The Cressy Courier July 19 - Updates on park improvements, Provincial cuts to childcare, and much more

Dear friends,

I hope you're enjoying the summer, and finding time to experience the many festivals and celebrations that our city has to offer over the summer months. 

This week we wrapped up our July City Council meeting, and there are many updates to share on our work across the ward, and what we are doing to protect our city against Provincial cuts and changes that will be detrimental to the health and wellbeing of our communities.  

Please read on for updates on all of this work, as well as upcoming community events and public meetings. 

I hope to see you around the neighbourhood, 

 

Joe


A Development Traffic Light system to protect the future of downtown Toronto


Yesterday morning, Councillors Layton, Wong-Tam and I announced a new Downtown Development Traffic Light system to manage development in light of significant Provincial changes to the Downtown Master Plan, TOcore.

Downtown currently produces 51% of city's GDP and 25% of tax base, and contains 33% of jobs, 38% of residential development, and 40% of commercial development in Toronto. TOcore was developed as a Master Plan for downtown Toronto, to ensure communities are vibrant, liveable, and sustainable. We must protect that vision.

In early June, the City learned that the Province had unilaterally made 224 changes to TOcore, a City Council-approved master plan for downtown Toronto designed for the next 25 years. These changes include removing the requirement for new developments to build or help pay for appropriate infrastructure – like sewer or water pipes, community facilities, and parks - de-prioritizing commercial uses in the Financial District, restricting tools available to secure community infrastructure, and more. This Provincial decision will fundamentally re-shape downtown for the next century. 

As the downtown Councillors, we remain committed to implementing the vision of TOcore, to ensure downtown is liveable, vibrant, and sustainable. To do this, going forward the Councillors will consider all of their development projects according to a Downtown Development Traffic Light system. If projects follow the principles of TOcore, such as providing appropriate community infrastructure like parks, sewer and water pipes, community facilities, they will get a green light. These projects will be prioritized by the Councillors.

Projects that do not follow TOcore principles will get a red light. The Councillors will pursue multiple strategies for red light projects, including deprioritizing those projects in their offices, considering applying a holding provision or denying ancillary permits like road occupations or tree removals, and changing the time of various fee payments. The Councillors will also be asking City staff to begin posting prominent signage at every development site if community infrastructure is insufficient to support new residents (similar to what school boards already do) and to continue to provide analysis to City Council based on TOcore principles and goals.

Read our full statement here


Recognizing the work to protect Toronto Islands

On July 17th I, along with Mayor Tory, acknowledged the tireless work by City staff, our partners from Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA), and Islands residents to manage this year’s extreme high water levels and flooding on Toronto Islands.

Since May 1st, over 45,000 sandbags, 30 industrial pumps, and eight aquadams have been put in place on the Islands. These installations have  kept this treasured park open to the public, and protected the residential and business community.

This effort was the result of round the clock work by many people. Over 60 City staff from Parks, Toronto Water, and other divisions have been involved. Toronto Fire Services responded with volunteers to fill sandbags. TRCA staff have provided their technical expertise on site. Residents worked to protect access to their homes, as well as public roads.

Lake Ontario water levels reached their highest recorded point this year, and are receding much more slowly than in 2017. A Flood Mitigation Study by TRCA staff will be brought forward to City Infrastructure and Environment Committee in September to advance long-term strategies to make our Islands park resilient against climate change.


Standing up against Provincial Government cuts to childcare

Childcare should be affordable and accessible. Full stop. Just like public education or healthcare, it should be affordable for all. 

The Provincial Government is now cutting 3000 new childcare spaces and 6100 new childcare subsidies. This is unacceptable and the cuts must be reversed.

On Monday Councillor Layton and I hosted a press conference alongside the Ontario Coalition for Better Childcare to speak out against the Ford Government’s severe cuts to childcare. And, at City Council this week I moved a motion directing the General Manager, Children's Services to write to the Province of Ontario re-iterating the request of City Council that the Province fully fund the continuum of learning and stabilization of early years and child care programs located in school buildings by fully funding occupancy costs. And, to ensure that continuing to fund these occupancy costs are prioritized in our City's 2020 Budget this fall. 

3000 new childcare spaces and 6100 existing childcare subsidies are now at risk because of the Provincial Government. 

I vow to continue to protect our city’s childcare services as we continue to fight back against Provincial attacks on our communities.


