A City of Toronto staff report on the renaming of Dundas Street and other civic assets with the Dundas name went before Executive Committee on July 6th. The report was approved at Executive Committee and will be reviewed at Council Meeting on July 14th.
The report outlines a renaming process along with a Community Advisory Committee of Black and Indigenous leaders and local Dundas Street residents and businesses.
The report recommends that the Community Advisory Committee gather naming suggestions from their communities as part of a commitment to healing and recommending new names for Dundas Street and other civic assets for consideration by City Council next year.
It provides an assessment of the cost for the City and its agencies and outlines a community engagement strategy and change management process to fulfill the renaming process.
The new commemorative framework, to be presented to Council in 2022, will help guide the City’s decision-making on implications for reviewing existing assets including a number of streets in Ward 4. I will keep you updated as this work progresses.
You can review the Staff Report at https://www.toronto.ca/news/city-of-toronto-staff-report-recommends-renaming-of-dundas-street/
I will be supporting staffs’ recommendations and will continue to support the work of the Recognition Review Group.
My office will continue to provide updates as this work continues.
This piece can also be found on the toronto.com website.
Toronto city council is about to consider a proposal to create new rules for rooming houses which will make them legal across the city, subject to a licensing system that will set safety standards and annual inspections. It is the culmination of decades of work. It has also generated fierce and often ugly opposition.
Thousands of Torontonians, nobody really knows how many, live in unsafe illegal rooming houses. While there is a large demand for inexpensive rooms in houses, it is illegal to rent out such rooms in many parts of the city, such as Scarborough, North York and much of Etobicoke. Some house owners in these areas convert them to rooming houses anyway and often tell tenants not to let city inspectors in and not complain about substandard conditions or they will be evicted.
The consequences are awful. Because inspectors cannot check the plumbing, electrical or fire safety systems, they are often terrible and unsafe places to live. In the last 10 years, 14 people have died in fires in illegal rooming houses.
In our system of laws, city inspectors cannot simply knock on your door and demand entry. This is for good reasons. However, governments can put inspection conditions on properly registered or licensed rental properties.
The problem is making rooming houses illegal when there is a demand for them (and there certainly is a demand in Toronto); they will still be created, but they will be underground and unsafe.
There have been rooming houses as long as there have been houses. There has always been opposition too. Although few will say so, rooming houses are opposed because they bring “undesirable” people into a given neighbourhood. These are people with very low incomes: students, newcomers, or people on disability or social support. There is no justifiable legal or moral argument to say that people with low incomes cannot live in a given neighbourhood.
What people will say is the unscrupulous landlords who built the illegal rooming houses will never do the work to make them safe and legal. This is demonstrably untrue. When I was first elected, there were 30 odd illegal rooming houses in Parkdale. The city had established incentives for landlords to become legal: a mix of carrots and sticks. In two years, all but one of them got licensed. The city helped the tenants in that case get new units nearby at the same rent. It wasn’t easy. Some neighbours opposed legalizing them. Interestingly, years later, many of those same people have become friends and advocates for the tenants. They show up at hearings on licence renewals and advocated for better conditions for the tenants.
The status quo is intolerable. We have a dire shortage of safe affordable housing. People live in fear, in squalid conditions which all too often result in the loss of life. There is a path that creates safe legal affordable housing and stronger neighbourhoods. Council has a duty to approve the plan to legalize rooming houses everywhere in the city.
The City of Toronto is launching a study called the High Park Movement Strategy to improve the travel network for High Park and better serve park users and the community. The goal of the study is to improve the travel network to better serve park users and the surrounding community, prioritizing safety and accessibility while preserving the park’s ecological integrity. The study will consider the needs of pedestrians, cyclists, drivers and other users in the park when it comes to mobility.
The study is in early stages and will be underway by the fall 2021. Over the summer, the City will be retaining a consultant team to support the study, finalizing a work plan, collecting data and conducting background analysis. The study is expected to be complete by summer 2022 with implementation of the preferred solution in 2023.
