My comments regarding Bill 184 at City Council

Posted on July 30, 2020

Bill 184 puts new onerous and unfair rules on tenants who are fighting to keep their homes. City staff have identified a number of concerns with this Bill and provided proposed changes for consideration. Yesterday, Council adopted my motion to direct the City Solicitor to commence a challenge to those amendments on the grounds that they are contrary to rules of procedural fairness and natural justice. My comments at City Council as I introduced this motion is available below.

Ellis Bike Lane Update

Posted on July 30, 2020

After years of advocacy by local residents we are excited to announce that bike lanes have been installed on Ellis Avenue between Queensway and Lake Shore Blvd. This includes permanently closing the Southbound Right-Turn channel at Lake Shore Blvd. The channel has been be closed with 2 concrete barriers which have been covered by art by local stART artists, Anya Mielniczek, Leyland Adams and Andre Kan.

City of Toronto preparing residents and businesses for Stage 3 reopening on Friday

Posted on July 30, 2020

The City of Toronto is preparing to oversee the safe restart of more businesses and services following today’s Province of Ontario announcement that Toronto can enter Stage 3 of the provincial reopening this Friday, July 31.

On July 13, the Province announced the implementation of Stage 3 of their “Reopening Ontario” framework for certain regions of Ontario that did not include the City of Toronto. Under the Stage 3 order and regulation made under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, nearly all businesses and public spaces can gradually reopen, with workplace safety and public health measures in place. With today’s announcement, Toronto will now move to Stage 3 later this week, five weeks after entering Stage 2.

As part of the Stage 3 reopening, as of Friday, July 31, Toronto residents are allowed to participate in expanded social gatherings and organized public events. Indoor gatherings of up to 50 people and outdoor gatherings of up to 100 people are now permitted. These gatherings remain subject to compliance with provincial physical distancing requirements of a two-metre distance from anyone outside your household or 10-person social circle. The City’s bylaws on physical distancing in City parks and squares remains in effect, as does the mandatory mask or face covering bylaw for indoor public spaces.

A number of City facilities and amenities will reopen in Stage 3, including the City’s more than 800 playgrounds and play structures, community and recreation centres, and libraries for all on-site services. City staff are now preparing for these additional openings, including inspecting and readying playgrounds and play structures. Following guidance from Toronto Public Health, outdoor playground equipment will not be sanitized. Updated signage with public health guidance will be posted.

Toronto Public Health encourages children to enjoy physical activity and play outdoors. Playing outside is fun, exciting, and important for healthy child development. Parents and guardians can help children stay safe from COVID-19 at playgrounds by:

  • Teaching children proper handwashing, avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands; and cover their cough
  • Monitoring yourself and your child for symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Staying home if you or your child is sick.
  • Bringing your own hand sanitizer, wipes, bottled water, sun screen and personal items
  • Keeping a two metre (six feet) distance from others, when possible
  • Wearing a mask or face covering when it is difficult to maintain physical distancing; do not apply a mask on children under the age of two
  • Washing hands before and after using outdoor playground

If a playground is busy, Toronto Public Health recommends finding another park or going back later. Toronto Public Health has created guidelines for parents and guardians PDF to help children play safely at reopened playgrounds.

Under the Province’s Stage 3 order, many businesses and facilities are able to reopen, subject to compliance with reopening conditions and implementing mandatory public health measures, including maintaining contact information for patrons in the event contact tracing is required, cleaning and disinfecting amenities, equipment and devices as is necessary to maintain sanitary conditions for patrons. Businesses and facilities able to reopen include:

  • Restaurants and bars are permitted to offer indoor dine-in service, provided that all patrons are seated when eating or drinking and that tables are separated by at least two metres or have plexiglass or other impermeable barriers separating them. City Council will be voting on additional measures recommended by Toronto Public Health today.
  • Sports facilities, subject to conditions that include team sports only be played without physical contact or modified to avoid physical contact and organized team sport leagues are limited to 50 players. The number of spectators attending sports facilities are limited to 50 spectators at an indoor facility and 100 spectators at an outdoor facility
  • Some recreational programs and services, including fitness, sports, and art and music classes
  • Recreational attractions and businesses (i.e. museums, zoos, arcades, bowling alleys, pool halls, some karaoke)
  • Live shows, performing arts and movie theatres together with a limit of no more than 50 people at an indoor cinema or performance venue and no more than 100 people at an outdoor cinema or performance venue. There is no attendance limit on the number of people who may attend a drive-in cinema
  • Personal service settings can now perform services tending to the face (i.e. facials, beard trims, eyelash extensions, etc.), subject to patrons continuing to wear a mask or face covering unless receiving services to the chin, mouth, or nose area
  • Tours and guide services subject to capacity limits of no more than 50 people for indoor tours and no more than 100 people for outdoor tours

The Province’s Stage 3 order sets capacity or occupant limits for businesses or facilities open to the public. Operators of businesses and facilities must limit the number of persons within the premises so that every member of the public is able to maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person unless the specific type of business or facility has a reopening condition that allows persons to be closer together.

