Celebration is in the air and it has been great to see so many of you out on the streets for Pride, and to cheer on our NBA Champions, the Toronto Raptors!
This past weekend’s Pride Parade, Dyke March and Trans March were as well attended as ever. I was glad to see so many of my Council colleagues come out to show their support on Sunday and demonstrating that City Hall is an ally to Toronto’s LGBTQ2S community. In a Toronto first, I was also proud to join with the Toronto Trans Project Coalition last week to unveil new Trans crosswalks in the Church-Wellesley Village, a joint project that builds on the success of the World Pride rainbow crosswalks and helps demonstrate our commitment to inclusion and Trans visibility.
As you saw in my most recent email, the new 5-Year Action Plan for the Downtown East will be going to the Economic and Community Development Committee this Wednesday. Thank you to everyone who signed the petition and completed the online survey. This work will continue to evolve and your support in getting it passed at Committee and City Council is invaluable.
Thank you also to everyone who came out to our HousingTO: 2020-2030 Action Plan panel and public meeting on June 5. Affordable housing in Toronto is at a crisis point and the incredible, rich feedback attendees provided will help staff develop a more robust plan that considers a much wider variety of perspectives and ideas.
Thankfully, with the summer break upon us, there will be a much needed hiatus in new development application public meetings, so I look forward to seeing more of you out on the streets, in our parks, and enjoying all that Toronto has to offer. As always, please reach out to me and my office if you have any questions or concerns - we look forward to hearing from you.
Yours in community service,
Table of Contents
- HousingTO Action Plan 2020-2030
- Tenants First Information Session
- 650 Parliament: Fire Class Action Information Session
- We Need You! Support the 5-Year Action Plan for the Downtown East
- 133 Queen Street East Public Consultation
- Unveiling 'The Original Family' Art Mural at Dundas St. East and Jarvis St.
- Opening of St. James Playground
- Summer Events in Ward 13
- Community Spotlight: The Neechi Sharing Circle
- In the Community
- Media Spotlight
- Ward 13 Development Map
- Report to 311
1. HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan Public Consultation
Thank you to all who joined us earlier in June for the Ward 13 Toronto Centre HousingTO 2020-2030 public consultation. It was an incredible evening full of meaningful discussion around what a rights-based approach to housing looks like, how to define deeply affordable housing in Toronto and what the City of Toronto's 10-year housing action plan needs to include in order to create healthy, inclusive neighbourhoods for all. Thank you for your thoughtful participation and passion for this important issue.
Thank you to Joy Connelly, Deborah Cowan, Alyssa Bierley and Abigail Moriah for bringing a wealth of knowledge on creating deeply affordable housing, as well as the City of Toronto’s Housing Secretariat for their continued partnership in collecting important insight and feedback from residents like you.
If you were unable to attend in person, please take 10 minutes to fill out the survey on your current housing concerns, future housing needs, and your ideas and advice to improve housing in Toronto.
2. Tenants First Information Session
Join the City's Tenants First Team as they offer recommendations on governance and accountability for Toronto Community Housing Corporation as well as next steps for the Interim Senior Housing Units. Share your ideas for working together to resolve key issues in your community. There are many dates, and opportunities to get involved:
When: Thursday June 27, 2019, 4:00pm to 6:00pm
Where: Main Floor Recreation Room - Downsview Acres, 2195 Jane Street
When: Friday June 28, 2019, 10:00am to 12:00pm
Where: Main Floor Recreation Room - Islington Manor, 41 Mabelle Avenue
When: Tuesday July 2, 2019, 10:00am to 12:00pm
Where: Main Floor Recreation Room - Gus Harris Place, 120 Town Haven Place
When: Tuesday July 2, 2019, 6:30pm to 8:30pm
Where: Room 308 and 309, Metro Hall, 55 John Street
To register for a meeting please call 416-392-8239 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For questions or comments, please contact Biddy Livesey at 416-338-5716 or Biddy.Livesey@toronto.ca.
Light refreshments and TTC tokens will be provided. Please contact the Tenants First Team in advance to request any accomodation including, Sign Language Interpretation (ASL), child care, or other interpretation services.
