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City Update

May 2014 edition

The City of Toronto's e-newsletter City Update focuses on the latest services, innovations and accomplishments in Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government. This e-newsletter, published six times a year, is for the public, stakeholders, media, City Council and staff. Subscribe to City Update.

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Read the latest edition below.

Be the heart of the Games – volunteer today!
The TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games are a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for volunteers. The Games Organizing Committee is recruiting more than 20,000 volunteers to work at over 50 venues and facilities during Games-time. Volunteer tasks can include preparing the field of play, recording quotes from athletes, taking tickets, transporting athletes to events, providing medical services, supporting behind the scenes with Opening and Closing Ceremonies and much more. Volunteers will act as front-line hosts and ambassadors while gaining valuable skills. They will help ensure visitors and athletes from around the world feel welcome. Apply at

TTC’s blue priority seats enhance accessibility
The TTC is enhancing accessibility with blue seats that clearly identify priority seating areas on its vehicles for persons with disabilities, the elderly and expectant mothers. Blue priority seating, being introduced first on the new articulated buses, will be expanded to all TTC vehicles over the next two years.  In accordance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, all TTC vehicles are equipped with priority seating designated for use by a person with a disability or physical limitation.

Basement flooding prevention
Summer is almost here and with it the possibility of thunderstorms. Toronto’s sewers are designed for most storms; however, Toronto is experiencing more severe weather events which can lead to basement flooding. To help prevent basement flooding residents are reminded to clear eavestroughs, disconnect downspouts that empty into the City's sewer system (it's mandatory, where feasible), fix cracks in windows and foundations, install a backwater valve and sump pump, and landscape so the ground is sloping away from the home. For more tips and to learn what the City is doing to help prevent basement flooding, visit

Mandatory water meter upgrade
Since 2010, the City has been contacting every homeowner and business in Toronto to ask that they book an appointment to install an automated water meter. The new meters send water consumption data directly to the City, eliminating the need for property owners or staff to take manual readings. They also provide a more accurate, fair and efficient way to administer water use in Toronto. Installing an automated meter is mandatory under the City of Toronto Municipal Code. To book your installation appointment or learn more, visit

Redevelopment of Kipling Acres
On May 15, the City officially opened the first phase of the Kipling Acres' redevelopment project. The new 192-bed home meets modern long-term care facility design standards, provides greater wheelchair access for residents in private and public spaces, and has an Adult Day Program and Childcare Centre with its own wing and a playground. The second phase of construction on the 145-bed addition is scheduled to begin in the summer and is expected to be completed in December 2015. Caption: Ribbon cutting ceremony at Kipling Acres

Flowers bloomed in long-term care home
Canada Blooms donated more than 600 plants to help bring a little taste of spring to Wesburn Manor, one of the City's 10 long-term care homes. Flowers brightened the rooms of residents in the home, and were also distributed to Long-Term Care Homes & Services' clients who live independently in the community. The event was a success due to the efforts of Procter's Cartage, which transported the flowers, and a number of volunteers and staff of Wesburn Manor.

Changes to school immunization requirements
To keep all children healthy, the Ontario Government has added three more vaccines required for students to attend school. Currently, students are required to have diphtheria, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps and rubella vaccines. Beginning in July 2014, the meningococcal, whooping cough (pertussis) and chickenpox vaccines will also be required. The chickenpox vaccine is only required for children entering Junior Kindergarten who have not previously had chickenpox. Look for information from Toronto Public Health during the school year. Parents must report their children's immunization to Toronto Public Health.

Bike safety training kicks off for the 2014 cycling season
Whether cycling to work or around the block with family and friends, you can learn to share the road safely with other vehicles and pedestrians. Parks, Forestry and Recreation is now offering training for the 2014 cycling season. Lessons and workshops are available for all ages and abilities. New riders will learn the basics of biking, while the more advanced rider will learn how to navigate major roads. Bike Camp and Mountain Bike Camp are great summer options for children ages nine to 16 years. Nationally recognized CAN-BIKE certification is also available. Visit the CAN-BIKE cycling website to register.

