COVID-19 and Ward 10 Updates - February 11th

Dear friends,

The public health restrictions that we've been living with for the past seven weeks are working: case counts are falling, and this second wave is getting under control. But it's precisely because they are working that we can't let our guard down yet.

We know the new COVID-19 variants, from the UK, Brazil, and South Africa, are significantly more contagious. All three have now been identified in our city. 

How successful we are at slowing and limiting their spread is key to determining how this next phase of the pandemic plays out. For now, we must continue to stay home as much as possible, wear our masks, wash our hands, and keep our distance. Together, I know we’ll get through this. 

Sincerely, 

Joe


In this Edition

  1. City of Toronto Supporting the Province’s Vaccine Rollout with Nine City-run Clinics 
  2. Partnering with Homes First on Temporary Hotel Shelter Program at 45 The Esplanade
  3. Updates from Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health 
  4. University of Toronto’s Black History Month Virtual Luncheon 
  5. Virtual Seedy Saturday Scheduled for February 27
  6. Apply for a Park People Grant to Build Connections to City Parks
  7. Toronto History Museums’ Black History Month Virtual Art Programming
  8. Queen Street West BIA’s #LoveOnQueen Campaign
  9. Waterfront East LRT Extension – Community Consultation Meeting
  10. Resources and Webinars for Small Businesses
  11. City of Toronto COVID-19 Vaccine Website
  12. COVID-19 Information and Resources

City of Toronto Supporting the Province’s Vaccine Rollout with Nine City-run Clinics 

Yesterday, the City announced the confirmation of nine vaccine clinics that will open once vaccine supply is available and the Province issues their approval. Since the fall, the City's Immunization Task Force has been working non-stop to prepare for these clinics.

It's important to note who does what when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccines. The Federal Government secures vaccine supply. The Province determines who gets vaccinated and when, and will manage a vaccination registration system, when more supply becomes available. The City and Toronto Public Health are responsible for supporting the Province's vaccine rollout. That's where these nine City-run clinics come in, as well as our plans for additional mobile clinics and targeted outreach to vulnerable communities.

Once they open, the City-run clinics can administer up to 120,000 vaccinations per week. They can run 7 days per week with a team of 1,400+ staff supporting and operating the clinics. Our health care partners, including hospitals, are also planning additional vaccination clinic sites. 

We know how important it is to make sure everyone has access to the vaccine. That's why our delivery plan also includes mobile vaccination clinics to serve people experiencing homelessness, as well as targeted pop-up clinics in high-transmission neighbourhoods.

The City's clinics aren't open yet – they are dependent on vaccine supply. While the Province has told us to be ready by April 1st, plans are in place to scale up and open sooner if we get the green light. If a sudden shipment of vaccine arrives, we'll be ready. You can find out more information on the nine City-operated immunization clinics here


Partnering with Homes First on Temporary Hotel Shelter Program at 45 The Esplanade

Over the past year, we've seen just how important access to safe, secure shelter is when it comes to stopping the spread of COVID-19. While we are asking everyone to practice physical distancing and to stay home right now, the hard reality is that you can’t stay home if you don’t have one. We have a collective responsibility to do what we can to support our community members who are most vulnerable to this virus, including people who are experiencing homelessness.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the City of Toronto has been working around the clock to make our shelter system safe for the over 7,000 people who access these services each night. This means creating the space for physical distancing in shelters, by activating dozens of new facilities to create space between beds and areas to limit transmission.

As recommended by Toronto Public Health, later this month the hotel at 45 The Esplanade will begin to be used for temporary shelter services, with adequate space for safe physical distancing. The new shelter program will be operated by Homes First, an organization with more than 35 years of experience caring for the most vulnerable members of our community. The temporary shelter hotel will provide comprehensive wrap-around support for its clients, including mental and physical health supports, on-site recreational and social engagement, harm reduction supports exclusively for residents of the shelter, and specialized staff who will work with residents to develop permanent housing and employment plans. 

The shelter service currently operated by St. Felix at 98 The Esplanade will close in the Spring of 2021. Clients will be referred to other services appropriate to meet their needs, including to the program at 45 The Esplanade.

While emergency responses like this temporary shelter hotel program are critical to protect people and stop the spread of COVID-19, these responses alone will not solve homelessness or our city's housing crisis. The bottom line for all governments is that providing people with access to permanent, affordable housing that meets their needs is cheaper in the long-run than if people experiencing homelessness are in shelters or hospital beds. It's also the right thing to do.

I will continue to urge the City of Toronto, Province of Ontario, and the Government of Canada to work together to put public health first by ending chronic homelessness, and to leverage our emergency shelter response into permanent support for affordable and supportive housing solutions.

Visit my website for a full update, including public information session details


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.

On Wednesday, Dr. de Villa spoke about the risks that the new COVID-19 variants pose for our city. She confirmed that there are 32 cases of the UK variant in Toronto, and that the South African and Brazil variants have also been confirmed in the city. 

