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Toronto City Council Highlights, May 14 and 15

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

Impact of the provincial budget 
Council supported a motion to request the Province of Ontario to reverse its announced retroactive cuts that result in the loss of about $178 million that was included in the City of Toronto’s balanced budget for 2019 as adopted in March. Council will also convey the willingness of City officials to meet with the province to discuss both governments’ budgets and the impact the province’s retroactive 2019 funding cuts will have on the residents of Toronto. A series of actions approved with this item includes a public information and education campaign.

Funding of Toronto Public Health 
Council voted to express its strong opposition to funding cuts to Toronto Public Health for this year as communicated by the Ontario government, and to urge the province against making the proposed cuts. In addition, Council agreed on using advertising locations to inform Torontonians about the health impacts if the funding cuts to Toronto Public Health proceed.

Ontario government’s Bill 108   
Council adopted a series of recommendations and motions addressing the Ontario government’s Housing Supply Action Plan and proposed Bill 108 (More Homes, More Choice Act). Council is asking the province to extend the June 1 timeline for comments from municipalities and other stakeholders. An initial assessment indicates that changes associated with Bill 108 would significantly affect the City’s finances, its ability to secure parkland and its capacity to provide community facilities, as well as significantly affecting the evaluation process for development applications.

Affordable housing opportunities   
Council asked staff for a report on whether more affordable housing units should be required in future Toronto Community Housing revitalizations, based on a site-by-site evaluation. That is one of several recommendations adopted as part of an agenda item involving an audit that produced recommendations to help achieve broader city-building objectives and improve accountability in Toronto Community Housing’s revitalization projects. 

Adequate housing as a right   
Council agreed to ask the City’s Affordable Housing Office, as part of current public consultation on Toronto’s housing plan, to include a rights-based approach to housing (as advocated by the United Nations) in policy areas that fall within the City’s jurisdiction. Staff are to report on possibly making “adequate housing” a basic right in the Toronto Housing Plan that is now in the works.

Apartment building maintenance 
Council approved amending the Toronto Municipal Code to require building owners/operators, under the RentSafeTO program, to develop an electrical maintenance plan with a licensed, certified electrical contractor and to maintain records showing compliance with that plan. Among several other requirements, building owners/operators will now need to maintain a list of volunteered contact information identifying tenants who may need assistance during building evacuations or temporary shutdowns of vital services.

Ontario Place and Exhibition Place    
Council directed staff to work with the Ontario government on a strategy for the future of Ontario Place and Exhibition Place. The undertaking is to involve consultation with all stakeholders and focus on the original goal for the two sites – that is, providing attractive settings for festivals and other events for all Ontarians. A series of guiding principles that Council adopted for Ontario Place’s revitalization presents the principles in the context of the City’s Central Waterfront Secondary Plan. Work already taking place on a master plan for Exhibition Place continues in line with guidelines and a study framework that Council approved.

Rallies promoting hate  
Council voted to reaffirm its unwavering opposition to hate speech, and directed staff to inform organizers of events that occur in Toronto regularly without a permit of the City’s policies on hate speech and hate activities. In addition, where possible, the City is to issue trespass or trespass warning letters to identifiable participants engaged in hate activities at rallies taking place on City property. The response to such activities also involves the police.

Security at places of worship       
Council voted to ask the Toronto Police Services Board to consider and report back on the feasibility of creating a task force to examine security and public safety in Toronto’s places of worship. The report is to include terms of reference for working with City divisions and agencies as well as with the federal government and the Ontario government on this matter.

Tree planting and maintenance   
Council adopted recommendations aimed at improving contract management, customer service and operational efficiency in the City’s tree planting and tree maintenance programs. A recent audit indicates there is room for improvement, notably in overseeing work carried out by contracted tree service companies. 

Bike lanes on Richmond Street   
Council directed staff to investigate all options to ensure the safety of cyclists along Richmond Street from John Street to Bathurst Street for the duration of watermain reconstruction work along Richmond. Transportation Services was also asked to investigate safe detour routes and improve alternative cycling routes that parallel Richmond Street.

