Letter with MPP Chris Glover about Hanlan's Point

PDF of our letter here

February 22, 2023


Jennifer McKelvie, Deputy Mayor

Infrastructure and Environment Committee, Chair

Email: [email protected] / [email protected]


Janie Romoff, General Manager of Parks, Forestry and Recreation

Email: [email protected]


Lori Ellis, Project Officer Strategic Projects

Email: [email protected]


RE: Hanlan’s Point and the Cultural Protection of 2SLGBTQIA+ Public Space

Dear Deputy Mayor McKelvie, General Manager Romoff and Strategic Projects Officer Lori Ellis,

We are writing with regards to the Toronto Island Park Master Plan and the future of Hanlan’s Point. 

As you know, the City of Toronto has begun an ongoing plan to consult residents about how to invest in and maintain public space on Toronto Island called the Toronto Island Master Plan. This process has generated substantial community engagement over concerns that Hanlan’s Point could be changed in ways that interfere with what has been a private and undeveloped safer space for 2SLGBTQIA+ Torontonians. We understand that the City intends to incorporate community feedback and ensure that Hanlan’s Point is protected in the Master Plan. 

We are grateful for the work of Councillors Chris Moise and Ausma Malik for their advocacy to share community concerns with City staff and work to clarify uncertainty about the Toronto Island Master Plan. They are promoting public meetings that we are sure will generate vital public feedback to the City’s planning process. 

Moving forward, we would like to request that this process move forward in a way that is sensitive to the challenges Torontonians are facing. Torontonians are struggling to survive an affordability crisis. Toronto’s 2SLGBTQIA+ community members have lost treasured local businesses and safe spaces to a provincial development framework that prices them out of existence. Torontonians are watching as the province that has not done nearly enough to support small businesses and community spaces from the economic shockwaves of COVID-19. And most importantly, it is taking place during a time where the mainstream narrative purports 2SLGBTQIA+ inclusion while actual Ontario community members are painfully aware of how much work there is left for our society to do.

Public common spaces are pivotal to 2SLGBTQIA+ history ⁠— and Hanlan’s Point is no exception. It hosted the ‘Gay Day Picnic’ in 1971, launching the Pride movement and subsequent protests, community organising and events that strive to make life better for 2SLGBTQIA+ Ontarians. It was a safer gathering space before that point and to this day. Any signals by the city that threaten 2SLGBTQIA+ commons are rightly understood and felt as an attack on Toronto’s 2SLGBTIA+ communities themselves. Protecting and prioritizing community access to Hanlan’s Point not only celebrates our heritage, but signals that our City wants to weave the lives and culture of 2SLGBTQIA+ Torontonians into our common future.

2SLGBTQIA+ Ontarians are rightfully worried about violent trends against them. From bigoted protests of drag brunches in Ontario, to shrinking access to gender-affirming health care, 2SLGBTQIA+ Ontarians know that many key indicators have begun pointing in the wrong direction. We will do our utmost to advocate for real government action at the provincial level. We will work with you to ensure 2SLGBTQIA+ spaces are protected so communities can gather and heal as we work together. 

We personally know that Toronto’s public civil service has long championed 2SLGBTQIA+ inclusion. We also know that community engagement is often vital to ensuring that city and park planners can work successfully in a media and political landscape where they can move forward plans that protect common spaces.   

For these reasons, we ask that Toronto planners prioritize focused outreach initiatives and work with Councillors Malik and Moise to centre 2SLGBTQIA+ Ontarians’ histories and futures into the Toronto Island Park Master Plan. If you have additional questions, you can liaise with our offices at [email protected] and [email protected].

Respectfully submitted, 

Kristyn Wong-Tam

Member of Provincial Parliament for Toronto Centre


Chris Glover

Member of Provincial Parliament for Spadina - Fort York

Latest posts

Statement re Demonstration on March 30, 2024

March 31, 2024

Yesterday, a peaceful march for Palestine was abruptly halted by Toronto Police at the intersection of Parliament Street and Gerrard Street East. Numerous videos circulating on social media depict marchers and bystanders being obstructed by a significant presence of police officers, some mounted on horses, converging from all directions.

