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Throwback Thursday: Back to February 1978

Volunteer Eric Morse continues his exploration of the archives of Seven News, a community newspaper covering Cabbagetown in the late 1970s and early 1980s when this area was in the city’s Ward 7.

No, it wasn’t the day Mel Lastman called out the army. That was January 14, 1999. But on January 26-27, 1978, Toronto and environs got socked just as hard. Seven News doesn’t name the date, but other references confirm it. Your correspondent, who lived in Ottawa at the time, happened to be in town that pair of days, and recalls it as “the night the CN Tower didn’t blow over’, that being still a major downtown neurosis in those days a year and a half after its completion. Seven News, a weekly paper, ran this stirring front-page shot of Cabbagetown under the storm in its early February edition.

“You’re not alone.” The saga of Nellie’s continues with a touching article by Janet Howard about a fundraiser to help repay the CMHC loan to purchase their premises on Broadview. “Nellie’s Hostel will survive because we all have the sneaking feeling that we are not quite safe without it.”

Cabbagetown Boxing Club cleaned up at the Golden Gloves Tournament at the King Edward Hotel. Later Canadian champion John Raftery makes his appearance in this piece by Ken Hamilton.

Toronto Free Theatre produced a first play by Erika Ritter, who at the sime was a struggling writer trying to deal with the CBC. Reviewer Seth Borts thought its theme – a struggling young writer trying to deal with the CBC – was a touch overspecialized, but pronounced it well worth seeing. Really, the rotary phone in the foreground of the publicity shot is worth the price of admission all by itself!

For this week’s long read, your correspondent confesses sentimental bias – he has lived next door to 306 Seaton St. and across from 287 (now Number 9 recording studio) for the past 31 years, (as frightening as that may seem), and Page 3 features a major spread by George Rust D’Eye on the history of the street. This was the period when gentrification of Seaton Street was just getting under way.

The full stories introduced above are available at http://www.connexions.org/SevenNews/Docs/7News-Volume08-Number17.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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Two men arrested, charged with 14 counts related to auto vandalism

Toronto Police have announced that two men were arrested around 4 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 19 near Sackville Street. by undercover police officers.

Police issued a news release about the arrests just before noon on Monday, Feb. 19, with the following text:

“The Toronto Police Service, 51 Division, would like to make the public aware that two arrests have been made in the investigation into a rash of vandalism that occurred to vehicles in the Cabbagetown area.

“It is alleged that, at approximately 4 a.m. this morning, members of the 51 Division Major Crime Unit and the 51 Division Community Response Unit, were in the area and noticed suspicious behavior.

“The officers witnessed two people entering vehicles which were parked along Sackville Street and also committing damage to them. These suspects were approached by the officers and immediately ran. The officers pursued and were able to apprehend the suspects after a brief chase. Located were a knife and an ice-pick-type instrument on each suspect.

“The following were arrested and charged:

Estuardo Anfree Rivas, 21 years old, Toronto
* Mischief/Damage to Property not exceeding $5,000.00 X5
* Theft Under $5000.00
* Possession of Break and Enter Instrument
* Carry Concealed Weapon

Samson Bambino Carter, 18 years old, Toronto
* Mischief/Damage to Property not exceeding $5,000.00 X5
* Carry Concealed Weapon

The investigation is continuing and members of the public are being encouraged to continue being aware and vigilant of suspicious activity and to contact police and report any behavior that they find suspicious.

The investigators would still like residents to review their personal home security surveillance systems and send any video to police that may have captured vehicles being damaged or any other suspicious activity or persons.”

Please see the Cabbagetowner’s previous post on the auto vandalism, published Feb. 15,  for all the how-to tips on submitting video and reporting to the police.

Posted in Crime Alert, Crime Prevention
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Family Day activities in and near Cabbagetown

Riverdale Farm, Regent Park Aquatic Centre, Regent Park Community Centre and Regent Park Ice Rink are all open on Family Day, Feb. 19, 2018.

Regent Park Aquatic Centre: leisure swim, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Please note that, due to technical issues, the hot tub and tot pool are both closed this weekend and on the holiday Monday.

Riverdale Farm: regular hours, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Regent Park Community Centre: Family movie and crafts, ages 6+, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Pancakes being served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Regent Park Rink – Shinny for all ages, 10 a.m. to noon and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. public skate is noon to 4 p.m. 

