Message from Gord – May 28, 2020

Posted on May 28, 2020

Today, we held our second virtual City Council meeting where we voted to approve the installation of approximately 25 kilometres of new bikeways, along with the final approval and acceleration of 15-kilometres of cycling routes previously planned for this year, for a total of approximately 40 kilometres of on-street cycling lanes approved for accelerated installation in 2020.

Part of the approved project is the Bloor West Bikeway Extension which will extend the existing Bloor bike lanes westward from Shaw Street to Runnymede Road. This bike lane will also connect to the West End Rail Path and High Park. It is a great achievement for our City. Thank you to all the community members and advocates for your hard work in making this happen.

Starting Monday, June 1, drop boxes at all accessible Toronto Library branches will open to accept returns. Library members can continue to place holds online, through the TPL website at www.torontopubliclibrary.ca, and will then be able to pick up their materials through a curbside pick-up service which will be available in early June.

The reopening framework provided by the Province of Ontario and the advice of the Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health and the Toronto Medical Officer of Health, will be incorporated to ensure best practices within libraries as well as for the safe delivery of curbside service. The suspension of fines implemented when the pandemic began will continue until regular service resumes.

While the City works to ensure services and businesses are safely reopened, the transition has not and will not be easy. At this time, I urge you to continue following Public Health advice and practice physical distancing whenever possible to do so and wear a mask when unable to practice physical distancing.

For the most updated information from the City, visit www.toronto.ca/covid-19  .

Sincerely,

Gord

My Virtual Town Hall is happening June 2nd, 7pm. Send in your comments!

Posted on May 28, 2020

While our city, along with the rest of the world, faces this difficult time, I have been comforted by the outpouring of help and support our Parkdale – High Park community has shared with each other. Seeing residents provide a helping hand to their neighbours, supporting our local restaurants and businesses, and donate meals to our health care workers has been heartwarming. I feel it is more important than ever that we come together, not only to get through this pandemic, but to rebuild a stronger, more just society for all residents of Toronto.

Next Tuesday,  June 2nd I will be hosting a Facebook Live Town Hall at 7:00 pm to discuss both the current recovery efforts, and what we as a society can do moving forward. I would love to hear your thoughts, ideas, and questions. As this will be our first virtual Town Hall, I am sure there will be some bumps in the road, but by working together our community can take an active role defining what type of city emerges from the recovery effort.

To help start the process, please email a question with the subject line, “Town Hall” in advance to ward04@toronto.ca or by replying to this email. Please include your name, and what neighbourhood you live in. I hope to see you on Tuesday, June 2 at facebook.com/GordPerks

Those that do not have facebook accounts can still view the live video by visiting facebook.com/GordPerks. Please provide your questions and comments in advance.

My comments at Council on the Housing Now Initiative – May 28, 2020

Posted on May 28, 2020

Today, Toronto City Council approved the second phase of Housing Now. Here are my comments on the importance of socially owned housing.

 

 

Junction Farmers Market is Online! Starts May 30th

Posted on May 28, 2020

Your favourite JFM vendors will have pre-packaged market boxes in various sizes and price points. Find the list of vendors and items on their website https://www.localline.ca/junction-farmers-market. Their ordering window opens at 5 pm every Saturday and closes at 11:59 pm every Wednesday for the following Saturday pick-up – so make sure to plan in advance!

For their first market on May 30th, ordering will open at 5 pm on Saturday May 23rd and close on Wednesday May 27th at 11:59 pm.

To ensure proper social distancing protocols are followed, you’ll choose a pick-up time between 9 am and 1 pm on Saturday to collect your market goodies. If you have a CSA with one of our market vendors, you can also pick this up at the same time.

Voucher Program

For those that wish to support the program, they are working on adding an opportunity to donate a market box through their virtual store, which will be distributed in the community. In the meantime, you can donate to the program through our website’s donation page: https://junctionmarket.ca/donation/

“We’re all in this together!”

TTC Safety Measures

Posted on May 28, 2020

The document below is an overview of measures TTC continues to take to keep riders safe and well informed.

High Park Stewards Presents Weird and Wonderful Plants

Posted on May 28, 2020

SUNDAY, JUNE 14, 10:30 am to 12:30 pm

WEIRD AND WONDERFUL PLANTS

Heather Jerrard shows us interesting plant specimens, gardening tips and tricks and combinations for low maintenance outdoor spaces.

You’re invited to attend this special, online presentation about interesting plant specimens, conversation starters in the garden, natives, edibles, and planting combinations for outdoor spaces combined with some tips and tricks for keeping a low-maintenance landscape.

