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.

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: toronto.ca/dundasreview


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, BloorWestBikeway@toronto.ca

BloorWestBikewayExtenstion Construction Notice 17July2020

High Park Zoo, Riverdale Farm and Toronto’s conservatories opening July 14

Posted on July 13, 2020

Today, the City announced that High Park Zoo, Riverdale Farm and the City’s conservatories will open tomorrow, Tuesday, July 14. The farm, zoo and conservatories were closed in March to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Toronto’s oldest zoo, the High Park Zoo, houses animals such as bison, llamas, highland cattle and reindeer. The High Park Zoo is open daily, with free admission, from 7 a.m. to dusk. More information is available at toronto.ca/zoos.

Riverdale Farm is home to domestic farm animals and representative of a turn-of-the-century Ontario farm. The farm is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and admission is free. More information is available at toronto.ca/zoos or by calling 311.

Only outdoor areas of Riverdale Farm and the High Park Zoo will be open to the public. Signage is being installed to reinforce physical distancing and admission rules. Regular cleaning of common facilities such as washrooms and water fountains will take place.

Residents can take in a wide-array flowers and other tropical plants at Allan Gardens Conservatory and Centennial Park Conservatory. Both conservatories are open daily from 12 to 4 p.m. Admission is free. More information is available at http://www.toronto.ca/conservatories or by calling Allan Gardens Conservatory at 416-392-7288 or Centennial Park Conservatory at 416-394-8543. Visitor capacity will be reduced at both locations to facilitate physical distancing. One-way foot-traffic will be in place to prevent crowding and bottlenecking. Visitors will be required to wear a non-medical mask or face covering at the conservatories.

The City of Toronto continues to safely and gradually reopen amenities for people to enjoy this summer. Residents heading out to visit these amenities should continue to follow to Toronto Public Health’s advice to wash hands often, practise physical distancing and wear a face covering or mask in all indoor public spaces.

Bill 184 at City’s Planning and Housing Committee on July 13

Posted on July 9, 2020

On Monday, July 13, the City’s Planning and Housing Committee will be considering the City’s submission regarding the Ford Government’s proposed Bill 184 – Protecting Tenants and Strengthening Community Housing Act, 2020.

In March, 2020 the provincial government introduced Bill 184, which amends the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006, Building Code Act, 1992, Housing Services Act, 2011 and enacts the Ontario Mortgage and Housing Corporation Repeal Act, 2020.

The City’s submission should be an opportunity to clearly state the City’s commitment to affordability and security of tenure for tenants, as well as to ensure fair access to the justice system.

Highlights of the City’s submission are recommendations that include:

  • Protection of affordable rental housing
  • Access to justice for tenants and landlords
  • Eviction prevention and compensation
  • Enforcement and oversight
  • Data collection and dissemination
  • Landlord & Tenant Board (LTB) administrative improvements

The details submission is available online at http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2020.PH15.10

I would greatly appreciating hearing your views on this matter.  If you could review the City’s submission and share your comments with me prior to the Planning and Housing Committee meeting on July 13 it would be a great help to ensure the City’s submission works to protect the safety and affordability of tenants homes.

Thanks in advance,


Permit Parking Program is now operational

Posted on July 2, 2020

Permit Parking Program will be operational as of July 2nd. In order to maintain the safety of city staff, the office will remain closed to the public but is accessible by telephone (416- 392-7873) and email permit.parking@toronto.ca from 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Monday to Friday.


All permits expired May 31st.  Those expired permit holders will be able to renew their permits online at www.toronto.ca/transportation or via regular mail. Renewal notices will be mailed with all the instructions. Permit holders can apply without their renewal notice by entering the vehicle licence plate in the online renewal system. The renewal period will run from July 2nd to August 3rd.

New Applicants

New applications will be processed via mail and for the duration of the pandemic a telephone option will be available.  We encourage new applicants to contact our office before mailing in an application to ensure they have the proper documents.

Parking Enforcement Clarification

During the pandemic there were inquiries and complaints regarding enforcement. With the office closed, the Toronto Police Service, Parking Enforcement unit were honouring expired permits and suspending enforcement activity. More specifically, they were not enforcing the permit parking bylaw (parking in a permit location without a valid permit). The goal was to accommodate the minority of vehicles unable to apply for a residential permit. Other regulations such as parking in temporal restrictions (i.e. 1-hour parking) were being considered.

Non permit vehicles were encouraged to park in legal parking spaces (i.e. not blocking a fire hydrant, driveway, too close to a curb, parked in a no stopping, no standing or no parking zone).

Notices were issued in lieu of tickets for vehicles parked in what was considered illegal parking during non-covid times. Enforcement is expected to resume once the renewal process is completed in early August.

We apologize to all permit holders for any inconvenience this has caused and appreciate your support and understanding during these unpreceded times.

My thoughts on the police motions at Council

Posted on June 30, 2020

This week the role of Toronto Police Services, the policing budget, and the systemic racism that exists in our own City government and institutions was debated at City Council.  Like the tens of thousands of you who called my office, sent in emails, and fought for change, I am disappointed in the results of this meeting. Despite the outpouring of outrage and activism throughout Toronto and around the world, Council chose not to take any steps to defund the Toronto Police Services budget. You have the right to feel let down by your government, and I stand with you in your sadness and anger.

While we all have the right to feel disillusioned, I must acknowledge some of the important measures that did pass. Council approved a motion requesting the City Manager report on implementing a Mobile Crisis Assistance Intervention Service, that would deploy unarmed, medically trained crisis intervention assistance personnel, based on the “CAHOOTS” model from Eugene, Oregon. There is also a request to the Provincial government to expand the City of Toronto’s jurisdiction to include auditing the Toronto Police Service. While these are small steps, they are steps in the right direction.

It is important that we do not lose sight of what has happened. A worldwide movement has started to finally take a firm stance against the systemic racism that exists in our society.  Both the Police Chief and the majority of Councillors admitted that structural racism exists in our City’s institution, including Toronto Police Services, and that it is something we must fix. We cannot let the hard work you have put in be in vain. We must continue to call on all levels of government to stamp out the racism that exist in our government and society.  There is more work to be done, and together we must continue to push forward, and not let this momentum fade.

My office will reach out and share updates as they become available, as well as to share opportunities to organize.

As always, I remain available to continue this discussion.


TTC COVID-19 Update – Mandatory Masks starting July 2

Posted on June 18, 2020

Effective July 2, masks or face coverings are mandatory when travelling on the TTC, with the exception of:

  • Children under two years of age.
  • Persons with an underlying medical condition which inhibits the ability to wear a mask or face covering.
  • Persons who are unable to place or remove a mask or face covering without assistance.
  • TTC employees and agents within an area designated for TTC personnel and not for public access, or within or behind a physical barrier or shield.
  • Additional accommodations in accordance with the Ontario Human Rights Code will also be considered.

. Instructions for wearing a mask and making your own simple face covering are available here.

TTC COVID-19 Update June 18 2020

August 2020