Waterfront Toronto Public Consultation on Sidewalk Labs’ Proposal for Quayside

Waterfront Toronto is continuing public consultations across Toronto on Sidewalk Labs’ proposal for Quayside. Staff from Waterfront Toronto will use these consultations to share information about the proposal, seek feedback, and answer questions. 

These meetings will be structured to include a main presentation and multiple breakout sessions. 

Materials for these consultations will be available on this website https://quaysideto.ca/get-involved/public-consultation/  in advance of the meetings. 

George Brown College (51 Dockside Drive): Saturday, July 20, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Chestnut Residence and Conference Centre (89 Chestnut St): Tuesday, July 23, 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.


Coming to Osler Playground - Improvements and Dogs-off-leash Area

With more and more people moving into the downtown core, it is critical to ensure that our green spaces function to meet the needs of all park users. 

Osler Playground is an important green space in the Ossington community, with many local residents who enjoy the park on a daily basis. Many families with young children and dogs share the space, so it is crucial that we ensure the safety of everyone in the park. 

Over the last few years, Councillor Mike Layton who previously represented the Osler Playground area, had been working with local residents on solutions for a dogs-off-leash area at Osler. A dogs-off-leash area (DOLA), has been approved for Osler Playground, and I am committed to ensuring that it is designed and installed as quickly as possible. We are also currently working to find ways to expand the project to try and reinvigorate other parts of the well-used community facility at the same. 

A unique opportunity with Osler Playground is to collaborate with the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB), who own a portion of the land where the track is currently situated. We are working with them and their current tenant (University of Toronto Schools), to come to an agreement in order to make improvements to the track and have the DOLA installed. 

My office is working with City staff towards holding a public visioning session in the fall, so please stay tuned for updates. 


Liberty Village Park - New Playground!

Building our downtown communities for children and families is a critical priority. In Liberty Village, work is underway to revitalize Liberty Village Park with a more child-friendly design. My office has identified funds for improvements, and City staff are currently working on design concepts. We are also delighted that we will be adding a splash pad to the design!

We look forward to presenting updated designs to the community this fall.


June Callwood Park Improvements 

Designed through an award winning international design competition, June Callwood Park was inspired by June’s famous words, “I believe in kindness”. With this in mind, a revisioning process is well underway for a refresh as a fitting monument to June Callwood, and to enhance the space for children and families in our Fort York neighbourhood. 

I directed PF&R staff to conduct a site survey of the existing conditions this summer, including retaining consultants to further refine the proposed concept plan and prepare detailed construction drawings and specifications. 

We look forward to continuing the conversation on the improvements with the community this fall.


Garrison Crossing Updates

The Garrison Crossing project is in its final stages of construction and is targeted to open in late summer 2019. 

The Garrison Crossing is an important piece of active transportation infrastructure that also connects three parks - Ordnance Park, South Stanley Park and the Fort York Grounds - and the surrounding neighbourhoods together while being accessible to both pedestrians and cyclists. Once open to the public, the bridge will offer a new passage to the waterfront, improving connections within the surrounding communities, along with two new parks.   

To sign up for updates, visit garrisoncrossingbridge.ca


Protecting public lands - calling on the Government of Canada to halt the sale of 200 Queens Quay West and commit the site for new affordable housing


As our downtown communities grow, it only becomes more important that we work hard to ensure valuable public lands are being utilized to achieve critical community facilities and services such as affordable housing.

Recently, I became aware that the above-ground parking structure at 200 Queens Quay West, owned by the Canada Lands Company, is actively being marketed for sale and private residential development. 

I am calling on the federal government to halt the sale of 200 Queens Quay West, which is the above-ground parking structure facing Lower Simcoe Street, sandwiched between the Gardiner Expressway and the Waterclub towers. The property is currently owned by the Canada Lands Company, a federal crown corporation, which is actively marketing the property to condo developers as a site for two towers, 55 and 45 storeys tall. 

In light of the affordable housing and homelessness crisis in Toronto, and the ongoing rapid pace of growth downtown, the public lands at 200 Queens Quay West should be used to create new affordable housing. Not simply sold to the highest bidder.

To learn more, please see my urgent motion to City Council today: http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2019.MM9.65


Protecting Rail Deck Park for the future


You have to imagine the city you want before you can build it. Last week, the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) dismissed the appeal of our Official Plan Amendment protecting Rail Deck Park as parkland. Now, it can only be used for a park - no new towers, no parking, just parkland.

This is a huge step forward.  It won't be built overnight, but now, we’ve protected Rail Deck Park for the future. 

