Winter 2013 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 is for the public, stakeholders, media, City Council and staff.
Read the latest edition below.
City ready to tackle winter
With the arrival of winter, the City's snow clearing crew is ready for action. As soon as the snow begins, Transportation Services sends out its salt trucks to the expressways, main roads and local roads. If the City receives 2.5 centimetres of snow, the plows are sent out to the expressways and, if five centimetres of snow falls, the plows head out to clear the main roads. Plowing then takes place for the duration of the storm. When the snow stops and if the snow accumulation reaches eight centimetres, plows will be sent to the local roads. Normally, local road plowing will be completed 14 to 16 hours after the storm has ended.
New articulated TTC buses hit the road
The TTC’s new articulated buses will begin service in December. The first of 153 new accessible articulated buses will run on the 7 Bathurst route by the end of the year. Seven of the city’s busiest routes will be serviced by the new buses in 2014. The 60-foot articulated buses can accommodate 77 passengers (48 seated and 29 standing) – a 45 per cent increase in capacity. Three doors will make for faster boarding and exiting at subway stations and at all stops. This new fleet delivers on a promise made earlier this year in the TTC’s Customer Charter.
Becoming a candidate – nominations for 2014 Municipal Election
Election Services will accept nominations for the 2014 Municipal Election from January 2 to September 12, 2014. If you are interested in becoming a candidate for mayor, city councillor or school board trustee, visit the website for key information. Topics include qualifications, filing or withdrawing a nomination, fees, and roles of elected officials. To run for mayor or councillor, a person must be a Canadian citizen, at least 18 years of age, a resident of the City of Toronto, own or lease property in Toronto, and not legally prohibited from voting or holding municipal office.
Toronto's skating programs
The public can enjoy free leisure skating at 51 locations including three civic centres. New for this year are skate pads located at Dieppe Park and Greenwood Park. Shinny hockey for all ages and levels is available at selected rinks. Check the website for rink information and schedules or call 311. Outdoor rink facilities are open Monday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. The regular outdoor skating season ends February 23, with the extended season at some locations ending March 16, weather permitting. For the safety of skaters, the Helmet Policy is enforced at all sites. CSA approved hockey helmets must be worn at all times by children under six years and by all persons including adults while playing hockey.
Hitting the slopes
The public can enjoy skiing and snowboarding this winter at Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation's two convenient locations. Certified instructors offer private and group lessons designed for people of all ages from beginner to advanced. Both locations offer rental equipment including helmets and lift tickets: Centennial Ski and Snowboard Centre, Centennial Park, 256 Centennial Park Rd., 416-394-8754; Earl Bales Ski and Snowboard Centre, Earl Bales Park, 4169 Bathurst St., 416-395-7931.
Toronto EMS hosts community wellness clinics
Paramedic Debbie Wicks is passionate about disease prevention. As a community paramedic, she sees the importance of helping people to understand how to take proactive steps to manage their personal health. Debbie often hosts community wellness clinics including one recently held at the Grandravine Community Recreation Centre. Debbie met with over 45 residents of this North York community and conducted individual wellness assessments including blood pressure readings and pulse checks. Community wellness clinics are an important part of Toronto Emergency Medical Services (EMS) public outreach.
Heritage Conservation District blog launched
The City recently launched a new blog to help Torontonians learn more about the Heritage Conservation District (HCD) studies and plans happening throughout the city.The Heritage Conservation Districts in Toronto blog is a resource to learn about milestones, events and ways to participate. Each HCD study or plan has a dedicated section in the blog where readers can find background information, boundary maps, community consultation presentations and historic photo galleries. There are currently five HCDs being studied: Historic Yonge Street, Garden District, St. Lawrence, Queen Street East, and King/Spadina.
Long-Term Care Homes & Services – convalescent care
In September, Long-Term Care Homes & Services added True Davidson Acres to its list of homes offering convalescent care. Now, five city-run homes offer specialized care services to residents who need time to recover after a serious illness or surgery. This short-stay program provides 24-hour care in a supportive environment to help residents recover and regain their strength and functioning skills to return to independent living. While in this program, a multi-disciplinary care team, which includes doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, rehabilitation assistants and dietitians, will work with residents to ensure they get the personalized care services they need.
Toronto Building to accept email submissions
On December 2, the Toronto Building Division began accepting email submissions for customers seeking building permits. This new service option for submitting a service request is part of the division's Electronic Service Delivery Program. The objective of the program is to enhance accessibility to Toronto Building and meet clients' expectations of being able to access municipal services from anywhere at any time. A complete listing of Toronto Building services along with submission requirements is available on the Toronto Building webpage.