As Dr. de Villa noted, variants can grow into a significant public health threat, spreading widely and with potentially overwhelming speed thanks to mutations that make the virus easier to catch. At the same time, the more the virus spreads the more it can mutate, creating the risk that more or new variants of concern will confront us, and create more delays on the road back to normal life.

This is why, while the vaccines provide hope, it is just as important as ever that we continue to follow public health restrictions and keep our distance, stay home, wear well- fitting masks and limit our social interactions to people we live with. 

Read Dr. de Villa’s full update here.


University of Toronto’s Black History Month Virtual Luncheon 

Celebrate Black History Month by joining the University of Toronto’s Virtual Luncheon on Friday, February 26. The event features keynote speaker Kimberly B. Davis, Senior Executive Vice President, Social Impact, Growth & Legislative Affairs at the NHL. All are welcome! Click here to register

This year the event is also highlighting two scholarships in support of U of T students of colour: The Andrew Forde Polymath Scholarship and The Winkelman Admission Scholarship. Please click here to learn more.


Virtual Seedy Saturday Scheduled for February 27

The Toronto Virtual Seedy Saturday is happening on Saturday,  February 27, from 10 am - 2 pm. Brought to you by Seeds of Diversity Canada, Toronto Urban Growers, and Toronto SS organizers, this Virtual Seedy Saturday promises to be full of great gardening and growing advice. There will be links to seed and gardening companies, a resource library, webinars by gardening experts, a live question/answer forum, activities for kids, and information on local seed exchanges.

Webinars include Balcony/Container Gardening, Starting Seeds Indoors, Garden Planning, Saving Seeds and many more! If you have extra seeds, please consider contributing them to the local seed exchanges! 

No registration required – visit www.seedysaturday.ca/toronto to connect to info, webinars and live chats. For questions, contact [email protected], and visit their Facebook page for updates:  https://www.facebook.com/events/879640102868936 


Apply for a Park People Grant to Build Connections to City Parks

TD Park People Grants will provide $2,000 to groups from Metro Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Greater Toronto Area, National Capital Region (Ottawa-Gatineau), Montreal, Quebec City or Halifax Regional Municipality to help build vital connections between people and city parks. Enhance green spaces by hosting three online or in-person activities such as nature webinars, scavenger hunts or photo contests.

Applications close on March 1st. Visit the website to get all of the details, helpful event ideas, and the application form for the TD Park People Grants program.


Toronto History Museums’ Black History Month Virtual Art Programming

The Awakenings program at the Toronto History Museums’ for Black History Month includes music, film discussions on the effects of racism on physical and mental health, and a new artist mentorship program. 

Launched in December 2020, Awakenings is a series of art projects by Black, Indigenous, and artists of colour, operating under the principles of anti-oppression, anti-colonialism, and anti-racism.

Program details are available at toronto.ca/museums. Additional Awakenings programming will be available throughout 2021.


Queen Street West BIA’s #LoveOnQueen Campaign

Support local businesses, and enter to win daily prizes by joining the Queen Street West BIA’s #LoveOnQueen campaign. Learn more here: https://www.queenstreettoronto.com/love-on-queen.html


Waterfront East LRT Extension – Community Consultation Meeting

Join us for a virtual Community Consultation Meeting and learn more about ongoing work for the Waterfront East Light Rail Transit (LRT) Extension and help plan the future of Toronto’s waterfront community.

Date: February 17, 2021
Time: 7 pm – 8:30 pm
Click here to learn how to join the meeting virtually or by phone

Materials for the virtual Community Consultation are now live. You can view the pre-recorded video presentations from the project team, presentation slides, and a discussion guide. All materials are available on the project website.

In April 2019, City Council approved the streetcar option as the preferred technology for the Union Station to Queens Quay Link, and directed staff to undertake the preliminary design and engineering work for the extension of streetcar service to the East Bayfront from Union Station to Cherry Street. This work is part of the Council-approved Waterfront Transit Network Plan.

Click here to view the full meeting notice
Click here to visit the project website


Resources and Webinars for Small Businesses

Sign up for BusinessTO News, a weekly newsletter that focuses on available resources and supports to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on Toronto businesses. Learn about the current health situation, changes to City services, resources, and economic support. Click here to sign up

Upcoming free webinars:

B Corp 101 Workshop: Learning to Measure What Matters
Tuesday, February 16, 10 a.m. to noon – Register

Ask the Expert: Marketing & Sales
Friday, February 19, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. – Register

General Small Business Tax Literacy Seminar 
Friday, February 26, 9:30 a.m. to noon – Register


Winter Edition of The Fife and Drum

The winter edition of The Fife and Drum, a newsletter by Friends of Fort York and Garrison Common, is now available. 

Click here to learn more about The Fife and Drum, and to read past issues.


City of Toronto COVID-19 Vaccine Website

The City has launched a website to keep residents up to date on COVID-19 vaccines. 

Visit toronto.ca/covid19vaccine for real time and updated information. 


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: [email protected]

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