The Cressy Courier Feb 9- Supporting Local Business, New Shelter at 348 Davenport, and More!

Dear friend, 

As you’ve heard me say before, a city that is truly liveable must be a city for all - affordable for all, a city that builds the parks and services people need, that takes care of its most vulnerable, and a city that supports arts and culture.

A critical component of a liveable city that has been under threat in recent years is the viability of small business and our vibrant main streets. I grew-up in the Annex, shopping and eating along Bloor Street. In recent years rising property values and the corresponding increase in provincially-regulated tax assessments are driving small businesses out of city.  

Over the last year, I have heard from many small businesses in our community that increasing economic pressures in many neighbourhoods are making it more and more difficult for small and independent businesses to survive. From local grocers and raw food vendors in Kensington Market, to restaurants across our Ward, many have been sounding the alarm regarding the impact large and unexpected property tax increases can have on their ability to stay afloat.

After working closely with City Finance staff to try and find solutions to the growing problem, I am delighted that City Council approved their recommendation to cap annual tax increases on commercial properties as an effort to support local business across our city. The approved policy will now allow for a maximum possible increase of 10% of the prior year’s taxes on an annual basis - rather than an undetermined, and often prohibitive amount, for some businesses.

Progressive taxation is a critical part of how our city funds and supports the services we all rely on. At the same time, our taxation system should be fair for all, including the local business that make our communities and economy thrive.

Below you’ll find important updates on new services and supports for those experiencing homelessness in our city, park revitalizations and more.

Take care,


New Shelter at 348 Davenport - Community Open House

Two weeks ago, I joined with members of our community, including the Rt. Hon. Adrienne Clarkson, Margaret Atwood and the Annex Residents' Association, to announce new permanent shelter beds coming to 348 Davenport Road. On February 15th, please join me at a community open house to help welcome the new shelter to our neighbourhood.

The open house is an opportunity to learn about the current and proposed programming at 348 Davenport, the City's new shelter service model, and ways the community can welcome and support the shelter.

What: 348 Davenport Shelter - Community Open House
When: Thursday February 15th, 6-8:30pm
Where: Church of the Messiah, 240 Avenue Road (at Dupont)

As part of the city's efforts to address growing homelessness, a new permanent shelter site will be opened at 348 Davenport Road - a site recently acquired by the City for this purpose - in the Annex. The site will be renovated for accessibility over the coming months, during which time city staff will design the program to ensure that it meets the standards set out in the city's new shelter model. This includes integrating health supports and wrap-around support services like housing, employment, and case management. It will also include engaging residents, community organizations, and businesses to identify ways the local community can come together and support people staying at the shelter.

From now until April, the site will operate as a winter respite centre, to provide drop-in support for those seeking shelter from the cold. This is part of the city's response to the critical demand on the shelter system this winter, exacerbated by the extreme cold.

The afternoon of the initial announcement, my office also distributed a letter to the community with more information, which you can find here.

I grew-up in the Annex. Our neighbourhood is, and always has been, an inclusive community. I look forward to working with the community to welcome our new neighbours.

Glasgow Street Improvements - Parkette, Streetscape, and Cecil Community Centre

I am thrilled to unveil plans for the revitalization of Glasgow Street parkette, streetscape improvements, and new landscape work at the Cecil Community Centre.

Improvements to this underutilized green space will allow the community centre to activate the parkette with programming, and the enhanced lighting and streetscape improvements will encourage more visitors to the space.

Thanks to all of the community members who attended the public meetings to contribute to the design of the parkette, and to City of Toronto Parks staff for all their work on this project.

View the streetscape and parkette design here.

Annex Residents’ Association Skating Party!

Now that the skating rink is in full swing in Jean Sibelius Park, the Annex Residents’ Association is hosting a Neighbourhood Skating Party, with free cookies and hot chocolate! (conditional on bringing your own mug). Come on out on February 25th from 1-4pm - dress warm! Download the event flyer here.

New Waterfront Parks and Public Spaces

It was great to see so many new and familiar faces at the public meeting on January 22 at Harbourfront Centre to discuss the exciting opportunities for two parcels of underused public land on our waterfront: the surface parking lot at 318 Queens Quay (by Rees Street) and the land beneath the former York Street loop off-ramp. If you weren't able to join us, or if you have any additional comments that you want to share, please check out our online survey "How to Make a Great Park."

This meeting was just the first step toward making these two new spaces spectacular, unique and full of new year-round experiences. To sign up for e-mail updates about future public meetings and other opportunities to stay engaged, please email [email protected].

Central Tech Stadium - Community Hours

The Central Tech Stadium holds regular community hours, as part of the settlement reached in 2015 at the Ontario Municipal Board. These are hours where the stadium is open to the community to use, outside of school hours, free of charge. The track is also available for community use at different times of the day, outside of school hours.

Helpful community updates, including information on track availability are available on the Central Tech Stadium website here.

Public Meetings

348 Davenport Shelter - Community Open House
Thursday February 15th, 6:00-8:30pm
Church of the Messiah, 240 Avenue Road (at Dupont)

This open house is an opportunity to learn about the current and proposed programming at 348 Davenport, the City's new shelter service model, and ways the community can welcome and support the shelter.

OCAD University Creative City Campus- Community Meeting
Tuesday February 20th 2018, 6:00pm
100 McCaul St. Lambert Lounge Rm 187

You are invited to attend a community meeting to discuss the OCAD University Creative City Campus project, which will reimagine the main campus on McCaul Street.

64 Prince Arthur Development Meeting
Wednesday, February 21 2018, 6:30pm–8:30pm
InterContinental Toronto Yorkville, Barclay Room

ADI Developments have applied for and appealed to the OMB an application for a 29-storey building on their site. I have expressed my opposition to their application, as they not only applied and appealed without adequately consulting with the community, but did so after their previous 17-storey proposal was met with concern. This meeting is being organized solely by ADI, as they have proceeded with an OMB appeal, rather than commit to consulting with the community in good faith. I would encourage residents to attend on the evening of February 21st and provide feedback directly to ADI.View the meeting flyer here.

400 Front St W and 49 Spadina Ave- Community Consultations
Wednesday February 28, 2018, 6:30 pm
Metro Hall (55 John St), Room 310

These two re-zoning applications south and east of Clarence Square Park are proposing, together, to building four residential towers and one commercial tower. They have both been appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). I have organized this public meeting with City Planning staff to ensure that you have an opportunity to ask questions and give your comments in advance of the Board hearings.  


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Constituency Hours!

A reminder that I hold constituency hours every Friday at the Scadding Court Community Centre (707 Dundas St. West).

Please call 416-392-4044 or email [email protected] for an appointment.