Businesses or services deemed high-risk by the Province are not yet permitted to open. High-risk businesses and activities include:

  • Nightclubs, except when serving patrons food or beverages and carrying on business in the same manner as a restaurant or bar
  • Amusement parks and water parks
  • Buffet-style food services
  • Private karaoke rooms, unless installed with a plexiglass or other impermeable barrier to separate the performer from every other person in the enclosed space
  • Saunas, steam rooms, bath houses and oxygen bars
  • Table games at casinos and gaming establishments

Certain high-risk activities are also not permitted:

  • Dancing at restaurants and bars, other than by performers hired by the establishment following specific requirements
  • Overnight stays at camps for children
  • Team sports are not allowed to be practiced or played unless the sport has been modified to avoid physical contact between the players

Many programs put in place by the City during the pandemic will continue throughout Stage 3. ParksPlayTO will continue offering free drop-in and activity-based recreation programs to children at multiple locations across the city. Summer in the 6IX will continue to offer youth aged 13 and up opportunities to drop in, meet up with friends and participate in fun, themed activities.

Staff anticipate the continuation of ActiveTO road closures until at least the end of September, and possibly until demand falls due to cold weather. ActiveTO makes more room on neighbourhood streets and major roads so that people can maintain a physical distance while outside. It is a measured and data-driven approach to support essential trips, front-line workers and vulnerable road users. Quiet Streets – shared spaces designed to enable residents to maintain physical distancing within their communities as part of ActiveTO – is expected to remain in place until October or November. The ActiveTO expanded cycling network will be in place through the fall of 2021, after which staff will report to Council on the network’s future. The new bikeways support multimodal options for Stage 3 openings. Tweaks to the routes may be made as the situation evolves.

Under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, businesses and facilities that reopen to the public must continue to ensure, to the fullest extent possible, that customers and members of the public who visit the business or facility are able to maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from other persons. Under the City’s mask bylaw, all operators of indoor public spaces must post the required bylaw signage and have a mandatory mask or face covering policy requiring customers and employees to wear a mask while indoors. The bylaw includes exemptions for those who cannot wear a mask for medical reasons, children under the age of two, and other accommodations. The bylaw also permits the temporary removal of a mask or face covering when receiving services, having a meal, or engaging in athletic or fitness activity.

The City’s COVID-19 Enforcement Team continues to enforce provincial orders and municipal bylaws. The team’s focus remains on providing individuals and businesses with education leading to compliance. Enforcement officers from Municipal Licensing & Standards, Toronto Public Health, Toronto Police Service, and the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario are working together to address businesses that, despite widespread efforts to educate them on public health requirements to keep their customers and the public safe, continue to disobey provincial orders. In parks and on beaches, enforcement continues for physical distancing as well as public consumption of alcohol, bonfires, and nonpermitted use of barbecues and hibachi grills.

COVID-19 remains a risk in our community and no service can resume or space reopen without the proper public health measures in place. Led by Toronto Public Health and the Emergency Operations Centre, the City of Toronto has published a number of guidance documents for businesses and service providers to ensure they are operating with the safety of staff, customers, and the community as a priority. Businesses should locate and implement the guidance for their industry found online.

Residents can learn about what to expect and what is required as Toronto moves into the new normal and they begin to visit more establishments and take part in more activities at

The Province of Ontario’s reopening framework Opens in new window is available online.

The City’s website is updated daily with the latest health advice and information about City services, social supports and economic recovery measures. Check for answers to common questions before contacting the Toronto Public Health COVID-19 Hotline or 311.

City recommends next steps on the legacy of Dundas Street and other public assets

Posted on July 23, 2020

The City of Toronto is committed to addressing the legacy of Dundas Street and establishing a process to more broadly understand and respond to how systematic racism and discrimination are embedded in City assets, commemorative programs and naming policies.

In response to a petition in June calling for Dundas Street to be renamed, Mayor John Tory asked City Manager Chris Murray to form a working group, including the City’s Confronting Anti-Black Racism Unit and Indigenous Affairs Office, and to make immediate recommendations on next steps.