St. Lawrence Market project    
Council approved the awarding of a contract for the construction of the new St. Lawrence Market North building at 92 Front St. The City is redeveloping the property with a new, multi-story building that will include a ground-floor market space, Court Services offices and court rooms, and an underground parking garage. The former one-storey market building at the site has been demolished and an archeological assessment conducted. 

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Cabbagetown according to . . . Bryan Hewitt and Steffen Ploeger

Bryan Hewitt and Steffen Ploeger were tied for first place in the 2018 Cabbagetown Holiday Lights Contest(Paloma Ellard and Matthew Scott also came in first.)

Best place in Cabbagetown for a bite to eat … That’s a hard one! But Cranberries is our go-to! Love Ruth and the Team!

Cabbagetown needs … A bigger and better LCBO! 🥂

Favourite block … Sumach, across from Riverdale Farm. 🐄

Best public space … Riverdale Park West—an amazing view and great place to social with others in the ‘hood.

Favourite store … Mikasa—best home decor selection and prices.

Cabbagetown pet peeve … When people park improperly on our streets and cause there to be less street parking than we already have. 🤣

Cabbagetown’s best kept secret … The Necropolis—explore all of the nooks and crannies.

Best reason to join the Cabbagetown Residents Association (CRA) … To stay connected to our special and unique community.

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Spring driving safety tips

Des Ryan, a retired Toronto police officer and author of the Mike O’Shea Crime Fiction Series, is a CRA board director and our volunteer safety and security lead.

Did you know that your chances of being involved in a road accident are 30 per cent higher from June to August than at any other time of year?

Hard to believe, but it is true.

“The three-month period following spring marks the beginning of an unofficial ‘trauma season’ for both children and adults,” says Dr. Neil Merritt, a paediatric surgeon and a board director with the Trauma Association of Canada (TAC), a multidisciplinary society focused on the care of the injured patient and family. “Sadly, we see increased deaths and traumatic injuries, which we define as an injury of sudden onset and severity that requires medical attention.”

Why is this? Our driving patterns change. Kids are out of school, and we are driving long distances to cottages or vacation destinations. The volume of traffic increases, and we become impatient, driving faster on roads that we may be unfamiliar with.

Tired, anxious, and our minds wandering often result in our attention drifting—and our cars as well!

And then there is that Weekend Warrior factor: the increased use of alcohol or drugs during summer months.

As drivers, we need to take responsibility for our driving habits. Driving well-rested and sober is a no-brainer. Following the rules of the road and being mindful of speed limits is easy enough. Remembering that everyone else is as eager to get to where they are going as you are is another important step in road safety.

With that in mind, drive safely this summer!

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Toronto City Council Highlights, April 16 and 17

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

Transportation

King Street transit 
Council decided to make the features of the King Street Transit Pilot project permanent, with King Street between Bathurst and Jarvis Streets operating as a corridor that gives public transit priority over private vehicles. Ridership on the TTC’s 504 King streetcar during the recent two-year pilot rose significantly, to about 84,000 riders a day, and efficiency increased. Statistics have indicated minimal impact on vehicle travel times on streets paralleling or intersecting with King Street. The repositioned transit stops on King will be kept in place and improvements will be made to street furniture and patios along the corridor.

Transit expansion plans
Council approved staff recommendations addressing Ontario’s recently announced new transit plan for Toronto and region – including four projects that the provincial government identifies as transit priorities. The province’s proposal assumes cost-sharing by the federal government, the City of Toronto and other municipalities and authorities. The recommendations that Council adopted include requesting a detailed assessment of the province’s proposed changes to Toronto’s transit expansion program.

