I hope each and every one of you took an opportunity over the past long weekend to relax and reflect, and hopefully got to experience some of the joys of a slowly re-opened city. It was a pleasure to walk down the streets and see patios and parks full of smiling people. A huge thank you to all of those who work in the hospitality sector, who got back to work and supported these businesses as more and more public health restrictions and closures were lifted.
COVID-19 case counts are still trending down, and supporting our careful reopening. Over the past seven days, the average number of new cases of COVID-19 in Ontario remains at 215 and we have over 1.4 million Torontonians who are fully vaccinated. I want to reiterate my gratitude to the amazing staff at Toronto Public Health. Your dedication and tireless work are admirable.
If you have yet to get your vaccine, I urge you to go and get vaccinated. Experts believe that the Delta variant will become the dominant strain in Canada this summer. Additionally, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) warns of a major COVID-19 case resurgence if the Delta variant becomes widespread in the country. This variant is aggressive and 1.6 times as transmissible and the risk of hospitalization is twice as likely.
Getting both vaccines will improve effectiveness against COVID-19 and its variants. Studies show that over time, the ability for the first dose to provide protection only goes so far, and a second dose is required to increase protection and ensure it lasts. Initial studies suggest that vaccines are effective against the Delta variant, but the second dose is key to maximize your protection.
My wife and I are now fully vaccinated and although we feel safer and can do a bit more - this includes not wearing a mask at small indoor gatherings, and no physical distancing with other individuals who are fully vaccinated. We remain mindful that we must continue to follow the public health protocols to ensure our extended family and community remains healthy.
There have been some residents who have reached out with questions about herd immunity. Herd immunity is achieved when a large percentage of a population is immune to an infectious disease. When more people are immune, there are fewer people to infect, and future transmission becomes increasingly less likely. Depending on how contagious a disease is, 50% - 90% of a population needs immunity. With COVID-19, this threshold is around 80% - 90% because of how contagious it is. It is important to remember that herd immunity depends on the percentage of the whole population (including children, those who cannot get vaccinated, those who choose not to, etc).
These are some of the reasons why it is critical to get both doses of your vaccine. You are taking individual action to protect vulnerable populations who may have a weakened immune system. By getting a vaccine, you are protecting yourself and your community. Even if herd immunity won’t happen immediately, we each continue to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
In the interim, as we are each getting vaccinated, please continue to follow public health guidelines. When you’re enjoying some of the reopening activities, please consider how you can make your trips and activities safer. Please continue to wear a mask, if you are able, and practice social distancing.
On July 1, 2021, I joined hundreds in a walk honouring the Indigenous children found in unmarked graves at former residential school sites. Hosted by the Toronto Council Fire, the walk began at Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre, and finished at Nathan Phillips Square and the future site of the Spirit Garden.
Councillor Wong-Tam pictured with Sean Braithwaite after the walk to honour the Indigenous children found in unmarked graves at former residential school sites.
I was proud to stand with many in demonstrating our collective desire for reconciliation, including with Sean Braithwaite (picture above) from Friends of Regent Park. The work of uncovering graves at residential school sites across our country is harrowing, and with each discovery, we must wrestle with our past and navigate towards a peaceful future.
Thank you for your resilience, it is an honour to represent you.
What’s In Today’s EBlast?
- Toronto Centre Projects: Reducing the speed limit to 30kph on the stretch of Church St. between Carlton and Bloor St. E
- COVID-19 Immunization Clinic for People with Disabilities
- Cabbagetown BIA CafeTO is Up and Running!
- BAM Collective Launches Rays of Hope
- Good to Be Good’s Change Make-Her Program
- Celebrating Community with the St Lawrence Neighbourhood Association and Jamii
Toronto Centre Projects: Reducing the Speed Limit to 30kph on the Stretch of Church St. Between Carlton and Bloor St. E
Toronto Centre Project proposal promotion
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.
Featured this week is a proposal by community member, Shrikant. The proposal advocates for reducing the speed limit to 30kph hours on the stretch of Church St. between Carlton and Bloor St. E. Read the proposal and vote now on the Toronto Centre Projects website.
Have ideas to make our communities more liveable, vibrant, and safe? Submit them at www.TorontoCentreProjects.ca.
COVID-19 Immunization Clinic for People with Disabilities
Vaccine clinic flyer
On Thursday, July 8, and Friday, July 9, 2021, the Toronto Accessibility Task Force on COVID-19 and Toronto Public Health will be hosting a first and second dose immunization clinic for people living with disabilities. Individuals wishing to attend must be 16 years of age. Please book your appointments here. There will be no walk-in appointments.
When: Thursday, July 8 and Friday, July 9
Time: 11:00 am to 7:30pm
Where: Metro Convention Centre, 255 Front Street West
Any accommodation requests from the first clinic will be honoured.
Cabbagetown BIA CafeTO Is Up and Running!
A picture of CafeTO in Cabbagetown
CafeTO is back again for another year to provide much-needed relief for our restaurants across the city. Cabbagetown’s CafeTO program has expanded from seven to 10 patios! The Cabbagetown BIA has provided custom-built patios and secured free umbrellas for all participating restaurants. To add to public space, and create space to rest, relax, or enjoy takeout, there are also two brand new public parklets.