Read more about the vision for Rail Deck Park here


Metrolinx Rail Corridor Construction

The rail lines used by GO Trains through our communities are owned and operated by Metrolinx, the Province of Ontario’s transit agency. Work often occurs overnight and nearby residents may be affected by the associated noise and light.

To sign up for regular email updates about construction from Metrolinx, and to share any questions or concerns, please contact:

East of Union Station

James Burchell - 416 202 7537, james.burchell@metrolinx.com

West of Union Station

Michael Paolucci - 416 202 4425, michael.paolucci@metrolinx.com

Exhibition Station

416 202 6500, ExhibitionStation@metrolinx.com 


Finding the historic Ossington Fire Hall clocktower


Preserving our City's heritage, and finding creative ways to enhance our public space, are both of critical importance as we continue to build our City and our communities for future generations. In so many of our downtown communities, we continue our work to find creative ways to both preserve the past, while creatively building for the future.

Located on the west side of Ossington Avenue, in the first block north of Queen Street, the building at 16 Ossington Avenue was constructed in 1878 as a fire hall. Originally known as Fire Hall No. 9, the City of Toronto commissioned new fire halls in tandem with the expansion of the City, numbering the facilities in order of their appearance. Fire Hall No. 9 was decommissioned in the late 1960s, and it is the oldest intact fire hall in the former City of Toronto. The building is now leased to the University Health Network, and provides critical support for community members, and the City as a whole. Archival photographs of the building depict a clock on top of the hose-drying tower, but it is not known what year the clock was removed.

At the same time, the Toronto Parking Authority operates a small Green P parking lot directly adjacent at 18 Ossington Avenue. With significant constraints on available space in this area of the City, and a growing residential and business community along Ossington, finding creative ways to expand and revitalize public space has become an increasing priority for stakeholders across the community.

An important neighbourhood landmark, local neighbours, the local Business Improvement Association, and other stakeholders have come together with the goal of restoring the original clock tower at 16 Ossington Avenue, and working together to expand the public realm in the immediate area. Unfortunately, community efforts to locate the original clock have not yet been successful. At City Council this week I moved a motion directing staff to explore all possible avenues to locate the clock, as we continue to move forward to revitalize this historic site.


Garment District Neighbourhood Association Membership Drive

The Garment District Neighbourhood Association is starting a membership drive. They’re a fantastic group advocating for safer streets, more parkland, and good development in their neighbourhood. They’re active between Queen street in the north, Bathurst in the west, King in the south, and Spadina in the east.

If you’re interested, you can find out more about them at gdnatoronto.org, facebook.com/GDNAtoronto, @GDNAtoronto on twitter, @GDNAtoronto on twitter, and linkedin.com/company/GDNAtoronto

View their membership callout flyer here.


Public Art Installation Highlights Refugee Crisis

SOS (Safety Orange Swimmers) is a poignant temporary art installation by Ann Hirsch and Jeremy Angier of A+J Art+Design that has been featured in Boston harbour and Grand Rapids. The exhibit has been brought to our city by Waterfront Toronto to create public dialogue and engagement on our waterfront.

Twenty-five bright orange figures cling to inner tubes on the water in Harbour Square Park. The Safety Orange Swimmers connect Lake Ontario to the seas crossed by all those in search of shelter, freedom and safety, evoking Toronto’s immigrant history. Each figure represents more than one million of the nearly 26 million refugees in the world today. This number continues to rise; three figures have been added to the installation since its 2016 debut.

This installation will be in place until mid-September and can be viewed on the boardwalk of Harbour Square Park, next to the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal.


Celebrate Summer at Toronto’s History Museums


Toronto History Museums have announced their summer programs, giving residents an opportunity to celebrate the season and learn local history. The full program lineup is available at https://www.toronto.ca/museums-events

Staycation Sundays

On Sunday afternoons from noon to 5 p.m. in July and August, enjoy picnicking and playing in the gardens, courtyards and outdoor spaces of Toronto History Museums. Play cottage games, join a landscape tour or sit back and enjoy an outdoor acoustic music concert. Sample sodas, make art, have your face painted and enjoy live music and dance. Participating museums include Colborne Lodge, Gibson House Museum, Mackenzie House, Scarborough Museum, Montgomery's Inn, Spadina Museum and Todmorden Mills. Admission is free for outdoor events. An admission charge applies to interior tours.

