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Throwback Thursday: June 1978, courtesy Seven News

Volunteer Eric Morse continues his explorations of the archives of Seven News, a weekly local newspaper in Toronto 40 years ago for what was then Ward 7, including Cabbagetown.

Rent and municipal politics were the big items in the first two June issues of Seven News.

Tenants of the Barbara Apartments in St. James Town were protesting major rent increases of up to 20 per cent amid allegations that landlord Meridian Properties had been manipulating paperwork and claiming expenses that had not been incurred.

The Page One piece for the June 3 issue went on to note that the building, which had been designated low-income and had been built with low-cost government loans, had seen rents double over the course of 17 years, that tenants had been embroiled in rental disputes continuously since 1976, and that the current rent increases amounted to 20 per cent.

The theme continued on Page Four of the issue, with a major piece by regulars Thom Corbett and Ulli Diemer, criticizing the apparent intentions of the Bill Davis Government to lift rent controls. The heart of the debate is a familiar one: are controls a disincentive to the construction of new rental housing? Seven clearly had little sympathy for this: the article concludes that “a million [Toronto tenants] committed to the proposition that good affordable housing is a right, not a privilege that depends on someone making a high enough profit from it, could be a potent political force.”

But the big political news came in the headline of the June 17 issue: John Sewell had declared his candidacy for Mayor in the elections to be held November 13, 1978. The Ward 7 Alderman (and founder of Seven News as an alternative to the major dailies) had broken onto the municipal stage nearly a decade before as a reformer, and felt that now was the time to seek the top job, which had been vacated by ‘Tiny Perfect” Mayor David Crombie, then seeking the Federal nomination in Rosedale riding. Notwithstanding its origins, Seven News expressed concern that Sewell might be co-opted by the conservative interests on Council, as (in the paper’s view) had been Crombie and his predecessor Mayor William Dennison. Sewell noted that if elected, he hoped to build a coalition of reform-minded councillors.

The other big political news was that Gordon Cressy, the former Chair of the Board of Education, would run for Ward 7 Alderman in an attempt to succeed Sewell. According to the article, his major concerns were to fight the growing trend in rent increases for low-income housing, and rising unemployment in Toronto. Cressy had run provincially as an NDP candidate in the 1977 provincial election and had lost to Margaret Scrivener. He stated that although he felt that party politics had no place in municipal elections, he hoped to gain NDP endorsement for his candidacy.

Identity issues were alive and well in the education system; correspondent Frances Watman notes that South Asian advocacy groups had called for the elimination of 14 texts on the Ministry of Education approved list contained racist terminology and should be removed from the list.

And finally in sports, the young talent at the Cabbagetown Boxing and Youth Centre shines again in the tune-up matches for the All-Ontario Juniors in Oshawa that month. In the line-up: future (1984) Olympian Shawn O’Sullivan. Club Member Andy Williams, 12 years old, contributes a poem.

The full stories introduced above are available online.

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City Council Highlights, May 22, 23, and 24

Council Highlights is an informal summary of a selection of the decisions that Toronto City Council made at its recent business meeting. Follow here for the City Clerk’s formal documentation.

Eglinton East transit project   
Council approved the next steps for the Eglinton East Light Rail Transit (LRT) Project, with planning now to include an extension of the Eglinton East LRT line to Scarborough’s Malvern neighbourhood via Sheppard Avenue East and Neilson Road, north of Highway 401. The envisaged extension includes up to six stops and a terminus stop near Malvern Town Centre. An earlier plan had proposed that the Eglinton East LRT extension end at the University of Toronto’s Scarborough campus, south of Highway 401.

City’s strategy to support seniors   
Council adopted “Version 2.0” of the Toronto Seniors Strategy with 27 recommendations that build upon the initial version of the strategy in 2013. Reiterating its commitment to ensure seniors’ needs are met and that Toronto seniors are supported to live full, healthy lives, Council directed staff to review and update the original strategy. The 27 new recommendations add up to what is called a service-system management approach to addressing seniors’ needs.

