Virtual Pride Events, National Indigenous Month & COVID019 Updates

I want to start by issuing a correction from Monday’s Eblast where I incorrectly stated that Regis Korchinski-Paquet’s family claimed she was pushed. The Lawyer representing the family had indicated those accusations would not be part of the family's official statement before I released my statement and I am sorry that I included that error. An amended version of the letter is available here. 

On Monday, I had the honour of raising the Pride and Trans Flags at City Hall with Mayor Tory and a Pride Toronto representative. I was proud to send my greetings to our communities from City Hall and equally proud to be the first out-lesbian to be elected to City Council in Toronto’s history.

Pride Flag Raising

Watch the full Pride Flag raising here.

Given the events of the last week, I want to send a personal message to our Black, Indigenous and racialized brothers and sisters. No one group should have to carry the burden of injustice on their own. It is in this spirit of resistance and affirmation that our Pride must always be political, intersectional, decolonizing and anti-racist. We must support one another. Our strength will be in our unity, our power will be in our love and our unstoppable desire to live a life with pride and dignity, and always free from violence. 

Monday’s Pride Flag raising was a reminder of our resilience and marks an opportunity for us to virtually come together to celebrate the extraordinary strength and love in our community. 

Today is my son’s first birthday and the beginning of Pride Month. I look forward to one day sharing with Kiyan the stories of resilience and perseverance in our community during this historic time. When the pandemic is behind us, we will come together again. We will fill the streets, the restaurants, the bars, the civic spaces, the dance floors. And when we do it will be the loudest, most colourful, most fabulous Pride celebration in this city’s history. I look forward to joining you on that day. 

When it was announced that all large events in the City of Toronto would be cancelled, even knowing it was for our own health and safety, I couldn’t help but be disappointed that we wouldn’t be able to come together. So I am incredibly grateful to Pride Toronto who has put together a fabulous month of programming online. Virtual Pride is a celebration of our local queer and trans trailblazers. Pride Toronto has brought together a lineup of Dj’s, performers, drag artists, singers, and dancers; shining a concentrated spotlight on women in music and BIPOC artists.   

There will be weekly events, a full festival weekend, and a virtual market bringing together local LGBT2SQ+ makers, creators and vendors that we have come to expect throughout the annual Street Fair. Thank you for support our local community members. 

While I know we are disappointed that Pride won’t be in person this year, positive COVID-19 cases in Ontario are trending up again. Although Premier Doug Ford has linked the rising number of positive cases to high testing numbers, analysis by CBC News found that there is no connection between the number of cases being completed and confirmed. All that to say, we must continue to be vigilant and to take caution. 

Next Monday, our Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen De Villa will be sharing recommendations to the Toronto Board of Health on ways for the City of Toronto to improve our ongoing COVID-19 response. A critical component of the City of Toronto’s response to COVID-19 is case investigation and contact management and follow-up. 

Case investigation, which involves very thorough interviews with those diagnosed with COVID-19, is aimed at achieving two key objectives: first, to establish where the individual may have acquired their infection with COVID19 and second, to determine where, when and with whom the individual was during their period of infectiousness.

By gathering and analyzing data from our case investigation and contact management processes, the City of Toronto is able to understand how COVID-19 is spreading in our city and impacting residents. This data informs our strategy to protect your health and help us to determine when we need to adjust our actions. It tells us when we are in a position to safely ease our public health measures and continue to reopen businesses in our city.

Right now, cases in Ontario and Toronto are not going down fast enough and so the advice remains the same. I will continue to remind you to keep six feet away from others when not at home, to avoid touching your face, mouth, nose or eyes, to wash your hands often and to wear a mask in settings where you cannot physically distance from others. These are the best ways to protect yourself from this virus. 

I also want to remind everyone that this is hard and exhausting. I ask everyone to be kind to yourselves and continue to be kind to each other. Reach out and check in on your loved ones. If you or somebody you know is feeling overwhelmed, remember that there are many services available for you by phone and online, posted on my website. 

Celebrating National Indigenous Month

June is National Indigenous History Month and is a time for all Canadians - Indigenous, non-Indigenous and newcomers - to reflect upon and learn the history, sacrifices, cultures, contributions, and strength of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people. It’s important to keep in mind that First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples each have their own unique histories. And within each group, there are distinct histories.  

Today also marks one year since the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls presented its final report – and shared with all Canadians the dark and painful experiences of violence against Indigenous women, girls, and LGBTQ and two-spirit people. 

I encourage you to read books by Indigenous authors, seek out films and documentaries, and to read the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ final report. Only by learning from each other, and understanding our history can we make the necessary changes to our policies and our relationships and get justice for Indigenous people in Canada.

Thank you for your resilience, it is an honour to represent you.


Hacking the Streets: Rolling Out ActiveTO

Hacking the Streets

Join our friends at the Urban Innovation Cafe, a part of Ryerson City Building Institute, for a FREE webinar called  Hacking the Streets: Rolling out ActiveTO. They’ll be closely examining the expansions to the bicycle network made official at the last City Council meeting, and how it compares to Toronto’s needs. Looking to answer the question: Is ActiveTO enough?

Moderated by Matt Elliott, reporter for the Toronto Star and mastermind behind the City Hall Watcher newsletter, this panel features Dr. Raktim Mitra (Associate Professor, School of Urban and Regional Planning, Ryerson University), Michael Longfield (Interim Executive Director, Cycle Toronto) and Amanda O’Rourke (Executive Director, 8-80 Cities). Register here

When: Thursday June 4 from 3 p.m. to 3:50 p.m. 