We are pleased to share with you the High Park Movement Strategy survey: https://s.cotsurvey.chkmkt.com/?e=233567&h=33D6B15564BE93F&l=en
This short 10 to 15 minute survey will ask about your typical park visits prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and about your experiences visiting the park over the past year. It will also ask for your feedback on the current weekend road closures and your thoughts on longer-term changes to the travel network serving High Park. The survey will remain open throughout the summer.
The survey will be followed by a community consultation in the fall. My office will be sure to share more information on this as details are confirmed.
Today the City is announcing a schedule of full and partial closures of Lakeshore West as part of our ActiveTO program. Many of us had wanted this to happen sooner. Because we are reconstructing the intersection of King/Queen/Queensway/Roncesvalles (KQQR) there was a possibility that closing Lakeshore at the same time would create serious problems. There were three issues I was particularly concerned about. First, we needed to be sure we could maintain ambulance access to St. Joseph’s hospital. Second, I wanted to be sure that the TTC service on King, Queen, and the Queensway could still function, and third we needed to be sure we didn’t create complete gridlock for people in the area around the construction zone.
City staff have completed a study on the impacts of the construction work on these issues and have given the go ahead for the Lakeshore West ActiveTO closures. This is great news. Last year an average of 22,000 people were walking, running, and cycling each day during the Lake Shore closure West. I’m thrilled we are able to offer it again.
You can find more information about the construction work here:
You can find more information on closures of Lake Shore West during the month of July here:
Also we are working on two transformative projects in the Ward that might be of interest.
High Park Movement Strategy
The City of Toronto is preparing to launch a study to both improve the travel network for High Park and better serve park users and the surrounding community.
As you know, we’ve opened High Park to pedestrians and cyclists. The recent road closures to motorists in High Park have provided users with additional space to physically distance. The community has responded positively to these changes. There will be a survey that will be released shortly, along with public consultations in the fall. Please stay tuned for more information.
Western Waterfront Master Plan
The Western Waterfront Master Plan (WWMP) was approved by City Council and is being used to guide future decisions related to improvements to the public realm within the Western Waterfront over the next twenty years and beyond. The Master Plan provides an overall vision for improving parkland, beaches, break walls, trails, promenades, roads, bridges, servicing and recreational facilities within the Western Waterfront. The Plan applies to the waterfront area between the Humber River and Exhibition Place and includes Sunnyside Beach and Marilyn Bell Park.
Concept plan for the Western Waterfront Master Plan:
A City of Toronto staff report going before Executive Committee on July 6 recommends a renaming of Dundas Street and other civic assets with the Dundas name. If approved by Executive Committee, the report will then be reviewed by City Council at its July meeting.
A petition calling for the renaming of Dundas Street was created in June 2020 following global discussions on racial injustices, inequality and anti-Black racism, which led the public to scrutinize the origins and history of monuments, street names, parks and buildings across Toronto. The petition objected to the street’s namesake, Scottish politician Henry Dundas, who was involved in delaying the abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, causing more than half a million Black people to be enslaved in the British Empire.
The recommendation to rename Dundas Street and other civic assets bearing the same name follows discovery sessions, extensive academic research and a review of over 400 global case studies, and furthers the City’s commitment to anti-Black racism, Indigenous truth and reconciliation, as well as building a more inclusive and equitable Toronto.
In addition to the Dundas Street renaming, the report outlines guiding principles for the City’s overall framework on commemorative policies and programs following a Recognition Review examining how systemic racism and discrimination may be embedded in City assets, commemorative programs and naming policies.
The report outlines a renaming process along with a Community Advisory Committee of Black and Indigenous leaders and local Dundas Street residents and businesses. Pending approval by Executive Committee and City Council, the Community Advisory Committee will gather naming suggestions from their communities as part of a commitment to healing and recommending new names for Dundas Street and other civic assets for consideration by City Council next year. The report provides an assessment of the cost for the City and its agencies and outlines a community engagement strategy and change management process to fulfill the renaming process. A transition plan would be developed to support Dundas Street residents and businesses in preparation for the name change.
