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Throwback Thursday: April 1916

We begin this edition of Throwback Thursday by reaching back 102 years to April 1916, when Canada was at war, and any open space that was big enough might be called upon to serve as a drill field, or at least a photographic backdrop. Former CRA board director Keith Lawrance sends us this from his new perch at Toronto City Hall. He notes that the view extends from Geneva Street on the left, through the Zoo as it then was, as far as Broadview Avenue.

The photo is of the 180th “Sportsmen’s” Overseas Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Here it is  again in three sections, from left to right of the formation, so that details are more easily visible.

Left

Centre

Right

Local amateur war historian John Thompson of the Royal Canadian Military Institute, tells us that “Sportsmen’s Battalions” originated in the U.K. as part of the Pals & Battalions of 1914/15, usually reruited among star athletes from football, cricket, rugby and other sports teams, and then using them to draw supporters of those teams into the battalions. (The “Pals” system of  recruiting led to entire neighbourhoods of young men being slaughtered in the battles of 1914-15 – one reason why the Canadian Reserves of today are never committed as full units).

For this reason among others,  Canadian recruiting worked differently. Local militia regiments would continue to recruit men until 1917. Men would go into the drafts of the numbered battalions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force.

The Sportmen’s Battalions in the U.K. were emulated by two Canadian battalions, the 180th and 202nd. The 180th Sportsman’s Battalion was recruited in the Toronto area in the winter of 1915/16, sailed for the U.K. in November 1916, and was absorbed into the 3rd Reserve Battalion on January 6, 1917. It had one commanding officer, LCol R.H. Greer.

It continued recruiting through most of 1916, playing up its “Sportsman” image to reach its full authorized strength, which probably explains their appearance on a Cabbagetown sports field. Other than this, the unit did nothing that history remembers it for, but the men it recruited and trained would have been at Vimy Ridge, Passchendaele, Amiens, and on through the 100 days that broke the back of Germany’s armies.

This photo shows a little over 500 officers and men. Mr. Thompson notes that if the normal ratios held,some 20 per cent of the men in the photo would have been killed in action or died of wounds, and 40 per cent would have been wounded at least once.

Technically, the photo is a remarkable example of a panoramic group photo. The panoramic technique was pioneered in 1844 and there are still panoramic cameras being made, though the smartphone is probably fast replacing them. The panoramic cameras of the early 20th century used a geared lens turret, which allowed even exposure. In graduation photos, it also allowed the class wise guy to appear at both ends of the group if he was fast enough. (This practice was discouraged in military photography.)

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Filming at 650 Parliament Street in May, exact dates TBC

There ba-ack … film crews once again return to Cabbagetown.

We get these notices through the City of Toronto and this is one of the more open-ended and vague ones – if we get better details in future, will update this post. As is usual, if anything is amiss, contact the location manager.

Show: Streets of Yesterday, a TV series

Location Manager: Shaun Cengiz

Location Manager Cell #: 416-566-6271

Filming Location(s) & Times: Location: 650 Parliament St, two separate dates between May 9, at 7 a.m. and May 25 at 11 p.m.

Parking Locations: The company has asked for a hold from May 9 to May 25 for the following locations, but promises this will be reduced one the shoot dates are firmed up

– Parliament Street east side between Welllesley Street East and Bloor Street East
Parliament Street west side between Wellesley Street East and St. James Avenue
Bloor Street East, south side, between Sherbourne and Parliament streets

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TTC changes scheduled for Gerrard-Parliament intersection closure

The City and the TTC will be replacing the streetcar tracks at the intersection of Gerrard Street East and Parliament Street.

To accommodate this track work, the intersection will be completely fully closed in all directions for three weeks – from 5 a.m. on Monday, May 14 to 6 a.m. on Monday, June 4. A minimum of one lane of traffic in each direction will be open on June 4.

TTC service changes (5 a.m. on May 14 to 6 a.m. on June 4)
The 506/306 Carlton route is currently operating with a bus service. During the full closure and track renewal work at the Gerrard/Parliament intersection, all buses will be restricted from entering the intersection.

– 506/306 Carlton Route: Buses will divert around the closed intersection both ways via Carlton Street, Sherbourne Street, Dundas Street East, River Street and Gerrard Street East to route.

– 65/365 Parliament Route: Buses will divert both ways via Parliament Street, Carlton Street, Sherbourne Street, Dundas Street East and Parliament Street to route.

