This past Friday August 20, the Province of Ontario, the City of Toronto, and the St Lawrence Neighbourhood Association agreed on a settlement to preserve a significant portion of the Foundry buildings, located at 153-185 Eastern Avenue in the West Don Lands and Corktown neighbourhood.
Although this agreement in principle with the Province does not undo the unilaterally imposed Minister's Zoning Order (MZO), it does effectively save the most prominent heritage buildings and elements of the Foundry site. This victory is a testament to the organizing and local planning efforts in the community. I am pleased to have worked hard with very talented City Legal and City Planning staff, City Council, and the local residents and community stakeholders to achieve this outcome. Of course, I could not do any of this work without the unwavering support of my own staff who selflessly worked into the evenings, early mornings, and weekends to help organize, plan emergency meetings, draft motions, send special EBlasts, and design communication tools to support local petitions and websites. Please visit my website to see past statements about the Foundry.
Additionally, there are many more people to thank as the Foundry victory belongs to all who helped raise awareness about the illegal demolition and real threat of losing the valuable cultural and heritage assets in our neighbourhood. I want to start by recognizing the hard work of community advocates from Friends of the Foundry, the West Don Lands Committee, the Corktown Residents and Business Association, all the locally elected and aspiring representatives who showed up to protest, write letters, promote the petition and website, and offer words of ongoing support. My most special thanks is reserved for Suzanne Kavangh and the St. Lawrence Neighbourhood Association for their dedication, hard work, and initial court action as we would not be celebrating any victory without them. Read my full statement on my website.
On Sunday, we saw new cases of COVID-19 climb to 722 new cases. This is absolutely not the trend we want. The province has halted any further re-opening and has mandated that many public-facing sectors require mandatory vaccinations and a policy for those with medical exemptions. This includes doctors, teachers, paramedics, long-term health care workers, and the federal government has imposed a vaccine passport for international travel. These steps are to ensure broad public safety as we navigate the emerging fourth wave.
To complement these vaccination policies, last week the City of Toronto mandated that all City staff will need to be vaccinated as well as Toronto Public Library and TTC employees. The City’s public service will be required to disclose vaccination status by September 13, and any employees who are unvaccinated or refuse will be required to attend a mandatory education on the benefits of vaccination, after which they will need to provide proof of a first dose by September 30. Accommodation requests will be made on the grounds outlined in the Ontario Human Rights Code. Today, the Toronto Police Services announced that they will require all uniformed and civilian staff to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by September 13. These public-facing sectors are taking action to ensure the public and their staff are safe for the community to access.
Yesterday British Columbia announced that they will be joining Manitoba and Quebec in issuing a vaccine passport for large indoor gatherings. Starting on September 13, people in British Columbia will need to prove through a vaccine card that they have one dose of COVID-19 vaccine to access certain specified locations and events. Come October 24, they will need to have received their second dose of vaccine at least a week earlier.
In Toronto, many businesses are starting to independently mandate a vaccine policy. Mirvish announced early this week that their cast, crews, and audience members will require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test. Toronto International Film Festival, slated to begin in person on September 9, will also be requiring proof of vaccination, or a negative COVID-19 test in order to participate in their indoor events.
The vast majority of hospitalizations are those who have not been fully vaccinated. The fourth wave is growing exponentially. Without these restraints, we are at risk of straining our healthcare system and even requiring further restrictions once more. If you have not yet, I urge you to get vaccinated with both doses. The vaccine will help protect you against hospitalization, and severe symptoms of COVID-19.
With the announced Federal election scheduled for September 20, it is critical that we hold each candidate accountable and advocate for the needs of our communities. COVID-19 has laid bare the systemic inequalities already prevalent in our neighbourhoods. Along with my colleagues on City Council, I have made motion after motion advocating for mental health and addictions supports as well as funding for permanent supportive and transitional housing for our most vulnerable residents.
The root causes of the housing and homelessness crisis in Toronto fit squarely within the purview of our Federal and Provincial governments. Mayor Tory wrote a letter to each federal party leader outlining the needs of Toronto, including funding for important social services, more housing, and expanding our transit system. Although the Mayor’s letter made no reference to child care, climate change, reconciliation, small business recovery, or anti-poverty reduction, five additional issues I believe many of us care deeply about, the letter does specifically ask federal parties and candidates need to commit to:
- Allocating $6.4 billion to fund the City of Toronto’s HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan;
- Providing capital funding to build 18,000 new units of supportive housing over the next 10 years, and
- Funding $900 million per year to address Toronto’s mental health and addiction crisis.
