COVID-19 and Ward 10 Updates - October 6th

Dear friends,

Last week, we reached a critical milestone in our fight against COVID-19: over 80% of eligible Torontonians are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (currently, 81.3% have both doses of vaccine, and 86.1% have one shot). This is a significant achievement for a major city, making Toronto a world leader when it comes to vaccination rates. 

But our work isn’t over yet. The next goal: reaching 90% vaccination coverage, which means connecting with the nearly 278,000 Torontonians who still aren't fully vaccinated. While there is a small, vocal minority of people who are trying to thwart these efforts, for many who don’t have both shots, it’s because real barriers remain. Our work in the coming days is to break these down by focusing on building trust through access, education, and direct engagement. 

I want to express my gratitude to every Torontonian who has stepped up and gotten vaccinated. Your commitment to protecting our city and community is how we have reached this latest milestone. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Joe


In this Edition

  1. City of Toronto launches VaxGiving to promote long weekend COVID-19 vaccination clinics 
  2. City Council Updates
  3. St. Patrick’s Market and Grange Precinct Plan Virtual Townhall
  4. The Wellington Destructor Community Update Meeting
  5. Construction Noise Rules Return to Normal
  6. Virtual Open House: Ontario Line - Queen-Spadina Station
  7. Provincial Government Virtual Open Houses on Plans for Ontario Place
  8. Public Information Sessions: Updating Toronto's Growth Funding Tools
  9. Applications Are Now Open for MusiCounts’ Band Aid Program for Schools
  10. Fall Programming at The Bentway 
  11. Applications Now Open for PollinateTO Grants
  12. Become a Neighbourhood Climate Action Champion
  13. Celebrate Ravine Days from October 2 to 11
  14. Resources and Webinars for Small Businesses

1. City of Toronto's launches VaxGiving to promote long weekend COVID-19 vaccination clinics

This Thanksgiving weekend, get into the holiday spirit with VaxGiving: the City’s latest campaign to encourage residents to get vaccinated as soon as possible against COVID-19. From October 9 to 11, vaccination clinics are being held across the city at TTC stations, malls, schools, community centres, and libraries. 

The campaign also includes a late night pop-up vaccination clinic in St. Jamestown that will run from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. for the city’s night owls. A full list of locations is available on the City’s COVID-19: How to Get Vaccinated webpage: COVID-19: How to Get Vaccinated – City of Toronto

Residents planning to celebrate Thanksgiving with friends and family are also reminded that COVID-19 continues to circulate in our community, including the highly-transmissible Delta variant. Speaking recently, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa counselled all Torontonians to choose carefully and selectively when it comes to getting together and celebrating this Thanksgiving weekend. 

Tips on how to stay safe are available on the City’s COVID-19: Reduce Virus Spread Guide: www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/covid-19-financial-social-support-for-people/covid-19-reduce-virus-spread/


2. City Council Updates

This month, City Council resumed its virtual meetings after a brief summer recess. Below are highlights of some key items:

Council Extends Mask Bylaw into 2022 

Following the recommendations of our Medical Officer of Health, Council approved the extension of the City of Toronto’s temporary mask bylaws and the COVID-19 amendments to residential apartment buildings until Council’s January 2022 meeting. 

COVID-19 continues to circulate in Toronto, predominantly as the Delta variant. The variant is more than twice as transmissible as the original virus. Ensuring people are properly wearing masks or face coverings in public spaces is crucial to stopping the spread of COVID-19.

The COVID-19 amendments to Chapter 354, Apartment Buildings also require COVID-19 specific measures be taken in apartment buildings, including mandatory hand hygiene stations or hand sanitizer in common areas, closing non-essential common areas consistent with provincial restrictions, increasing cleaning and posting Toronto Public Health signage. 

City Council approves first Black Food Sovereignty Plan

Everyone in our city should be able to access healthy, affordable and culturally-appropriate food. Systemic anti-Black racism and inequity mean that Black families are 3.5 times more likely to face food insecurity than white families. We cannot allow this to continue.

City Council has now approved Toronto's first Black Food Sovereignty Plan. The Plan is committed to supporting Black-led initiatives and building Black food sovereignty infrastructure, in order to tackle systemic inequities and address the key determinants of health. You can access the full Plan here

Vote on Rooming House Legalization Pushed to 2022 

On Monday, Council considered a proposal for legalizing and licensing rooming houses across our city. Rooming houses are an important source of affordable housing for many people on limited incomes. This proposal to increase the safety and accessibility of rooming houses is long overdue. 

Licensed rooming houses are currently allowed to operate in areas that include the former cities of Toronto, York, and Etobicoke. They are not permitted in other areas due to fragmented zoning and licensing bylaws that have not been updated since amalgamation in 1998. Despite this, people continue to operate unlicensed rooming houses in these areas, which can result in inadequate and unsafe living conditions for tenants.

Unfortunately, in a 17-8 vote, Council opted instead to request staff undertake additional work on the proposal, including further public consultation. I am disappointed in this outcome, as the right thing to do is to approve the framework which has already been years in the making and put tenants’ protection first. Legalizing rooming houses and ensuring that they are safe is part of building an inclusive city. 


3. St. Patrick’s Market and Grange Precinct Plan – Virtual Townhall

As our downtown grows, it is vitally important that our publicly-owned properties and buildings are used to provide the vital services and facilities that our vibrant and dense communities need. For the last few years, I have been working to ensure that the historic St. Patrick's Market in the heart of downtown Toronto is returned to public control, for public benefit.

Situated on bustling Queen West, St. Patrick's Market is a heritage structure visible in the backdrop of television programs broadcast across Canada, due to the iconic 299 Queen Street West located just across the street. Bequeathed to the City of Toronto in 1837 to become a public market benefitting the residents of Toronto, St. Patrick's Market has the potential to be a local gem and key destination spot.