Toronto’s share of gas tax 
A motion concerning the provincial gasoline tax received Council’s unanimous support. The motion requests that the Ontario government reinstate a provincial gas tax commitment made in 2017 that would double municipalities’ share from two cents a litre to four cents a litre. The Toronto Transit Commission relies on the gas tax revenues for its state-of-good-repair expenses. The TTC funding anticipated from the pledged increase amounts to an estimated $1.1 billion over 10 years.

Housing and settlement

Tenants First and seniors housing 
Council adopted recommendations to move ahead promptly with the Tenants First project that is transforming Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC), in part by addressing the work of TCHC’s interim seniors housing unit and the City’s role in delivering services to seniors. A related change approved by Council is the expanded scope of the City’s Long-Term Care Homes and Services division, now to include a seniors housing and services entity. The division’s name becomes Seniors Services and Long-Term Care.

Refugee capacity plan for Toronto 
Council adopted a plan for handling surges in refugee populations arriving in Toronto and needing support services. The plan aims for the seamless, efficient mobilization of the City’s resources when the need for greater capacity arises. Toronto welcomes about 50,000 new permanent residents a year, but the number of refugees and refugee claimants can vary widely from year to year, such as when almost 7,000 Syrian refugees arrived on relatively short notice in 2016.

Health

Public health in Ontario     
Council voted to affirm its support for Toronto Public Health and agreed to ask the Ontario government to stop its planned reduction of Ontario’s public health units from 35 to 10 and its planned budget reduction of $200 million from public health. Council is requesting the province to instead undertake consultations with municipalities and public health agencies on the public health system in Ontario.

Services addressing opioid overdose crisis 
Council supported asking the Ontario government to reinstate funding for supervised consumption services at Toronto’s Street Health and St. Stephen’s Community House and to maintain funding for Toronto Public Health’s The Works. The provincial government announced on March 29 that, under new regulations, funding for supervised injection and overdose prevention was not approved for six Ontario sites, three in Toronto and three in London and Ottawa. Coroner’s statistics indicate that hundreds of people in Toronto have died as a result of opioid overdoses in recent years.

Review of dementia care   
Council requested the preparation of a business case for a multi-year hiring and staffing plan, along with technological enhancements, to address the complex-care needs of people, including those with dementia, who live in the City’s long-term care homes. Staff were also asked for an implementation strategy to ensure that all 10 long-term care homes provide emotion-centred approaches to care. Sixty-nine per cent of the 2,641 residents in the City’s long-term care homes have moderate to severe cognitive impairment and 65 per cent have dementia.

Licensing/standards

Amendments to the noise bylaw 
Council approved amendments to the City’s noise bylaw after a comprehensive review of the standards for noise in Toronto. The changes simplify the bylaw and address specific noise issues such as amplified sound/music and noise from power devices (such as leaf blowers), motor vehicles (including motorcycles) and construction. There is a provision allowing for various exemptions from noise prohibitions and limitations.

Liquor licences/handguns 
Council decided to ask the Ontario government to direct the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario to suspend or revoke liquor licences at any licensed establishment that has been the scene of gun violence, where patrons have been in the possession of handguns, or where the police have found handguns on the premises.

Planning and public realm

Damage from Eglinton LRT work 
In response to a motion that Council adopted, the City will communicate Council’s expectations that Crosslinx and Metrolinx should pay for damage caused to roads by construction work on the Eglinton Crosstown LRT (light rail transit) line. Crosslinx Transit Solutions is a design and construction consortium established to build the Eglinton Crosstown LRT. Ontario agency Metrolinx owns and oversees the project.

Toronto’s street furniture   
Council authorized staff to enter into an amending agreement that will result in changes to the City’s street furniture program, which is delivered as a public-private partnership with Astral Media. With the City’s 20-year agreement with Astral now in its 12th year, various installations are being addressed. One innovation under consideration is providing heaters in selected transit shelters. Increased cleaning of litter bins in business improvement areas is another priority for the City.