These Council-endorsed requests to our federal government have gone unanswered, and Toronto needs these critical pieces if we are truly working to end homelessness. Learn more about my work and the ongoing need at kristynwongtam.ca/homelessness.
Graphic asking if federal candidates will commit to Toronto's housing needs this election
I want to take a moment to send my condolences to the friends and family of a young cyclist who was fatally struck by a construction vehicle at Avenue and Bloor Street last week. The City needs to prioritize and scale up the investment to ensure the safety of vulnerable road users, especially where there is construction or road maintenance and many types of road users intersect.
Avenue Road has been previously identified for study as part of the ActiveTO intervention and the installation of basic cycling infrastructure. With so many new cyclists and pedestrians in our neighbourhoods, especially those who migrated from regular TTC use, the City of Toronto must modernize and build inclusive infrastructure to support their safe travel. Along with community advocates, I will continue to advocate for the needs of all road users, especially those most vulnerable namely pedestrians and cyclists, to make sure City Council continues to invest in road safety.
Thank you for your resilience, it is an honour to represent you.
What’s In Today’s EBlast?
- Toronto Centre Projects
- Have Your Say! Toronto Accessibility Design Guidelines
- Save Main Streets Toronto
- You Might Be Interested: A Walk in the Park with Gil
- Changing Lanes: The City of Toronto’s Review of Laneway Suites
- Book Your FREE Tickets For "LA BULLE"
- City to Launch Toronto For All: Undocumented Residents Campaign
Toronto Centre Projects
Toronto Centre Projects promotional graphic
Toronto Centre Projects is designed to engage community members and crowdsource neighbourhood projects supported by the Councillor's office and your neighbours. Over the next year, my office will be launching consultations for several parks and dog off-leash area revitalizations, public realm improvements, and more.
Have ideas to make our communities more liveable, vibrant, and safe? Submit them at www.TorontoCentreProjects.ca.
Have Your Say! Toronto Accessibility Design Guidelines
The City of Toronto wants you to share your feedback on the updated Toronto Accessibility Design Guidelines (TADG). These online information sessions will provide an overview of the TADG, and give staff the opportunity to consider comments and feedback as well as answer questions from members of the community.
There will be two upcoming virtual sessions via WebEx which will both cover the same content. A transcript of these sessions will be recorded. Please ensure you are logging into the session as a guest. When logging into the session, you will be prompted to enter your name. To ensure you are not disclosing your personal information, please log in using your first name and last name initial only, or using a pseudonym.
When: Thursday, September 9, 2021
Time: 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Click to join!
When: Thursday, September 9, 2021
Time: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Click to join!
Sign language (A.S.L.) and automated closed captioning will be provided at both information sessions. If you need additional disability-related accommodations to participate in this online event, please contact [email protected].
In addition to the public consultations, residents are encouraged to provide feedback via this online survey.
For instructions on how to participate in public consultations using WebEx, please visit Participate in City Virtual Events.
Save Main Streets Toronto
In anticipation of this Federal election, I worked with a new coalition of business partners including TABIA, CFIB, ORHMA, and SaveHospitality to launch SaveMainStreets.TO to ask all party leaders to commit proportionate resources to save Canada's main streets. Until COVID is behind us and the economy is 100% re-opened, the emergency wage and rent subsidies must stay in order to support Downtown businesses and their recovery. We need our Federal leaders to understand that any premature wind-down or shut down of the emergency business supports will be a devastating blow to our struggling main streets. During this election, we must make our voice loud and heard if we are to save main streets in Canada.
Toronto had 3,480 fewer business establishments by the end of 2020 than it did at the beginning of the year. As of March 2021, almost 50,000 jobs have been lost in Toronto due to business closures attributed to COVID-19.
Save main streets TO campaign poster
In Toronto, we know that these supports have been a lifeline for our community. According to a survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, 62% of Toronto businesses reported using Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy; 46% reported using CERS.