The first few days of the full intersection closure are the most disruptive and involve breaking and removing concrete within the streetcar track areas. Concrete breaking will stop at 11 p.m.

Traffic during the closure
– Eastbound traffic will be diverted at Sherbourne Street.
– Westbound traffic will be diverted at River Street.
– Southbound traffic will be diverted at Carlton Street
– Northbound traffic will be diverted at Dundas Street
– Local traffic will be maintained up to the closure.

Track work
The rail installation phase of this project will involve periods of late evening and overnight work and extended weekend hours by TTC crews. The overnight rail work may consist of moving rail into position, rail installation and rail welding / grinding. Around-the-clock rail installation work by TTC is required to preserve the integrity and quality of new rail and concrete and support the daytime construction.

Pre-assembled rail panels on flatbed trailers will be temporarily stored in the track allowance near the closure limits. The rail panels help speed up installation, thereby reducing overnight work.

TTC office/lunch trailers will be parked on Gerrard Street (south of Anniversary Park) west of Parliament Street. These trailers will be removed at the end of the project.

The TTC contact for this project is Diego Sinagoga, Senior Community Liaison, 416 393-2197; diego.sinagoga@ttc.ca.

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Tips for safe spring cleanup

By Des Ryan, a retired police officer, CRA Board Director, and the CRA’s safety and security lead.

As we begin to reconnect with neighbours, who, like ourselves, have been bundled beyond recognition for the past few months, that sweet smell of spring is in the air. And, with that comes the urge to purge. No basement or shed is immune.

What to do with all of the old paints, primers, and stain? Or the aerosol cans, household cleaning products, and quarter-containers of bleach that we don’t want? Or those pesticides, partial bags of old fertilizer, and other stuff that doesn’t meet the criteria for the green, grey, or blue bins?

Well, for a fee that can be paid by cash, debit, or credit card, you can take it all down to the “Orange Drop” at the Commissioners Street Transfer Station, located at 400 Commissioners St.

Or, you can have the City of Toronto pick up your Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) for free (except for florescent lights) by calling 311 or registering online for what’s nicknamed the “Toxic Taxi” – city pickup of hazardous waste.

There are rules around pick-up and this city website gives detailed instructions both on what’s considered hazardous waste, and how you can get the city to take it off your hands (it should never be put in regular garbage). The HHW has to be placed in front of your home, on your property (not at the curb or on the sidewalk), on the day of pickup. If you don’t have a front-of-home suitable for pickup, you can leave the items on an open front porch or veranda.

If you’ve got liquids to be picked up, they have to be labelled and sealed in a non-leaking container. And don’t stack all of your different Hazardous Household Waste together. Batteries, paints, and fluorescent light bulbs do not mix well together.

If you find needles or syringes that you want to dispose of, place them in a sealed plastic container (plastic jug, water bottle, etc.) or an approved sharps container and label the container “needles / syringes”.

Let’s say  you call, the by give you a date, you put your HHW out, and it doesn’t get picked  up. Then what? Give the city a couple of working days before calling 311. Sometimes, there are operational issues that cause delays.

Other issues that could affect pickup:
– A container leaked, there was no lid, or the liquids were unlabelled.
– The materials were mixed together into one toxic stew.
– Too many items to pick up at once (i.e. more than 50 litres/50 kilograms or 24 cans, in which case you need to book a couple of pickups)
– The items set out were too large (i.e. a drum full of motor oil)
– Items not accepted under Household Hazardous Waste parameters including:
     – explosives (i.e. ammunition – can be taken to 51 Division of Toronto Police Services at 51 Parliament St.),
     – fireworks (soak them in water, seal them in a plastic bag, and dispose of as waste).

Provided everything has been properly packed and set out, however, there should be no problems. And you’ll be left with a clean, safe, non-toxic basement or shed. And plenty of space to store other things – such as your snow tires.

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If this doesn’t bring on spring weather, nothing will …

Every September, at the height of the Cabbagetown Festival, the festival organizers, the Cabbagetown BIA, sacrifice a cabbage to keep the Cabbage Gods smiling on the neighbourhood and bring good weather. Mark Michelin of St. James Town Steak and Chops has always been the “Purveyor of the One Cabbage.”

