There have been exciting and meaningful events throughout Toronto Centre and I am excited to share them with you. Keep reading to find important information about upcoming provincial by-elections, the townhall tomorrow in St. James Town as well as upcoming community festivals.
Chinese Exclusion Act — Heritage Toronto Plaque Unveiling
On Canada Day, I joined our leader MPP Marit Stiles along with MPPs Chris Glover, Jessica Bell and Peter Tabuns in working with Heritage Toronto to hold a plaque unveiling and reception commemorating the Chinese Exclusion Act (CEA). The two plaques respectively honoured Kew Dock Yip as well as Henry and Charlie Chong, and their families.
Kew Dock Yip was the first Canadian lawyer of Asian descent, and was a monumental community organizer as well as school board trustee in the heart of Toronto’s Chinatown. His work along with fellow advocate Irving Himel was pivotal in repealing the discriminatory Chinese Exclusion Act in 1947.
Henry and Charlie Chong started the Chong Family Farm in Toronto in 1919, making it one of the first Chinese-owned farms in Canada. They persevered through immense societal discrimination and oppression while also employing many Chinese immigrants. Following the repeal of the CEA, they made the unprecedented switch to growing Chinese-native vegetables, serving Toronto’s Chinatown residents and beyond.
Events like these give us the opportunity to reflect on the monumental work and struggles of the Chinese Canadian community and the incredible persistence and perseverance they have displayed. They help us to recognize the harmful role our country has played in the lives of many immigrant communities. I was honoured to take part in this acknowledgement of the harm done and will continue to work towards an inclusive and just Canada.
SLNA Canada Day Festival
Thank you to the St Lawrence Neighbourhood Association for inviting me to your Annual Canada Day festival. It was a glorious sunny day at St. James Park and all the performances and vendors were a beautiful sight to see.
Unveiling Ratna Lane in Regent Park
On Saturday, I joined Councillor Chris Moise, Daniels Corporation, TCHC and countless Regent Park community and family members in unveiling the newly renamed Ratna Lane in honour of Ismathara Ratna. Ismathara was an inspiring community organizer and a mother of three who was tragically killed in a hit-and-run incident in 2019. The new Ratna Lane runs between Sumach and River just north of Dundas Street I shared many words with her family, as they have been incredibly strong and instrumental in ensuring Ismathara’s legacy continues on. She will forever be remembered for her loving and caring nature, and the impact she left on her family, friends, as well as hundreds of community members in Regent Park.
Upcoming Provincial By-Elections
We currently have three incredibly crucial by-elections happening in Ontario. Olivia Chow’s Mayoral win in Toronto made it clear that people are hungry for progressive leadership to guide us during these turbulent times.
Now Ontarians in Scarborough-Guildwood, Kanata-Carlton, and Kitchener Centre have an important opportunity to make that clear at Queens Park as well. I invite everyone to get involved in these campaigns and ensure that we elect NDP MPP’s who are here for all of us, and who will represent their communities proudly at Queens Park. Election Day in Scarborough-Guildwood and Kanata-Carlton is July 27th!
Meet Your Ontario NDP MPP Candidates
Your candidate for Scarborough-Guildwood is Thadsha Navaneethan! Thadsha is a longtime champion for labour, equity and justice. Having served as the Vice President of the NDP, working with the Ontario NDP in the department of Tour, and as a Human Rights Officer for OPSEU, she has been an advocate for Scarborough for decades. You can sign up to help Thadsha win here!
Your candidate for Kanata-Carleton is Melissa Coenraad! Melissa is a long time Kanata resident with an incredible service history being a dedicated public healthcare worker. This experience pushed her to take her work a step further as a former Union President for OPSEU Local 475 as an Executive Board member for the Hospitals Professional Division of OPSEU for three terms. You can sign up to help Melissa win here!
Your candidate for Kitchener Centre is Debbie Chapman! Dr. Debbie Chapman is a city councillor for Ward 9 in Kitchener and has a profound understanding of the riding after residing in Kitchener for over 50 years. She was also a Political Science and Global Studies professor at Sir Wilfrid Laurier University, is currently the president of the Cherry Park Neighbourhood Association and is a board member for multiple advisory committees. Stay tuned for how you can help Debbie win!
