COVID-19 and Ward 10 Updates - March 11th

Dear friends,

Today, we mark a tragic anniversary: it’s been one year since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. To the people in our city who have lost loved ones to this virus: my deepest sympathies. This is an immeasurable loss.

COVID has destabilized our lives, our communities, and our world. For those of us who have struggled with isolation, loneliness, and mental health this past year: you're not alone. You can call 2-1-1 any time to access support, or visit the City’s resources webpage. 

This pandemic has exposed and taken advantage of some deep inequities in our City. The connection between COVID and the social determinants of health have been clear. We cannot allow these disparities to continue.

After an incredibly difficult year, vaccines have brought us hope. But our fight isn't over yet. We still have to stay vigilant and continue to follow public health guidance, in order to keep ourselves and each other safe.

Now we have a chance to come out of this stronger. We can commit to a recovery that tackles poverty, inequality, and discrimination in our city. We can invest in a Toronto where everyone can access the supports they need to grow and thrive. We can build it together.

Sincerely, 

Joe


In this Edition

  1. Three City-run immunization clinics to open on March 17 for Torontonians age 80 and above
  2. City of Toronto Launches Community Mobilization Vaccine Campaign 
  3. Updates from Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health 
  4. COVID-19 Vaccine Webinar
  5. Waterfront Revitalization Updates
  6. St. Andrew's Playground Improvements – Construction to begin March 16
  7. Creating Affordable Housing and Cultural Animation at 15 Denison Avenue
  8. Ensuring Capital Project Coordination on Wellington Street West and Draper Street
  9. Creating New Public Spaces on Ossington Avenue
  10. Building Affordable Housing at 150 Queens Wharf Road in CityPlace – Survey
  11. Resources and Webinars for Small Businesses
  12. City of Toronto COVID-19 Vaccine Website
  13. COVID-19 Information and Resources

1. Three City-run immunization clinics to open on March 17 for Torontonians age 80 and above

Earlier this week, we announced that three of the City-operated mass immunization clinics will open on March 17, two weeks ahead of schedule. They'll offer vaccinations for people age 80 and older (born in 1941 or earlier). The three clinics are: 

  • Metro Toronto Convention Centre, 255 Front St. W.
  • Scarborough Town Centre, 300 Borough Dr.
  • Toronto Congress Centre, 650 Dixon Rd.

Starting this Friday, Torontonians age 80 and older can book appointments for one of the 133,000 appointment spots at these 3 clinics. To book an appointment, visit the registration link at: www.toronto.ca/covid-19 (available beginning on Friday). 

Residents will need to provide their provincial health card number, birthdate, postal code and email and/or mobile phone number. At the time of booking, residents will schedule their first vaccination appointment and an appointment to receive their second dose. More information on booking appointments at the City-run immunization clinics is available here

People who are 80 years of age and older can also continue to book an appointment for a COVID vaccination at a hospital or health care clinic by visiting the online registration system developed by the health care sector, or calling the call centre (1-888-385-1910). Some of the hospital clinics are also providing vaccinations to priority health care workers and Indigenous adults (age 16 and over). More information is available at www.vaccineto.ca 

Right now, vaccine supply remains limited. As soon as supply increases, the City of Toronto will open the other six CIty-run mass immunization sites. Once all nine sites are fully operational, the City has plans in place to increase the number of vaccines administered each month from 500,000 to nearly 1 million doses, as supply permits. 

City-operated immunization clinics are just one piece of the immunization plan for Toronto. Other immunization clinics will continue to be operated by hospitals, community partners, mobile clinic operations, and healthcare partners. At this time, the plan for clinics will include, as supply increases, the following: 

  • 49 planned vaccination clinics to be operated by hospitals and Ontario Health Teams 
  • 46 planned vaccination clinics to be operated by community health centres
  • 249 pharmacy clinics that will begin to operate with Provincial direction

Also this week, the Province of Ontario announced that beginning March 10, 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 the Province’s Pharmacy Pilot. 

If you are between the ages of 60 and 64 and would like to participate in the Pilot, you can book an appointment directly through a participating Pharmacy. To book an appointment, contact the Pharmacy directly. To find a participating Pharmacy near you, visit the Province’s webpage here. 

Alongside our Provincial, hospital, community, and health care partners, Toronto is undertaking the largest immunization campaign in our country's history. It's a Team Toronto effort designed to ensure that every resident in every corner of our city can access the vaccine.