3. 650 Parliament: Fire Class Action Information Session
In late August of 2018, a fire at 650 Parliament led to the ongoing displacement of tenants from their building. In May, the landlord made a motion to request the court to approve the removal of items from tenant apartments and transfer to the building's underground parking facilities to facilitate more expedient repairs. On June 11, 2019, I hosted a meeting between 650 Parliament tenants and their counsel for the 650 Parliament class action lawsuit to answer questions about this motion by their landlord, which was to be heard on June 14, 2019.
Counsel for the class action lawsuit, represented by Ted Charney and Tina Yang from Charney Lawyers and Nicole Marcus from Strosberg Sasso Sutts provided details of a deposition they had conducted with the landlord’s experts. 650 Parliament tenants were told that their counsel was generally satisfied that the landlord was taking the necessary steps to protect tenant belongings, as well as to secure the parking garage where the items would be stored.
Of particular alarm for many tenants at the meeting was the news that their landlord had preemptively packed belongings in units into boxes without notifying or seeking permission from tenants. This potential privacy breach is unfortunately not one of the issues that the class action lawsuit is addressing. I advise 650 Parliament tenants to speak directly to a lawyer, or if they cannot afford one, to contact Neighbourhood Legal Services if they wish to seek advice about their concerns.
Following the June 14 hearing, Justice Belobaba has agreed in principle to allow the landlord to move tenants’ items to the parking garage of 650 Parliament. The details are still being worked out between the parties, with a motion expected to be delivered Wednesday, June 19, 2019.
4. A 5-Year Action Plan for the Downtown East
After, I initiated the work in 2017 with community support, last week, staff published the 5-Year Action Plan for the Downtown East. This Wednesday, the Economic and Community Development Committee will consider its recommendations and vote on whether to send it on to Council. To those who have completed the online survey and to the hundreds who have signed the online petition in support - thank you! If you have not yet signed the petition and want to let Committee and Council know that it needs to act to address the serious health and safety issues in the downtown east for all of our community members, there is still time to sign it.
If approved this week, the next step will be City Council on July 16, where my colleagues and I will vote on whether to enact the plan and move to have it funded, or kill it. I know how passionate our Ward 13 communities are and we will be bringing one loud and clear united message: the challenges in the downtown east cannot be ignored. From promoting wrap-around services for those in need and promoting neighbourhood safety plans, to needle collection and proper mental health supports, this is the largest and most comprehensive plan tackling systemic issues in the area in recent memory
From ward-wide neighbourhood safety audits in 2016, to the Healthy Neighbourhoods Summit in 2017, through to the 12-Month Action Plan for the Downtown East last summer, many of you have been part of this important work with me. Getting the 5-Year Action Plan approved is not the final step, but it will finally commit long-term funding and set policy direction that will provide our communities with a framework for serious, lasting change.
5. 133 Queen Street East Public Consultation
The City is holding a Community Consultation meeting for 133 -141 Queen St. E. & 128 Richmond St. E., where you can learn more about this application, ask questions, and share your comments.
This proposal seeks to amend the Zoning By-law in order to permit a 41-storey building containing 440 residential dwelling units, 1,300 square metres of retail space, and 99 vehicular parking spaces.
What: 133 -141 Queen St. E. Public Consultation
When: Tuesday June 25, 2019, 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Where: 200 King St. E., Room 128 George Brown College
To speak to the planner directly, please contact: Henry Tang, at (416) 392-7572, Henry.Tang@toronto.ca
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 Henry Tang, at (416) 392-7572, Henry.Tang@toronto.ca with your request. The City of Toronto is committed to taking the necessary steps to insure compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005.
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.
You may also contact Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, Ward 13, at (416) 392-7903.
Notice to correspondents: Information will be collected in accordance with the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. With the exception of personal information, all comments will become part of the public record.