Posted in Events

Feb. 15 update on auto vandalism in Cabbagetown

Incidents of auto vandalism, first reported Feb. 8 on The Cabbagetowner post Auto vandalism investigation continues, have continued in our neighbourhood, with the latest reports coming from Sumach and Geneva streets.

The following breakdown and plotting of occurrences were provided today by Toronto Police Services 51 Division. Apologies for the poor /small quality of the map, but it does show the concentration of occurences, with 45 reported.

“There is no reasonable time frame for these occurrences, only that the overwhelming majority are occuring overnight after the vehicles have been parked for the night,” says Detective Sergeant Scott Spratt, who is in charge of the investigation. “At this point, there is no suspect information available.” Occurrences have happened on every night of the week, although there is a higher concentration on Tuesdays.

The CRA is recommending that, if you have security cameras at your property, please point them toward the street overnight. If you see anything suspicious when you review the footage, please submit to Toronto Police 51 Division, using this wetransfer link D51.wetransfer.com

Advice on how to package the video and information you should include: the “GO#” is the incident number for a crime report. If you have not filed a report because you have not been personally affected, indicate this if footage related to Cabbagetown auto vandalism.

Once uploaded, an email is sent automatically to the criminal investigation unit (CISU), then CISU processes the video and/or loads smaller clips directly into the occurrence file, which goes to the assigned investigator.

CRA volunteers have heard that some neighbours have experienced minor acts of vandalism (such as letting air out of a tire) that they have not reported because it did not seem worth it at the time: however, the more reports police have, the better they are able to track patterns and investigate. If you have not reported auto vandalism from 2018, please do so now. Police ask that you use this online reporting tool: http://www.torontopolice.on.ca/core/damage_to_vehicle.php

PC Kim Kelly and PC Sean Imrie are reviewing the videos and assisting: they can be reached at 416-808-5108.

Everyone should be vigilant about checking their car tires before starting up their vehicles: one resident reported that tires in that instance were not slashed or damaged, but air had been let out; the flats were not noticed before driving away, resulting in expensive damage to the wheels.

Posted in Crime Alert, Crime Prevention
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Auto vandalism investigation continues

The Cabbagetown area has had a rash of vandalism aimed at cars parked on the street. As reported in a recent CRA crime alert (to which you can subscribe if you don’t already do so), eight cars were spray painted along Bowman and Flagger streets on Jan. 31. There have also been reports over last weekend and this week of tires slashed or gouged on Laurier Spruce and Wellesley streets, and on Ontario between Carlton and Gerrard in the Cabbagetown South Residents Association area.
 
If you have had any damage done to your car in the past weeks, please report it to Toronto police so they understand the full scope of the issue.

Police ask that you use this online reporting tool:
 http://www.torontopolice.on.ca/core/damage_to_vehicle.php
 
If you have a neighbour who has had a vehicle damaged but may be uncomfortable with the online reporting form, please consider assisting that person to report. It only takes a few moments to complete.
 
If you have any security cameras that face the streets that have been affected, and were operational at the times of the vandalism, please secure that footage and contact Toronto Police 51 Division, which covers our neighbourhood, at 416 808 5100 to arrange to have investigators take a look at it. You may not think you have anything to offer, but no clue is too small. 
 
The Cabbagetown Residents Association has been in touch with 51 Division and has met with a representative from Ward 28 Councillor Lucy Troisi’s office on this matter. The councillor’s office is advocating for continued police investigation and action.

Posted in Crime Alert, Crime Prevention
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Toronto City Council highlights, Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, 2018

Council Highlights is a summary of a selection of decisions that Toronto City Council made at its recent business meeting Jan. 31-Feb.1, 2018. The City Clerk’s formal documentation is available at http://www.toronto.ca/council.

Review of shelter and respite services
Council adopted numerous recommendations to guide a review of the City’s current cold-weather respite and shelter services, including reaffirming a 90 per cent occupancy cap for shelters. The City will keep respite/warming centres and drop-in programs operating as needed beyond April 15 this spring as a response to crowding in Toronto’s shelter system. Funding for expanded shelter capacity is part of the City’s 2018 budget process.

Poverty reduction strategy
Council adopted a 2018 work plan for TO Prosperity, the City’s poverty reduction strategy. Actions include the implementation of a discounted transit pass for low-income residents. Designed as a 20-year strategy, TO Prosperity contains recommendations in the six core areas of housing stability, service access, transit equity, food access, quality jobs/livable incomes, and systemic change.