2. City of Toronto Launches Community Mobilization Vaccine Campaign 

We know that COVID hasn't impacted everyone in our city equally. That's why our vaccine rollout must tackle inequities and ensure that every Torontonian has access to information and resources when it comes to vaccines. This is where our Community Engagement & Mobilization Plan comes in. 

Our Plan is rooted in equity, and founded on addressing the social determinants of health such as racism, income and food security, housing and accessibility. As part of our Plan, we're partnering with 140 local agencies to get the word out about vaccines and build trust across Toronto. This week, the $5.5 million call for proposals for partner community agencies to lead this work was released. 

These agencies will play a critical role in connecting with communities and residents on the ground, as we move towards Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the Province's framework and vaccine supply increases. This is about ensuring every resident, in every neighbourhood, can get a vaccine.

The lead agencies will partner with the City on door-to-door community outreach, multilingual communications to targeted populations, and facilitate access to vaccine clinics. They'll also be recruiting 280 local leaders to serve as neighbourhood vaccine ambassadors. You can read more about the call for proposals here. 


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 the real risk that we will begin to see an increase in COVID cases in the coming weeks, due to the rise in cases screening positive for variants of concern. She noted that so far, 2,327 cases in Toronto have screened positive for mutations.  The majority of confirmed variants continue to be the highly infectious B.1.1.7 variant, first identified in the UK. 

Dr. de Villa also noted that this week in Toronto, we have now passed a total of 100,000 COVID cases confirmed in our city since the beginning of the pandemic. Tragically, 2,699 people have died. 

With these realities in mind, Dr. de Villa noted that we must continue to stay home as much as possible, and, when we do leave the house, to wear a mask and to practice physical distancing. This will help us combat the increases we're seeing in variants of concern, and will help us to protect those who are not yet vaccinated.

Read Dr. de Villa's full update here.


4. COVID-19 Vaccine Webinar

Join me, MPP Chris Glover, and MP Adam Vaughan on March 15th at 12 pm, for a webinar where we address the most frequently asked questions about the COVID vaccine rollout. 

Click here to submit your questions and register.


5. Waterfront Revitalization Updates

Marine Use Strategy Released

Toronto's Harbour is one of our most cherished resources. It provides a mix of active and diverse uses, including recreational boating, water-based transportation, tour boats, and industrial shipping. This dynamic and busy area requires good planning to maintain a balance of uses as waterfront revitalization progresses.

Waterfront Toronto, in collaboration with the City of Toronto, the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, and Ports Toronto has finalized an updated Marine Use Strategy to align with current trends in marine uses, and to determine priorities for new initiatives. Developed after a year and a half of planning and public consultation, it is a roadmap for how we can celebrate and experience the full potential of our harbour.

Click here to read the full Marine Use Strategy Update

New Parliament Slip Revitalization

In addition to these implementation phases, Waterfront Toronto is announcing plans to advance several of the recommendations in the report through the revitalization of Parliament Slip, at the foot of Parliament Street and Lake Ontario, into a dynamic new destination on the waterfront.

The plan envisions Parliament Slip as an exciting experience on the water for all types of marine activity. New kayak and canoe launches, lakeside pools and open water swimming opportunities, a floating restaurant, new mooring facilities with charging stations for electric marine craft, and a waterfront amphitheatre for people to enjoy views of the harbour activity are all included in a new public space based on the iconic wavedeck design.

The new Parliament Slip will compliment other public facilities and spaces such as the East Bayfront recreation centre and the future park next to the Victory Soya Silos. It will also integrate into the new Quayside project. Taken together, these new spaces will create an all season public destination, reorienting the city to the waterfront.

Click here to read the full Parliament Slip update.

Quayside Project Moves Ahead with Request For Qualifications for Development Partner

Quayside is a central project in Waterfront Toronto’s mission to revitalize and reclaim our city’s waterfront. Since day one, our objective with Quayside has been to develop a new model for how we can build a 21st century neighbourhood – one that is truly affordable, liveable, and sustainable. It is critical that we get it right.

Yesterday Waterfront Toronto launched an international competition to secure a development partner for the Quayside lands. The first step in this effort is to issue a Request for Qualifications (RFQ), to identify potential development proponents with the necessary experience, design portfolio, financial resources, and shared vision necessary to bring Quayside to reality.

A shortlist of proponents will be invited to submit their plans through a Request for Proposals (RFP) to be issued this summer. A development partner is expected to be in place before the end of 2021.

Quayside represents the next important step towards waterfront revitalization. Quayside also represents an opportunity – an opportunity to build a neighbourhood that serves everyone, while addressing the urban challenges of housing affordability, active transportation, and climate change.