Cigarette butts 
Council agreed to ask for a report from staff on establishing regulations that address the issue of cigarette-butt litter. The regulations will require business owners and operators to ensure that cigarette butts are removed from in front of their premises as a condition of the City issuing a business licence. Staff are also to report on the enforcement of existing regulations that require the installation and maintenance of receptacles for cigarette butts in front of business establishments, including restaurants and bars.

Alternatives to single-use plastics 
Council adopted a motion aimed at having the City of Toronto eliminate single-use plastic waste in all City facilities, as well as at City events and campaigns where feasible and practical. Staff are to report back with a detailed plan. The report will include options for replacing single-use plastic products with reusable and alternative products.

Plans for Don Mills Crossing 
Council approved Don Mills Crossing, a secondary plan that advances a vision of a distinct, complete community that is centred at Don Mills Road and Eglinton Avenue East (situated on the Crosstown LRT). Through implementation, the plan will create a vibrant, mixed-use community, connect new development with the area’s natural heritage, enhance mobility choice and support new community facilities and affordable housing. The Don Mills Crossing study included extensive consultation with the surrounding community and stakeholders.

Miscellaneous

Appointment of a Photo Laureate 
Council officially approved the appointment of Michele Pearson Clarke to the position of City of Toronto Photo Laureate for the three-year term until April 2022, or until a successor is appointed. Toronto’s Photo Laureate, the first and only position of its kind in Canada, began in 2016 when Council appointed Geoffrey James the first Toronto Photo Laureate.

Recruitment of swim instructors 
Council adopted a motion requesting that recreation staff take steps to bolster recruitment to address a shortage of swim instructors for some City aquatic programs. Members of Council also want to make sure there is a process in place for notification when a program is cancelled, including information about options to transfer to other available swimming instruction programs offered by the City.

Support for Rohingya people   
A motion concerning Myanmar and its Rohingya population received Council’s support. Council is urging the Canadian government to invoke the Genocide Convention and, with other governments, engage with the International Court of Justice on holding Myanmar to its obligations. The motion also addresses topics including reparations, the plight of journalists jailed in Myanmar, and the needs of Rohingya refugees who have fled to Bangladesh.

Freedom of religion and expression 
Council voted to reaffirm its support for freedom of religion and expression, and to state its opposition to any legislation that would restrict or prohibit those freedoms. Council’s action comes in the context of the Quebec provincial government’s recent proposal of legislation (Bill 21) that would prohibit public employees from wearing visible religious symbols, including items such as turpans, hijabs and crucifixes, in the workplace.

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Commercial shoot on Wellesley Street on Thursday, April 25

There will be an Interac commercial shot at 472 Wellesley Street East (interior scenes) between 1 p.m and 11 p.m. on Thursday, April 25.

Production vehicles and various pieces of film equipment will be located on:
– Wellesley Street E., one side, from Sumach to the end
– Parkview Avenue, from Wellesley Street E. to the end
– Parliament Street, east side from Wellesley Street E. to Bloor Street E.

The crew will begin reserving the above parking areas with cones on April 24 at 6 p.m. with vehicles arriving April 25 at 1 p.m. and departing April 25 by 11 p.m.

Displaced permit parkers affected by filming activities are asked to park in their driveways (if applicable), surrounding streets, or nearby pay lots. If you hold a valid, local street parking permit, please approach any crew member and ask to speak to John Dranski or Chantal Dos Reis from the Locations Department. They will direct you to available parking and/or reimburse your parking receipt.

Any questions? Reach John Dranski, Location Manager, 416-887-5418; jdranski@gmail.com

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Cabbagetown according to … Gina Dineen

Gina Dineen is long-time volunteer with the Forsythia Festival as our MC extraordinaire. Join her this year on May 5 at Wellesley Park!

Best place in Cabbagetown for a bite to eat … A very tough question! It used to be the House on Parliament, which is loved for its amazing atmosphere and awesome menu ( I used to devour the Steak’n Mushroom pie ) , but now that my husband and I have adopted a vegan diet… we need a vegan restaurant … perhaps called “Cabbagetown” … anyone?

