City opens Warming Centres to help those experiencing homelessness

Posted on December 17, 2020

The City of Toronto opened its four Warming Centres this week to give those who are vulnerable and may be experiencing homelessness an additional place to rest and access snacks, washroom facilities and referrals to emergency shelter.

Space will be offered at the following:

  • 129 Peter Street
  • 5800 Yonge Street
  • Exhibition Place, Better Living Centre
  • Scarborough Civic Centre

Warming Centres are traditionally activated when the City, in consultation with the Medical Officer of Health, issue an Extreme Cold Weather Alert (ECWA) based on a forecast from Environment and Climate Change Canada of minus 15 degrees Celsius or colder.

While the temperature forecast has not reached this threshold, the City is activating the Warming Centres in an abundance of caution due to colder nighttime temperatures, snow forecasted over the next few days and because this is the first spell of colder weather of the season. The Warming Centres are currently scheduled to remain open, 24/7, until Friday at noon.

In addition to the Warming Centers, the City’s Streets to Home outreach team dispatched additional 24/7 teams to connect with people living outside and encourage them to come indoors. Staff will also hand out blankets and sleeping bags.

Residents should contact 311 if they see a person experiencing homelessness in need of assistance and the City will dispatch an outreach team to investigate. If the person is in distress or needs immediate assistance, call 911.

All services at the Warming Centres will be delivered following ongoing COVID-19 protocols to ensure the safety of those using the centres. This includes encouraging physical distancing and the mandatory use of masks, ensuring hand washing, conducting symptom screening and monitoring, increasing infection control and prevention measures such as enhanced cleaning, and providing isolation and recovery sites for individuals that await results or test positive to recover.

The Warming Centre spaces are being opened as part of the City’s 2020/2021 winter services plan to help those experiencing homelessness. This is the first year that the City has offered more than one Warming Centre, which will increase access to these services across Toronto.

In addition to Warming Centre capacity, through the winter plan the City is opening approximately 620 additional spaces through a combination of shelter and 24-hour respite beds, hotel rooms and housing units with supports. This is on top of the City’s base shelter system, which provides more than 6,000 spaces for those experiencing homelessness each night.

The winter plan will be in effect until April 2021. The need for services will be monitored and the City will adapt as required to respond to changing circumstances.

To learn more about the winter plan, visit:

https://www.toronto.ca/news/city-of-toronto-2020-2021-winter-plan-for-people-experiencing-homelessness/.

 

Reduce, reuse and recycle right this holiday season

Posted on December 17, 2020

The City of Toronto is encouraging residents to be mindful of the amount of waste they generate over the holiday season and to look for opportunities to reduce and reuse.

This holiday season, the City is reminding everyone to protect themselves and loved ones from COVID-19. Toronto Public Health strongly recommends individuals avoid in-home gatherings and celebrate in-person only with the people that they live with and celebrate virtually with those outside the household.

The City manages approximately 900,000 tonnes (two billion pounds) of waste each year which requires money, energy and resources, and takes up valuable landfill space. Small changes can have a big impact. During the holiday season remember the three Rs – reduce, reuse and recycle right, and waste less with the following tips.

Reduce

  • Consider low-waste gifts such as buying gift cards from local shops and restaurants or a charitable donation in a loved one’s name.
  • Get creative and make gifts from materials that you have around the house.
  • Say “no” to single-use items such as cutlery, plates and cups when ordering delivery and takeout.
  • Plan meals ahead and store food correctly to reduce the amount of food waste.

Reuse

  • Save gift bags, gift wrap, ribbons and bows to reuse year after year.
  • Get crafty when wrapping by using reusable fabrics, newspapers, old cards and calendars.
  • Shop online for quality second-hand options.

Recycle right

As more people turn to online shopping this season, it’s important to know how to properly sort items used for shipping. Reuse online packaging if possible and check how to dispose of items before placing them in the Blue Bin.

