Toronto is a vibrant and dynamic city. With a diverse population, a creative culture, and a history of supporting those in need, Toronto has never ceased to inspire me. Toronto gave me what I needed to find success in my own life and I have been proud to serve as a City Councillor, finding new opportunities to make Toronto a success for everyone.
It is an honour to be your local representative in the new Ward 13, Toronto Centre! As City Councillor, I have worked to expand parks and public spaces, secure more affordable housing and shelter capacity, bring new economic opportunities to the Downtown East, and advance service gaps that have led to inequity in our own neighbourhoods.
On the heels of Election night, I was honoured to be chosen Best City Councillor by the Readers of NOW Magazine for the fourth year in a row. This award belongs to all of us - to the countless residents, community groups and local businesses that continuously stand up for Toronto and work to build healthier and more livable communities. I will continue to defend Toronto and the services that we know build strong, resilient neighbourhoods.
Through community partnerships, collaborating with neighbourhood groups, project consultations, and tireless advocacy, I know we can only do this work together. Community members like yourself are at heart of everything we do and I need your help to continue guiding this work effectively. I look forward to working together!
Sending our very best wishes for a blessed and happy Hanukkah!
Yours in community service,
Table of Contents
- My Open Letter to Mayor Tory
- Mary Sheffield House Opening
- Jesse Ketchum Park Re-Opening
- Ramsden Park Phase 2 Completed
- David Crombie Park Revitalization
- Protecting Heritage Views of City Hall, Old City Hall and St. James Cathedral
- St. James Park Phase 1 Complete
- Kristyn In the Community
- Community Spotlight: The Coalition for Gun Control
In an Open Letter to Mayor Tory, I called for Tory to adequately fund both the City of Toronto’s Youth Equity Strategy — which has survived on just a fraction of the funding needed to fully implement the anti-violence and inclusion initiatives — as well as the City Council-approved Poverty Reduction Strategy, which seeks to address homelessness, student nutrition and other challenges.
Over the last few years, Toronto has reached the limits of its programs and facilities on many fronts. Underinvestment for a generation has left us poorly prepared for the housing, shelters, mental health, and opioid crises before us today.
As we once again go into the City Budget process and grapple with housing, shelters, and other community services, we must build up the resilience of communities in need in Toronto Centre and right across the city. We can only do this by meeting our shelter and housing crises head-on, investing in community resources for neighbourhoods facing poverty and violence, and by improving access to City Hall for those speaking on behalf of communities in need.
Read the full article: Councillor urges Toronto mayor to ‘adequately fund’ programs to combat violence and poverty, The Toronto Star, November 20, 2018
On November 21st, I had the pleasure of attending an open house at the newly operational Mary Sheffield House on Jarvis St. Thanks to a generous partnership with Mike and Giulia Ahmadi, this period mansion - located at 512 Jarvis St. - has been lovingly restored from top to bottom. It's now home to a Fred Victor program that offers safe, clean and dignified transitional housing for women over 55, who are exiting the shelter system.
This project required minor variances at the Committee of Adjustment in order to come to fruition. I was thrilled to lend my endorsement and advocate for much-needed new housing for senior women. Fred Victor is a proven City-funded operator that has done an excellent job supporting low-income and homeless members of our community. The project is named for Mary Sheffield, who founded a downtown mission to help the poor in the late 1800s.
For more: 'Everybody can win': How a Victorian mansion became a refuge for homeless women, CBC News, November 22, 2018.
I am proud to announce that the newly renovated Jesse Ketchum Park is now open to the public. This renovation was a priority project for myself, and the local community, whose advocacy for park improvements goes back to 1994. The park land is owned by the TDSB but has been maintained by the City for decades. The community and I persisted to reach a new land use agreement that would allow for a re-design and updated maintenance contact was no easy feat. It required over a year of negotiation, as well as support from Chris Moise, our local school trustee.
On November 30th I gathered with community advocates, Parks staff, and the TDSB, to officially cut the ribbon. The renovated park features new plantings, pathways, lighting and seating. There is also a beautifully lighted trellis which gives the park a wonderful glow, and a water bottle filling station.
The park is named after Jesse Ketchum, a local philanthropist who in 1856 donated the land, as space for a school and park for children, after his own experiences in the foster care system.
Ramsden Park Phase 2 is now completed! This phase of the work focused on improvements to the Yonge St. frontage and includes new seating, plantings, lighting, and pathways. Special features include a new accessible ramp, a multi-use court, and a beautiful, bench that circles the base of a tree. These new features will help to facilitate active and multi-generational park use and provide gathering space for community events. An additional feature that will delight park users is the overlook where one can ponder the engraved words of City Poet Laureate George C. Clark.
Park renovations are proceeding on schedule with the final phase of renovations beginning in Spring 2019.
The David Crombie Park Revitalization is underway! This 1.6 hectare (3.95 acres) linear park, named after former Toronto Mayor David Crombie, serves as the green spine of the St Lawrence Market Neighbourhood. Situated within an area of both cultural and heritage significance, David Crombie Park is located just south of the original footprint of Old Town Toronto.