Service model for seniors housing     
Council approved steps for restructuring seniors housing and services at the Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC). This Tenants First project will involve designing an integrated service model for seniors housing to promote aging in place and a better quality of life. It will also involve establishing an interim TCHC seniors housing unit to oversee the seniors-designated building portfolio and implement the new integrated service model.

Planning downtown Toronto’s next 25 years   
Council adopted the Downtown Official Plan Amendment and infrastructure strategies related to parks and public realm, mobility, community services and facilities. This official plan amendment brings forward a policy framework to shape growth in Toronto’s fast-growing downtown over the next 25 years. It provides the City with a blueprint to align growth management and infrastructure, sustain livability, achieve complete communities and ensure there is space for the economy to grow.

Apartment temperatures
Council adopted recommendations to address the matter of excessive indoor temperatures that can occasionally occur in apartment buildings in the spring and fall. Among steps to be taken, the City will communicate to landlords that there is no requirement to have their buildings’ heating systems on during unseasonably warm periods of the spring or fall as long as apartment units are warm enough (at least 21 Celsius) without the heating systems turned on.

Next steps on traffic safety measures   
Council authorized next steps for the City to move ahead with measures for road safety such as implementing a traffic warden/special constable program, streamlining the process to have road safety infrastructure installed, facilitating automated speed enforcement in school zones and streamlining the procedure for introducing traffic-calming measures. Council also adopted motions that pertain to speed regulations and traffic calming.

Transportation plan for Scarborough Centre 
Council endorsed the Scarborough Centre Transportation Master Plan in principle and made various requests to City staff and the Toronto Transit Commission on roads and transit issues in the Scarborough Centre area. The plan, which presents a recommended transportation network that has been developed through study and public/stakeholder consultation, supports the evolution of Scarborough Centre into a walkable and connected urban centre supported by an efficient, safe and balanced transportation network.

Scarborough waterfront project   
Council adopted a series of recommendations in support of moving ahead with the Scarborough Waterfront Project. The recommendations pertain to a completed environmental assessment, the pursuit of opportunities for funding and several other matters to support the project’s goal of creating a system of green spaces along the Lake Ontario shoreline between Bluffer’s Park and East Point Park. The project is designed to protect the Scarborough Bluffs, enhance the habitat and give visitors a safe, enjoyable waterfront experience.

Indigenous cultural competency training     
Council agreed to ask City agencies and corporations to require their board members and staff to attend training provided by the City (or comparable to the training provided by the City) for Indigenous cultural competency. The Chief of Police is asked to ensure that all Toronto police staff attend the training. In addition, agencies and corporations are to incorporate in their board meetings the City’s acknowledgment statement on traditional Aboriginal land.

Use of data to support equity goals   
Council directed staff to produce a report detailing a disaggregated data strategy for the City. Disaggregated data refers to smaller units of data within a larger, aggregated data set. Council approved objectives to guide the City’s use of disaggregated population- and place-based data to help support efforts to ensure that all Torontonians are served equitably by City programs and policies.

Accessibility in municipal elections
Council adopted two recommendations pertaining to accessibility in elections and requested that the City Clerk review options to recruit persons with disabilities for election work and consider the possible creation of a fund for candidates in making their campaigns accessible. 

Residential infill construction sites 
Council adopted recommendations intended to minimize nuisance issues involving residential infill construction sites. The recommendations include a new requirement for a public notice to be posted at the sites. Toronto Building in consultation with partner divisions will report back in 2019 with a further update and evaluation of an inspection and enforcement program for residential infill construction activity.

Support for Toronto’s green sector     
Council approved continuing the City’s Green Market Acceleration Program for another four years as a way of supporting economic growth in Toronto’s green sector. The program enables local businesses in the green sector to apply to the City to use municipal infrastructure and buildings for research, concept testing and demonstrations.

