Bloor West Bikeway Construction Update

Posted on October 22, 2020

Project Wide:

  • The Bloor West Bikeway construction is almost complete! Some changes to concrete curbs, bollards, signage, bike parking and pavement markings are still underway.
  • Accessible loading platforms, to make it easier for Wheel Trans and accessible taxis to pick-up and drop-off passengers, are being installed in October.
  • CaféTO installations are planned for removal in November.

Indian Road to Symington Avenue:

  • Bikeway installation has been delayed due to infrastructure upgrades by Toronto Hydro, and road closures elsewhere such as Howard Park Ave that have rerouted buses through the Dundas and Bloor intersection.

Indian Road to Dundas Street West:

  • Bikeway installation is planned for October and November after pavement restoration by Toronto Hydro work is complete. Physical separation is planned for November and December after the pavement markings are installed.

Dundas Street West to Symington Avenue:

  • Toronto Hydro continues to replace their infrastructure underneath the road.  It is expected that this segment will see bikeway pavement markings installed in late November or early December after Toronto Hydro work is complete.
  • The rail bridge is scheduled for rehabilitation in 2021. The work will likely require lane restrictions during construction so physical separation for people cycling will be installed after this work is complete.

Traffic signals and signal timing:

  • Intersection and traffic signal upgrades are planned at the Runnymede Road, Clendenan Avenue, Keele Street, Dundas Street, Dufferin Street and Dovercourt Road intersections to improve safety between people cycling and motorists.
  • Some intersection signage improvements is planned at the Indian Road, Lansdowne Avenue, Brock Avenue and Ossington Avenue intersections to further highlight the new turning restrictions.
  • Traffic signals will be synchronized to facilitate traffic flow on Bloor Street West once all traffic signals are installed.
  • These improvements are planned for installation in November-January.

Please refer to the http://www.toronto.ca/bloorwestbikeway website, under the “Construction Update” tab to find the latest updates on the timeline.

City Manager’s Report, Towards Recovery and Building a Renewed Toronto, to go to Executive Committee October 21

Posted on October 15, 2020

On October 21, a report from Toronto City Manager Chris Murray will go before the City’s Executive Committee. The report outlines the City Manager’s recommendations to best position Toronto for recovery from COVID-19 and its profound health, economic, equity, social and financial impacts on the city.

The report is one in a series of reports to Toronto City Council that outlines actions the City of Toronto has and will undertake to address the challenges of the pandemic, key accomplishments, findings from other jurisdictions, insights from engagements and research, and advice to Council on how the City should move towards recovery and prosperity, amidst this evolving emergency.

The report emphasizes that the City’s continued collaboration with other orders of government to effectively apply taxpayer resources and create the greatest positive impact on shared recovery goals with clear outcomes is essential to recovery. An integrated response to issues, including addressing the social determinants of health, and exploring partnerships with community agencies, academia and the private sector, is also key.

The report offers a path forward towards Toronto’s recovery that includes what the City has learned since the start of the pandemic, with insights from the Toronto Office of Recovery & Rebuild, public health data and advice, engagement findings, financial pressures and sustainability, impacts on equity, intergovernmental relationships, partnerships with the non-profit, private and academic sectors and existing plans, strategies and Council directives.

The Toronto Office of Recovery & Rebuild (TORR) has produced the COVID-19: Impacts and Opportunities report (appended to the City Manager’s report). The COVID-19: Impacts and Opportunities report outlines the results of TORR’s work and provides recommendations to the City Manager to support the recovery and rebuild of Toronto communities, organizations, partners and businesses.

TORR was established in April to coordinate a city-wide approach for recovering and rebuilding from COVID-19, informed by public health advice and best practices. The office was led by Mr. Saäd Rafi as Chief Recovery and Rebuild Officer, supported by a public health strategy led by Dr. David Mowat.

Throughout the spring and summer, TORR undertook a broad engagement of stakeholders, residents, communities, businesses, Indigenous communities and City Council members on what is needed to recover and rebuild. TORR also leveraged the subject matter, service and operational expertise from City divisions, agencies and partners.

The resulting COVID-19: Impacts and Opportunities report from TORR is divided into inter-connected themes including: public health considerations and actions, critical City services; climate change and resilience; equity, vulnerable communities and partnerships; government and financial renewal; business; culture; and inspire Toronto.

The COVID-19: Impacts and Opportunities report, as well as data from Toronto Public Health, demonstrates the disproportionate impacts COVID-19 has had on racialized and other equity-seeking communities and the deepening concerns arising from inequalities across residents, neighbourhoods and communities. The City Manager’s report emphasizes the need for disaggregated data to inform decision-making while calling for strengthening of the City’s equity and reconciliation infrastructure to ensure this divide closes and is not deepened.

The City Manager’s report outlines how the City will continue to take action towards recovery and building a renewed Toronto in the face of unprecedented financial pressures by making difficult decisions about costs, services, service levels, capital projects, and placing staff on emergency leave, among others. It recommends continued evaluation of which services are delivered and how they are delivered, as well as continued partnerships with other governments, community, academic and business partners, while simultaneously funding the services that will be critical to public health, economic growth, and improving equity.