Cabbagetown needs … see above plus a venue for Dancing to Live Music!

Favourite block …
Sumach to Parliament, Carlton to Spruce… lived here 40 years and that’s where most of my friends are (OK, I know it’s technically more that one block).


Best public space …
Tie: 1.Sprucecourt schoolyard – well protected from the street (safe for budding cyclists) and home to neighbourhood little leagues and 2. Riverdale West Flats where dogs and owners gather to run and play, rain or shine.

Favourite store … Hands down: No Frills! I shop daily and the specials help me decide what to cook for dinner … it’s also a great place to chat with neighbours and catch up on local news and Ambal Trading (favourite for curry leaves and spices).

Cabbagetown pet peeve …  I can’t stand the concrete sonar tube memorials in our parks. They deteriorate badly, present a tripping hazard and are ugly! Why not bring back classic flat brass plaques? Easier to mow around and safer for everyone.

Cabbagetown’s best kept secret … KClub! Their Summer Camps rock, they have a fantastic party room for rent and offer before- and after-school programs during the school year and Cabbagetown Youth Centre that offers $2/class Step Wednesdays and Sundays for adults as well as tons of programming for local kids.

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Toronto City Council Highlights March 27 and 28

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

Cabbagetown-related information

Appointment of Poet Laureate   
Council voted to appoint Al Moritz ( a resident of Cabbagetown)  the Poet Laureate of Toronto from April 1, 2019 to 2022 or until a successor is appointed. Moritz, who is Toronto’s sixth Poet Laureate, has received national and international honours for his work as a poet/author. As Poet Laureate of Toronto, he is expected to advocate for poetry, language and the arts in general.

Public transit

Toronto’s transit system
Council adopted recommendations and motions that address ongoing discussions between the City and the Ontario government on the management of public transit projects in Toronto. The actions adopted by Council include responding to two letters the City received from the province in late March. The letters name four specific projects as provincial priorities – the Scarborough subway extension, the Eglinton West extension, the downtown relief line and the Yonge subway extension. Discussions are to address responsibilities for undertaking/managing those transit projects.

Public consultation on transit
Council supported proceeding with a joint City/Toronto Transit Commission public information campaign explaining City Council’s position on the transit upload that the Ontario government has announced. The information campaign will detail plans for public consultations and inform Torontonians about matters such as accelerated planning for priority transit expansion projects, integrating transit services and modernizing/enhancing the existing subway system while maintaining it in a state of good repair.

Housing

Updated rules on secondary suites     
Council adopted a recommended zoning bylaw amendment that will support the creation of more secondary suites. The amendment removes a time delay, permits self-contained secondary suites in townhouses (as well as in detached and semi-detached houses), and removes minimum-size and parking requirements. Council also asked staff to review and report on the City’s current policy on development charges pertinent to the construction of secondary suites.   

Location of municipal shelters 
Council agreed to amend the City’s zoning bylaw on locating municipal shelters. The amendment supports having municipal shelters in most areas of the city by removing conditions that had restricted where they may be located. This change will help address the growing demand for shelter services and allow for quick responses to changing circumstances. Shelters are still not permitted in areas zoned for industrial/employment purposes.

Participation in Reaching Home program 
Council authorized the City to enter into an agreement for participation in the new federal government program called Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy, which replaces the Homelessness Partnering Strategy in April. The federal strategy is a national investment over 10 years to support the most vulnerable Canadians with affordable housing and to reduce chronic homelessness.

Housing allowance program   
Council voted to ask staff to report in May on potential measures to expand the City’s housing allowance program. Funding options to be considered are to include, but not be limited to, the creation of a new tier of the municipal land transfer tax for transactions above the current top tier. The housing allowance consists of money provided directly to eligible Toronto households as a monthly benefit to help them cope with their housing challenges.