The right to Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Assembly are sacred in our democracy. While these rights are not unlimited, it does not appear that the extraordinarily high bar required to infringe on these fundamental freedoms was met. Torontonians have a right to demonstrate and proclaim their solidarity with civilians in Gaza. These rights do not cease to operate when they are exercised in a largely racialized neighbourhood such as Regent Park. 

Both local residents and march participants were intimidated by the swift escalation initiated by law enforcement, resulting in some individuals being forcefully pushed to the ground. I am informed that the police reportedly issued no audible or repeated warnings to the group of marchers or bystanders before these altercations and subsequent arrests.

Toronto Police have also informed me that enforcement was taken against the leading truck under the Highway Traffic Act. This explanation does not satisfy the concerns brought to me from bystanders in the neighbourhood about why people were caught in a dangerous standstill.

I want to underscore my steadfast opposition to the controversial police tactic known as “kettling”. This method has faced widespread criticism for its indiscriminate containment of crowds, often ensnaring innocent bystanders and journalists. Torontonians never want to see the regrettable events of the G20 Summit in 2010 repeated. 

I have listened to stories of what happened that substantiate how the movement for Palestinian human rights is not being policed equally with other movements. Toronto has a long history of racialized residents facing over-policing and violence. The peaceful marchers, local residents, and all citizens of Toronto deserve transparency regarding yesterday's events. To build community trust, I call on the Toronto Police to promptly provide a detailed account of their actions, including the reasons behind the arrests. Transparency and accountability are needed to begin repairing trust.

Provide Rapid Antigen Tests to Toronto Public Health

March 25 2024


Minister Sylvia Jones

Minister of Health

777 Bay Street, 5th Floor

Toronto, ON. M7A 2J3


Re: Providing Free Rapid Antigen COVID-19 Tests to Ontarians


Dear Minister Jones,


We are asking that you urgently provide COVID-19 rapid antigen tests to Toronto Public Health (TPH). TPH relied on the Province of Ontario to supply the city with free rapid tests since the Province of Ontario made the unfortunate decision to discontinue free widespread rapid test provision in July 2023. The remaining tests that TPH had expired on March 2, 2024, and the TPH website has yet to show any updates since. 

As we continue to navigate through the ongoing challenges presented by the pandemic, it has become increasingly evident that access to rapid testing is a valuable tool in our arsenal against the virus, allowing for more timely and targeted interventions to curb its spread. We note that provinces like British Columbia still provide rapid tests for free in hundreds of pharmacies across their less populated province – Ontario should also ensure that tests are widely available.

Simply put, the demand for testing continues to outpace the rapid test supply that the Ontario government is providing. Based on our research, the average cost of a rapid test is $3.50 – $6.00 per test. This average cost is not affordable for families made up of frontline workers, with children in school, and with elders in long-term care, especially since they require frequent testing. If the Government of Ontario wants people to test and stay home when they are sick, tests must be readily available and provided free of charge.

Testing alone might not stop COVID-19 from spreading, but testing remains a useful layer of protection. We continue to see that frontline workers are at the greatest risk of COVID-19 infection – they deserve access to free tests to keep themselves, their co-workers, and their community safe.  By providing rapid tests to Public Health Units across Ontario, we can enhance our ability to detect and contain outbreaks in high-risk settings such as schools, workplaces, and long-term care facilities. While COVID-19 infections are less deadly than they were before widespread vaccination, COVID-19 was the third leading cause of death in Canada in 2022 – the most recent year for which we have data. 2022 was also the third year in a row where Canada’s life expectancy declined. 