This April, the Cabbage Gods have been acting crankier than we’ve ever seen them, and the Forsythia Queens (aka Shawna Pereira and Carolyn Jarman from the Cabbagetown Residents Association) who organize the Forsythia Festival on Sunday May 6 are getting nervous. Mark, as a Festival Gold sponsor, has in the spirit of community service offered up a Brussels Sprout to appease and divert the wrath of the Cabbage Gods from their sisters the Forsythias.

The Act of Sprout was performed on Friday, April 20 by the hands of Mark himself. This better work … let’s bring on the spring weather!

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Throwback Thursday: April 8, 1978

Volunteer Eric Morse brings us the local news from April 8, 1978 courtesy 7 News.

It was a soggy spring in St James Town. The previous issue of 7 News had reported flooding in the 280 Wellesley complex, and now there are reports of flooding in 325 Bleecker. “Hot water shot out of the [third floor] pipe in a jet, missing, but only by inches, a woman sitting across the kitchen from the pipe. The force of the water splintered the bottom of the kitchen table, warped the floor, destroyed the carpet in the adjacent living room, and damaged the TV. ”

There were complaints that management had a neglectful attitude toward the necessary repairs, and that the tenants had little leverage, having tried and failed a couple of times to found a tenants’ association.

In our last Throwback Thursday, we reported on the battle over the proposed redevelopment of “South St Jamestown (sic)” (Bleecker/Wellesley/Ontario/Carlton). The developers’ proposal had headed off to OMB, and Ald. John Sewell had sworn a fight to the death.

As of this issue, hearings had just concluded and a decision was awaited. The current article summarizes the residents’ objections (“those who remain in the area – many were thrown out of their homes by Meridian several years ago”). Essentially they object to a proposed density “actually … slightly higher than even St Jamestown (sic) itself”. Objectors noted that “the very concept of dense high rise development has proven itself to be an obsolete planning and development concept”. The article goes on to note that “The St Jamestown high rises are currently known for problems with vandalism, maintenance and cockroaches, and have required their own security force to supplement the police. Critics say that these kinds of problems are almost inevitable in high rises…”

Coincidentally, last week’s Cabbagetown Neighbourhood Review notes a new proposal for development within the existing precinct of St James Town. As blogger Doug Fisher notes,  “It’s hard to say those words in one sentence – ‘expand’, ‘St James Town’?” Memories are long. But the people doing it want to be very careful and they’re holding a public consultation. It’s early days.

How will South St Jamestown come out? Stay tuned to Throwback Thursday!

In these days of bike lanes, “War on The Car”, the King Street Pilot Project, and massive condo development, the battles 40 years ago over front-yard parking seem almost quaint, but it was a burning issue in the day. Ald. John Sewell (who was opposed) writes a lengthy piece summarizing the pros and cons. He writes: “ Some on Council (I’m one of them) aren’t prepared to see more of the city turned over to the carriage and storage of cars. Toronto is known for trees … and parking on front yards will mean that fewer and fewer trees are being planted … Losing the feel of the city because of a parking problem in the 1970s isn’t a good enough reason.”

As with all these controversies of the day, we know how this one came out in the long run. But Sewell’s article also gives us a snapshot of City Council of the day, and where everyone stood on the issue.

In a sign of the times, and the social tensions inherent in a neighbourhood that was rapidly gentrifying, the Parliament Street Library announced that the Library House at 265 Gerrard, long in use as a men’s drop-in centre, was being renovated and that the drop-in centre would close. The piece notes: “The changes … have been approved by the ‘Friends of the Library’ committee. However the committee, according to a former member now consists entirely of ‘whitepainters’ who are openly hostile to the poorer residents in the area, and who were not happy to see the library house used as a drop-in.”.

In the ‘hidden ledes’ (not to be more overly critical) department, a collective signing itself “The Street Artists of Cabbagetown”, which on closer reading turns out to be a clever euphemism for ‘dogs’, writes an open letter to the residents, which on close parsing turns out to be an admonition not to put out their garbage before collection day…

And last but not least, The Parson’s Nose at 438 Parliament St., which was to become a Cabbagetown watering hole of resort at least until the early ’80s, announces its debut.

The full stories introduced above are available at http://www.connexions.org/SevenNews/Docs/7News-Volume08-Number22.pdf . The PDF archive is a remarkable achievement by Connexions, a collective dedicated to preserving social activism, of which 7 News is surely a shining example.

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Update No. 2: DVP spring closure now on Apr. 20-23

Update on April 25: Read about all the work done in the DVP spring cleanup in this news release from the City of Toronto.