Helping the homeless this holiday season
Looking for a way to help someone less fortunate this holiday season? The City's annual Wish List is a one-stop resource for Torontonians wanting to bring cheer to those experiencing homelessness, either with gifts or by volunteering. The City asked agencies that run shelters, drop-ins and other services for homeless people what items their clients need. The most common items needed are winter clothing, toiletries, and gift cards for groceries. A complete list of items, volunteer opportunities and holiday fundraisers planned by the agencies is available on the City's website.
2013 United Way Employee Campaign
The Toronto Public Service, along with staff from the Toronto Public Library, Toronto Zoo, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, Toronto Parking Authority and Exhibition Place, raised $1,320,000 for the 2013 City of Toronto United Way Employee Campaign. Staff have now raised more than $1 million annually for the past 13 years. The funds raised support the larger United Way Community Fund that provides core funding to a network of 200 non-profit agencies across the city. These agencies meet urgent needs and provide social services to individuals, families and communities
2014 tax supported operating and capital budgets
On November 25, the City of Toronto presented the 2014 staff-recommended Tax Supported Operating Budget and the 10 Year Capital Budget and Plan. The proposed 2014-2023 Capital Budget and Plan is $18.6 billion. About 60 per cent of that is for maintaining and investing in the City's aging infrastructure. The Operating Budget is $9.6 billion and focuses on providing programs and services. It recommends a residential property tax increase of two per cent. The recommended increase for non-residential properties will be 0.67 per cent. In addition, Council approved a special tax levy of 0.5 per cent for residential property tax and 0.17 per cent for non-residential properties to support construction of the Scarborough subway. This results in a total 2014 residential property tax increase of 2.5 per cent and non-residential increase of 0.84 per cent. The budget will not be finalized until City Council approves it at its meeting on January 29 and 30.
Preparing for the 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games
Toronto will host the Pan American/Parapan American Games in the summer of 2015, bringing 10,000 athletes, coaches and officials from 41 countries and about 250,000 visitors from around the world to the city. Preparation is well underway – all three levels of government are investing in capital projects to support the games and deliver lasting benefits to local communities. One such project is the Toronto Pan Am Aquatic Centre (TPASC) adjacent to the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus. Construction of this high-performance facility, that will serve university students, community members, and elite athletes for decades to come, is already more than 70 per cent complete
Recycling campaign targets apartments and condos
Twenty-five years ago, Toronto residents were introduced to the City's first curbside recycling container – the Blue Bin. Today, 96 per cent of Toronto's 455,000 single-family homes participate in the Blue Bin Program. The diversion rate for 2013 will be 67 per cent in single-family homes, but only 27 per cent in apartments and condominiums. The City provides recycling service to about 4,500 multi-residential buildings. To help improve participation in apartments and condos, Solid Waste Management has launched a new education campaign. The "Get with the program" campaign reminds residents that more than half of what should be recycled in apartments and condos is ending up in landfill.
City Manager's Award – winners announced
The City Manager's Award for Toronto Public Service Excellence is an annual recognition initiative introduced in 2008. It is the Toronto Public Service's highest honour. Submissions for the 2012 awards were impressive and City Manager Joseph Pennachetti presented four awards this year including: Community Crisis Response Program (Divisional category), Entry to Food Processing Training Program (Cross-corporate category), 2012 Ontario Summer Games "Dreams Begin Here" Program (Cross-corporate category), and Urban Elder Street Outreach Initiative (Equity, Diversity and Human Rights category). At the awards ceremony, the City Manager noted that he is inspired by the extraordinary talent and dedication shown by staff from all divisions across the City.
PF&R staff member helps save a life
Twenty-three-year-old Dwayne Harrison is alive today due to the fast-acting efforts of Parks, Forestry and Recreation (PFR) custodian Ted Rennie, as well as other staff from PFR, Toronto EMS paramedics and emergency medical dispatchers. Dwayne was playing a game of pickup basketball at Lawrence Heights Community Centre in North York on August 29 when he collapsed from a sudden cardiac arrest. Ted called 911 and thanks to his training and the help of a bystander, he was able to start cardiopulmonary resuscitation and use the Centre's automated external defibrillator to deliver two life-saving shocks. Dwayne thanked Ted and the others involved at a reunion event on November 1.