Energy-efficiency retrofits   
Council authorized extending the Home Energy Loan Program and the Highrise Retrofit Improvement Support Program to the end of next year. Both are part of a residential energy retrofit program that has, since 2014, provided financing to support Toronto property owners in undertaking energy efficiency and water conservation improvements. City staff are taking steps to increase uptake on the two programs.

Free-floating car sharing   
Council directed staff to consult further with the free-floating car share industry and to report back to next month’s City Council meeting on possible recommendations for changes to improve the viability of the City’s recently established Free Floating Car Share Pilot for Toronto.

Rebates on water charges – home dialysis     
Council authorized the City’s provision of rebates to Toronto residents who are having dialysis treatments at home. Dialysis removes toxins from the blood when the kidneys have failed. The new rebate program recognizes the significant additional household costs for water incurred by people undergoing dialysis treatment at home instead of in a hospital.

Cultural grants for 2018   
Council approved this year’s grant allocations to support the programs of 11 major cultural organizations, six local arts service organizations, three museums that have specialized collections and eight organizations approved for grants through the Culture Build Investment Program. A motion that Council adopted calls for the preparation of a report on ways the City can support festivals in various parts of the city that draw 100,000 or more attendees.

City’s collection of fines   
Council adopted a report from the Audit Committee with 31 recommendations to help the Court Services division collect defaulted Provincial Offences Act (POA) fines. The administration of POA-related matters at the City, such as fines for violations of the Highway Traffic Act, is managed by Court Services. An exception is the collection of payments for parking violations, which the City’s Revenue Services division handles.

Portrait artists on city streets   
The annual permit fee for portrait artists in Toronto is being reduced considerably as one of the steps Council approved concerning artists who set up work stations on sidewalks to draw pictures/caricatures for a fee. The City’s recent regulation of portrait artists by treating them as street vendors has led to an absence of portrait artists on Toronto’s streets today. The changes will enable them to work like buskers, paying an annual permit fee of about $40 instead of the much higher street-vendor fee.

Naming of Toronto’s wards   
Council asked for a report recommending a process for the City to follow in naming Toronto’s wards early in the new Council term (2019). A naming process could not start until the ward boundaries were finalized after recent appeals. The City’s 2018 municipal election will be conducted using a new 47-ward boundary model for Toronto, a change from the current 44-ward model. The 47 wards are currently identified by numbers.

Councillor vacancy in Ward 41   
Council declared a vacancy in the office of Councillor for Ward 41 Scarborough-Rouge River following the recent resignation of Chin Lee and approved the process to fill the vacancy by appointment. Provincial law prohibits by-elections after March 31 in an election year. This appointment, when it is made on June 26, will fill the position until the end of Council’s current term (November 30, 2018).

Toronto City Council special meeting on May 22, 2018

Appointment – Ward 33 Don Valley East
At a special meeting of Council that was held on May 22 before its regular business meeting began later that day, City Council heard candidates’ presentations and voted to appoint Jonathan Tsao the Councillor for Ward 33 Don Valley East. The appointment, which fills the vacancy resulting from Shelley Carroll’s resignation, is in effect until the end of the current Council term (November 30, 2018).

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Throwback Thursday: Cabbagetown spring, 1978

Volunteer Eric Morse takes a look back at spring, 1978, with a selection of stories from the April and May issues of Seven News, a community newspaper published in Cabbagetown.

The front page photo and story in the April 22 issue is about the funny-looking “lonely house” in the middle of the St James Town stretch of Parliament Street. You know the one – the last Victorian house left in the development, at 600 Parliament St.

The author explains that the owner had held out against Meridian while they were assembling the real estate in the mid-60s, so Meridian responded by redesigning the development around the property. There it stood, as photographed by Seven’s indefatigable photographer Cherry Hassard.

It looked somewhat undernourished in 1978 when Hassard shot it, with an (apparently vacant) storefront already replacing the Victorian facade. You wouldn’t recognize the place 40 years later (with an east-west gable added, and the new cladding and commercial shopfront and all), but it’s still the solitary holdout, paying its freight as “One of the Biggest Washers in GTA”. And still, as the article puts it, affording several thousand people a birdseye view of the backyard.