Recommendations were developed by a City staff working group which was formed following a request by Mayor John Tory to City Manager Chris Murray. The working group includes representatives from City divisions, the City’s Confronting Anti-Black Racism Unit and Indigenous Affairs Office.
More information is available at www.toronto.ca/recognition-review; the report can be viewed at
Members of the public who wish to make their views known about this matter, submit comments or request to speak before a committee of City Council, can visit www.toronto.ca/legdocs/tmmis/have-your-say.htm .
ParksPlayTO and Summer in the 6IX will return this summer to engage Toronto youth, children and their families at parks and outdoor spaces across the City for a second summer.
Beginning Monday, July 5, ParksPlayTO will offer free drop-in and activity-based, recreation programming Monday to Friday at 74 locations. ParksPlayTO will offer activities such as exploring nature, gardening, active games, arts and crafts, family fitness, story-telling and music circles for children and their caregivers. Children age 12 and under will be welcomed to ParksPlayTO Adult caregivers are required to accompany all program participants. ParksPlayTO will run morning and afternoon sessions, with 25 spots available at each site at a time. Programming will run for eight weeks from July 5 to August 27.
Summer in the 6IX, which will also begin on Monday July 5, is a free program designed for Toronto youth, aged 13 to 24, offering opportunities to drop in, meet up with friends and participate in themed activities. Programming includes dance, fitness, and sports, as well as leadership, employment, arts and media. The program, which will be offered for nine weeks from July 5 until September 3 (Monday to Friday), is available to all Toronto youth at parks across the City.
Health guidelines for both programs were developed in consultation with Toronto Public Health and are aligned to provincial guidelines, including program capacities, physical distancing, adequate cleaning, mask wearing, signage, daily health checks and screening.
ParksPlayTO and Summer in the 6IX are free drop-in programs and registration is not required. People can head to the location where activities are scheduled to secure a spot on-site.
The City will also offer adapted and inclusive outdoor programming at 20 outdoor spaces near community centres with washroom access throughout the summer. These programs are open for children aged four to 12 and youth aged 13 to 29 who are living with a disability. Programs include an adapted walking program for children, arts, science and adapted movement in the park. Read more information about adapted and inclusive outdoor programming and register online, call 416-395-6128 or email email@example.com.
Check ParksPlayTO and Summer in the 6IX for more information.
Ten City of Toronto outdoor pools will open early on Saturday, June 12, as the City moves into Step One of the Province of Ontario’s Roadmap to Reopen. An online reservation system will allow Toronto residents to reserve 45-minute swim sessions in advance. Reservations can be made beginning 8 a.m. on Thursday, June 10.
The 10 outdoor pools that will open on June 12 are:
- Alex Duff – 779 Crawford St.
- Monarch Park Pool – 115 Felstead Ave.
- Heron Park CC – 292 Manse Rd.
- Grandravine CC – 23 Grandravine Dr.
- McGregor CC – 2231 Lawrence Ave. E.
- Parkway Forest CC – 59 Forest Manor Rd.
- Pine Point – 15 Grierson Rd.
- Riverdale Park – 550 Broadview Ave.
- Sunnyside-Gus Ryder – 1755 Lake Shore Blvd. W.
- West Mall – 380 The West Mall
These locations will remain open until and including Labour Day, Monday, September 6, and will close for the season at 5 p.m. on that day. The remaining outdoor pools will open for the season on June 19, go to full hours when school is out on June 30, and remain open until Sunday, September 5.
Around 1,950 people – mostly young people – will be working to keep our outdoor pools running throughout the summer.