Business taxes in Toronto
Council considered options for supporting Toronto businesses through tax measures and decided to provide that support by capping this year’s total tax increases for the commercial, industrial and multi-residential property classes at no higher than 10 per cent over last year’s taxes. Recent increases in provincial reassessments resulted in high property tax increases for many small downtown businesses last year.

Costs of waterfront/islands flooding
Council approved steps to manage the financial impacts of last spring’s extremely high water levels in Lake Ontario. The high water affected the entire Toronto waterfront and flooded Toronto Island Park, which was closed until the end of July. Staff estimate the impact on the City’s operating budget at about $8.45 million to cover flood mitigation/repairs and revenue losses. Assessment of infrastructure damage is estimated at a $7.4 million at this time, with further damage assessment to inform the 2019 capital budget.

Plan for waterfront transit network
Council endorsed a plan for Toronto’s waterfront transit network and adopted a series of recommendations for implementation and reviews/studies on specific features of the network. Providing an underground transit link below Bay Street from Union Station to Queens Quay is a particularly challenging and important section of the network. The ultimate goal is an effective waterfront transit network from Long Branch and Lake Shore in the west to Queen Street and Woodbine Avenue in the east.

Road safety plan
Council approved several actions related to delivery of the City’s Vision Zero road safety plan, which is focused on reducing traffic-related fatalities and injuries on Toronto’s streets. The actions that Council authorized pertain to automated speed enforcement, use of red-light cameras and safety measures in school safety zones.

Data on Toronto’s homeless population
Council voted to have staff improve the tracking of admission and discharge of homeless individuals as they move among Toronto shelters, respite facilities and hospitals, and the tracking and reporting of in-house health care provided. Council also approved releasing data that City shelters collect on daily occupancy numbers – not using personal identifiers that would interfere with clients’ privacy.

Toronto Community Housing portfolio
Council provided direction on a process to transfer ownership of the Toronto Community Housing Corporation’s Agency House and Rooming House portfolio to non-profit corporations as part of the City’s Tenants First strategy. The portfolio is to be maintained for its current housing purposes. In addition, Council adopted an interim process to appoint tenant representatives to the Toronto Community Housing Corporation Board for the 2018-2020 board term.

Gender diversity – corporate boards of directors
Council took steps in support of encouraging more gender diversity on the boards of directors of companies that do business with the City. The City will collect information as part of the process for procurements from companies and will monitor the Ontario government’s Women in Business Steering Committee’s progress on increasing gender diversity. The ideal is gender parity on corporate boards.

Municipal accommodation tax
Council approved the introduction of a four per cent municipal sales tax on hotel accommodations effective April 1 and on short-term accommodations (such as those occurring in principal residences registered under the City’s licensing regime) effective as early as June 1. In each case, guests pay the tax and the hotel or short-term rental operator collects and remits payment to the City. The Greater Toronto Hotel Association will administer the hotel accommodation tax and licensed short-term rental companies such as Airbnb will collect for short-term rentals.

Toronto’s supply of hotels
Council asked staff to review and report on potentially implementing a City policy/strategy to protect existing hotel space in designated areas. Several Toronto hotels have been redeveloped into residential condominiums in recent years. Even though some new hotel properties have come on stream, the number of available hotel rooms in Toronto has stagnated since 2000. Hotel accommodation is a vital part of Toronto’s tourism, hospitality and convention industries.

Master plan for open data
Council adopted an Open Data Master Plan that will help the City grow as a leader in open data. For the City, open data refers to making City data freely available for people to analyze and republish in support of improved delivery of public services, enhanced engagement with citizens in government decision making, and more innovative approaches to civic problem solving.

Day of Remembrance on January 29
Council supported a motion to designate January 29 in Toronto a Day of Remembrance and Action on Islamophobia for future years, and to ask the Canadian and Ontario government to mark the date in a similar way. On that date in 2017, a gunman carried out an act of terrorism at the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec in Quebec City. Council reaffirmed that Islamophobia, like all other forms of racism, hate, xenophobia and bigotry, has no place in the City of Toronto.