George Rust d’Eye has two long reads in this issue, including an article about John Ross Robertson (1841-1918), Toronto publisher and founder of The [Evening] Telegram, who owned a mansion at 291 Sherbourne St., just south of Gerrard, pictured in the article as it was when Robertson owned it.

The next issue notes that Cabbagetown had a 100th anniversary celebration. Who organized it and how they decided that it was the 100th birthday is not stated, but it took place in what is now Anniversary Park, and we have this charming kid-and-pony photo from the event.

Some stirrings of progress toward what was to become the old Regent Park Community Centre at 8 Sackville Green are documented in a brief story.

The 6th Annual Forsythia Festival took place May 7 in Wellesley Park, where it’s still held today. At the time, the dog show was more prominent than it is today.

On the same page in the same issue (May 20), Seven News goes for some balanced coverage under the headline “Dog Dirt Denounced”. There was a major and somewhat umbragineous meeting of Cabbagetowners at the “new farmhouse” on Riverdale Farm to discuss the dog-do crisis in Riverdale Park.

News reporter Howard Huggett contributes a brief history of the Broadview streetcar line.

On the subject of streetcars, which Cabbagetown is temporarily without, your correspondent made a fascinating pilgrimage to the Halton County Radial Railway in Milton. It’s an under-promoted repository of Toronto’s transit history with three working antique cars restored to splendid condition giving rides on a two-kilometre km track, and it’s well worth a day trip.

And finally, Seven News celebrated its ninth year of publishing. It was in the middle of a
fundraising /membership campaign to replace government grants that had lapsed earlier in the year, and the campaign was doing well. (it must have done well as Seven News was around until 1985!)

The full stories introduced above are available online.

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461 Sackville St. owner appeals Committee of Adjustment decision

An April 11 decision by Toronto’s Committee of Adjustment to deny minor variances to the property at 461 Sackville Street to allow for development of a day nursery is being appealed to the Toronto Local Appeal Body (TLAB), the successor to the now-dismantled Ontario Municipal Board. The run-up to that hearing, and the decision, drew wide media coverage, most critical of the objections raised to the application.

The appeal was filed by the building’s owner and the hearing date is set for August 17, 2018 at 9 a.m. in Hearing Room 2 at 40 Orchard View Blvd, 2nd floor, suite 253. The case file number is 18 150889 S45 28 TLAB.

At issue: “To alter the existing 2 ½-storey mixed-use building containing four dwelling units and two retail/commercial units by converting the building in its entirety to a day nursery use and by constructing a new exit staircase and fire escape.”

TLAB is an independent, quasi-judicial, tribunal that has jurisdiction over appeals of the Committee of Adjustment decisions in the City of Toronto.

Review all the details and documentation.

Contact information:
Joshua Pesce, Support Assistant B, Court Services, Toronto Local Appeal Body
(416) 392-4697
email: TLAB@toronto.ca

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Cabbagetown Residents Association AGM on June 13

Are you a member of the CRA? Would you like to be? Both are invited to attend the association’s Annual General Meeting on Wednesday, June 13, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Stout Irish Pub, 221 Carlton Street.

Why go to this AGM? Five great reasons.

1. It’s fun! There are great nibbles provided and a complimentary drink ticket for each member who attends – with annual membership at $20 annually per household, let’s just say membership has its privileges.

2. You get to hear a year-in-review of accomplishments of the neighbourhood and its signature events, from Pumpkin Walk to Forsythia Festival.

3. You can vote to approve the slate for Board of Directors. These are volunteers who put in reams of donated time to keep everything running for the association, from our social events to our advocacy work with city hall and departments such as police and parks & recreation.

4. You can help us shape the next year’s direction for the association. The board directors need to set the association’s focus based on what’s important to our members: and only you can provide that information.

5. We keep the business short so we can have time to visit with one another and celebrate our community. Please, do join us!