More people are asking about growing food, planting edibles, incorporating natives and dual-purpose plantings into their landscape. All of these topics and more will be discussed.

Heather Jerrard, is a landscape professional in London, Ontario. Having worked with Landscape Ontario in Milton, Rural Roots Landscaping in Lambeth and TLC Landscaping Design & Pools in London as well as graduating from the Landscape Design program at Fanshawe College. 

Register here to get your link to join the meeting.

Let’s grow together!

Message from Gord – May 21, 2020

Posted on May 21, 2020

While our city, along with the rest of the world, faces this difficult time, I have been comforted by the outpouring of help and support our Parkdale – High Park community has shared with each other. Seeing residents provide a helping hand to their neighbours, supporting our local restaurants and businesses, and donate meals to our health care workers has been heartwarming. I feel it is more important than ever that we come together, not only to get through this pandemic, but to rebuild a stronger, more just society for all residents of Toronto.

Next Thursday,  May 28 I will be hosting a Facebook Live Town Hall at 7:00 pm to discuss both the current recovery efforts, and what we as a society can do moving forward. I would love to hear your thoughts, ideas, and questions. As this will be our first virtual Town Hall, I am sure there will be some bumps in the road, but by working together our community can take an active role defining what type of city emerges from the recovery effort.

To help start the process, please email a question with the subject line, “Town Hall” in advance to ward04@toronto.ca, including your name, and what neighbourhood you live in. I hope to see you on Thursday, May 28 at facebook.com/GordPerks.

Following the Province of Ontario’s amendments to an order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, the City has lifted some restrictions related to vehicle access into High Park. On weekdays (Monday through Friday) vehicle access into the park will again be permitted. However, as part of Active TO, on weekends (Saturdays and Sundays), High Park will only be accessible to foot traffic to allow for physical distancing.

The City is opening over 850 park amenities and expanding ActiveTO major road closures this weekend.

Along with these measures and the weather warming up, more people will be outdoors. I urge you to continue staying two metres apart and where physical distancing can absolutely not be maintained, wear face masks or face coverings in public.

Continue visiting toronto.ca/covid-19 for the most up-to-date information from the City.

Gord

Over 850 park amenities to open this week

Posted on May 21, 2020

Following the Province of Ontario’s amendments to an order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, the City will open more than 850 park amenities this week.

The City moved quickly Tuesday to open more than 70 off-leash dog parks across Toronto.

Five BMX locations, 14 skateboard parks and four disc golf locations opened yesterday. Many parks’ parking lots will also reopen this week at parks across the city.

Park amenities scheduled to open in time for this upcoming weekend include:
• picnic shelters
• more than 300 soccer and multi-use outdoor fields
• more than 300 baseball diamonds and
• 150 basketball courts.

Staff are also preparing more than 600 tennis courts at 185 locations, to begin to open this weekend. The reopening of parks amenities will continue into next week, as staff work with Toronto Public Health to open lawn bowling facilities and outdoor bocce.

Permits for soccer, multi-use fields and baseball diamonds continue to be cancelled until June 29. Individuals may use outdoor sports facilities and multi-use fields for non-team sports, such as walking, running, biking, skateboarding, frisbee, kicking a ball, and low contact racquet sports like tennis, badminton, pickleball and ping pong. Individuals are not permitted to play team sports, such as soccer or baseball, even on fields intended for this purpose unless they are members of the same household.

Park amenities that continue to be closed include playgrounds, outdoor exercise equipment, swimming pools and splash pads. Greenhouses, nurseries and conservatories, High Park Zoo and Riverdale Farm also remain closed. Waterfront parking lots will remain closed for the time being, and High Park will continue to be closed to traffic on the weekends.

While visiting a park, people must continue to practise physical distancing. Signage is being installed at open park amenity areas to remind users of the importance of physical distancing to help stop the spread of COVID-19 to protect the safety and well-being of all residents. People must always stay two metres (six feet) apart while visiting the City’s parks. If a resident arrives at an amenity that is crowded, they are advised to wait until there is enough space to physically distance or return at another time.

The City’s COVID-19 Enforcement Team will continue monitoring popular parks across the city to ensure residents are practising physical distancing. Enforcement of the City’s physical distancing bylaw and the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act orders is ongoing.

Residents are encouraged to use the self-assessment tool on the Ontario Ministry of Health website for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 before heading out to use a park amenity. It is available at covid-19.ontario.ca/self-assessment. If residents do not pass the assessment, they should remain at home and not use park amenities.