The City’s wading pools will operate from Wednesday, June 30 to Sunday, September 5. Hours of operation and swim times vary by location and can be reviewed online
Reservations for 45-minute outdoor swim sessions must be made in advance online . Through the system residents can:
- Log in using existing family and client numbers
- Create an account online for themselves and members of their family (first- time users)
- Book leisure swims and lane swims up to one week in advance, one activity per day, per person
- Cancel a reservation up to one day before the activity is scheduled. Same day cancellations can be made by calling 416-396-7378 and selecting option 1
Blocks of new swim reservation spots are released Thursdays at 8 a.m. for the following Monday to Sunday. A select number of spaces at each outdoor pool location will be held back to ensure swimming remains accessible to people with limited access to the internet. These spaces are available on a first-come-first-served basis.
Like last summer, the capacity at outdoor pools will be reduced to 25 per cent to ensure adequate space for physical distancing. Staff have worked closely with Toronto Public Health (TPH) to meet guidelines to ensure people can swim safely at outdoor pools. Patrons visiting the City’s outdoor pools will be required to sign in and provide their first name and an email or phone number to facilitate TPH contact tracing should it be required.
Supervision and/or swimming ability requirements are in place for children under 10 years of age at all City outdoor pools. Leisure swimming is free for all ages. Outdoor lane swim is also free and is open to swimmers seven years and older for swimming continuous lengths or widths. Caregivers are reminded to supervise children at all times.
The City began opening its splash pads on May 22, following changes to the Province’s orders allowing select outdoor recreation amenities to operate. Splash pad locations across Toronto will remain open until Sunday, September 19.
While the City’s beaches have remained open for essential exercise, lifeguards were stationed at the City’s designated swimming beaches starting on June 5 to supervise swimming zones. Lifeguard supervision of the swim zones at the City’s designated swimming beaches will wrap up on September 12.
More information on about swimming in the city is available here
Registration Summer CampTO is currently open. Summer CampTO programming will be offered across Toronto from Monday, July 5 to Friday, August 27, following the Province of Ontario’s announcement that summer day camps can operate during Step 1 of reopening.
CampTO will run for eight weeks for children between the ages of four and 12, at approximately 160 locations across the city. The City of Toronto will offer traditional day camp experiences, including dance, drama, music, arts and crafts, and active games. Adapted and inclusive programs for participants with disabilities will also be available. New this year, the City will introduce CampTO Plus, in-person specialty camps at community centres and museums, which will offer specialized programs in areas such as French immersion, arts, creative writing, nature and science.
The City’s Parks Forestry and Recreation Division will work closely with Toronto Public Health over the course of the summer season to ensure an effective COVID-19 response. All summer CampTO programs will follow provincial health guidelines for day camps. These guidelines include physical distancing, daily health screening, wearing masks, cohorting, and enhanced facility cleaning. Each camp group will stay together for the entire week and will not interact with other camper groups. Caregivers will receive a phone call prior to camp start to review procedures and do a pre-camp health check. CampTO campers and staff are expected to wear cloth face coverings or masks both indoors and out. Campers will be required to bring two to three clean face coverings or masks to camp each day.
In addition to in-person camps offered at City locations, CampTO Virtual will also be available. These 45-minute-long live and interactive workshops will be available to campers age four to 12, with interactive games and creative programming. Programs will also be available for people living with disabilities.
In total, this summer the City will offer more than 35,000 spaces for CampTO, including adapted programs, virtual workshops and CampTO Plus.
The quickest and easiest way to register for Summer CampTO and CampTO Virtual is online here . Phone registration will also be available at 416-396-7378. Although Civic Centres remain closed to the public to reduce the spread of COVID-19, five Community Centre locations will be open on Tuesday, June 8 for in-person registration support. Wi-Fi will be available, and staff will be on site to assist with the registration process. Residents may bring their own devices to in-person registration sites; however, staff will register those without their own devices. Locations and hours are available here
Residents who require help preparing for registration, can call 416-396-7378 Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Residents need a family and client number to sign up for recreation programs. Those looking to register are encouraged to get their numbers before registration day by calling 416-396-7378.