Smoke-Free areas in parks
City parks are places to play, be active and enjoy green space. Whether you play sports, spend time at a swimming beach or watch a theatrical performance in a park, you're now protected from exposure to second-hand smoke by a municipal bylaw. The following outdoor spaces in City parks are now smoke-free: sports fields, skateboard or BMX parks, swimming pools or decks, covered picnic shelters or gazebos, theatre spaces, swimming beaches, and waiting areas or service lines. Smoking is already prohibited within City playgrounds, splash pads, and at park zoos or farms. For more information about smoking bylaws, second-hand smoke and resources to quit smoking, visit Live Tobacco-Free.

StART mural program
The City of Toronto has launched a new program to help property owners who are victims of graffiti vandalism. The StART Support Mural Program will provide materials for the creation of art murals and graffiti art on walls visible from city streets that have a history of repeated graffiti vandalism. The City will provide exterior paint in a full colour spectrum, application materials like brushes, rollers and paint trays and artistic quality spray paint. Property owners must hire an artist independently and pay for any other costs related to the project, such as equipment rentals or permits, if they are required.

City's 'Chip' truck helps dog and cat owners
Identification is one of the most important ways a pet owner can guarantee their furry friend is returned home if it ever gets lost. The Chip Truck is a mobile microchip clinic offering a microchip and a pet licence for $25 (cat) and $35 (dog). If your pet is already licensed, a microchip will cost you $10. A microchip is a tiny device implanted under the skin by a veterinarian. A unique identifier number linked directly to the owner appears when scanned. Animal shelters and veterinarians look for microchips to return lost pets quickly to their owners. Toronto Animal Services places microchips in all cats, dogs and rabbits adopted through its shelters.

Join the BluePaw rewards program
Toronto's BluePaw licensing program rewards residents who license their dogs and cats by offering discounts at pet-related businesses. Recent estimates show that only 30 per cent of dogs and 10 per cent of cats in the City are licensed. The BluePaw program allows pet owners to recuperate the licence fee over a period of time by showing the BluePaw tag at partner businesses to receive discounts on pet-related products and services. Pet licensing is one of the best ways to ensure that pets are returned home safely in case they get lost.


Toronto Office of Partnerships
The City of Toronto is the partner of choice for hundreds of private- and public-sector organizations, based on data compiled by the Toronto Office of Partnerships. Among the organizations which have found partnering with Toronto a valuable experience are Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, Scotiabank, Nokia Products Ltd., Toronto Community Foundation, H&M, TD Bank, Rogers, Newstalk 1010, United Way Toronto and Microsoft. Some 250 organizations have partnered with the City, providing $26 million in funding or materials which has enhanced City programs and services. These partnerships take such forms as sponsorships, naming rights and donations.

On-location filming exceeds $1 billion
A presentation to the City's Economic Development Committee in April outlined the ongoing success of Toronto's screen-based industries (film, television, commercials and animation). In 2013, screen-based production companies invested $1.19 billion in on-location filming in Toronto, exceeding the billion dollar level for the third consecutive year. Investment in domestic productions reached $515 million, exceeding the $500 million level for the first time, while animation spending exceeded $100 million for the first time. Television series productions dominate investment in Toronto, with almost two-thirds (62 per cent or $730 million) of total production investment for television series.

Water-efficient landscaping
Water-efficient landscaping requires less maintenance, creates interest and is environmentally friendly. For advice on when and how to water your lawn, tips on natural lawn care, suggested plant lists for water-efficient gardens, as well as suggestions for vegetable gardening, check out the City's water-efficient gardening information.


Car washing tips
Ever wonder where the water goes when you wash your car? If you wash it on the driveway or street, the dirty, untreated water goes into the storm sewer – the square grates on the side of the road – and can end up in local streams, rivers and Lake Ontario. This water contains dirt, oil, grease, heavy metals, hazardous chemicals and soaps that can harm aquatic habitat. There are alternatives to get your car clean without harming the environment.

PFR – Award for how-to guide to enhance parks, recreation facilities
Parks, Forestry and Recreation's new Step-by-Step Fundraising Guide was designed to meet the expanding interest among Toronto communities to fundraise for enhancements to their local parks and recreation facilities. The Guide received an Award of Excellence for Innovation from Parks and Recreation Ontario, a provincial association. The award recognizes the outstanding achievements of individuals and organizations that have enhanced the quality of life for Ontario's citizens. The Guide was produced by the Partnership Development Unit, which works with community groups, philanthropists, foundations and sponsors to raise funds for park, recreation and urban forestry projects.