The Federal government and all party leaders need to extend these supports until the economy has fully reopened and they can operate at 100% indoor capacity. I had the opportunity to speak with some business leaders, and our MP Marci Ien, on a walk down Yonge Street. It culminated in a press conference. Watch it here!
Take action now by signing the petition at SaveMainStreets.TO
You Might Be Interested In: A Walk in the Park with Gil
A Walk in the Park with Gil promotional graphic
You’re invited to a free webinar series called A Walk in the Park with Gil! Hosted in partnership with 880 Cities and World Urban Parks, A Walk in the Park with Gil is a free, bi-weekly 45 minute webinar series exploring successful cases of urban parks and sharing fascinating stories. Each week will have special guests discuss the international landscape and opportunities for more green spaces!
The first session, Parks are Ever More Important, will feature presenter Enrique Peñalosa, twice elected mayor of Bogotá, Colombia, in discussion with Amanda O’Rourke (880 Cities) and Jayne Miller (Chair of World Urban Parks). During his terms, he led the design and construction of over 1100 parks, planted over 150,000 trees, and built 380 kilometers of protected bikeways.
Author book to be published 2021 City, Equality, Happiness. Learn more and register to attend!
Upcoming sessions include:
September 7, 2021: From Gray to Green
Rob Adams, City Architect in Melbourne, Australia.
September 21, 2021: Olympic Games to World Class Park
Ruth Holmes, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London, England.
October 5, 2021: Royal Botanic Gardens- More Than Just Green Space
Denise Ora, Chief Executive, Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, Australia.
Changing Lanes: The City of Toronto’s Review of Laneway Suites
The City of Toronto has reviewed laneway suite applications and retained Gladki Planning Associates to assist with this work. Changing Lanes: The City of Toronto’s Review of Laneway Suites, a City of Toronto study that occurred between 2017 and 2019. At this point in their review, staff want to share their findings with you at two upcoming virtual information sessions.
When: August 31, 2021
Time: 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
When: September 1, 2021
Time: 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
City staff will present preliminary findings, summarize comments and inform residents on the next steps. Each session will have the opportunity for residents to ask questions. Learn more about the upcoming sessions and the review here.
The presentation from these meetings, as well as an online comment form, will be posted to the Changing Lanes website.
Book Your FREE Tickets For "LA BULLE"
"La Bulle" Photo by: Muriel Cavanhac
The Summer is not over yet, and we are going to make the most of it with yet another mesmerizing series of performances.
"La Bulle" features a one-of-a-kind bubble tent (a character in its own right) and its sole inhabitant: Pierrot, the iconic dreamer. Confined together, they live in transparent symbiosis. In this theatrical setting, there is nowhere to hide -- an absurd situation, fully exploited with humour by a lucid and lunar Pierrot.
This show premiered in France in July, and this is the CANADIAN PREMIERE!
When: August 31, 2021, to September 5, 2021
Where: 250 The Esplanade, Berkeley Castle Courtyard
Time: 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
This presentation is silent with no words, and is appropriate for all ages. The trailer is available to watch here.
City to Launch Toronto For All: Undocumented Residents Campaign
Today, the City of Toronto and Mayor Tory proclaimed Undocumented Residents Day in Toronto to recognize the thousands of undocumented residents living in Toronto! Every day they make important contributions to our city, with many experiencing tremendous hardships while living in fear due to their lack of immigration status. To further support this message, the City also launched the latest Toronto for All campaign focused on support for undocumented residents. For this campaign, the City has partnered with FCJ Refugee Centre, and other key agencies, to help humanize undocumented residents in Toronto. These residents help contribute to the economic and cultural fabric of the city. The campaign launches today, August 24, and will run for four weeks. #TorontoForAll
#TorontoForAll promotional graphic
COVID-19: Vaccine Information
For updates about Toronto’s vaccination rollout and booking system, please visit my website.
Book an appointment at a City-operated vaccination clinic by phone through the provincial call centre, 1-888-999-6488.
Book an appointment at a City-operated vaccination clinic online at www.toronto.ca/covid-19. For online bookings, you will need:
- Information found on your Government of Ontario photo health card;
- Postal code; and
- Email address or phone number.
The provincial system will verify your eligibility to book an appointment for vaccination based on this information and will then guide you to the scheduling system.