The Big Picnic

On Sunday, July 14, from noon to 5 p.m., the beautiful grounds of Toronto History Museums will host a big, old-fashioned, city-wide picnic. Bring your picnic blanket and basket, and participate in a range of historic picnic traditions and activities. Participating locations include Colborne Lodge, Montgomery's Inn, Gibson House, Spadina Museum, Fort York National Historic Site, Todmorden Mills, Mackenzie House and Scarborough Museum. Admission is free for outdoor events. An admission charge applies to interior tours.

Dog Days of Summer

On August 10, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., visit Colborne Lodge and Scarborough Museum to celebrate your best furry friends and learn about the history of dogs in Toronto. Dogs and their friends will enjoy a variety of activities including opportunities for pet dress-up selfies, a mini-obstacle course and yummy treats. Admission is free.


Keep track of your water use online this summer

With summer almost here and warmer weather on the way, the City of Toronto reminds residents and businesses that they can track their water use online with MyWaterToronto, the City's online water use tool. The tool offers a convenient way to track your water use by day, week, month or year. You can also better understand your water use habits and look for ways to save. MyWaterToronto can also be used to identify long-lasting and unexplained water use increases, which may mean you have a leak. You will need a copy of your utility bill to sign on. 

Learn more and get started at www.toronto.ca/mywatertoronto


Neighbourhood Farmers' Markets

There are lots of local farmers' markets happening all summer across Ward 10! Have one to add to the list? Send it to us at councillor_cressy@toronto.ca

Courtyard Farmer’s Market
Every Tuesday until October, 8am - 2pm
190 Simcoe Street courtyard (near University & Queen)

Liberty Village Farmers' Market
Every Sunday until November, 9am-2pm
34 Hanna Ave.
Visit their website here.

Nathan Phillips Square Farmers’ Market
Every Wednesday until October, 8am - 2pm
Nathan Phillips Square (100 Queen St W)

Trinity Bellwoods Farmers’ Market
Every Tuesday, rain or shine, 3pm to 7pm.
Trinity Bellwoods Park
Please visit their website for more info! www.tbfm.ca  

Underpass Park Farmers’ Market
Every Thursday, 3pm to 7pm. Until October.
Underpass Park (29 Lower River St)

Waterfront Good Food Market
Fresh, affordable fruits and veggies. 
Tuesdays 4:30-7pm, year-round
25 Bishop Tutu Blvd, 1st fl community room (accessible from courtyard)


Public Meetings

Public Consultations  on Sidewalk Labs’ Proposal for Quayside
Waterfront Toronto is continuing public consultations across Toronto on Sidewalk Labs’ proposal for Quayside. Staff from Waterfront Toronto will use these consultations to share information about the proposal, seek feedback, and answer questions. 

These meetings will be structured to include a main presentation and multiple breakout sessions. Materials for these consultations will be available on this website https://quaysideto.ca/get-involved/public-consultation/  in advance of the meetings. 

George Brown College (51 Dockside Drive): Saturday, July 20, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Chestnut Residence and Conference Centre (89 Chestnut St): Tuesday, July 23, 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Temporary Signs By-law Review
July 22, 6 - 8 p.m.
City Hall (100 Queen St W), Committee Room 3
The City is reviewing the existing regulations for temporary signs, such as commercial “A-frame” signs and real estate signs. For more information visit www.toronto.ca/signsreview.  

Property Standards and Building Maintenance Review
July 24, 6 - 8:30  p.m.
Metro Hall (55 John St), Room 308/309
The City is reviewing the existing Property Standards By-law and issues related to apartment building standards, indoor temperatures, rat mitigation, and odour. For more information visit www.toronto.ca/propertystandardsreview.

Payday Loan Review
July 25, 6 - 8 p.m.
North York Civic Centre (5100 Yonge St), Member’s Lounge
The City is reviewing licensing of payday loan establishments. For more information visit www.toronto.ca/paydayloanreview


Community Events

Dancing on the Pier
Every Thursday until August 29th, 7pm
Harbourfront Centre (235 Queens Quay W)
Learn to dance on Toronto's waterfront to the rhythmic beats and swinging sounds of live bands. Inspired by Harbourfront Centre's summer festivals, styles range from salsa to big band and everything in between. Now in its 8th year, Dancing on the Pier invites audiences of all ages to embrace dance both as observers and participants.

The Distillery Family Yoga Series 
Every Sunday until August 6th, 11 am - 12:30 pm
The Distillery District (55 Mill St.)
90 minutes of free kids’ outdoor yoga classes Sunday mornings throughout the Summer. Each Sunday morning, two family-oriented free outdoor yoga classes will be led by the most dynamic and popular family yoga instructors from the top studios in Toronto. The classes are 40 minutes in length. The first starts at 11:00am. The second class starts at 11:50am. The classes will be different each weekend, but the two classes each Sunday will be the same. These classes are weather dependent.