Based on weather forecasts that we’re moving into a sunny weekend, the City of Toronto is going ahead with The Don Valley Parkway spring cleanup, between Highway 401/404 and the Gardiner Expressway, from 11 p.m. on Friday, April 20 to Monday, April 23 at 5 a.m. The DVP will be closed that entire time.

On April 11 Toronto City Hall announced that the Don Valley Parkway closure set for April 13 to 16 was cancelled due to expected unsuitable weather – a prescient move, given the ice storm and weather kaka the city endured last Saturday and Sunday.

Please plan alternate routes to and from Cabbagetown this weekend.

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Give your feedback on draft waste diversion policy

Solid Waste Management Services is seeking feedback on a draft policy for accepting new materials into City of Toronto waste diversion streams (e.g. Blue Bin recycling and Green Bin organics). 

There is an online survey currently being conducted, with a deadline to complete of Monday, April 16. Comments can also be send via email to Robyn Shylit of the Public Consultation Unit: robin.shylit@toronto.ca

Visit the long-term waste strategy website to:

– read a copy of the draft policy
– view presentation slides and watch a recording of the March 21 public meeting about the new policy.

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Toronto City Council highlights, March 26 and 27

Council Highlights is an informal summary of a selection of the decisions that Toronto City Council made at its recent business meeting. The City Clerk’s formal documentation is available at http://www.toronto.ca/council.

Funding for non-profit housing
Council approved the provision of $2 million in funding for two new non-profit housing developments through the City’s Home Ownership Assistance Program to support a total of 80 new homes. The two developments consist of townhomes in Ward 42 Scarborough-Rouge River and a condominium apartment building in Ward 11 York South-Weston. The funding will provide down-payment assistance loans to help eligible low to moderate income purchasers of the new homes.

Guidelines for townhouses and low-rise apartments
Council approved guidelines for the City’s use in evaluating current and new development applications for townhouses and low-rise apartment buildings. The new guidelines replace an earlier reference document. Council also voted in support of motions for staff to report on matters involving townhouse entrances and parking requirements for low-rise apartment buildings.

Emergency shelters and supports
Council adopted a series of recommendations and motions that pertain to meeting the immediate needs of Torontonians experiencing homelessness and using the City’s emergency shelter system, and also for helping them find secure, suitable, permanent housing. A further City priority addressed by the recommendations involves efforts to prevent low-income households from falling into homelessness.

Review of winter respite services
Council received a Toronto Ombudsman’s report on the City’s respite services this winter, focusing on the identified need for better communication of information and improved conditions at winter respite sites. The sites give people experiencing homelessness a temporary place to sleep, receive a meal and obtain referrals to support services. Staff have been asked to look into possibly using sensors that measure respite facility temperature and upload the data.

Traffic in school zones
Council supported a motion calling on staff to prepare a report for May on a streamlined process to receive and process councillor and community requests for the implementation of traffic calming measures in school zones and community safety zones.

Tax on third-party signs
Council approved bylaw amendments pertaining to the City’s tax on third-party signs and decided to consider introducing an annual surcharge on unauthorized signs. The City collects between $11 million and $12 million annually from the sign tax. Third-party signs are signs advertising a business or service not situated on, or available at, the property displaying the sign.

Information technology and eCity Strategy
Council adopted various recommendations generated by an audit of the City’s information technology infrastructure and assets. The steps to be taken support the Information and Technology division’s corporate leadership in modernizing City services through the eCity Strategy and its goals of ensuring that technology enhances Toronto’s municipal services and political processes.

Development of thermal energy networks
Council authorized entering into an agreement between the City and Enwave to jointly pursue opportunities for developing low-carbon thermal energy networks. Development of low-carbon thermal energy networks as part of the broader TransformTO strategy will help the City meet its climate-change targets, attract investments that benefit the local economy, generate revenue, ensure energy does not become a limiting factor for growth, and improve local energy resilience.

Tree protection
Council adopted recommendations aimed at ensuring that applicants provide full information about pertinent tree/forestry issues for the Committee of Adjustment’s and the Toronto Local Appeal Body’s review of minor variance/consent applications such as applications for front-yard parking. Plans submitted for review need to identify trees and tree-protection zones and include photographs. The City’s tree bylaws are enforced by Urban Forestry staff.