Review of community housing 
Council adopted a motion that calls for expanding the options to be addressed in a staff report now underway on Toronto Community Housing Corporation’s governance and mandate. As a result, the review will cover various options to improve services for tenants of the Toronto Community Housing Corporation, including the possibility of dissolving the corporation and integrating it into the City as an agency or commission.

New affordable housing project     
Council supported a plan for the City to support the creation of up to 65 affordable rental units at 640 Lansdowne Ave. as part of the Open Door program. The City will provide financial incentives for the company undertaking the project (Magellan Community Charities). This project will result in new housing opportunities for seniors, with good access to public transit. The site is owned by the Toronto Transit Commission, which has designated the site as surplus.

Standards and health

Heat relief – apartments   
Council supported a Board of Health recommendation on steps for the City to take pertaining to excessive heat in many Toronto apartments during periods of hot weather. For example, staff are to look into options for window protection in apartment buildings that balance child safety with the ability to permit air circulation for heat relief, and to explore technology available for monitoring apartment temperatures. City communication with apartment buildings’ landlords is another focus.

Planning and public realm

Site plan review process 
Council agreed to communicate with Ontario’s Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to express concerns about the province considering reducing the scope of municipalities’ review of site plans. Information provided with the motion that Council adopted says the current site plan approval process, which takes place in the context of the Planning Act, serves Toronto well and weakening it would compromise high-quality design.

Co-ordination of work for accessibility   
Council voted to ask for a report on the viability of creating a City program that will encourage businesses and property owners to co-ordinate their property improvements with the City’s public-realm sidewalk construction, utility upgrades and repair work so as to achieve compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

Sidewalk cafés and parklets   
Council agreed to establish a separate chapter of the Toronto Municipal Code for sidewalk cafés, public parklets and marketing displays. The result is a harmonized bylaw that will ensure application standards and fees are consistent across the city. The harmonized bylaw will come into force on September 1. Staff’s preparations for the new bylaw will include providing information about café and marketing permits via the City’s Open Data web portal.

Public realm/sidewalk standards   
A motion calling for a review of enforcement levels and educational efforts currently in place to maintain the City’s public realm and sidewalk standards, along with related actions, received Council’s support. Related actions to be pursued include, among others, educating owners of businesses and properties about their responsibilities/roles in helping to make the city clean and beautiful.

Economy, culture and events

Continuation of Toronto Global   
Council approved the City’s continued participation as a supporter of Toronto Global for the next five years, subject to conditions pertaining to funding and other governments’ commitments. Formally launched in 2017, Toronto Global is an organization that is working to attract foreign investment and support economic development in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area.

Street festivals   
Council adopted a motion calling for staff and the police chief to discuss policing costs and protocols for Toronto’s neighbourhood street festivals, leading to a report for Council on ways to reduce those costs while ensuring public safety at the events. It was noted that some local business groups have expressed concerns about the rising costs of providing paid duty officers at street festivals, which could affect the viability of some of these summer events.

New attraction for Toronto Zoo   
Council approved having the City assist with financial arrangements for the Toronto Zoo’s management board to enter into a contract with the Moment Factory for a “Lumina experience” at the zoo. The interactive exhibit, scheduled to open later this year as a ticketed event promoting conservation, will increase awareness of the zoo as a year-round operation and has the potential to bring economic benefits to the city’s east side in the general vicinity of the zoo.

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Cabbagetown according to … Robin LeBlanc

Robin LeBlanc (@thethirstywench on Twitter) is a freelance writer and has been living on Winchester Street for two years.

Best place in Cabbagetown for a bite to eat … So many places, but I can often be seen having a club sandwich with an amazing beer at the House on Parliament or picking up some ingredients for a homemade meal at Epicure. If it’s a simple snack I’m in the mood for, Daniel et Daniel’s mini chicken chimichangas are the way to go! Oh jeez, and Thai Room for some amazing Pad Thai!

Cabbagetown needs …  More stores and cafes that are open late.

