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 email@example.com, 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.
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.
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