Click here to read the full Quayside update.

Working to Secure Provincial Funding for New Schools Needed in Waterfront Communities

Toronto's Central Waterfront area from Exhibition Place to the Port Lands is experiencing rapid growth. The population has seen an increase of 53% from the 2016 Census population of 25,380 to 39,000 today, with approximately 27,000 residential units in the development pipeline. 

The only public elementary school facility that exists in the Central Waterfront today is the Waterfront School, a small facility accommodating roughly 250 students and serving the Bathurst Quay neighbourhood in the western part of the Central Waterfront. The deficit in school facilities is especially acute in the emerging precincts east of Yonge Street to the Don River, which include Lower Yonge, East Bayfront, Keating Channel (West) and West Don Lands.

The City has secured lands and space for required school facilities in these Precincts through the planning process, with landowners awaiting decisions on funding commitments.

Yesterday, Council approved my motion to request that the Province identify the status and timing of provincial funding commitments for schools in the new waterfront communities.


6. St. Andrew's Playground Improvements – Construction to begin March 16

The City is investing in improvements to St. Andrew’s Playground Park at 450 Adelaide Street West. Improvements include updated amenities and programming, increased connectivity to the surrounding area, and an expansion of the park to include the parking lot on the western edge of the site. Construction of St. Andrew's Playground will begin Tuesday, March 16.

City staff anticipate 6-7 months of work, with the park tentatively opening in Fall 2021. Staff will provide monthly updates through the construction period. More information, including the final concept plan, can be found on the project website here.


7. Creating Affordable Housing and Cultural Animation at 15 Denison Avenue

In July 2018, City Council approved my Motion for City staff to explore affordable housing and cultural animation opportunities for 15 Denison Avenue, as an independent and/or joint development opportunity. 

The effects of COVID-19 have underscored the depth of the affordable housing crisis in Toronto and intensified the serious challenges that were already facing the arts and culture in our city. We must move more quickly to build new affordable housing and support cultural work at 15 Denison Avenue, and yesterday Council approved my motion to accelerate this project


8. Ensuring Capital Project Coordination on Wellington Street West and Draper Street

There are currently multiple active developments along Wellington Street, including "The Well" on the former Globe and Mail lands. As a condition of this development approval, landscape architect Claude Cormier designed a streetscape for the southern boulevard of Wellington Street that will be implemented by the developer adjacent to their property, and extended east to Spadina Avenue and west to Draper Street. A new public park on Draper Street, also designed by Claude Cormier, is under construction as well.

In the coming years, there are multiple City-led infrastructure projects in this area, including: replacement of the century-old water pipes on Wellington Street and Draper Street (2024); on-street cycling infrastructure on Wellington Street (2022); implementation of the Wellington north-side boulevard public realm enhancements; implementation of the remainder of the south-side of the boulevard, west of Draper Street; full road reconstruction of Draper Street (2024); and the design and construction of a new City park at 456 Wellington Street West. 

In order to minimize the potential for extended construction impacts, duplicated work, or missed opportunities, it is necessary that the City of Toronto proactively coordinate these infrastructure projects. Yesterday, City Council approved my motion to ensure proactive construction coordination and high quality design for this upcoming infrastructure work and streetscape improvements.


9. Creating New Public Spaces on Ossington Avenue

The Ossington Business Improvement Area (Ossington BIA) and the City of Toronto will be creating new public spaces on City-owned land at two flankages along Ossington Avenue, including at Argyle Avenue, and Foxley Avenue. The locations were identified as areas for improvement in the BIA's Streetscape Master Plan.  

Each of these new public spaces will have seating, plantings, trees, and public art, and will incorporate green standards and high quality surface treatment. The parkettes will complement one another, thereby visually unifying the BIA. 

City Council approved my motion to allocate funds from local developments to ensure the project can move ahead as soon as possible.


10. Building Affordable Housing at 150 Queens Wharf Road in CityPlace – Survey

We can't tackle Toronto's housing crisis without creating more housing options that people of all incomes can afford. A range of urgent initiatives is needed to address the many dimensions of this crisis – which is intertwined with poverty and inequality – including adequate emergency shelter capacity, supportive housing, rent-geared-to-income housing, and purpose-built market rental housing.

Thanks to everyone who joined the public meeting on Monday. If you weren’t able to join, you can view the recording here

You can submit your feedback by completing the survey here until March 26th.

Learn more on the project webpage here


11. 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:

Ask the Expert: Marketing and Sales
Friday, March 12, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. – Register

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

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


12. 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. 


13. 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