We urge you to prioritize the allocation of new COVID-19 rapid tests to TPH to address the pressing need for expanded testing capacity. Swift action in this regard will not only help to safeguard the health and well-being of our residents but also contribute to our collective efforts to overcome the challenges posed by the pandemic.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. We trust that you will give due consideration to the urgent request outlined herein and take the necessary steps to ensure that TPH receives the support they deserve as they strive to fulfill their mandate of laying a robust foundation for the public health of all Ontarians.


Respectfully submitted, 

Bhutila Karpoche

Official Opposition Critic for GTA Issues

Member of Provincial Parliament

Parkdale – High Park



Kristyn Wong-Tam

Official Opposition Critic for Small Business Issues                                             

Member of Provincial Parliament 

Toronto Centre 


cc: Hon. Stan Cho, Minister of Long-Term Care                 

Keep Tenants at 16 St Joseph St. Safe


March 24, 2024


Sent By Email 


Muge Fikri, Property Manager

Akelius Residential Properties


Re:  Tenants’ Safety During Heating Failure at 16 St Joseph Street

Dear Ms. Muge Fikri at Akelius Residential Properties,

I am writing this letter because your tenants at 16 St Joseph Street need decisive action and urgent accommodation to protect their well-being during the failure of your heating systems in their homes. Please share this letter with Akelius Head of Canada Shelly Lee as I ask that she personally involve herself in this matter to ensure the health and safety of her tenants.

It is unimaginable that Ontario residents have been living in an Akelius rental building without essential heating since March 2, 2024. Winter temperatures in Toronto have remained consistently below levels that are safe. Tenants have an inviolable right to safe dwellings and this includes the vital service of an indoor temperature that is at least 21 degrees Celsius.

It is the responsibility of the property manager and landlord at 16 St Joseph Street to ensure its heating and ventilation systems are maintained and regularly serviced. The failure of the critical heating and ventilation system and any delayed response to adequately address this problem underscores the importance of proactive work to maintain all of your rental properties’ critical infrastructure. I understand from correspondence with involved parties that proactively upgrading the boiler heating system was not prioritized until the boiler failed. 

These failures are not an accident. They happen too regularly in Ontario when landlords allow critical equipment to fail by not regularly maintaining the equipment or proactively planning to replace systems as they near their end-of-use cycle. I unfortunately have extensive experience with misguided landlords deferring costs on these critical infrastructure failures from my time as a City Councillor and now as a Member of Provincial Parliament. It is always more costly and inconvenient to your tenants to let the systems fail. I know that it is your responsibility to keep your tenants safe and to ensure that they have uninterrupted access to their homes. When your critical infrastructure fails, it is also your responsibility to propose immediate and adequate solutions to keep them safe and unharmed.

As you cannot find a way to restore the heating system immediately, I demand that you provide hotel rooms in the vicinity as temporary accommodations for your affected and now vulnerable tenants until adequate heating is restored. It will be your responsibility to ensure that they can access their units, and that their units are secured from an increased risk of break-ins during this time. This is your direct responsibility as a landlord and the tenants should not be punished for the failure of your heating system – something that they had absolutely no control over.

I’m informed Akelius is offering partial rent abatements and space heaters — but your tenants have shared with my office that these measures are wholly inadequate. Fuses are regularly blowing because of the outdated electrical system. Your tenants are cold, tired and getting sicker. Their physical and mental health will be harmed for as long as they go without heat. I believe that providing them with safe and adequately heated hotel rooms or other suitable alternatives while ensuring they can access their homes, would be the least that you can do during this most challenging time for them.

I am not asking for any shortcuts to be taken that might put your tenants at risk. Providing hotel rooms is a reasonable accommodation for this situation. I even imagine that it may be covered by your insurance policy.

I need to hear back from you or Shelly Lee as soon as possible and no later than March 26, 2024.  You can reach my office at any time by emailing [email protected] or calling 416-972-7684. 


Kristyn Wong-Tam

Member of Provincial Parliament for Toronto Centre

120 Carlton St. Suite 401

Toronto, ON

M5A 2K4

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