6. Unveiling 'The Original Family' Art Mural at Dundas St. East and Jarvis St.
I am thrilled to present 'The Original Family', a substantial, Indigenous-centered mural by award-winning artist Phillip Cote that speaks to the presence and rich history of Indigenous peoples in this location. I thank CentreCourt for their sponsorship of this work, and support of Indigenous placemaking. The mural is located across from the new Indigenous Centre for Innovation & Entrepreneurship at 200 Dundas St. East.
Cote brought a number of ideas forward for the piece, and after a final decision was made, work began on 'The Original Family' in the fall of 2018. The completed mural depicts the Anishinaabe Creation story, beginning with The First Man (Waynaboozhoo) and The First Woman and their sacred union.
"It is a depiction of one of our oldest stories," says Cote. "The Anishinaabe Creation Story was brought down through oral traditions and pictographic images drawn on birch-bark scrolls." Cote worked on the mural for four months, using his contemporary style of Woodland Painting.
7. Opening of St. James Playground
Participants of the grand opening of the new playground at St. James Park were greeted to both beautiful weather and an amazing event organized by the Friends of St. James Park (FoSJP). To accompany the new food-themed playground, the FoSJP brought out snacks, music, and even Toronto’s Mounted Police Unit to make what for many was their first to the new playground memorable.
The new playground at St. James Park is the vision of the late Councillor Pam McConnell, who originally championed the revitalization of St. James Park. She had the foresight to recognize that there is a growing number of young parents raising their children in the downtown, and playgrounds such as these are necessary to keep families active and healthy.
I was proud to stand beside the remarkable FoSJP volunteers to welcome residents to the new park. If you have not experienced the new playground yet, I encourage you to 'turnip'!
8. Summer Events in Ward 13
As the weather heats up, we look forward to supporting and participating in summer activities and events in our new Ward 13. Bring your friends and loved ones into your communities and experience the joy each neighbourhood has to offer. From outdoor film festivals to concert series, arts and culture is alive and well in the Downtown!
The Community Healing Project, Wednesdays from 6:00pm to 8:00pm
June 5, 2019- August 14, 2019
MLSE LaunchPad, 259 Jarvis Street
Taste of Regent Park, Wednesday evenings
July through August
620 Dundas St E, Regent Park (Big Park)
Under the Stars: Regent Park Film Festival, Wednesdays at 9:00pm
July 10, 2019 - August 14, 2019
620 Dundas St E, Regent Park (Big Park)
On Thursday evenings in July, Toronto Outdoor Picture Show will present an film series under the stars at Corktown Common Park. Join your friends and neighbours for a film programme titled Dynamic Duos! More Details
Music lovers unite at Downtown Yonge! This Summer gather your friends and family for a FREE outdoor concert series across the Downtown Yonge District from June 10 to October 7, 2019.
9. Community Spotlight: The Neechi Sharing Circle
The Neechi Sharing Circle is a group of organizers who meet every week to create a sense of community for Indigenous peoples by singing and drumming traditional Indigenous songs, praying, and taking the opportunity to share their experiences with the group. The purpose of the circle is to provide a gathering place for Indigenous people who live near or, in some cases, in the park, and are especially marginalized and isolated.
Initiated in 2017 by Floyde Crowshow, Les Harper, Laverne Malcolm, Wanda Whitebird, and with support from Prisoners HIV/AIDS Support Action Network (PASAN), the Neechi Sharing Circle is now a recipient of a $15,000 grant from the Anglican Healing Fund that will help them to continue their efforts.
The sharing circle is held every Thursday from 11:00am to 1:00pm in Allan Gardens, close to the centre of the park. The gathering is held outside in the park to ensure the circle is open and accessible to all.
10. In the Community
As the first openly out lesbian to be elected to Toronto City Council, it's an honour to rise with colleagues and friends in the rainbow and Trans flag-raising at City Hall to mark the official launch of Pride Month. There's much more work to do to achieve LGBTQ2S human rights.
Celebrating the official opening of the St. James Park Playground with a ribbon cutting ceremony and the opportunity to acknowledge the many partners involved with the consultation, design and construction. Thanks to Friends of St.James Park for helping bring the community together and soliciting the many sponsors for the event!