Posted in Events, Local Interest

Throwback Thursday: Parliament Street businesses from the past

We’ve been visiting the visiting the Toronto Public Library collection and came across these images from Excelsior Pres at 403 Parliament St. (now home to Ultra Pharmacy). They promised “fancy printing of all kinds done well and cheap.” The library collection has several of its trading cards, including this beauty of a lady and dog.

A butcher shop from days of yore (1896), northwest corner of Carlton and Parliament Streets. The propietor, Joseph Weston, is standing in the doorway behind his toddler daughter, Ann Fern Weston. Thanks to the Toronto Reference Library Baldwin Collection!

Image may contain: one or more people and outdoor

 

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Doors Open Toronto: What’s near Cabbagetown

May 26-27 is Doors Open Toronto and there are four points of interest on this year’s tour near our part of the ‘hood: two to the east and two to the west.

Historic Don Jail and Bridgepoint Active Healthcare administration building. Yes, there will be a lineup. But it moves quickly and it is a wonderful set-up inside. Many fascinating details from the former Don Jail have been preserved in this renovation. If you haven’t been already, head over the walking bridge joining Riverdale Park West to Riverdale Park East and take a look on either Sat. May 26 or Sun. May 27, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Building Arts Architects, 324 Broadview Avenue.  Originally built in 1913 by the Standard Bank of Canada. Open Sunday only 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Described as being located in a “Second Empire townhouse” (1876) the Children’s Book Bank at 350 Berkeley Street is open on Saturday and Sunday. “Discover the history of a prominent former resident and his surprising connection with the current use of the building as The Children’s Book Bank.”

Finally, Jarvis Street Baptist Church at 130 Jarvis Street East (at the corner of Gerrard) is open Saturday and Sunday.  In 1875, the church moved to the intersection of Jarvis and Gerrard Streets, the current location of the Gothic style building. The church survived a major fire in 1938 and was rebuilt shortly after with a unique U-shaped sanctuary. The Gothic architecture is unusual for a Baptist church.

Want to know more about Doors Open Toronto? In this case, Wikipedia says it best.

“Doors Open Toronto is an annual event when approximately 150 buildings of architectural, historic, cultural, and social significance to the city of Toronto open their doors to the public for this free citywide event.

“Doors Open Toronto was developed as a millennium project in 2000, by the City of Toronto (developed from a European model) and has since attracted more than 1.7 million residents and tourists. Doors Open Toronto gives people of all ages and backgrounds the opportunity to learn about Toronto’s history, get involved and celebrate Toronto’s built heritage.

“Doors Open Toronto was the first city in North America to launch this type of program. Many participating buildings organize guided tours, exhibits, displays, and activities to enrich the visitor experience.”

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Cabbagetown is in Toronto Centre riding for 2018 Provincial Election

Mark your calendars for June 7: election day in Ontario. Here in Cabbagetown our riding is Toronto Centre. Our main polling station is at what we know as “St. Martin’s School” – 55 Salisbury Avenue, Toronto, officially described as Monsignor Fraser College, St. Martin Campus.

Polling hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on election day; there are many other early-polling opportunities to vote.

The candidates are, in alphabetical order, according to the official Elections Ontario website:

– MEREDITH CARTWRIGHT, PC Party of Ontario
– KEVIN CLARKE, The People
– JUDI FALARDEAU, Libertarian
– WANDA MARIE FOUNTAIN, CEP
– CAMERON JAMES, The New People’s Choice Party of Ontario
– DAN KING, Party for People with Special Needs
– DAVID MORRIS, Ontario Liberal Party
– SUZE MORRISON, Ontario NDP/NPD
– THERESA SNELL, Stop the New Sex-Ed Agenda
– ADAM SOMMERFELD, Green Party of Ontario

Your Cabbagetowner did a long walk around the neighbourhood and found the following three political sign displayed: if you spot any others, send a photo to info@cabbagetowner.com and we will add them to this post.