Where: Zoom

We hope to see you there!

Community Care in Ward 13

Today’s Community Care shoutout goes to our friends at the YMCA who, for over 165 years, have been supporters of our communities and have stepped up to adapt to local needs. As this pandemic has forced everyone to adapt their daily lives, the Y is providing emergency child care for essential frontline workers, shelter and support for youth experiencing homelessness, and remote employment services for people who need work. Recently, they’ve launched The Bright Spot, an online community where older adults can shine, offering everything from exercise classes and small online group discussions to trivia and mindfulness tutorials - all free of charge. Thank you for all that you do today, and everyday for our communities. Learn more about the Y.  


Please continue to email my office at [email protected] to share examples of community care in your neighbourhood and ways you are supporting your community at this time. I’ll be happy to promote it, space permitting, in our communication to the residents and business owners in Ward 13. Every bit goes a long way!

COVID-19: Ongoing Tips to Reduce Virus Spread

The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed. If you are sick, even with mild symptoms, stay home and self-isolate.  

As we slowly return to some sense of normalcy, we need to continue physical distancing to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Everyone has a role to play. The actions you take will help protect you and everyone in our community.

Physical Distance

When you are unable to keep a six feet/two-metre distance from others, wear a mask or face covering. This includes when you are:

  • in elevators, common areas, waiting rooms or shopping;
  • using transit, taxi or rideshare services; and
  • sick and going for a medical appointment.

Be respectful of others who choose not to wear a mask. Some health conditions make it hard to breathe when wearing a mask.wear_a_mask_.jpeg

Thank you for doing your part to slow the spread of COVID-19 and help protect our communities. For more tips on social distancing, please visit the City's website or download this info sheet.

City of Toronto COVID-19 Updates 

City of Toronto Announces More than 10 Kilometres of Major Weekend Road Closures for ActiveTO this Weekend

The City of Toronto will close sections of three major roads this weekend, in total making more than 10 kilometres of roadway available for walking, running and biking, as part of ActiveTO. This weekend, the closure on Lake Shore Boulevard West will return and the Lake Shore Boulevard East closure will be extended east to Leslie Street.

City of Toronto Modular Housing Initiative Progressing Quickly; Initial Site Locations Identified

Phase 1 of the City of Toronto’s Modular Housing Initiative is well underway and the program is on track to provide stable, affordable, high-quality housing and support services to 100 individuals experiencing homelessness by the fall of 2020. City and CreateTO staff have been evaluating City-owned land across Toronto using criteria that included local demand for affordable housing, the development potential of the site, local infrastructure, access to public transit, access to health and other community services, as well as zoning and other bylaw considerations. Following the rigorous evaluation process, the following two sites are being recommended for Phase 1 of the Modular Housing Initiative:

  • 150 Harrison St. (Ward 9): 44 bachelor apartments. This is the former site of the 14 Division Police Station.
  • 11 Macey Ave. (Ward 20): 56 bachelor apartments. Near Victoria Park and Danforth.

More information on affected City services & facilities.

More updates from the City of Toronto.

Province of Ontario Updates

Ontario Extends Declaration of Emergency until June 30

In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Ontario is extending the provincial Declaration of Emergency to June 30. The decision supports the government's efforts to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak and protect the health and safety of Ontarians as the province reopens in a measured and responsible way. The extension, under s.7.0.7 of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, was approved by the Ontario legislature yesterday. 

Ontario Helps Manufacturers Ramp Up Production of Personal Protective Equipment

The Ontario government continues investing in local manufacturers in order to keep frontline workers and communities safe during the COVID-19 outbreak. More innovative businesses are receiving financial support today through the Ontario Together Fund to re-tool their processes and increase their capacity to make personal protective equipment (PPE).

Ontario Improving Broadband and Cell Service for Rural Communities

The provincial government is investing $150 million in reliable broadband and cellular service. This funding will help create even more economic and educational opportunities in rural, remote and underserved areas of the province. This is part of the province's $315 million initiative called Up to Speed: Ontario's Broadband and Cellular Action Plan.

Ontario Moves Forward with Signature Subway Project

Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation, and Kinga Surma, Associate Minister of Transportation (GTA), announced the Ontario government is moving forward with the next step in building the Ontario Line, the signature project in the largest subway expansion in the province's history. The government is issuing the first two public-private partnership (P3) Requests for Qualifications (RFQs) to identify and qualify those who will design, build and maintain the subway line. The Ontario Line is being built under three separate P3 contracts.

More updates from the Province of Ontario.

Government of Canada Updates

Minister Garneau Announces New Measures for the Use of Face Coverings in the Canadian Transportation Sector

To reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19, Transport Canada and the transportation industry have implemented a layered system of measures, such as increased sanitization, health checks for passengers, and allowing passengers to remain in their vehicles on ferries. However, there are still points in the transportation system where workers must be in close proximity to co-workers and travellers.

Statement by the Prime Minister on the One-Year Anniversary of the Final Report from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, issued a statement today on the one-year anniversary of the final report from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. You can read the full statement here.

More updates from the Government of Canada.

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: 

Telehealth Ontario
Call if you develop symptoms!
Telephone: 1-866-797-000

Toronto Public Health Hotline
8:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Call if you have questions about COVID-19.
Telephone: 416-338-7600
TTY: 416-392-0658
Email: [email protected]

311 Toronto
Outside City limits: 416-392-2489
Call if you have questions about City services, or to report people
Telephone: 311
Email: [email protected]

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