This week, I stood with Minister Wilkinson, MP Drabusin, Oceana Canada, HSI Canada, Rob Stewart's parents to celebrate Canada's historic sharkfin ban. It took over a decade of advocacy to win this vital legislation. I'm proud of the work we did in Toronto to help make Canada fin free. Canada is the first country in the G7 to take this important step forward.
We came together to honour, remember and celebrate those who are no longer with us. This year 13 names were added to the AIDS Memorial bringing the total to 2,881 names. Thank you to the AIDS Vigil Toronto, The 519 and all community partners for bringing us together every year.
Pleased to be with Lisa Rochon and community partners for the opening of Red Embers, a massive public art installation along Allan Gardens paths. An all-woman team was commissioned to create artwork on red canvas and suspended on tall cedar gates. The installation will run until October 4, 2019 for Sisters in Spirit Vigil for the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.
It was a full morning at Queen's Park with Councillor Perks, Councillor Matlow and environmental advocates resisting Bill 108. A bill that brings back the OMB bigger and more aggressive than before. The Ford government is enriching powerful developers at the expensive of local community planning, heritage conservation and endangered species. Councillor Perks, Toronto's Chief Planner and I deputed against Bill 108 at the standing committee. Unfortunately, we were unsuccessful as the Ford government fast tracked the passing of the bill a few days later.
I joined with colleagues, community and neighbourhood organizations to push back against the unilateral changes to Midtown in Focus and TOCore. After years of consultation and planning, Doug Ford and his government worked to undermine city planning efforts by radically altering our secondary plans, once again giving developers more height, density and profits.
Despite the damage to our planning efforts, I visited to City Planning's King-Parliament Secondary Plan pop up shop. For eight days, they provided educational programming around built form, public realm and heritage. Thank you to everyone who attended, making it a great success. Learn more about the King-Parliament Secondary Plan here.
This week, we unveiled three new Trans crosswalks in The Village. This year marks the 10th anniversary of Trans Day of Visibility, 20 years of the Trans flag created by Monica Helms & 50 years since the Stonewall riots! Big thanks to Toronto Trans Project Coalition, Church Wellesley Neighbourhood Association & Church Wellesley Business Improvement Association for their support!
11. Media Spotlight
- Ford's Bill 108 attempts to rush urban development bill without asking cities, National Observer, June 1, 2019
- Toronto marks Menstrual Hygiene Day, funds free products in shelters, 680 News, May 28, 2019
- Parkdale fast food restaurant installs blue lights to stop drug use, CityNews, May 22, 2019
- Canada is finally taking period poverty seriously, Xtra, May 31, 2019
- After years of legal wrangling, Ottawa moves to ban imports of shark fins, CBC News June 5, 2019
- Environmental advocates head to Queen's Park for Day of Action over Bill 108, CityNews, May 31, 2019
- Province allows for denser housing in Toronto's downtown core, Yonge and Eglinton area, CTV News, June 5, 2019
- Trans Pride crosswalk unveiled in Church-Wellesley neighbourhood, CityNews, June 20, 2019
- Canada becomes first G7 country to ban shark fin imports,The Guardian, June 21, 2019
12. Toronto Centre Development Map
As a downtown ward, provincial policy and the City’s Official Plan directs the majority of growth in Toronto to neighbourhoods like St. Lawrence and major corridors like Yonge Street and Dundas Street East. Depending on where you live, keeping track of all of the development in your neighbourhood can be a full time job. The Ward 13 Development Map will help you keep track and learn more.
The development map is updated regularly to inform you of the status of development applications, provides information on city staff reports and Local Planning Appeal Body decisions, and has links to publicly available applicant reports, including applicant planning rationales, traffic studies and sun/shadow studies.
13. Report to 311
311 provides residents, businesses and visitors with easy access to non-emergency City services, programs and information 24 hours a day, seven days a week and can offer assistance in more than 180 languages. 311 investigates issues related to waste collection, graffiti removal, litter, road issues, sidewalks, water problems, trees, animals, property issues, winter maintenance, and more! Report an issue by calling 311 or emailing email@example.com to submit a service request. To learn more, visit the 311 website here.