Future of Old City Hall
A plan for the future use of Toronto’s Old City Hall (60 Queen St. W.) received Council’s approval. The plan calls for the historic building – a national historic site – to house a Museum of Toronto, a library branch, a wedding chamber, a museum café and shop, and spaces for public events and institutional uses. A possible Toronto Transit Commission museum component will be discussed. Provincial and municipal courts currently use the building.

City resources during election periods
Council approved an updated policy for the use of municipal resources during elections, including the City’s municipal election later this year. The policy has been updated to include registered third-party advertisers and amended to recognize that political activity provisions for public servants are now in effect through the Toronto Municipal Code. The policy applies to municipal, provincial and federal elections/by-elections.

Evaluation of diesel for City’s fleet
Council asked for information about criteria for any future tender on using biodiesel for the City’s fleet vehicles. Staff have consulted with the University of Toronto’s Transportation Research Institute, which is going to undertake a detailed analysis comparing biodiesel and renewable diesel fuels to regular diesel fuel for use in the City’s fleet vehicles. Moving toward increased use of bio-diesel or renewable diesel is a way for the City to accelerate reduction of its overall fleet emissions.

Preparing for automated vehicles
As the next step in the City’s efforts to prepare for the introduction of highly automated vehicles on Toronto’s streets in the coming years, Council asked for a report with recommendations and a detailed automated vehicle tactical plan. Highly automated vehicles – often referred to as driverless or autonomous cars – are now being tested on roads in Ontario, including Toronto. These vehicles have the potential to affect road safety, traffic congestion, mobility equity and environmental health.

Modernized access symbol
A new access symbol that shows a human figure moving forward in a wheelchair, referred to as the dynamic symbol of access, will gradually replace the traditional, static wheelchair image at City-owned properties. Council agreed to endorse the modernized symbol, as recommended by the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee and informed by the Forward Movement campaign. Council also supported asking the Ontario government to adopt the new symbol.

New police station
A detailed proposal to establish a new, consolidated 54/55 Police Districts facility at 1627 Danforth Ave. received Council’s approval. The property, currently a Toronto Transit Commission garage, is to become a multi-functional site for various civic and employment-generating uses in addition to use as a police station. The existing stations for 54 and 55 Divisions are due for replacement. The Danforth Avenue property was deemed the most suitable in a selection process that included community input.

2026 FIFA World Cup
Council authorized Toronto to be part of a North American bid to host the 2026 Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup of soccer. The national soccer associations of Canada, the United States of America and Mexico are leading a joint bid to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup in cities across North America. Individual host cities will be selected in 2021, after FIFA’s selection of the host country/countries this June.

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Check out new Toronto tools for garbage and recycling

Confess: how many times have you been stumped about what’s recyclable, and not? Don’t know if you should throw out skates or other sharp objects? Where do you dispose of a dirty paper plate?

 The City of Toronto has developed the Waste Wizard, an online search tool that provides information on how to properly dispose of more than 2,000 items. A city publication promises “it’s quick and easy to use. Simply go to toronto.ca/wastewizard and enter the name of the item you’re wondering about.”

The same newsletter also reports that garbage tags are now available online (shipping is free) and at Toronto Shoppers Drug Mart and Canadian Tire stores. A garbage bin should never be overflowing; Excess garbage must be bagged, tagged and set out beside your garbage bin for collection.

For excess garbage, use a regular black garbage bag and attach the garbage tag around the knot of the bag, like you would a luggage tag. Garbage tags are $5.11 each [don’t blame the Cabbagetowner for the odd number; we just report the news!] and cover the cost to pick up and dispose of the extra garbage.

Posted in Did You Know...?
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City releases final plan for Riverdale Park West wading pool

Following public consultations, plans are now finalized for the new wading pool at Riverdale Park West in Cabbagetown.

Based on feedback received at the community consultation:

* All paths are now concrete – no asphalt
* The extent of paving has been reduced to meet accessibility requirements, and to maximize grassy area
* Benches are upgraded to Ipe wood slats
* The organic /irregular shape of wading pool has been used – provides more shallow water area
* No Muskoka chairs, no tables with umbrellas.

The city Parks Department will be issuing construction documents for bidding the week of Feb. 5 to 9.

Work will begin in mid September 2018, after wading pool season is over, and is expected to take eight to 10 weeks, with additional landscaping in spring 2019. The wading pool will re-open in time for the regular 2019 season.

Read the full report.