  • Recycle flattened cardboard, paper gift wrap and rinse plastic plates and plastic cups before placing them in the Blue Bin.
  • All mailer bags including those labelled as compostable go in the garbage.
  • Bubble wrap, bubble envelopes, plastic strapping from boxes and packing peanuts go in the garbage.
  • Dispose of foil/metallic wrapping paper, ribbons, bows, and fruit crates in the garbage.
  • Use the Green Bin (organics) for fruit and vegetable scraps, meat including bones, spoiled cakes and cookies.

Never put recycling in black bags or throw black plastics in the Blue Bin (recycling).

As a precaution in response to COVID-19, soiled paper napkins and tissues should be placed in the Garbage Bin and all garbage should be bagged.

For more tips and ideas on how to reduce waste this holiday season, watch for your 2021 waste management calendar in the mail or visit www.toronto.ca/reduce-reuse.

More information about how to properly dispose of holiday items is available at www.toronto.ca/wastewizard.

City of Toronto continues working with community-based agencies to provide mental health support to vulnerable residents during the COVID-19 pandemic

Posted on December 10, 2020

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Toronto has partnered with community-based agencies that provide mental health and social services to support residents during this difficult time. The City has also remained committed to providing Torontonians with safe opportunities for recreation and prioritized access to the City’s parks and green spaces for fresh air and exercise.

As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise, continued measures to slow the spread of the virus and protect the city’s most vulnerable residents have created stress and anxiety for many individuals. These mental health pressures are particularly severe for individuals who are faced with challenging circumstances such as social isolation, job loss and illness.

Mental health support

The City launched the mental health support strategy in April 2020 and partnered with key mental health service providers to support the wellbeing of Toronto residents. Partner agencies have reported that almost 88,500 people have either called, texted or sent an online message for support. Of that number, more than 80,300 people received direct mental health support and more than 8,000 people were referred directly to partners for additional support. Preliminary data also indicates that 40 per cent of contacts were seniors, and three per cent of people seeking mental health services were youth. To date, 211 has also reported a total of 42,708 mental health-related web searches regarding issues related to community mental health services, addiction treatment, youth mental health, crisis lines and in-person crisis services.

Toronto residents are reminded that they have access to free mental health services from the safety of their homes. Anyone experiencing anxiety or stress can call 211 to connect with one of 13 mental health service partners for direct phone support. Mental health service information is also available at http://www.211toronto.ca/,as well as through the City’s website at https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/covid-19-protect-yourself-others/covid-19-mental-health-resources/.

Mental health services are available for specific populations, such as: children and youth; seniors; frontline workers; Indigenous, Black, persons with disabilities and LGBTQ2S. These specific service providers include:

  • Across Boundaries
  • Caribbean African Canadian Social Services
  • Crisis Text Line
  • Family Services Toronto
  • Gerstein Crisis Centre
  • Hong Fook
  • Kids Help Phone
  • Native Child and Family Services of Toronto
  • Ontario Psychological Association
  • Strides Toronto
  • The Access Point
  • Toronto Seniors Helpline (WoodGreen)
  • Warm Line (Progress Place)

To help support frontline workers, specific mental health resources have been mobilized as part of the City’s Mental Health Support Strategy to support them. Frontline workers with minimal or no mental health coverage are encouraged to call 211, note that they are a frontline worker in need of mental health supports, and they will be connected to specialized counsellors free of charge.

 

CurbTO registration for temporary pick-up zones

Posted on December 3, 2020

The City of Toronto will re-open registration for CurbTO temporary parking pick-up zones to help support main street businesses while Toronto is in the Grey – Lockdown category of the Province of Ontario’s COVID-19 response framework.

Throughout the summer, around 100 Temporary Parking Pick-Up Zones helped by re-purposing parking locations along main streets for short-term parking (no more than 10 minutes). Potential customers and delivery agents have used them to expedite food, medicine and other merchandise pick-ups by making parking spots immediately available near main street businesses offering curbside pick-up and delivery.

