO

This past weekend I joined Mayor Tory at Canoe Landing Park to launch StrollTO, a new ShowLoveTO program of self-guided itineraries to explore Toronto. 

During COVID-19 many of us have hunkered down to stay safe. StrollTO is here to help us safely explore and enjoy this tough moment. 

So many of us are just waiting for this period of the pandemic to end. And while it will end, we must also find ways to enjoy the present. Our physical and mental health needs this. That’s why we created StrollTO -- to help people get outside and enjoy our city. 

BigArtTO

Experience art illuminated at BigArtTO, a city-wide public art celebration featuring free access to over 200 hours of temporary public artworks projected onto local buildings and landmarks. Created by Toronto artists, the projections will play Wednesday through Saturday in each of Toronto’s 25 wards, allowing residents access to artwork without having to leave their neighbourhood.

BigArtTO in Spadina—Fort York
September 30th — October 3rd
Location: Malting Silos, 9 Eireann Quay
Time: 8 – 11 p.m.
Description: A composition for an elegy to what once was and all that remains or a score for the past, the present, the future tenses by Erika DeFreitas.


New Traffic Signals at Queen and McCaul

After hearing concerns about pedestrian safety at Queen and McCaul, I directed staff to undertake a study of the area, and subsequently introduced a motion at City Council to install traffic signals at the intersection.

I am pleased to share that the traffic signals are now operational. 

As OCAD University expands their campus beyond their main building at 100 McCaul Street, these signals will greatly improve safety for students and faculty once they return to class. 


City of Toronto Extends Cancellation of Outdoor Major Events and Provides Funding Support to Impacted Festivals 

To slow the spread of COVID-19, the City of Toronto is extending the cancellation of City-led and City-permitted outdoor major events to December 31.

This announcement is based on public health advice and includes festivals and other large in-person gatherings held at outdoor sites managed by the City or other public locations, such as roads, parks and Civic Squares.

City Hall, Metro Hall, and Civic Centres continue to be closed to the public. This announcement does not include outdoor sport facility permits and activities; and other City facilities/sites that are permitted in Stage 3 of the province’s reopening plan and comply with the current gathering limit restrictions. Professional sporting events are also not included in this decision.

Some City-led and City-permitted outdoor major events have already announced the cancellation of their event this year due to COVID-19 while others, such as the Original Santa Claus parade, will be announcing alternative plans in the near future. The City’s Cavalcade of Lights and New Year’s Eve celebration on Nathan Phillips Square are also cancelled.

Many organizers are considering alternative delivery models such as virtual events. Event organizers with questions are encouraged to contact the relevant City permitting bodies, Toronto Police Service officers/liaisons or email CultureTO@toronto.ca 

To mitigate the impacts of the pandemic on festivals and events, the City has repurposed grant funding that was previously approved by City Council and launched the Cultural Festivals Recovery Program (CFRP), providing $565,000 to support cultural festivals that have been impacted by the pandemic. For more information and a list of impacted events, click here.


Nuit Blanche Moves Online

In order to reduce the spread of COVID-19, Toronto’s free all-night contemporary art event will move its 2020 event online with expanded digital content and special online events on the night of October 3. Nuit Blanche 2020 will be reimagined and tailored to fit the moment. 

Under the two-year curatorial theme, The Space Between Us, Artistic Director Julie Nagam will focus on the connections across urban, polar, and pacific landscapes, revealing the space between us as a potential site for sharing knowledge. Click here to learn more


Have Your Say on the Future of Yonge Street with yongeTOmorrow 

We're on our way to building a new and improved Yonge Street — one that works for everyone. 

The City of Toronto is studying ways to increase pedestrian space and improve the way people move through and experience Yonge Street between College/Carlton Street and Queen Street.

Learn more about the vision for Yonge, and share your feedback by participating in the virtual consultation and completing online questionnaire at: https://www.toronto.ca/community-people/get-involved/public-consultations/infrastructure-projects/yonge-downtown/


City of Toronto COVID-19 Resource Map

The City of Toronto has created a COVID-19 Essential Service Mapping Tool

This tool has up-to-date service listings across Toronto, including food banks, meal delivery programs, community health services and more. Additional layers and details are being updated daily by 211 Toronto. 


COVID-19 Information and Resources

It is important to stay informed through credible sources, and to follow the advice of our public health professionals. Together we can limit the spread of COVID-19. 

Please visit the Toronto Public Health COVID-19 website for the up-to-date information and resources: toronto.ca/covid-19

Government COVID-19 websites

City of Toronto
Province of Ontario
Government of Canada

Telehealth Ontario
Call if you develop symptoms.
Telephone: 1-866-797-0000

Toronto Public Health Hotline
8:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Call if you have questions about COVID-19.
Telephone: 416-338-7600
TTY: 416-392-0658
Email: PublicHealth@toronto.ca

311 Toronto
Outside City limits: 416-392-2489
Call if you have questions about City services.
Telephone: 311
TTY: 416-338-0889