COVID-19 and Ward 10 Updates - March 18th
With three of our City-run mass immunization clinics now open, I encourage all Ward 10 residents age 80 and over to book an appointment to get the COVID-19 vaccine. You can book online at toronto.ca/covid19, or by phone by calling 1-888-999-6488. If you have a loved one who is 80 or over, please reach out and offer to help them register. This is about keeping everyone in our community safe.
Right now, one thing is clear when it comes to COVID in our city: our case counts and reproductive numbers are concerning. While we work to expedite the roll out of vaccines, we must not let our guard down. Highly-transmissible COVID variants are continuing to spread in our communities. Right now, as our Medical Officer of Health has confirmed, our numbers show that we're not ready yet to move forward under the Province’s reopening framework.
I know that this is not easy for many to hear. After a long, difficult year, and with spring and vaccines coming, the City and Toronto Public Health are exploring how we can modify the Grey zone that we are currently in to allow some safer outdoor activities.
Together, we can beat this pandemic. What it takes is remaining cautious with reopening, supporting Torontonians to get outdoors and enjoy our city safely – and ensuring that everyone who is currently eligible under the Province’s priority framework can register to get a vaccine.
In this Edition
- City of Toronto Opens Three City-Operated Mass Vaccination Clinics for Seniors Age 80 and Over
- Ontario Pilot: AstraZeneca Vaccinations Now in Pharmacies for People Age 60 - 64
- Updates from Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health
- Support for People Experiencing Homelessness – Pathway Inside Program
- Cycling Network Improvements: Richmond Street & Brant Street
- Toronto Island Master Plan Launch
- New Arts and Cultural Centre Coming to the Waterfront
- Spring Break CampTO Programs
- If You Build it They Will Ride: University Avenue Bike Lanes
- Virtual Public Meetings — Police Chief Selection
- City Hall Live Returns with Online Weekly Performances
- Resources and Webinars for Small Businesses
- City of Toronto COVID-19 Vaccine Website
- COVID-19 Information and Resources
1. City of Toronto Opens Three City-Operated Mass Vaccination Clinics for Seniors Age 80 and Over
Yesterday, the City of Toronto opened three City-operated COVID-19 mass vaccination clinics. The three clinics – Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Scarborough Town Centre and Toronto Congress Centre – are open for vaccinations for Toronto residents born in 1941 or earlier, who have confirmed appointments.
As of yesterday, 21,124 Torontonians age 80 and over have booked vaccination appointments at our City-run immunization clinics. There are still many spots available. To book a vaccination appointment for yourself or a loved one, visit toronto.ca/covid19 and select the dark blue “Find out if you are eligible to book” button. To book by phone, or if you need more assistance, contact the Provincial Vaccine Information Line at 1-888-999-6488 (TTY 1-866-797-0007). More information on booking options is available on the Province’s What to expect when you get a COVID-19 vaccine webpage.
My team has also put together some answers to common questions that we’ve received about vaccinations, which you can read here.
Next week, two more of our mass immunization clinics are opening: at Malvern Community Recreation Centre, and Mitchell Field Community Centre. And on April 5, our sixth clinic site will open: The Hangar, at 75 Carl Hall Road.
Yesterday was just the beginning: we will continue to scale up. It is important to note that our immunization clinics are highly dependent on available vaccine supply, which is secured by the Federal Government and distributed to Toronto by the Province of Ontario. As vaccine supply increases, all nine City-run mass immunization clinics will open, making it possible to administer up to 1 million doses/month. This is in addition to 350+ vaccine clinics that are currently planned in hospitals, pharmacies, mobile clinics, and more.
2. Ontario Pilot: AstraZeneca Vaccinations Now in Pharmacies for People Age 60 - 64
Beginning last week, select pharmacies in Kingston, Toronto and Windsor are booking appointments for AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines for eligible people between the ages of 60 and 64, as part of Ontario’s pharmacy pilot program.
This is a voluntary pilot program operated by the Province of Ontario, for people who opt to participate. You must have an appointment to get vaccinated at a participating pharmacy. Walk-ins will not be accepted.
To book an appointment, contact the Pharmacy directly. The Province has developed a webpage to find a participating pharmacy location near you: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/vaccine-locations
On this page you will find a list of participating Pharmacies in your area with instructions how to book an appointment at each one. If you have questions about the program or how to register, you can contact the Provincial Vaccine Information Line at 1-888-999-6488 (TTY 1-866-797-0007).