REimagining Yonge plan for Yonge Street
Council discussed the REimagining Yonge (Sheppard to Finch) Municipal Class Environmental Assessment Study agenda item at length and ultimately decided to defer a decision on the future design of Yonge Street in North York. The deferral will give the Toronto Transit Commission time to consider the long-term implications for buses in that section of Yonge Street.

Flag-raising for Vietnamese community
Council voted to allow the Vietnamese heritage and freedom flag to be raised at Toronto City Hall. Journey to Freedom Day, observed each April 30, is a national day commemorating the thousands of Vietnamese people who perished fleeing Vietnam for freedom. The day also recognizes the Vietnamese-Canadian community’s success today. Toronto is now home to about 50,000 Vietnamese-Canadians.

Work on utilities at night
Council supported a motion to re-affirm that non-emergency utility work should not take place overnight in the downtown area. When overnight work is necessary, advance consultation with the ward councillor and notification of local residents/stakeholders are required. The City is trying to balance addressing the needs of a busy downtown core and the needs of downtown communities.

Amendments to purchasing bylaw
Proposed amendments to the City of Toronto’s purchasing bylaw received Council’s approval. The amendments pertain primarily to the supplier code of conduct and to the responsibilities of City division heads and project leads in managing purchase contracts.

Interim City Manager appointed
Council appointed Giuliana Carbone the City’s Interim City Manager, effective April 4. Peter Wallace, the former City Manager, earlier announced his resignation effective April 3. In addition, with the retirement of Deputy City Manager John Livey, Council appointed Lou Di Gironimo the Interim Deputy City Manager for Cluster B effective April 5 and until City Council appoints a new Deputy City Manager for the City of Toronto’s Cluster B divisions.

Appointment to the Police Services Board
Council appointed Councillor Jim Hart (Ward 44 Scarborough East) to the Toronto Police Services Board for the term of office that ends November 30, 2018 and until a successor is appointed. The appointment was made as Councillor Shelley Carroll (Ward 33 Don Valley East) resigned from the board effective March 26.

Special City Council meeting

City’s budgets for 2018
At a meeting held on February 12 to consider the City’s budgets for this year, City Council approved a 2018 tax-supported operating budget of $11.12 billion and a 10-year capital budget and plan of $25.98 billion. The 2018 budgets maintain or improve all service levels and make major investments in social infrastructure and housing. Overall, the 2018 budget tax increase after assessment growth is 1.47 per cent, with a 2.1 per cent increase for residential properties, a 1.05 per cent increase for commercial properties and a 0.70 per cent increase for industrial properties.

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Update on proposed development at 461 Sackville St.

As shared by the Cabbagetowner on January 26, 2018, owners of the property at 461 Sackville St. (at the southeast corner with Amelia) have applied for a minor variance to alter the existing building so it could be used as a day nursery. This story includes plans provided by the developer to the city.

It has since been clarified that the application to be licensed as a day nursery, which is a provincial designation granted through the Ministry of Education, is a further step in this process: what is at hand right now are physical changes to the property that would allow the site to be considered for such a use. Some of those changes require variances from the official plan, which is why the proposal is going to the city’s Committee of Adjustment on April 11, 2018, 1:30 p.m., Committee Room 2, Toronto City Hall. Please note that this is a different, earlier date than originally had been scheduled.

There has been significant commentary online about this issue, both from neighbours concerned about these physical changes and from Cabbagetowners who believe these changes are not detrimental and will make possible what they see as a needed day-care facility within our neighbourhood.

In the past two months, the property owner met with the CRA board of directors, as did a delegation of neighbours who oppose the variance and who have undertaken a petition to present to the city and the Committee of Adjustment. Beyond the physical changes proposed to the property, this group is also concerned about how such a use of this property, currently zoned as five apartments and two ground-floor commercial units, would cause traffic congestion and issues with parking, given there would be employees and parents dropping off and picking up children. The Cabbagetown District Heritage Committee is also reviewing the variance application through a heritage lens.

The CRA board encourages all members to express your opinions and observations.

Residents can attend the Committee of Adjustment meeting hearing on April 11 and speak to the item, or they can submit comments to the application technician, Daniel De Moissac, Daniel.demoissac@toronto.ca (comments cannot be registered by phone, only mail or email). Comments must be submitted by Thursday, April 5.

You can also connect with Peter Lovering, constituency assistant for Ward 2 Councillor Lucy Troisi, peter.lovering@toronto.ca .

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