Posted in Local Interest, Schools and Children, Tree Canopy
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Throwback Thursday: Jan. 28, 1978

Volunteer Eric Morse continues his trip down memory lane via Seven News, a community newspaper covering Cabbagetown in the 1970s and 1980s.

The big headline for the end of January 1978 is that Margaret Scrivener, the “acid-tongued Tory MPP” for St. Davids (at the time one of the old “strip” ridings; Sherbourne to the Don, and the Lake to the Belt Line) and Minister of Revenue, was dropped from Cabinet by Premier Bill Davis. She had, as the article notes, begun life as a Telegram reporter, and was viewed as an “inviolate” cabinet appointment in view of the scarcity of female representation in the Davis Cabinet. She had beaten Gordon Cressy, father of current Ward 20 Councillor Joe Cressy, for the seat in 1977. The piece notes that she was considering athird career, but she remained as a Conservative backbench stalwart, defeated Liberal Ian Scott in 1981, and left politics for a series of appointments in 1985. She passed away in 1997.

Insurance rates rising is surely the classic “Dog Bites Man” story of the past four centuries. What makes this Page One story stand out is the numbers – yes, the doubling and tripling of rates is scandalous and was the reason for the piece, but…read ’em and weep.

Remember the Wellesley Hospital, closed in 1998-2002? They were looking for volunteers.

Recycling was a new thing in downtown Toronto in the day. Here are the somewhat impromptu rules for disposing of old newspapers. Come to think of it, your correspondent still has his nice wooden newspaper receptacle in the living room by the easy chair, still with a place for the spool of twine and a handy snipper.

This edition of Seven News included a four-page spread called Harbourfront News, which was mainly a guide to a cultural life that was thriving even then. Among many other features was a festival of films on Quebec, running through February and culminating with the very controversial documentary about the October Crisis, Les Ordres.

And what would any activity be in Toronto that did not include a streetcar? A classic Peter Witt car was restored by the Canadian Railway Museum, and on display at Harbourfront for the summer of ’78.

For years, until the redevelopment got well under way around 2010-2012, Regent Park had nothing in the way of a neighbourhood grocer. A piece by John Sewell notes the closing of the old A&P  on Parliament Street north of Dundas as the last big grocer in the neighbourhood, except for the Parliament Loblaws (still a neighbourhood fixture as No Frills).

The full stories introduced above are available at http://www.connexions.org/SevenNews/Docs/7News-Volume08-Number16.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.

Posted in Throwback Thursday
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Development plans for 595 Parliament Street under review

Application has been made to the City of Toronto to redevelop the property at 595-601 Parliament Street to add three storeys of residential space, to create 11 units, above the existing two-storey retail property.

Details can be found through the city’s Application Information Centre. Kelly Sather, Constituency Assistant for Ward 28, says to make sure “Community Planning” is selected. A searchable city map comes up and enter the address “595 Parliament Street”, which will take you to the online documents provided by the developer.

A thorough (24-page) Heritage Impact Assessment (link opens a PDF) prepared by ERA Architects contains a good overview of the project.

To quote from the assessment’s executive summary:

“The Development Site is occupied by a two storey white brick and concrete block commercial building, constructed circa 1975. The property is not listed on the City of Toronto’s Heritage Register or designated under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act. The Development Site is located adjacent to the Cabbagetown North and the Cabbagetown-Metcalfe Area Heritage Conservation Districts (HCD). The Cabbagetown Northwest HCD is located to the west of Parliament Street. Additionally, several buildings located on the west side of Parliament, across the street, are listed on the City’s Heritage Register.

“The proposal involves the adaptive reuse of the existing building, including the addition of three new floors, for a mix of commercial and residential uses. Residential uses are proposed for the upper three floors, while retail tenants will be accommodated on the first and second floors of the building. The exterior of the building will be fully redesigned and will be clad with stone, red brick and precast concrete trim.

“Recessed balconies are proposed for the third storey of the street-facing façade, and for the central portions of the north and south elevations of the third, fourth, and fifth floors. The three new upper floors of the building will step back within a 45 degree angle away from both Parliament Street and at the rear façade away from the two adjacent Heritage Conservation Districts.”

Jason Brander is the city planner reviewing this file: If you have any questions or concerns, you can reach him at 416-338-2577 or by email at jason.brander@toronto.ca.

Posted in Local Business News, Local Interest
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