Favourite block … Where the action is on Parliament, from Carlton to Spruce. Seeing all of the amazing shops and all the people going about their day is nothing short of invigorating. A VERY close second, however, is Metcalfe from Winchester to Carlton. That place turns into a theme park come Hallowe’en. 

Best public space …  Riverdale Park West, of course! A lovely place for a relaxing picnic and a chance to do some quality dog watching!

Favourite store … Again, too many to fully list here, but Epicure is definitely one of my favourites for every day or special occasions. And I love seeing what new glasses designs Face Furniture Optical are showcasing. I got my sunglasses there and wear them often! 

Cabbagetown pet peeve …  The odd store that just remains vacant, occasionally being used as a candidate HQ when an election comes around. I’d very much like to see those empty spaces become something.

Cabbagetown’s best kept secret … The beautiful and quiet streets to go down for a nice walk at night. Also being a roughly five minute walk from nearly anything you need!

Best reason to join the Cabbagetown Residents Association (CRA) … To stay up to date on all of the community goings-on and upcoming events!

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Spring cleanup safety tips by Des Ryan

Des Ryan, a retired Toronto police officer and author of the Mike O’Shea Crime Fiction Series, is a CRA board director and our volunteer safety and security lead.

Spring has sprung, and the snow is melting. Really!

And perhaps, like me, you have noticed the dog poop, needles, condoms, and other not-so-nice items that those frequenting our neighbourhood have occasionally left behind.

The dog poop? A bag and a shovel and you’re good to go. And the condoms? A plastic bag and gloves (although you might have worn gloves for the poop clean-up, as well).

The needles? A bit of a different story.

As you may know, the city won’t pick up what they consider to be harm reduction items on private property. Kicking them onto public property is not advisable.

So, what to do?

If they are on public property, call 3-1-1 and the city will arrange for removal.

Needles and syringes found on private property, however, are the responsibility of the home owner or property management to dispose of. What you will need to do is place the item(s) in an approved sharps container or in another type of container (plastic jug, water bottle, etc.) that cannot be punctured by the needle tips and seal it. Clearly label the container “Needles” or “Syringes” and call 3-1-1 to arrange to have the Toxic Taxi drop by and pick up the container. Or, if you like, you can send them an email at http://www.toronto.ca/311/.

The container, by the way, will not be returned to you.

The upside to all of this? Unlike other items, there is no required minimum to have them come by. If you are keen on more details, the city has a 19-page document all about it: Needle Disposal: Guidance for Policies and Procedures (link opens a PDF).

Now that your yard is cleaned up, it’s time to think about planting, but I’ll leave that to much more learned neighbours than me to advise you about that!

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Cabbagetown according to … Jodi Thibodeau

Jodi Thibodeau is the owner of JoLT390 Photography; he lives at Wellesley and Sackville, and runs his business in Cabbagetown, as well.

Best place in Cabbagetown for a bite to eat …  I am torn, and it’s because of my passion for mushrooms! The Irv has a TO DIE FOR mushroom grilled cheese then F’Amelia and Salt and Tobacco have equally delicious Fungi pizza. Yum!

Cabbagetown needs … a vegan restaurant.

Favourite block … My Wellesley/ Sackville ‘hood is pretty awesome. It is chock full of lovely people who have become dear friends.

Best public space … Wellesley Park. My dog Dori voted for this one.

Favourite store … Home Hardware. I have always been able to find that one little thing I forgot at Home Depot, but with a friendly face.

Cabbagetown pet peeve … Parking on the narrower streets, especially in the winter when snow piles up on the sides. Clearly, nothing can be done, but still a pet peeve.

Cabbagetown’s best-kept secret … Salt and Tobacco pizzeria delivers through Uber eats and they have a vegan option for my partner. Changed our lives (and waist lines)

Best reason to join the Cabbagetown Residents Association (CRA) … As with any association, it gives a forum for all the individuals in the region to voice opinion, views and ideas.

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