City/Local News Round-Up ~ Jan 16-22

Local/City News:

 

TORONTO CENTRE PART OF PROPOSED COMMUNITY SAFETY PILOTS

A new City report to be considered by Executive Committee next week recommends the approval of four community safety and crisis support service pilots, allowing for non-police led response for non-emergency, non-violent calls including those involving persons in crisis and for wellness checks.

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CafeTO – HOPEFULLY BIGGER, BETTER, LONGER IN 2021

TORONTO — City staff and the Mayor are recommending that the city bring back its popular CafeTO program, which saw hundreds of patios set up on sidewalks and in curb lanes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic last summer, reports Chris Fox and CP24/CTV News.

Read the City of Toronto news release about the report.

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ARE THERE ANY ‘BUTTERFLYWAY RANGERS’ OUT THERE? 

The David Suzuki Foundation is looking for super awesome people to become its next troop of Butterflyway Rangers. They will join the Butterflyway Project’s award-winning efforts to reimagine our neighbourhoods as flower-filled corridors where wild bees and butterflies can thrive. Application deadline is February 5, 2021.

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GREEN THUMBS – CEDAR TEA WORKSHOP FOR KIDS

Join Green Thumbs for a fun evening of cedar tea making with Sloan (Jo) Miller and Micah Miller Both have Mi’Kmaq ancestry and are  long-time associates of Green Thumbs. Registration deadline February 1, 2021.

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SAVE THE FOUNDRY MOVEMENT HOTS-UP. MOMENTARILY

The Foundry news story we featured last week got a lot of coverage in the media. Unfortunately it seems that the Province hasn’t heeded the calls to halt the demolition. However, all is not lost just yet, following the last minute filing of a court injunction.

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PLANS FOR THE SALE/REDEVELOPMENT OF ESSO STATION

The CRA received a copy of this Cushman & Wakefield brochure highlighting the planned sale and redevelopment of the Esso gas station at 581 Parliament: 

“The Vendor has engaged Urban Strategies Inc. to provide the highest and best use scenarios for the subject Site. The scenario for a mid-rise development for the Property allows for a residential GFA of 74,363 sf, 101 units with parking and a retail GFA of 5,912 sf with parking and an FSI of 3.9. The combined total GFA from the development is 80,275 sf with a total of 126 parking spaces.”

“While this would be the tallest development on Parliament Street, this option conforms to angular plane requirements from the neighbourhood to the east and conforms to mid-rise design guidelines. There is retail space located on both Parliament and Amelia St, which mirrors the retail condition on the north side of Amelia Street. This option would require rezoning and Site Plan Approval from the City of Toronto.” 

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FIRST PARLIAMENT AREA “NOT FOR SALE”

The Doug Ford government’s decision to expropriate downtown Toronto properties once home to Upper Canada’s first parliament came as a surprise, city officials say — prompting one councillor to insist the land is “not for sale”, reports Trevor Dunn at CBC News.

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LOCAL SPEED ENFORCEMENT CAMERAS 

The City recently released stats, showing that over 53,000 speeding tickets were issued by its 50 Automated Speed Enforcement devices (ASE’s) from July to November 2020.  Two of these cameras are located in Cabbagetown, on Prospect and Spruce. They issued just 10 and 13 tickets respectively. The lowest amount of any other camera. Well done Cabbagetown for respecting the speed limit!

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NEAT NEW DON VALLEY TRAIL MAP

If you plan on hitting up Crothers Woods or the East Don, but your map-reading game is a little rusty, don’t panic. A former Toronto resident has drawn up a guide to the Don modelled after a map you’re probably familiar with, reports Tanya Mok at BlogTO.

 

Pandemic Updates:

 

CANADIAN VACCINE DELIVERIES SLOW TO CRAWL

Canada will receive zero Pfizer vaccines next week as the company temporarily suspends deliveries, further slowing a vaccine rollout that is lagging behind other countries as the pandemic kills more Canadians every day, reports Ryan Tumilty at the National Post.

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TRUDEAU SPEAKS WITH PFIZER ABOUT VACCINE DELAYS

Justin Trudeau spoke to Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla by phone Thursday, the same day the company informed Canada delays to its shipments of COVID-19 vaccines are going to be even worse than previously thought, reports Mia Robinson at the Canadian Press.

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EVERYONE VACCINATED BY END SEPTEMBER? 

The federal government says they are still on track to vaccinate almost all Canadians by September, despite a delay in deliveries of the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer.

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EXPERTS SAY mRNA COULD CHANGE VACCINE LANDSCAPE

When drug companies like Pfizer and Moderna learned to successfully incorporate messenger RNA technology into a COVID-19 vaccine, experts say they likely opened the door to a significant shift in the future of immunization, reports Melissa Couto Zuber at The Canadian Press.

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BUSINESSES PRESS PROVINCE TO REIGN-IN BIG BOX STORES

Toronto business owners and politicians are calling on the Ford government to prohibit big box stores from selling non-essential items in person in an effort to level the playing field with independent retailers and discourage unnecessary outings, reports Mira Miller at BlogTO.

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DOUG FORD GOES MULTILINGUAL

In an effort to get people to STAY HOME, Doug Ford decides he should try a bit harder to make it as clear as possible.

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CITY TRAFFIC DATA SHOWS PEOPLE ARE STAYING HOME

The City has released traffic data to show the impact of the ongoing lockdown. Data confirms that vehicle traffic continues to be at its lowest observed levels since Stage 1 Reopening back in May and June 2020, but is still higher than conditions observed during the initial lockdown last spring.

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CANADIANS IN FAVOUR OF CURFEWS

Almost two-thirds of Canadians would support a nightly curfew if necessary to curb the spread of COVID-19 – even though they’re not convinced it would be effective, reports Joan Bryden at the Canadian Press.

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MAJORITY SUPPORT BANNING THE UNVACCINATED

More than seven in 10 Canadians support or somewhat support barring those who don’t have proof of vaccination from businesses where people are in close contact, according to a new Nanos survey, reports Christy Somos at CTV News.

2 replies on “City/Local News Round-Up ~ Jan 16-22”

Re the proposed Esso Station development. Does not comes as a surprise. Eyeing Parliament Street I see several potential sites for more intense future redevelopment. For example, the NW corner of Amelia and Parliament, the NW corner of Winchester and Parliament and the NE corner of Wellesley and Parliament. These sites are prime for densification. Assuming Covid does not bring an abrupt halt to Toronto’s building boom due to population decrease in the downtown, we are assured of bigger and taller buidlings in our so called Victorian enclave. Lets hope the City of Toronto steps up to the plate and insists on decent architecture and historic context considerations when approving new projects in addition to their obsession or phobia about height, shadows, etc… I suppose we should be grateful that this latest project floated to raze and redevelop our local Esso gas station to be replaced by condos has not yet mentioned the word ‘social housing’! After all, Cabbagetown seems to be Toronto’s Grand Central Station for locating this type of housing project! On another matter, maybe it IS time to switch from gas to electric as downtown gas stations are on the endangered species list!

Steve Poulin

Hi Steve, thanks for your comments. You say “Lets hope the City of Toronto steps up to the plate and insists on decent architecture and historic context considerations” , which we of course echo. I would point out to our community that we do have a voice in this regard and can influence the look and to some extent things like height, shadow, parking issues too. Not to mention access – the plan shows a new access lane behind the proposed development. With a prosed 126 parking spots this would increase traffic significantly on Amelia and Metcalfe Streets. The CRA will endeavour to stay abreast of this development, which will not likely happen quickly, as sunsetting a gas station location will likely require land rehabilitation.

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