Information on free programs and subsidies for recreation programs is available on the Free & Lower-Cost Recreation Options webpage .
More information about Summer CampTO is available on the CampTO webpage
ParkFitTO will offer outdoor drop-in fitness workouts as well as weekly outdoor group fitness and walking programs. In order to facilitate drop-in workouts, a number of the City’s recreation centres will move fitness centre and weight room equipment outdoors into parks and other spaces adjacent to community centres.
ParkFitTO will operate from June 14 until September and will follow public health guidelines to ensure the health and safety of participants. ParkFitTO provides both free and affordable paid options for individual and instructional group fitness.
Outdoor group fitness and walk-fit classes
Starting on June 8, residents will be able to register for group fitness and walk-fit classes, with programs starting on June 21. Outdoor group fitness classes are registered programs for one hour each week for a four-week period. Participants must be 13 years or older and each class is limited to 10 people. These programs will be continuous throughout the summer.
Outdoor group fitness classes include:
- Outdoor walk-fit programs, in which instructors lead participants on pre-determined routes through neighbourhoods and parks. This program is free of charge, and there are more than 1,500 spaces available for booking at 32 locations across the city.
- Fee-based group fitness classes include Zumba and Zumba Gold, Cardio High/Low, Cardio Dance and Cardio HIIT, Gentle Fit, Stretch and Tone, Run Fit and Boot Camp and are delivered by qualified staff. There are 2,350 spaces available for registration at 23 locations across the city.
The quickest and easiest way to register for outdoor group fitness and walk-fit classes is online at https://efun.toronto.ca/TorontoFun/Start/Start.asp. In addition, phone registration will be available at 416-396-7378.
Residents need a family number and client number to sign up for recreation programs. Those looking to register are encouraged to get their numbers before registration day by calling 416-396-7378. Residents can also call this number Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for help preparing for registration.
Outdoor drop-in fitness workouts
Starting on June 10, residents age 16 and up can reserve a free 45-minute outdoor fitness workout, with up to 10 participants per location. Approximately 1,500 spaces will be available weekly for reservations at 12 locations across the city. Program tip sheets will be available for those looking to do self-guided workouts.
More information about ParkFitTO is available at https://www.toronto.ca/explore-enjoy/recreation/fitness-programs/parkfitto/.
Outdoor fitness permits for businesses
In recognition of the increased need for access to outdoor space, essential fresh air and exercise, and to assist businesses impacted by COVID-19, commercial permits for private businesses who want to offer outdoor fitness, yoga or martial arts classes in park spaces will be available free of charge this summer, subject to Council approval this week.
Beginning today, the City will accept requests for permits from June 14 through to October 3. Applications received on or before June 9 will be reviewed and processed by end of day on June 11 with the earliest possible start date. Applications received after June 9 will be reviewed on an ongoing basis with a target of two to three business days for processing.
Permits will be issued for open green spaces in parks, and approval for permit requests will depend on proximity to environmentally sensitive areas, sports fields, gardens, conflicts with other permitted or programmed areas and other site-specific considerations. Permit holders will be required to comply with current provincial restrictions, including gathering limits and restrictions around amplified sound. In Step 1, there will be a maximum of 10 participants, including an instructor. Typically, these permits are issued at a cost of $47.06 per hour. Interested businesses can contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-396-7378.
Requirements for automobile and bike parking in newly erected or enlarged buildings are identified in the city-wide Zoning By-law 569-2013. On January 19, 2021, Planning and Housing Committee (PH20.4) asked staff to review these requirements to better align them with the objectives of the City’s Official Plan. The Review is guided by the principle that parking standards should allow only the maximum amount of automobile parking reasonably required for a given use and minimums should be avoided except where necessary to ensure equitable access, such as for accessible parking or in areas which would be difficult to serve with transit.
The City will be hosting a series of online public consultation meetings starting June 1 to gather feedback that will inform recommendations for revised parking standards.
To learn more about the process or to participate in the consultations, visit the City’s webpage.