3. 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 her recommendation to the Province of Ontario that Toronto not move forward to a new reopening zone in the Province’s framework. This is due to the current data, which shows that variants of concern are continuing to rise steadily in our city.
Dr. de Villa also noted, though, that the exhaustion within the city is clear, as it relates to all the limitations COVID-19 has forced upon us. Considering that we are moving into a new season and warmer weather, and that there is evidence that outdoor activity is lower risk than indoor activity, she will be working with the Province and other regions to explore possible changes of restrictions regarding outdoor activities.
More information on this will be available in the coming days. However, Dr. de Villa noted that even small steps forward permitting additional outdoor activities do not indicate that the threat of COVID is reduced. We must continue wearing our masks and keeping our distance from people that we do not live with.
4. Support for People Experiencing Homelessness – Pathway Inside Program
This week, the City of Toronto launched a prioritized program to provide safe indoor accommodation and support for people experiencing homelessness, staying in encampments at Moss Park, Lamport Stadium, Alexandra Park, and Trinity-Bellwoods.
The City's Pathway Inside program was developed through hard work and consultations with encampment residents and supportive community agencies. This new and enhanced service will provide private, well-maintained, and secure rooms to singles and couples, along with necessary health and living supports. These new housing options respond to what encampment residents have been asking for: private rooms in the downtown area that keep them close to their community and support networks.
As City Councillors, we understand that the crisis of homelessness during the pandemic requires that we take every measure possible to care for Torontonians. We believe that this enhanced program is a critical step towards permanently housing people, and ensuring the health and safety of entire communities.
Governments, community workers, and Toronton residents need to continue to work together to create safe and compassionate pathways to housing for those in our communities who are without a home. We will continue to fight tirelessly for more affordable housing, including pushing the Province of Ontario for operating funds to create 2,000 new supportive housing units.
We are encouraged by this initiative and support this continued work. Together, we believe that we can – with political will, resources, and support – end chronic homelessness. And, we are going to continue working to achieve that goal.
5. Cycling Network Improvements: Richmond Street & Brant Street
Cycling network improvements are coming to Richmond Street and Brant Street this year.
In conjunction with the conversion of Brant Street to one-way, a contra-flow bike lane will be installed on Brant Street between Richmond Street and Adelaide Street. A short section of northbound cycle track on Brant Street is proposed on the approach to the Richmond Street intersection to physically separate people cycling from motor vehicles at the intersection.
As part of this project, the one-way cycle track on Richmond Street will be converted to a bi-directional cycle track between Brant Street and Augusta Avenue. This reconfiguration will allow for people cycling to easily and safely connect in both directions between the Richmond / Adelaide cycle tracks, and the existing neighbourhood north-south cycling routes on Augusta Avenue, Denison Avenue, Bellevue Avenue, Borden Street, and Brunswick Avenue.
6. Toronto Island Master Plan Launch
Yesterday I joined Elders, Indigenous leaders, and City staff to launch the Toronto Island Master Plan process: a long-term planning document that is being co-created with Indigenous rights holders, local communities, and the public.
The plan will outline a Vision, Values, Guiding Principles, and Big Moves to guide change and investment in Toronto Island Park.
Throughout the process the City is committed to working in partnership with the Indigenous Community to co-create and prioritize placekeeping.
Stay informed on Island Master Plan through engagement opportunities, and provide your feedback online, through the "Have Your Say" campaign at: www.toronto.ca/islandmasterplan
7. New Arts and Cultural Centre Coming to the Waterfront
As an important element of the Bathurst Quay Neighbourhood Plan, the former Administrative Building of the Canada Malting Company at 3 Eireann Quay is being transformed into a new Ireland Park Foundation arts and cultural centre.
Construction is set to begin this summer, and the centre is expected to open to the public in 2022.
8. Spring Break CampTO Programs
The City of Toronto will offer spring break CampTO programs from April 12 through to April 16. Registration will open on Tuesday, March 23.
CampTO, first offered in the summer of 2020, is a creative camp experience that provides outdoor and physical activities, active and quiet games, arts and crafts and nature-based activities. CampTO is designed for maximum fun and safety for campers six to 12 years of age.