Please do not call 311 or Toronto Public Health to book an appointment. The City 311 contact centre and Toronto Public Health staff do not have access to the booking system.
Vaccinated Against COVID-19? What Does It Mean For Me?
By getting vaccinated, you benefit from the protection you get against COVID-19 and the easing of restrictive measures in your community. You still need to follow local public health advice in public settings (e.g. workplaces, public transit). Their advice considers community risk levels.
A majority of people in Canada have now had their first shot and many will soon be fully vaccinated. Below is a handy chart created by Public Health Canada to inform your actions depending on your vaccination status. This advice is based on the current state and will be updated as vaccination rates continue to increase and cases decrease.
COVID-19: Ongoing Tips to Reduce Virus Spread
As we begin to again restrengthen our public health measures, we will all continue to live in this new normal. Wearing a mask or a face covering is mandatory in all public indoor spaces and on the TTC. Our commitment must be to continue minimizing the impact of COVID-19, especially on our most vulnerable residents, while reducing negative social, economic, and broader health impacts on our community. In the coming months what this means for our residents is:
- Continuing to work remotely, wherever possible;
- Maintaining physical distance from people outside our household or social circle/bubble;
- Avoiding crowds and congregations in closed indoor settings;
- Wearing a cloth mask or face covering in any public indoor setting, including stores, transit, offices; and where
- physical distancing is difficult to maintain.
- Staying home whenever we are sick for any reason.
City of Toronto COVID-19 Updates
Mayor John Tory was joined by City Manager Chris Murray and Chief People Officer Omo Akintan to announce a new mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy requiring all City of Toronto employees to receive both doses of the vaccine.
Toronto Medical Officer of Health Strongly Recommending Toronto Employers Institute COVID-19 Vaccination Policy and Support Workplace Vaccination
Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, is strongly recommending local employers institute a workplace vaccination policy to protect their employees and the public from COVID-19.
The City of Toronto and the Province of Ontario have reached an agreement in principle regarding the provincially-owned Dominion Foundry Complex, a former industrial complex of four heritage buildings known as the Foundry Buildings located at 153-185 Eastern Ave.
Province of Ontario Updates
In response to evolving data around the transmissibility of the Delta variant and based on the recent experiences of other jurisdictions, the government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, is taking action to increase protection for our most vulnerable, including frail seniors, immunocompromised individuals and young children who are not yet eligible for vaccination. This includes making COVID-19 vaccination policies mandatory in high-risk settings, pausing the province’s exit from the Roadmap to Reopen, and providing third doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to vulnerable populations. The government is also expanding eligibility for the Pfizer vaccine to children born in 2009 or earlier.
The Ontario government is investing an additional $169 million to extend the temporary wage increase for personal support workers and direct support workers for the third time since its initial investment last year. This increase will continue until October 31, 2021, and will help stabilize staffing levels and support our frontline health care workers to ensure the province is prepared to respond to any scenario as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve.
Government of Canada Updates
All updates from the Government of Canada can be found at the link here.
COVID-19 Information and Resources
Now is the time to stay informed through credible sources, and to follow the advice of our public health professionals. Together we can limit the spread of COVID-19.
Phone lines for telehealth, TPH and 311 continue to experience very high volumes. Please help keep the phones lines open for people who are sick by visiting the Toronto Public Health COVID-19 website for up-to-date information and resources: toronto.ca/covid-19
Call if you develop symptoms!
Toronto Public Health Hotline
8:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Call if you have questions about COVID-19.
Email: [email protected]
Outside City limits: 416-392-2489
Call if you have questions about City services, or to report people
Telephone: 311 (The City is only accepting 311 requests through phone)
Support for People Living with Homelessness
If you see someone living with homelessness and in need of support you can call Streets to Homes at 416-338-4766. For mental health support, the Gerstein Crisis Centre is a valuable 24-hours a day, seven days a week service in our community and they have crisis workers on standby at 416-929-5200. More resources, including additional how to report information, are available on my website at kristynwongtam.ca.
If you or someone else is confronted with life-threatening danger, please call 911 immediately. Alternatively, the Toronto Police request that online reports be submitted at torontopolice.on.ca/core or to torontopolice.on.ca/community-complaints. You can also call their non-emergency line at 416-808-2222.