OssFest
Saturday, July 27
Nothing says summer more than street festivals in Toronto! For the fourth consecutive year, OssFest returns for a pedestrian take over of the Ossington Strip between Dundas St W and Queen St W. Beginning with a yoga class in the morning, followed by artisans and local businesses showcasing their goods all day.  They will have over 20 extended patios, music and entertainment programming all day and into the evening. OssFest is family friendly, dog friendly, and is a fantastic way to celebrate the neighbourhood and Toronto!

"Union Summer" returns to Union Station
Daily until August 3, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Friday and Weekend hours may vary).
Union Summer returns in front of Union Station (65 Front St.) from Friday, May 31 to August 3. The event brings some of Toronto’s top chefs, musicians, film screenings and live performances to Union Station. For more details on programming and special events, visit: www.torontounion.ca/tdunionsummer.

Indulge at David Pecaut Square
Every Thursday until October, 8am - 2:30pm
David Pecaut Square (215 King St W)
Indulge features live music from Toronto-based musicians, fresh food and international flavours from a diverse group of food vendors, and locally grown produce from southern Ontario farmers. For a full list of vendors and performers, visit the Indulge web page.

New Monuments for New Cities exhibition
Ongoing to August 30
The Bentway (250 Fort York Blvd)
Five urban reuse projects that are part of the High Line Network have invited five of their local artists or artist groups to create proposals (in the form of posters) for new monuments. Each participating location is producing an exhibition of the resulting 25 artworks that is specific to their site. The Toronto exhibition at The Bentway runs until August 30. More information is available at The Bentway’s website

Tirgan Festival 2019
July 25-28
Harbourfront Centre (235 Queens Quay W) 
Tirgan Biennial returns to Harbourfront Centre, bringing together artists and scholars from around the globe to showcase the richness and diversity of one of the world’s oldest cultures. This is a 4-day festival featuring music, dance, theatre, cinema, art, and literature, along with kids’ activities, workshops, food vendors, and craft market. Tirgan 2019 celebrates Unity and the precious state of “unity in diversity” as the essential ingredient for peace and prosperity among people.Visit the Tirgan website for more info.

Island Soul 2019
August 2-5
Harbourfront Centre (235 Queens Quay W) 
Harbourfront Centre brings the rich legacy of Caribbean music to Toronto’s waterfront with our four-day weekend festival Island Soul. From Reggae star Etana to a night of comedy with Canada’s rising comedians Trixx and friends, join us for a weekend of Caribbean music, food, entertainment and more.

Harabi Africa
August 9-11
Harbourfront Centre (235 Queens Quay W) 
Habari Africa Festival is a multi-disciplinary music and arts festival that displays the rich and diverse cultures of Africa. The festival will offer an authentic African experience through presentations and workshops that celebrate the uniqueness, wealth and diversity of African music, dance, film, arts and culture. The festival will also include activities for children of all ages, as well as delicious cuisine from the World Café.

Barbados On The Water
August 16-18
Harbourfront Centre (235 Queens Quay W)
Experience the best of Barbados right here in Toronto! Enjoy free concerts, tasty cuisine, children’s activities and more as the waterfront comes to life during the largest cultural celebration of Barbadian culture in Canada. From a taste of the famous “Oistins Fish Fry” to the latest hits sung by some of the island’s top calypso artists, this weekend-long fête offers something for everyone.

Jamii presents Discover Dance
July 24, 2019, 12-1pm
David Cromie Park (The Esplanade at Princess St)
Discover Dance is a monthly event at the Sony Center that features some of Toronto’s incredible dance artists. Hosted by the award-winning choreographer Nova Bhattacharya, Discover Dance is an hour packed with dance and conversation. Join us on July 24th from 12noon to 1pm, in Crombie Park, to have the opportunity to see dance and share your thoughts; to hear stories and ask questions; and to discover how dance forms from near and far are  being woven in Toronto’s cultural scene. 


Construction Map

To view an interactive map of current and upcoming construction projects throughout the city, please click here.


Get in Touch with Trustee Donaldson

Municipal Ward 10 (Spadina-Fort York) is now part of TDSB Ward 9, Davenport and Spadina-Fort York. Stephanie Donaldson is the School Board Trustee for TDSB Ward 9. Get in touch with her here.


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