Blue signs are put in place to identify the temporary parking locations and City staff are working with Toronto Police Service Parking Enforcement to plan enforcement and help ensure that the designated parking locations are used appropriately.

With Toronto in the Grey – Lockdown category of the Province of Ontario’s COVID-19 response framework, the message from Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health is that the best way to stop the spread of COVID-19 is for residents to stay home and only go out for essentials. Making short-term parking available for curbside pick-up or delivery services supports both public health requirements and local businesses.

Businesses with available nearby parking lots are encouraged to use that space to accommodate temporary curbside pick-up locations.

The CurbTO program first launched in April and, at its peak in early summer, the program supported more than 200 locations while also helping to keep people safer from virus spread and respecting public health direction. Fifty-six sites are still active on City streets.

Main street businesses and BIAs can register or learn more about the program at toronto.ca/curbto.

Update on Inclusion to the City of Toronto’s Heritage Register

Posted on November 26, 2020

Two Staff Reports recommending inclusion of properties within Ward 4 Parkdale-High Park on to the Heritage Register will be heard at the Toronto Preservation Board meeting on November 30th, 2020.

The affected properties are located within the area of the Dundas Street West and Roncesvalles Built Form Study or the West Queen West Planning Study areas. The properties have been identified through the heritage surveys undertaken as part of past planning and heritage studies. Individual Property owners have received communication for the City of Toronto.

The report are available for review at:

PB19.7 Inclusion on the City of Toronto’s Heritage Register – Dundas Street West and Roncesvalles Avenue Properties

http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2020.PB19.7

PB19.8 Inclusion on the City of Toronto’s Heritage Register – Properties within the West Queen West and Parkdale Main Street Areas

http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2020.PB19.8

The listing of a non-designated property on a municipal Heritage Register provides interim protection from demolition, should a development or demolition application be submitted. Listing provides an opportunity for City Council to determine whether the property warrants conservation through designation under the Ontario Heritage Act.

“Listing” a property on the Heritage Register does not trigger maintenance requirements over and above existing property standards, and it does not restrict an owner’s ability to make exterior and interior alterations when demolition or a development application is not involved.

When a property is listed it does not necessarily mean that it will be subsequently “designated.”

Due to the pandemic, Civic buildings are closed to the public and meetings of the Toronto Preservation Board are currently being conducted by electronic means. If you wish to register to speak to this item at Toronto Preservation Board, or submit written comment, please email teycc@toronto.ca. Registered speakers will be provided with instructions on connecting to the meeting.

TEYCC will also be streamed live online at www.youtube.com/TorontoCityCouncilLive

City of Toronto announces planned road closures this weekend

Posted on November 26, 2020

The City of Toronto announced planned road closures this weekend that will impact essential travel on Saturday, November 28 and Sunday, November 29.

Members of the public are reminded to stay home to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Anyone making essential travel should plan their trip ahead and use alternate routes.

Lake Shore Boulevard East, between Jarvis Street and Parliament Street, as well as part of Sherbourne Street at Lake Shore Boulevard, will be fully closed in both directions on Saturday to accommodate filming. The closure will take place from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. and residents should be aware that part of the filming will include stunt driving sequences. Transit riders can expect impacts to the following routes during this closure: 6 Bay, 65 Parliament, 72 Pape, 75 Sherbourne and 121 Fort-York Esplanade.

Bloor Street West, between Ruttan Street and St. Helens Avenue, will be fully closed overnight on Saturday and Sunday to accommodate construction activities for the Metrolinx GO Expansion Davenport Diamond project. The specific closure times are:

  • Saturday, November 28 at 6 p.m. until Sunday, November 29 at 6 a.m.
  • Sunday, November 29 at 6 p.m. until Monday, November 30 at 5 a.m.

During this closure, the TTC will re-route impacted surface transit routes north to Dupont Street.

In addition, people driving and biking, as well as pedestrians are reminded that closures remain in place at the nearby intersections of Dundas Street West and College Street as well as Dundas Street West and Sterling Road to accommodate on-going TTC streetcar track replacement.