A picture of CafeTO in Cabbagetown
Thank you Transportation staff and the Cabbagetown BIA for working with businesses in the area to expand and improve the delivery of CafeTO. I look forward to enjoying many more meals in Cabbagetown and exploring the brand new parklets.
BAM Collective Launches Rays of Hope
June was the National Gun Violence Awareness Month and unfortunately, gun violence continues to create a sense of fear and trauma in the City of Toronto, particularly for the racialized youth of the city.
CSI Member, BAM (Book Art Music) Collective, is launching Rays of Hope, a project for youth who identify as Black, Indigenous or a person of colour aged 19-29 in Scarborough and Regent Park to come together to address youth safety issues through healing, resiliency, recovery and community capacity building workshops.
This project will also provide a safe space for youth to heal through art therapy and creative activities and access to mental health support and resources. Sessions will highlight interactive topics on family harmony and relationship and peacebuilding, mental health and trauma-induced depression awareness, healing and resilience-building, and self-defense workshop. Learn more and register here.
Good To Be Good’s Change Make-Her Program
A Change Maker-Her program promotional graphic
GOOD TO BE GOOD's first summer FREE virtual program for women and non-binary entrepreneurs is now available and accepting applications. This women and community-led program aims to bridge the gap for women and non-binary folks with entrepreneurial spirits who face multiple barriers by leading them through comprehensive, inclusive workshops.
Through a series of 6-week development workshops, participants will have the opportunity to establish connections, interact with mentors and industry professionals, engage in discussions around “Entrepreneurship 101,” develop basic business skills, learn health and wellness practices, and explore ideas and challenges in a safe and inclusive space. Participants will receive a $50 gift card at the end of all 6 sessions. We will also consider financial assistance for participants who require data to be able to attend the virtual workshops.
Registrations are now open for the Change Make-Her Program and will support women and non-binary folks in all stages of the business cycle and level of experience. Eligible participants are now being contacted for the next virtual cohort to be offered between mid-July and the end of August TBD. An intake survey and confirmation of enrollment are required.
Celebrating Community with the St Lawrence Neighbourhood Association and Jamii
Last week, I was thrilled to join the St Lawrence Neighbourhood Association and Jamii in celebrating the community in St James Park. The community came together to focus on the diversity of the people, the musical sounds as well as the beautiful parks which are shared through the neighbourhood.
A picture from the event celebrating community with the St Lawrence Neighbourhood Association and Jamii
A picture from the event celebrating community with the St Lawrence Neighbourhood Association and Jamii
This musical and artistic community celebration included:
- Sergio Xocolate and Suzanne Roberts Smith
- Leen Hamo and John Abou Chacra
- Heidi Chan and Aki Tenten
- Aqua Nibii Waawaaskone
- Suba Sankaran and Dylan Bell
Thank you to the St Lawrence Neighbourhood Association, Jamii, and all the organizers for a wonderful event, and hopefully the first of many outdoor gatherings to come.
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
The City of Toronto and Team Toronto vaccination partners continue to urge everyone to get vaccinated against COVID-19, including a second dose to best protect against the Delta variant, as soon as possible. More than 250,000 July vaccine appointments remain available in the provincial booking system for City-operated clinics, including 65,000 appointments for next week.
Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) today issued a Heat Warning for Toronto, which starts today until further notice.
ActiveTO July Weekend Schedule Announced; New Data Supports City of Toronto Approach to Weekend Road Closures
The City of Toronto today announced the July schedule for ActiveTO major weekend road closures. In addition, it released new data from weekend closures from the spring that supports the City’s approach to careful planning for where and when closures can be in place.
Mayor John Tory was joined by Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson (Scarborough Centre) at McGregor Park Community Centre Outdoor Pool in Scarborough to announce that the City’s 58 outdoor pools are expanding to full hours of operation and expanding capacity to 50 per cent. From June 30 to September 5, pools will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. for lane swim, and from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. for leisure swim. The City’s 91 wading pools are now also open along with the 140 splash pads opened earlier this month.
Province of Ontario Updates
As the province moves to Step Two of its Roadmap to Reopen, Ontario is accelerating second dose eligibility to all children and youth aged 12 to 17 to provide them with a strong level of protection against COVID-19, including the Delta variant, and support a safe return to school in September.
Across the country, Canadians are feeling the impacts of COVID-19 on their families, their livelihoods, and their way of life. Together, the governments of Canada and Ontario are taking decisive action to support families, businesses and communities to ensure community infrastructure is safe and reliable, while looking ahead to see what more can be done in these unprecedented times.
Government of Canada Updates
The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, announced three new projects receiving funding through the Immunization Partnership Fund (IPF) to support vaccination efforts across Canada.
The Government of Canada is Taking the First Steps in Preparing for the Procurement Process to Build a New Train Service in the Toronto to Quebec City Corridor
The Government of Canada is committed to modernizing intercity passenger rail services in a way that will best meet the transportation needs of travellers, while also creating jobs and economic growth.
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.