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Summer vacationing ahead? Keep home safe while you’re away

By the CRA’s Safety and Security Expert, Board Director and retired police officer Des Ryan.

Now that the nicer weather has arrived, many of us are looking forward to getting away from the city, whether for just a few days here and there, or every weekend (and beyond!)

Your home insurance company probably has a clause stating that someone must physically enter the premise every 48 hours or so to make sure that some calamity has not befallen your home, such as pipes bursting. While they’re at it, perhaps whomever you have drop by can bring your mail, newspapers, and/or fliers in.

Maybe you have an alarm system on your doors and/or windows. If not (or even if you do), consider setting up some lights and/or a radio on a timer to give your place that lived-in look and sound while  you’re away. And don’t forget to ask a neighbour to have an eye while you’re away.

All this is great, but what can we do proactively?

I can’t really speak to any potential plumbing issues you may have, but I would strongly suggest you check your social media posts (and those of your children). As exciting as it all is, posting a countdown until your three-week vacation on Twitter is like taking an ad out in the newspaper advising that your house will be empty. Or, at the very least, you won’t be there. And the Facebook photos that you are posting while you  are away are great, until someone who may not have your security settings reposts them.

We all know that packing the car the night before is a thing of the past. If you are like me and recall those days fondly, having everything that has to go packed and ready by the door for the morning works. Even if you have an enclosed trunk space in your vehicle (which, increasingly, most of us don’t),  packing the night before can be risky business. Popping a trunk is easier than it looks.

Oh, and while we’re on it – the notion that keeping your car key fobs in the freezer will prevent thieves from disabling the auto-locking system? Not true. Read this article if you’re not convinced.

Which leads me to another thing: when you are away, do not leave your valuables lying around. Like the keys to your car. Or your laptop. Or jewelry. Or cash.

If someone should happen to break into your home while you are away and you have a security alarm, there is a five-to-10 minute delay from the time your alarm is activated and the company calls the police. Depending on the number of outstanding calls, there could be another 10-to-who knows? minute delay before officers arrive. In most cases, a burglar is in and out of a home within five minutes, grabbing whatever they can get their hands on as they go.

Best bet? Keep your vacation plans off social media, have a neighbour keep an eye on your place  make sure your alarm is set, pack your family jewels away, and enjoy your holiday.

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Public Open House on new Community Council boundaries

Residents are invited to an open house on Tuesday, May 15 at 7 p.m., Committee Room 2, City Hall, 100 Queen Street West to learn about Community Councils and options for new boundaries.

Toronto City Council must adopt new Community Council boundaries now that the City’s ward boundaries a re changing.The City of Toronto wants your input; You can also submit your ideas online by 5 p.m. on May 25, 2018.

The feedback collected will help inform the City Manager’s recommendations to Council on Toronto’s new Community Council boundaries. Information on population forecasts, past Community Council activities and reviews, and recommendations from the City’s 2017 Ward Boundary Review will also be considered.

Residents are invited to drop by anytime during the open house to learn more about Community Councils and the options for new boundaries and provide feedback.

Why do we need new Community Council boundaries?

Community Councils are made up of groupings of City wards and their membership comprises the City Councillors of those wards. Each Community Council represents a geographic area of the city.

Toronto City Council must adopt new Community Council boundaries because the City’s ward boundaries will change December 1, 2018 – Cabbagetown, for instance, used to be in “Ward 28” and will now be in “Ward 23”, which roughly is the northern half of our former ward, north of Shuter Street. Currently, each of the four Community Councils have 10 to 12 wards; however, the total number of wards is increasing from 44 to 47. The old Community Council boundaries won’t line up with the new ward boundaries and adjustments are needed to accommodate the three new wards.

 Community Council responsibilities include making recommendations and decisions on local planning and development, as well as neighbourhood matters including traffic plans and parking regulations. Community Councils report to City Council but they also have final decision-making power on certain items, such as traffic and parking, fence by-law exemptions and appointments to local boards and Business Improvement Areas.
Find out more about Community Councils.

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