Photo (left to right): Paramedic Kyle Romany, PFR staff Ted Rennie, Emergency Medical Dispatcher Rocky Ruffolo at reunion event
City recognized for mentoring leadership
The City of Toronto was recognized by Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC) for being one of the leading contributors of mentors to The Mentoring Partnership. The City was also the first public sector partner to reach the 1,000 mentoring matches milestone since the program began in 2004. Out of the seven individual volunteers who were also recognized for mentoring 10 or more skilled immigrants, four of them were members of the Toronto Public Service. The City of Toronto has the highest number of repeat mentors, and continues to lead the way in welcoming new immigrants and helping them to establish themselves professionally.
Photo: Manjit Singh (left), Vice Chair of TRIEC's Board of Directors presents the 1,000 Mentoring Matches Award to Bruce L. Anderson, Executive Director of Human Resources at the annual volunteer recognition reception.
R. C. Harris a Canadian Water Landmark
The R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant, located at the foot of Victoria Park Avenue, has recently been recognized as a Canadian Water Landmark by the American Water Works Association. The purpose of the designation is to recognize and preserve a North American Water Landmark at least 50 years old that has had a direct and significant relationship with water supply, treatment and distribution. Constructed in the 1930s, the R.C. Harris is considered an architectural masterpiece of Art Deco style. The plant is the largest of Toronto's four water treatment plants, providing an average of 422 million litres of safe drinking water to residents in Toronto and York Region each day.
City wins Builder Award for work with BIAs
The City was presented with the Michael Comstock Community Builder Award from the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas. This award acknowledges the City's current and past partnership with more than 35,000 businesses in 77 Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) across the city. The world's first BIA was started in Toronto in 1970. Toronto continues to have the largest number of BIAs of any urban centre in the world. BIAs are a defined geographic area where businesses, working with local government, contribute funds for projects of shared benefit. BIAs help produce and support more than 160 community events and street festivals throughout the year such as Taste of the Danforth and the Toronto Ukrainian Festival, which are annually attended by more than 7.4 million people.
Christmas choral concert at City Hall
The public is invited to take in the sounds of the season at the City of Toronto's annual Christmas Choral Celebration. This free event will take place on Tuesday, December 24 at 11:30 a.m. in the rotunda at City Hall, 100 Queen Street West. This year's event will be hosted by Citytv's Tammie Sutherland, and includes performances by All the King's Voices, Toronto Beaches Children's Chorus, Toronto Mass Choir, Tower Brass and organist James Bourne. There will also be a special visit from Santa himself at the end of the concert. Please consider bringing a new, unwrapped toy for the Mayor's Toy Drive.
Giant salamander at the Zoo
The largest amphibian in the world is now on display at the Toronto Zoo. There are only six endangered Chinese giant salamanders in North America and this is the only one in Canada. The one-metre-long giant salamander is 17 years old; captive salamanders can live more than 50 years. This is one of the few species that was living at the time of the dinosaurs that are still with us. The Toronto Zoo is developing a partnership with the Chinese Association of Zoological Gardens and Chinese researchers to support giant salamander conservation and education programs in the wild.
Library crowdsourcing initiative celebrates Yonge Street
Toronto Public Library recently launched Your Yonge Street, an interactive online exhibit of the people, places and events along the world’s longest street. The website brings together stories, documents, maps, photographs and videos to create a living history of this iconic street. Featuring engaging and sometimes rare digital artifacts from the library’s special collections, the site also features crowdsourced contributions and comments from Torontonians. Users can browse content by following along the map of Yonge Street – all the way from Lake Ontario to Rainy River.
Winterlicious – a culinary favourite for foodies
The City of Toronto welcomes new presenting sponsor Interac to Winterlicious 2014, which runs from January 31 to February 13. Tickets for the popular Culinary Event Series go on sale December 12, featuring one-of-a-kind cooking and dining experiences from chefs such as Anthony Walsh, Mama Rosa and Dale Meek. Participants can also take their pick of prix-fixe menus of $15, $20 or $25 for lunch and $25, $35 or $45 for dinner at over 200 restaurants. Reservations will be available starting January 16.
Artist submissions for Scotiabank Nuit Blanche
The ninth edition of Scotiabank Nuit Blanche – Toronto's all-night celebration of contemporary art – is scheduled for October 4, 2014. Applications for self-funded independent projects from galleries, schools, neighbourhoods, community organizations or individual artists will be accepted until February 14. An Independent Projects information session will be held on January 16 at Toronto City Hall from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Since 2006, Nuit Blanche has featured more than 850 official art installations, created by nearly 3,500 artists and has generated more than $138 million in economic impact for Toronto.
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.
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.