Parts of Lake Shore Blvd to be closed May 23 & 24 for ActiveTO

Posted on May 21, 2020

City of Toronto will expand its ActiveTO major road closures footprint this weekend to provide residents with more space to physically distance while outdoors and getting exercise, while helping stop the spread of COVID-19. Vehicle access on parts of more major roads will be closed for walking, running and biking this Saturday and Sunday.

The following three major road closures are planned this weekend from Saturday, May 23 at 6 a.m. until Sunday, May 24 at 11 p.m.:

• Lake Shore Boulevard West (eastbound lanes only) from Windermere Avenue to Stadium Road. The eastbound Gardiner Expressway off ramp to Lake Shore Boulevard West (exit #146) will also be closed
• Lake Shore Boulevard East (eastbound lanes only) from Coxwell Avenue to just south of Woodbine Avenue (Kew Beach Avenue)
• Bayview Avenue from Mill Street to Rosedale Valley Road, and River Street from Gerrard Street East to Bayview Avenue.

The City will actively manage traffic during these closures through signal timing adjustments on adjacent routes, as well as roadway signage to alert drivers. Motorists who normally travel these roads on weekends should plan alternate routes. Those expecting to use the major road closures to cycle, run or walk should access them by bike or as a pedestrian, since nearby parking is limited and site parking is not provided.

When finalizing ActiveTO major road closures, special consideration is given to traffic impacts of planned construction, such as the work happening this weekend at Lake Shore Boulevard East and Lower Jarvis Street, and the annual spring maintenance closure of the Gardiner Expressway planned for the following weekend.

Major road closures are installed adjacent to City trails to make space for people, alleviate weekend and holiday crowding, and ensure there is room to be physically active and support physical distancing. These closures will happen on a trial basis and staff will monitor nearby routes and adjust the closures as necessary.

Along with the major road closures, ActiveTO includes a plan for 57 kilometres of Quiet Streets across the city.

Work on installing and planning Quiet Streets on neighbourhood roads is continuing. Quiet Streets are neighbourhood streets where traffic calming measures, such as signage and temporary barricades, are placed at intersections to encourage slow, local vehicle access only so that the roadway can be a shared space that also welcomes people who walk, run and bike. Parking and drop off areas are not impacted, and City services, such as waste collection and emergency access, continue as normal.

The ActiveTO program was developed by Toronto Public Health and Transportation Services to provide more space for people to be physically active and improve physical distancing as part of the City’s restart and recovery in the wake of COVID-19. At the April 30 Council meeting, staff were requested to look at more active transportation as a crucial part of the restart and recovery and in anticipation of changes in traffic patterns in the coming weeks and months.

While the City of Toronto remains focused on fighting COVID-19 and continuing to provide the essential and critical services that residents and businesses rely on, the City is also looking ahead to the restart and recovery period.

Work and planning continue on cycling network expansion and Council-approved cycling project acceleration. Details on this as part of ActiveTO will be provided in the coming weeks.

More information and details about ActiveTO are available at toronto.ca/activeTO

A Message from Gord – May 14, 2020

Posted on May 14, 2020

The City launched ShopHERE, a program to help Toronto independent businesses and artists open a free online store to minimize the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The online store will be built and launched for free in just a matter of days. Hands-on support will be provided throughout the entire process from volunteer website developers and marketing and business students.

Toronto independent businesses and artists can sign up for their free online store at digitalmainstreet.ca/shophere.

For those who are home and looking for new challenges, the new City of Toronto Stay, Play and Learn At Home webpage, has a list of free virtual programming and activities to help residents stay active, stay engaged, have fun and learn new things while practicing physical distancing or self-isolating at home. This includes dance, fitness, art activities, science, book clubs, live music, museum tours and so much more. There’s something in the listing for every age group. It includes links to virtual programs from EarlyON centres for children, as well as from Seniors Active Living Centres.

This past week, the Province announced funding for childcare centres to cover their fixed operating costs and waiving licencing application and renewal fees. While the City is supportive of the Provincial and the Federal government subsidies and benefits to small businesses and individuals, there has been no direct funding for municipalities.

Due to the pandemic, the City is losing $65 million a week in revenue and facing financial uncertainty. Years of tax cuts on the provincial and federal levels have been paid for by downloading services onto municipalities and made municipalities reliant on user fees. It’s the collapse of user-fee revenue that is will cause the collapse of municipally delivered services.

Community stakeholders, activists, governments and academics have been putting their mind to how we protect and grow our municipally delivered services to lead our City into a robust recovery.

To stay updated on the City’s response to COVID-19, visit toronto.ca/covid-19 .

Gord

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