Today, the City of Toronto released a briefing note that concludes any decision to rename a major arterial road like Dundas requires careful consideration of its potential impacts and an equitable and inclusive public process that responds to the community at large, including Black and Indigenous communities, and addresses neighbourhood considerations as appropriate. The process should be coordinated across the City government to review the full range of Dundas-named assets and ensure consistent, coherent community consultation and communications.

The City Manager has committed to bringing forward a report to the Executive Committee meeting on September 23, 2020, and if passed City Council, that will:

  • Fully assess four options for responding to the Dundas Street petition (do nothing; retain the legal street names with additional interpretation and recognitions; retain the legal street names but rename those civic assets with Dundas in their name, except TTC; and rename the streets and other civic assets now carrying the Dundas name)
  • Estimate the costs that would be incurred by businesses, organizations, property owners, and residents with a street address on Dundas as well as any service or directory that maps or shows addresses (e.g., the PATH system)
  • For the renaming option, outline a community engagement strategy and change management process that simultaneously addresses in an integrated manner all civic assets with the Dundas name (streets, parks, TTC, Toronto Public Library, and Yonge-Dundas Square) by the end of 2021
  • Beyond Dundas Street, propose a framework to more broadly understand and respond to how systematic racism and discrimination are embedded in City assets, commemorative programs, and naming policies. This might ultimately touch all named City streets, parks and facilities, public monuments, and civic awards and honours, potentially leading to a variety of actions (e.g., renaming streets, removing monuments, revoking awards, or reinterpreting any of these)

This work is being done using existing City staff and resources.

Staff have begun assembling population and business data from a number of sources, including the 2016 Canadian Census and the 2019 Toronto Employment Survey. Key findings so far include:

  • 7,329 properties along Dundas
  • 102,466 residents and 48,975 dwellings along and immediately adjacent to Dundas
  • 2,095 business establishments with 25,426 employees along Dundas
  • 25+ Toronto businesses along Dundas Street with “Dundas” in their name

The petition, which has been signed by more than 14,000 people, objects to the street’s namesake, Scottish politician Henry Dundas, who is believed to be instrumental in delaying the abolition of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, causing more than half a million more Black people to be enslaved in the British Empire.

The Dundas renaming petition is one of many global efforts currently underway to confront anti-Black racism and discrimination against other communities. Staff are working to understand how other jurisdictions are responding to proposals to rename streets and facilities and to remove monuments.

More information, including the City’s briefing note, is available online:


High Park Zoo llama pen activities update

Posted on July 23, 2020

*Shared at the request of the Friends of High Park Zoo*

Although High Park Zoo is now open, we have made the difficult decision to not operate the llama pen activities for the remainder of 2020. We want to ensure that our visitors, volunteers, zookeepers and animals remain as safe as possible; we do not believe this can be done should the llama pen open under current conditions.

Unfortunately this decision will impact our 2020 fundraising by $30,000. We are raising funds to enhance the Zoo under a phased capital Master Plan. If you are in a position to do so, please consider making a donation at one of the yellow donation boxes located throughout the Zoo or via EFT or PayPal to

Thank you and stay safe!

Friends of High Park Zoo


Posted on July 23, 2020

*Shared at the request of the Junction BIA*

TORONTO, ON July 20, 2020 – Patio season is in full swing in the Junction! Many of our beloved local restaurants and bars have opened up shop and are now offering outdoor dining service courtesy of the City’s CaféTO program.

Extending along Dundas Street West from Indian Grove to Quebec Avenue, the Junction is transforming into the go-to hotspot for an amazing summer patio experience. The CaféTO program aims to make it easier for restaurants to safely operate by expanding their patios to allow for social distancing. Tables are spaced six feet apart, and proper sanitation laws will be in place. 

Our streetside resto-bars will provide over 10,000 SF of new patio space across the Junction for our patrons to enjoy from now until the program is set to end on November 15 (weather permitting).

Want a taste of the Junction? Try out the famous selection of local craft beers at Indie Alehouse – or perhaps swing over to Hush Hush for some dreamy gelato and a refreshing cocktail. Feeling especially hungry? Check out the delicious Italian cuisine at Deco. Our restaurants have been working hard to create a memorable experience for their patrons. Famous for our burgeoning culinary and bar scene, the Junction regularly draws visitors from all over the city – and our newly implemented patios are the perfect way to safely satisfy your inner-foodie.

Following several challenging months for small businesses, especially restaurants, The Junction BIA is proud to show off our vibrant neighbourhood. Our local shops and food establishments are excited to welcome residents and visitors alike. Lining the streets are blocks of patios that will bring back the bustling community that makes our area so special. Each distinctive patio boasts something unique – a personal representation of each business.