The City of Toronto is now proposing changes for St. Patrick’s Market to better meet the current needs in the community, including:

  • Animating the space on an interim basis
  • Developing a process to determine the optimal long-term use of the space
  • Providing services to the community

Join us for a virtual townhall to learn more about the proposed changes for St. Patrick’s Market and the Grange Precinct Plan, and provide your feedback:

Thursday, October 14, 2021
7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
Register here
View event flyer


4. The Wellington Destructor Community Update Meeting

The Wellington Destructor is a landmark heritage building near Bathurst Street and Wellington Street West. It was built in 1925 as a garbage incinerator, and has sat vacant since the 1980s. 

We now have a tremendous opportunity to finally revitalize the City-owned Wellington Destructor building and lands to become a dynamic hub for the rapidly growing community of residents, workers, and visitors around it, and a destination for all Torontonians.

Since the previous community meeting, CreateTO has led a procurement process to secure a Head Lessee for a long-term lease of the Wellington Destructor. Join us for a community update meeting to learn more about next steps for this project:

Monday, October 18, 2021
7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
Click here to learn how to join


5. Construction Noise Rules Return to Normal 

Early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, the Province of Ontario replaced the City of Toronto’s noise bylaw with an emergency regulation permitting extended hours of construction noise. These regulations finally expire at the end of the day today (October 6), which I know will be a welcome change for many residents.

Beginning tomorrow, October 7, the City of Toronto Noise Bylaw is in effect. Construction will not be permitted outside of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday, before 9 a.m. on Saturdays, or all day Sundays and statutory holidays.


6. Virtual Open House: Ontario Line - Queen-Spadina Station

Infrastructure Ontario is holding virtual open houses for their “Transit Oriented Communities” development proposals, located at Ontario Line stations downtown. 

The open house for Queen-Spadina Station will be held today, October 6, 6:30 p.m.

Click here to learn more and to register online.


7. Provincial Government Virtual Information Sessions on Plans for Ontario Place

The Ontario government has announced two virtual information sessions regarding their plans for Ontario Place. 

  • Wednesday, October 13, 5:00 p.m., online.
  • Wednesday, October 27, 6:30 p.m., online.

See my update here for more details and the link to pre-register.


8. Public Information Sessions: Updating Toronto's Growth Funding Tools

Growth funding tools help new developments (or redevelopments) pay for the municipal services and infrastructure that support residents and businesses. With more than 3.65 million people projected to call Toronto home over the next 30 years, the City needs a plan to pay for our growth today and in the future. So as we grow, we’re investing in roads, transit, water and sewer systems, community centres, parks, housing, childcare and other municipal services and infrastructure.

Recently, the Ontario Government enacted through Bill 197 changes to how municipalities generate funding from development. 

As part of the engagement process, the City is running a series of public information sessions. The purpose of these sessions is to share information about the updated growth funding tools and the associated legislation, and to hear feedback from the public and other stakeholders:

Learn more at the project website: toronto.ca/growthfundingtools


9. Applications Are Now Open for MusiCounts’ Band Aid Program for Schools 

MusiCounts, the affiliated charity for the JUNO Awards, is focused on making music education inclusive, sustainable, and accessible for youth across Canada by providing musical instruments, equipment, and resources. One of MusiCounts' annual pillars is the Band Aid program, through which under-resourced schools can apply for grants of up to $15,000 that they can spend on musical instruments and equipment at their discretion.

Many schools have cut back on music programs in recent years – but MusiCounts' Band Aid program is a great way to re-energize music education at a local level and give young people an opportunity to get involved early. Educators, families, and schools can learn more about the program, and how to apply, here

Applications are open until November 25 (with an Early Bird Deadline of October 19). 


10. Fall Programming at The Bentway

Discover an array of exciting fall programming at The Bentway, including Pulse Topology, a stunning interactive light and sound art installation; new artwork by Artist in Residence Bekah Brown; and a call for applications for the Public Space Fellowship Program 2022

Click here for a full list of events.


11. Applications Now Open for PollinateTO Grants

The City of Toronto is now accepting applications for its PollinateTO Grants. Grants of up to $5,000 are available to support community-led initiatives that result in the creation or expansion of pollinator habitat on public and private lands in Toronto. A priority will be placed on funding projects in Toronto’s Neighbourhood Improvement Areas.

Projects eligible for funding include those that create new pollinator habitat in green spaces, such as schoolyards and parks, and those that expand existing gardens with pollinator-friendly plants. Projects to create pollinator pathways (multiple gardens on a residential street) are also eligible for funding. Projects must be visible to the public and educate and/or engage the community in some way.

Community groups, not-for-profit organizations, student groups, parent councils, Indigenous groups and other resident-led groups are encouraged to apply. Click here to learn more


12. Become a Neighbourhood Climate Action Champion

The City of Toronto is inviting residents and community leaders to help inspire local climate action by becoming a Neighbourhood Climate Action Champion.

Participants in the program will receive virtual training and support to empower them to support residents in developing innovative climate action projects that reflect the needs and values of their communities.

Participants must be willing to commit four to five hours per month (minimum 50 hours per year) to engaging with their community in developing and implementing neighbourhood-based projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Participants will receive an honorarium of $500. Click here to learn more.


13. Celebrate Ravine Days from October 2 to 11

The City of Toronto is holding Ravine Days from October 2 to 11, 2021. Enjoy 10 days of events throughout Toronto’s beautiful ravine network and learn more about Toronto’s Ravine Strategy.

Click here for the full list of events


14. Resources and Webinars for Small Businesses

An expanded slate of free webinars is being offered throughout October as the City of Toronto celebrates and supports Small Business Month. View the webinars available and register to participate.

For more updates, register 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.