Over the Fall 2018 season, Phase 1 and Phase 2 took place, which included public consultations and a detailed investigation and assessment of park conditions took place. Coming up in 2019 will be public consultations on the revitalization design concept options (Phase 3) and the final park revitalization design and recommendations will be presented with public consultation (Phase 4). Stay tuned for more information!
The City is proposing an Official Plan Amendment to clarify the existing view protection policies in the Official Plan as they affect the silhouette views associated with City Hall, Old City Hall and St. James Cathedral.
The City is holding a community consultation on Official Plan Amendment to Protect Heritage Views of City Hall, Old City Hall and St. James Cathedral Community Consultation. Learn more about this Official Plan Amendment, ask questions, and share your comments.
When: December 13, 2018, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Where: City Hall, 100 Queen Street West, Committee Room 2
To speak to the planner directly, contact David Sit, at (416) 392-7188 or David.Sit@toronto.ca. You may mail your comments to the planner at Toronto and East York District, 100 Queen St W, Floor 18 E, Toronto, ON, M5H 2N2.
Our public meeting locations are wheelchair/mobility device accessible. Other reasonable accommodation or assistive services for persons with disabilities may be provided with adequate notice. Please contact David Sit, at (416) 392-7188, David.Sit@toronto.ca with your request. The City of Toronto is committed to taking the necessary steps to ensure compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005.
Work has finished on Phase 1 of improvements to St. James Park. The improvements include:
- A new, custom playground with a market theme and water play feature;
- A new entry plaza at the north-east entrance (Jarvis and Adelaide) with seating and a heritage interpretation lighting feature;
- New park lighting;
- New tree planting;
- Horticultural planting; and
- New accessible connecting walkways.
The improvements were identified in the approved conceptual master plan for park improvements. The master plan was developed by Parks, Forestry and Recreation in 2015-2016 and involved extensive consultation with stakeholders, the late Councillor Pam McConnell and the public.
Phase 2, which is scheduled to begin in early 2019, will bring improvements to the rest of the park, including new lighting and a new stage.
For more information, please contact Nancy Chater, Senior Project Coordinator, at email@example.com.
Delighted to visit with staff at Children's Book Bank Canada! Since 2008 they have distributed one million books to kids in high-needs communities. They hosted nearly 650 school field trips last year and worked with 25 community partners. They're a Toronto Centre gem. Check them out!
It was great to meet these Access to Recreation community champions working with the City to enhance recreation services and community development for the residents in Regent Park and Moss Park. You'll be hearing more about their advocacy in the weeks to come.
Congratulations to the Ryerson University community on the renaming of their most iconic building, now the Sheldon & Tracey Levy Student Learning Centre. This high honour is well deserved
Congratulations to Olivia Chow, founder of The Change Leaders Institute on their 2nd anniversary. This impressive startup leadership institute at Ryerson University has trained over 4000 young leaders over the past two years. Exciting to watch this movement of change leaders grow!
Thank you to the Cabbagetown BIA for hosting the Cabbagetown Holiday Kickoff complete with Santa, kids, crafts, cookies, the City Choir, plus horse & carriage rides!
On Friday, I met with 650 Parliament tenants. Originally this urgent meeting was organized to counter December 1 eviction from hotels. The landlord told them this morning that they would be able to stay! Instead, we spent our time productively reviewing next steps which I will be bringing to the landlord.
It was great to meet community members at the Toronto Alliance to End Homelessness open discussion at the Holy Trinity Chruch. I heard personal and moving stories about being homeless and what safe, decent housing means to all who need it.
At City Hall, we recognized a new partnership between Interfaith Coalition to Fight Homelessness and Out Of The Cold plus Canadian Mental Health Alliance. Mental health supports introduced at select Out of the Cold shelters. Joe Mihevc rightly recognized for his longtime leadership in helping all in need!
My favourite things came together tonight at CRC at 40 Oaks for the Regent Park Community Food Council fundraiser Street Eats Fest 2018. It was a delight to see so many friends including MPP Suze Morrison, Jennifer Hollett, MPP Rima Berns-McGown and mayor-elect Ann Macdiarmid of Seguin Township.
Founded in the wake of the Montreal Massacre in 1989, the Coalition for Gun Control was formed to support strategies to reduce gun death, injury and crime. For almost 30 years, the Coalition for Gun Control has been working to make Canada safer and is supported by more than 200 health, crime prevention, victims, public safety, women’s and community organizations from across Canada. We have made progress but much more needs to be done.
Currently, the Coalition is focused on strengthening Bill C-71 and promoting a national ban on handguns in Canada. Real gun control has to happen in Toronto and across the country. I have proudly joined with the Coalition for Gun Control in advocating to strengthen Bill C-71 and vocally support the ban handguns, assault rifles and semi-automatics in Canada. In addition, with the support of experts from the Coalition for Gun Control, successfully passed Motion CC44.14 Immediate Steps to Address Gun Violence in June 2018.
Thank you for all the work you do in advocating for stronger gun control legislation in Canada!