The report from the City Manager to the City’s Executive Committee is available online.

Toronto Heritage Grant Program – Deadline November 6th, 2020

Posted on October 15, 2020

Since 1986, the Toronto Heritage Grant Program has provided matching grant funds for eligible heritage conservation work to owners of properties that are designated under Part IV or Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act.

The Heritage Grant Program assists property owners repair and retain defining heritage attributes, including masonry, windows, doors, wood detailing, and slate roofs.

More information is available online here. Applications for this year’s Program are due November 6th, 2020.

Call for applications – Open Door program to support building new affordable rental housing

Posted on October 1, 2020

The City of Toronto has released the 2020 Call for Applications for the Open Door program. The program provides an opportunity for private, co-op and non-profit affordable housing organizations to apply for support from the City to create affordable rental housing for low- and moderate-income households in Toronto.

The Open Door program encourages private, co-op and non-profit housing organizations to develop affordable housing by providing successful applicants with a range of financial contributions, which could include an exemption of fees, charges or property tax as well as capital funding. Successful Open Door applications also benefit from the Open Door Planning Service which fast-tracks approvals.

The 2020 Open Door application is similar to previous years, but there are changes aimed at providing greater affordable housing benefits. These changes include:

  • The minimum affordability period of 40 years
  • A minimum of 50 per cent of the total buildable gross floor area must now be affordable housing
  • Only electronic submissions will be accepted by the City

The application and full program details are available online.

Key dates in the application process are:

  • October 15, 10:30 a.m. – Online information session
  • October 26, 4:30 p.m. – Last day to submit written questions
  • November 17, 4:30 p.m. – Deadline to submit applications
  • January 2021 – Staff report to Planning and Housing Committee and City Council with recommended projects

The Open Door program was first approved by Council in 2016. To date it has invested $739 million of City financial contributions in affordable housing projects, supporting the creation of more than 8,960 new homes across Toronto. The Open Door program is part of the City’s 10-year housing action plan, HousingTO 2020-2030, which targets assisting more than 341,000 households across the housing spectrum, with actions that include the approval of 40,000 new affordable rental homes.

ActiveTO major road closures will be extended into October

Posted on October 1, 2020

Major weekend road closures, as part of the popular ActiveTO suite of programs, will be extended into October.

The popular weekend closures have provided space for thousands of people to be physically active, respect physical distancing and contributed to the overall wellbeing of residents. The routes run adjacent to some of Toronto’s busiest and most popular trails where people can walk, run and bike and have helped to reduce virus spread over the summer months.

There were a number of considerations that went into extending the program including recent changes in public health advice to limit contact and keep at least six feet apart from people you don’t live with, as much as possible as well as forecasted warm weather for the early part of month that encourages people to be outside more.

For this weekend, closures will be in place from Saturday, October 3 at 6 a.m. to Sunday, October 4 at 11 p.m.:

  • Lake Shore Boulevard West (eastbound lanes only) from Windermere Avenue to Stadium Road. As a result, 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 Leslie Street to Woodbine Avenue
  • Bayview Avenue from Front Street East to Rosedale Valley Road, and River Street from Gerrard Street East to Bayview Avenue

Parking lots at Sunnyside Park, Budapest Park and Sir Casimir Gzowski Park, along Lake Shore Boulevard West, will be closed all weekend during ActiveTO closures. Overnight parking is not permitted in these lots and any vehicles should be moved before midnight on Friday.

Last week, the City announced data that showed an average of approximately 18,000 cyclists used the Lake Shore West closure on warm summer days.

Residents planning to use those roads should access them by bike or as a pedestrian because nearby parking is limited and there is no onsite parking available. ActiveTO weekend closure locations are subject to change based on nearby road restrictions and closures and other considerations.

The City of Toronto delivered at least one ActiveTO major road closure location on approximately 20 consecutive weekends from May to September.

City staff will report back in January 2021 on lessons learned from this year’s ActiveTO programs, including the impacts on traffic, and in consultation with residents and businesses, recommendations for modifications to the program for 2021.

More about ActiveTO, including Major Weekend Road Closures, is at http://www.toronto.ca/activeTO.

Major weekend road closure data from the summer was announced last week at

https://www.toronto.ca/news/updated-data-from-city-of-toronto-activeto-major-road-closures-shows-successful-summer/.

 

Registration of short-term rentals begins in Toronto

Posted on September 10, 2020

On September 10, 2020 the City of Toronto launched a new online registration system for short-term rental operators who rent their homes on a short-term basis for a period of less than 28 consecutive days.

Short-term rental operators must register with the City in order to operate in Toronto. Operators are only allowed to rent their principal residence on a short-term basis. A principal residence is the residence where they live and the address used for bills, identification, taxes and insurance. Registration for short-term rentals must be completed online: https://www.toronto.ca/community-people/housing-shelter/rental-housing-standards/short-term-rental/short-term-rental-operators-hosts/.

Registration is a mandatory step to legally rent out homes for short-term stays. A valid City-issued registration number must be included in all advertisements and listings. To continue short-term renting, current operators must be registered by December 31, 2020. Future operators will be able to register on an ongoing basis, but must do so before short-term renting their homes.