Carol Jolly, Executive Director, The Junction BIA says, “We are dedicated to supporting the goals and success of our local businesses. The Junction prides itself on being a community that fosters creativity and ingenuity and the CaféTO program provides exactly that for our restaurants and bars.”

Join us in the Junction, Toronto’s favourite meeting place since 1884.

Sundays @ Lambton House – July 26, 2020

Posted on July 23, 2020

Please join Lambton House (4066 Old Dundas Street), appropriately physically distanced, this Sunday, 26 July at 7:00 p.m. for a special Sunday evening concert from the front porch of Lambton House.  Please bring your own chair; masks/face covering recommended.


Construction Notice: Bikeway Installation on Bloor Street West from Shaw Street to Runnymede Road

Posted on July 23, 2020

Installation Timeline: Tuesday, August 4, 2020 to End of August, 2020

The City of Toronto will install the Bloor West Bikeway Extension starting on Tuesday, August 4th. The street changes are intended to improve safety and comfort for all road users, and include the installation of cycle tracks (protected bike lanes). This project is part of the City Council-approved Cycling Network Plan to connect, grow and renew cycling routes across Toronto.

For more information contact : 416-338-3033,

BloorWestBikewayExtenstion Construction Notice 17July2020

A Message from Gord – July 23, 2020

Posted on July 23, 2020

On Tuesday, at the Executive Committee, City staff released a report, which provided an update on the impact of COVID-19 on the City’s finances. Toronto is facing a 1.35 billion dollar deficit, which was projected without mitigation measures to be $1.9 billion, by the end of 2020.

Unlike the Provincial and Federal governments, The City cannot run operating deficits. We must balance our operating budgets, which means we will be forced to either raise property taxes significantly or make devastating cuts to City services. We need immediate support from the Provincial and Federal governments.

On Thursday, July 30th, I will be hosting a Facebook Live Town Hall at 7:00 pm to discuss the ‘Impact of Covid-19 on City Services and Finances’. Please email in your questions with the subject line, “Town Hall” in advance to

Please include your name, and what neighbourhood you live in. I look forward to hearing your thoughts, ideas, and questions.

Those that do not have facebook accounts can still view the live video by visiting

I hope to see you on Thursday, July 30, 7pm at

Community centres and indoor pools to open next week

Posted on July 15, 2020

City of Toronto community centres and indoor pools to open next week

Today the city announced that community centres, recreation centres and indoor pools will be reopening on Monday, July 20. The community centres, recreation centres and indoor pools were closed in March to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

As Toronto remains in Stage 2 of the Province’s reopening plan, a total of 119 community and recreation centres, including 29 locations with indoor pools will reopen to the public for limited use on July 20. Indoor pools will reopen for drop-in lane and leisure swimming.

People will be able to visit community recreation centres and make use of lounges, meeting and multi-purpose rooms, computer labs and washrooms. Opening these locations will provide more recreation opportunities and help increase Torontonians’ options for relief from the summer heat and prevent heat-related illnesses.

When the centres open, the following amenities will not be available:

  • gymnasiums
  • fitness or active areas (including walking tracks)
  • kitchens and studios
  • saunas and whirlpools

At this time, the City’s community centres cannot offer or facilitate indoor sports, fitness and wellness activities, singing and dancing programs as well as food preparation, distribution or dining activities where equipment or supplies are passed or shared amongst participants. This includes activities like card games, chess or dominoes. The City anticipates that some of these amenities and activities will resume when Toronto reaches Stage 3 of reopening.

Visitors to the City’s community centres should expect changes similar to those that they have experienced at other City amenities and indoor public spaces. Visitors will be screened upon entry and will be asked for contact information for contact tracing, should it be required.

These locations will also feature line management and barriers at service counters. People must wear a mask or cloth face-covering (except when swimming) when visiting a community recreation centre. Visitor capacity will be limited, and a maximum of ten people will be permitted in any community room. Capacity at indoor pools will also be reduced to 25 per cent, similar to outdoor pools, to ensure space for physical distancing. To give as many swimmers as possible the opportunity to cool off, swimmers will be limited to 45-minute sessions followed by enhanced cleaning.

Community centres that offer CampTO will have limitations and restrictions on access and use during camp hours, including drop-off and pick-up periods, Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Signage and wayfinding are being installed to reinforce physical distancing and admission rules and regular cleaning of common facilities such as washrooms and water fountains will take place.

The City of Toronto continues to safely and gradually reopen amenities for people to enjoy this summer as Toronto moves towards Stage 3 of reopening. Residents visiting community recreation centres should continue to follow Toronto Public Health’s advice to stay home when they are ill, wash hands often, practise physical distancing and wear a face covering or mask in all indoor public spaces.

July 2020