St James Town Community Town Hall
Join me tomorrow, July 11, from 5:30 – 8:00 PM at 200 Wellesley Street East for the St James Town Residents Council Summer Town Hall meeting. In addition to exploring community feedback and opportunities, I will be providing an update on my work at Queen’s Park on behalf of the residents of Toronto Centre. Let's come together to make St. James Town an even more vibrant and inclusive neighbourhood. Light refreshments will be served.
Upcoming Events: Toronto Outdoor Picture Show
Toronto Outdoor Picture Show returns to Corktown Common on Thursday nights this summer! As part of its summer season of open-air cinema in parks across Toronto, don't miss movies at sundown on the east side every Thursday from July 6 through August 10. Events are free and open to everyone (donations are accepted and appreciated). No tickets are required — just show up!
Taste of Regent Park Returns
The Taste of Regent Park is back — it takes place every Wednesday from this July until the first week of September. The vibrant weekly market features talented local artisans, craftspeople, community organizations, food vendors, caterers, and entertainers. In the heart of Regent Park, people come together in The Big Park to celebrate, share and enjoy delicious, healthy, affordable, and culturally diverse foods. Stick around after dinner for Under The Stars, a free outdoor movie screening put on by the Regent Park Film Festival at dusk. Click here to find out more!
Eco-Just Youth Pop-Up Market
Eco-Just Youth Co-Op is a QTBIPOC youth-led initiative to collectivize resources, share knowledge, rebuild the community and form networks of support while fighting for a better future.
This summer they are holding a weekly Pop-Up Farmers Market every Wednesday 3pm to 6pm in St James Town, in the greenspace just south of St James Avenue & Ontario Street, north of the Food Basics located at Wellesley St East & Ontario Street.
St. James Town CleanGreen
This Saturday July 15th from 12:00PM to 4:00PM, the St. James Town Residents’ Council is collaborating with Freedom City for CleanGreen 2023. This is an initiative to clean and beautify St. James Town. If you are interested in volunteering or donating please click here for more information. Light refreshments will be served.
Ford Government Rejects University of Sudbury French Program Project
Recently, Ford and his government rejected the University of Sudbury’s project proposal in creating an independent French university, stating that the proposal did not “reflect current demand”. According to fellow NDP MPP Guy Bourgouin, the Opposition Critic for Francophone Affairs, Franco-Ontarians in his riding and beyond have been demanding a French language university for over 100 years, and 65.9% of Franco-Ontarians have already expressed interest and support for French language programming. Here is a press release featuring MPPs Guy Bourgouin, France Gelinas and Jamie West along with leader Marit Stiles.
This is not the first time Ford and his government have denied equitable standards for Francophone students in Ontario. In 2019, then-Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities Merrilee Fullerton announced the province’s takeback of funding for the Universite de l'Ontario Français project. This was after the federal government had allocated close to $2M for the project, a decision they only reversed after countless protests, rallies and talks with the federal government.
French is one of our official languages and the primary language of many in Sudbury. They deserve higher education in a language that serves their career paths and community’s needs. Sign MPP Bourgouin’s petition to support receiving funding for a French-based higher education at the University of Sudbury here!
Heat Warning in Toronto Centre
In Toronto Centre, we have been feeling intensely high temperatures, with Environment Canada issuing heat warnings across the city throughout the past week. This in combination with decreased air quality due to the wildfires across the province has made the climate intolerable for many, especially those with health issues or without access to cooling sources. Here is Environment Canada's Air Quality Index for Toronto
Below are some tips the City of Toronto recommends for staying cool at home…
If you are finding it difficult to keep cool at home, visit the City of Toronto Beat the Heat Website to find a list of cooling centres across the city and additional resources to beat the heat.
Wearing a high-quality well-fitted mask will enhance your protection from poor air quality. Here are some additional ways to protect yourself when the air quality is unsafe. You might also want to bookmark Environment Canada's Air Quality Index to check our local air quality as forest fires are expected to continue affecting us over the months ahead.
Yours in community service,
MPP, Toronto Centre