When registering online, short-term rental operators need government-issued identification to demonstrate that they are over the age of 18 and to show evidence of principal residence. Only an Ontario Driver’s Licence or Ontario Photo Card that shows the address are accepted. Operators also need to provide the City with information, including:

  • contact information and address;
  • details of the short-term rental, including a description of the type of building in which the rental is located and which parts of the home operators will short-term rent; and
  • the name and telephone number of an alternate (emergency) contact who will be available 24 hours a day during rental periods.

The registration fee of $50 must be paid online using a valid credit card. The registration process is contactless and can be completed in a matter of minutes online.

In Toronto, short-term rentals are regulated by the City’s zoning bylaws and the Licensing and Registration of Short-Term Rentals bylaw:

  • City bylaws permit short-term rentals across Toronto in all housing types in residential zones and the residential components of mixed-use zones.
  • People can short-term rent their principal residence only. This is the residence where they live and where the address is used for bills, identification, taxes or insurance.
  • Both homeowners and renters in any housing type (for example house, apartment, or condominium) are allowed to short-term rent their home.
  • People can rent up to three bedrooms in their principal residence for an unlimited number of nights per year or their entire home for a maximum of 180 nights per year.
  • People can host a short-term rental in a secondary suite (for example, a basement apartment) or a laneway suite, as long as the suite is their principal residence.

The City continues to respond to short-term rental issues on a complaint basis. Residents can contact 311 to report issues related to short-term rentals, such as noise, waste and concerns if others are renting homes that are not their principal residence.

More information about short-term rentals can be found at toronto.ca/ShortTermRentals.

City of Toronto extending outdoor pool season at 10 locations

Posted on September 3, 2020

Select City outdoor pools are extended for the summer season. Torontonians can stretch out the summer at 10 City outdoor pools which will remain open until September 13, with the remainder closing as planned on Sunday, September 6.

The ten outdoor pools include:

  • Alex Duff, 779 Crawford St.
  • Donald D. Summerville, 1867 Lake Shore Blvd. E.
  • Heron Park, 292 Manse Rd.
  • Grandravine, 23 Grandravine Dr.
  • McGregor, 2231 Lawrence Ave. E.
  • Parkway Forest, 59 Forest Manor Rd.
  • Pine Point, 15 Grierson Rd.
  • Riverdale Park, 550 Broadview Ave.
  • Sunnyside-Gus Ryder, 1755 Lake Shore Blvd. W.
  • West Mall, 370 The West Mall

All outdoor pools will have regular hours on Saturday and Sunday. To check for hours please visit http://www.toronto.ca/swim. On Monday, September 7 for Labour Day, these pools will be open from 12 to 5 p.m. From Tuesday September 8, to Sunday, September 13, the pools will offer drop-in leisure swimming from 1 to 6 p.m.

Sunday, September 6 is the last day of summer operation for the City’s wading pools and outdoor pools with the exception of the 10 locations noted above. Splash pads will be open on Labour Day and will remain open daily until September 13. Parents and caregivers are reminded to supervise their children at all times. Indoors pools will be closed on Labour Day.

To allow for physical distancing and ensure continued compliance with public health guidelines, the capacity at outdoor and indoor pools remains significantly reduced to 25 per cent. Swimmers are limited to 45-minute sessions to allow for cleaning. A new online reservation tool is available for indoor pool drop-in lane swim: https://www.toronto.ca/explore-enjoy/recreation/sports-fitness-leadership-programs/fitness-programs/. Pool status is available online at: https://www.toronto.ca/data/parks/alerts/swim/index.html. Full details are available at http://www.toronto.ca/swim.

Outdoor pools were delayed in opening earlier this summer as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated Provincial restrictions. As part of the SwimTO plan, the City worked quickly to open outdoor pools, splash pads, wading pools and indoor pools once given the green light to do so. Torontonians were able to cool off this summer at more than 300 aquatic amenities including the City’s 140 splash pads, 100 wading pools, 56 outdoor swimming pools and 29 indoor pools. Approximately 660,000 participants have accessed outdoor pools across the City as part of SwimTO this summer.

Upcoming Pesticide Treatment in High Park

Posted on August 6, 2020

The City of Toronto will be applying pesticide treatments in High Park starting August 10th. Urban Forestry staff will be using the applications to control the invasive herbaceous plant Dog Strangling Vine (Cynanchum rossicum). Urban Forestry Natural Resource worker crews have also been testing various manual control methods intended to supplement the use of chemical products in managing this aggressive species.

Treatment sites will rotate throughout the park during the control window from August to Early Sept, and signage will be posted at each site 24hours prior to treatment, then taken down 48 hours following completion as regulated by the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks. Application is done by licensed City of Toronto staff.  Information signage will be posted, along with the standard warning signage, to provide more information to park users.

Please see below for more information.

Invasive Plant Control

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.

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 toronto.ca/ReopenTO.

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 toronto.ca/covid-19 for answers to common questions before contacting the Toronto Public Health COVID-19 Hotline or 311.

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