NXT CITY PRIZE – improving public space
The NXT CITY PRIZE is all about vision – the vision to re-imagine Toronto’s public spaces with a sense of energy and dynamism. The City is looking for ideas from new and young voices to show how public space can be improved for the benefit of all. If you’re under 30, submit your big idea to improve a public space in Toronto and you could take home a $5,000 cash prize. You’ll also receive $10,000 to work with a team of leading experts to turn your vision into reality. Entries must be submitted by July 31.

New tourist information centre in Union Station
Coming this September, a new Tourist Information Centre will open in Union Station as a joint venture between the City of Toronto and the Province of Ontario with the support of Tourism Toronto. Located in the heart of Canada's busiest transit hub and within walking distance to many Toronto attractions, this highly visible centre will help people learn how to explore Toronto. The modern facility will provide local experts, Wi-Fi and printed resources. Caption: Artist's rendering of information centre.

Happenings at the Toronto Zoo
TheToronto Zoo has a lot to take in for the 2014 season, all free with zoo admission. Visitors can check out the Discovery Centre, grab a seat in the open-air Waterside Theatre, catch the amazing animal shows or explore the Kids Zoo and get up close with some animal friends. There is also water fun on tap at Splash Island, the zoo's two-acre water park. The stars of the Toronto Zoo are the animals including giant pandas Er Shun and Da Mao, twin baby ring-tailed lemurs, a Western lowland gorilla baby, two zebra foals, a Masai giraffe calf and Humphrey the polar bear cub.

Young Makers @ Work – Library TD Summer Reading Club
Toronto Public Library’s TD Summer Reading Club for 2014 is themed "Eureka!" and is calling on kids all over the city to let their imaginations loose, get messy and create. All summer long, kids can join other “makers and shakers” to invent, create, hack, tinker, innovate, and of course, read. Families can visit their local library branch to pick up a specially-themed maker notebook, Club magazine or activity book, reading lists and more, and join in interactive, hands-on programs, all designed to keep kids reading. The program runs from the end of June to the end of August at all library branches.

More access to library collections, services
Toronto Public Library is pleased to announce that eight of its branches are now open longer, with additional morning and/or evening hours added. Albert Campbell, Albion, Barbara Frum, Brentwood, Don Mills, Maria A. Shchuka, the Toronto Reference Library and York Woods are now open from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, and 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday (Sundays from September to June). These branches are located across the city so the people in all parts of Toronto can enjoy the benefits of an open library, including a wide variety of programs, books, DVDs and other materials, computers, free Wi-Fi and expert librarian assistance.

People, dogs and parks - responsible dog ownership
With the warmer weather here, it's a great time to get out and about with your dog for some fresh air and exercise. Pet owners are responsible for controlling their pet at all times. For the safety of the community and your dog, please keep your dog on a leash at all times in public. Owners with a dog off-leash can be fined $240. If you would like to get your dog additional exercise, consider visiting one of the City's 57 off-leash parks. Some dogs are excluded from off-leash areas, including female dogs in heat, dogs that must be muzzled or leashed under order from Toronto Animal Services and unlicensed dogs.

City's award-winning family of five golf courses
Toronto's family of five golf courses are award-winning, TTC accessible and offer something for everyone. Dentonia Park golf course won gold as the 2014 Golfers' Choice Best Par 3 and Humber Valley won silver for the 2014 Golfers' Choice Best Value Course. Each course has its own unique personality and each course offers attractions for golfers at every ability and experience level. Instruction from Canadian Professional Golfers' Association instructors, ladies leagues and youth memberships are available. Discounts are offered to juniors and seniors. During peak season, twilight, family night and nine-hole discounted rates are available.

Past Issues

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City Update - March 2014

City Update focuses on the latest services, innovations and accomplishments in Canada's largest city and sixth largest government. This e-newsletter, produced six times a year, is for the public, stakeholders, media, City Council and staff. 

City Update Banner - Winter 2013.jpg

City Update - Winter 2013

The City of Toronto's e-newsletter City Update focuses on the latest services, innovations and accomplishments in Canada's largest city and sixth largest government.


City Update - Autumn 2013

The City of Toronto's e-newsletter City Update focuses on the latest services, innovations and accomplishments in Canada's largest city and sixth largest government.