The program meets guidelines designed in consultation with Toronto Public Health and in alignment with provincial health guidelines for day camps. These guidelines include physical distancing, daily health screening, wearing masks, cohorting, and enhanced facility cleaning. Each camp group will stay together for the entire week and will not interact with other camper groups. Caregivers will receive a phone call prior to camp start to review procedures and do a pre-camp health check.
In addition to in-person CampTO programs, there’s a new way to play over the spring break with CampTO Virtual. These 45 minute-long live and interactive workshops will be available to campers age four to 12, every day over the course of spring break. The theme is a coast-to-coast trip across Canada, and workshops will include virtual visits to five Canadian cities. Facilitated by camp staff, participants will explore the diverse food, culture, and landmarks of Canada through interactive games and creative programming.
The quickest and easiest way to register for CampTO programs is online at https://efun.toronto.ca/TorontoFun/Start/Start.asp
Phone registration will also be available. Residents can call 416-396-7378 Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends for help preparing for registration.
9. If You Build it They Will Ride: University Avenue Bike Lanes
ActiveTO was introduced in May 2020 as a quick-start COVID-19 response program. It was designed to provide more space for people to practice physical distancing while outside, support the overall well-being of residents, and to quickly connect and expand Toronto’s cycling network.
As part of ActiveTO, protected bike lanes were installed last year on University Avenue – an initiative I worked with Councillor Mike Layton, and community and health partners, to advocate for. This was an important win for the many people who long advocated for the bike lanes, including major hospitals in the area who released letters in support. Members of the group Doctors for Safe Cycling, some of whom work in the area’s hospitals, also highlighted the importance of the lanes in enabling health care workers, staff, and clients to safely get to work and access the area’s health care facilities.
As shown in the report, the University Avenue bike lanes have been a success. An average of 1,260 people ride the University Avenue bike lanes every week day, up from 530 before the lanes were built.
10. Virtual Public Meetings – Police Chief Selection
Environics Research, on behalf of the Toronto Police Services Board (TPSB), is conducting a series of public consultations to inform the Chief of Police selection process. These consultations will provide opportunities for people across the city to share input on this topic, ensuring that a diverse range of voices are heard.
Virtual sessions are planned for:
- Etobicoke – Tuesday, March 30 – 6-8 pm
- Downtown Toronto – Wednesday, March 31 – 6-8 pm
- Scarborough – Wednesday, April 7 – 6-8 pm
- North York – Tuesday, April 13 – 6-8 pm
Individuals interested in joining a consultation should register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/public-consultations-on-torontos-next-chief-of-police-tickets-142902048875. Participants will be asked to complete a brief survey and will then receive confirmation from Environics.
Those unable to participate in these sessions can complete an online survey at https://tpsb.ca/consultations-and-publications/chief, which will be posted as of March 29 and available until May 13, or provide a written submission to [email protected]
11. City Hall Live Returns with Online Weekly Performances
The City of Toronto, in partnership with Unison Benevolent Fund and Happin, is re-launching City Hall Live Spotlight (CHLS), a weekly livestreamed concert series, as part of ShowLoveTO, to support the local music industry and provide Toronto residents with music experiences at home. Residents are encouraged to make a night of it by ordering in their favourite food and settling in for a concert in the comfort of their home.
The series will feature professionally-produced livestreamed videos of Toronto musicians performing at shuttered music venues and other music-related businesses around the city. Each performance will be accompanied by a brief introduction to the location and its role in Toronto’s music industry.
CHLS kicks off March 18 at 7:30 p.m. online from the Phoenix Concert Theatre and is scheduled to run weekly through June 2021. The first performance of the series will feature Colombian-Canadian artist Lido Pimienta, a Grammy Award nominee for her 2020 album Miss Colombia and winner of the 2017 Polaris Music Prize for her album La Papessa.
12. 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 impacts of COVID-19 on Toronto businesses. Learn about the current health situation, changes to City services, resources, and economic support.
Upcoming free webinars:
Social Media for Your Business
Tuesday, March 23, 10 to 11:30 a.m. – Register
All Provincial Grants – Information Webinar
Wednesday, March 24, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. – Register
13. 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.
14. 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
Call if you develop symptoms.
Toronto Public Health Hotline
8:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Call if you have questions about COVID-19.
Email: [email protected]
Outside City limits: 416-392-2489
Call if you have questions about City services.