There will also be no subway service on Line 1 between Lawrence and St. Clair stations all weekend. This work is to accommodate ongoing Eglinton Crosstown construction. Shuttle buses will operate throughout the closure. More at https://www.ttc.ca/Service_Advisories/Subway_closures/Nov28-29_Lawrence-StC.jsp

Traffic-signal timing on nearby routes will be enhanced and monitored all weekend to help manage congestion associated with planned restrictions and closures. Signage is also in place in advance of road closures and paid duty officers may be placed at some key intersections.

 

Winter Plan for outdoor recreation opportunities

Posted on November 26, 2020

Yesterday, the City announced its Winter Plan for outdoor recreation opportunities to help Toronto residents stay active through the colder months.

Features of the plan include enhanced snow clearing and expanded washroom facilities in many parks. As well, the City’s outdoor ice rinks, with limited capacities, will be available beginning November 28th. Many other park facilities including outdoors sports courts, playgrounds and off-leash dog areas will remain open.

As part of this effort, High Park will also remain car free on weekends. For more details on the full plan, visit: https://www.toronto.ca/news/city-of-toronto-launches-welcome-t-o-winter-parks-plan/

For a full list of the all the washrooms that will be open parks, visit: https://www.toronto.ca/news/city-of-toronto-to-more-than-double-its-supply-of-winter-park-washrooms/

FMTA Virtual Tenant School – Nov 28 & 29

Posted on November 25, 2020

Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations’ is hosting Virtual Tenant School.

These are free legal workshops for tenants via Zoom taught by staff from community legal clinics and the Federation of Metro Tenants Associations

Date: Saturday, November 28 & Sunday, November 29

Time: 2:00-3:30 PM

To register and receive your Zoom invite, visit https://forms.gle/KSPhnanN3cy5RYKW7 for the online registration form or contact Joeita Gupta at joeita@torontotenants.org or 416-413-9442.

More information: www.torontotenants.org Register now!

fmta tenant worksho

Committee of Adjustment date for 2376 Dundas St West

Posted on November 19, 2020

In 2014, the Ontario Municipal Board approved a 24-storey building at 2376 Dundas St. West The applicant is now proposing to add an additional 3 storeys, increase the permitted gross floor area and revise the layout of interior areas.
This proposal for an additional 3-storeys requires a Committee of Adjustment Minor variance and a Site Plan application approval.

The Minor Variance request will be heard at Committee of Adjustment on December 2nd, 2020. Community members have an opportunity to comment on the application at the virtual Committee of Adjustment hearing. The Public Notice, with details on how to view and/or participate, is available attached below. Note that the deadline for comments is no later than 4:30 pm on Wednesday, November 25, 2020.

Details on the Site Plan application are available on the City’s Application Information centre at http://app.toronto.ca/AIC/index.do . City staff are reviewing the changes proposed. Carla Tsang is the City Planner responsible for this file. She can be reached at Carla.tsang@toronto.ca .

Public Hearing Notice

City of Toronto mandating stricter restrictions to decrease COVID-19 transmission in Toronto

Posted on November 12, 2020

Today, the Medical Officer of Health announced a number of public health measures to be introduced when the City of Toronto is moved by the Province of Ontario into the provincial COVID-19 response framework on November 14.

Dr. de Villa’s recommendations come as the city sees its COVID-19 numbers going in the wrong direction. Beyond her recommendation that Toronto be moved into the Red – Control category in the provincial framework, Dr. de Villa introduced a number of directives to help reduce the spread of the virus in our community.

After carefully examining the situation, City officials determined Toronto requires strengthened protections and guidance for high-risk sectors and activities.

On November 14th, Toronto will be moved into the Red – Control level of the Province of Ontario’s COVID-19 Response Framework . Given the current situation and epidemiology in Toronto, enhanced measures are planned to reduce COVID-19 activity.

Details on the measures are available here .

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