Connect with Your City

Banner showing dog on boardwalk at beach

City Update

July/August 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.

Follow Us

Subscribe to Toronto E-Updates to receive City information, updates, news and more.                

Follow the City's Twitter, Facebook and YouTube accounts.

Read the latest edition below.

Checking voter information
Eligible voters in the City can now find out if their information is up-to-date or add their name to the voters' list for the upcoming October election. The Voterlookup online tool replaces the traditional municipal enumeration form mail-in system. Information submitted through Voterlookup is shared only with the City for the sole purpose of creating the voters' list. Residents can visit the website to check their information until August 25. Starting September 2, residents will be able to check their status on the voters' list by using the City's new tool MyVote.


One-year countdown to Pan Am/Parapan Am Games
As the proud Host City of the TORONTO 2015 Pan American and Parapan American Games, the City of Toronto, along with TO2015, the provincial and federal governments and other partners marked the one-year countdown with a two-day event (July 11 and 12) on Nathan Phillips Square. Festivities included the unveiling of the CISCO Countdown Clock, sports demonstrations, community program activations, arts competitions, dance demonstrations and music from the Caribbean and Latin America. A spectacular fireworks display ended the event on Saturday evening.


Game On Toronto!
Game On Toronto is a short-term funding program for Toronto-based non-profit community sport programs, clubs, leagues and associations to help with sports development projects. Through this Host City Showcase Program initiative, groups can receive up to $15,000 for small-scale projects or up to $50,000 for larger/long-term projects. A total of $500,000 in grants will be awarded before, during and after the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games. Applicants must tell their sport story by submitting a 90-second video and online application and then engage residents to vote for their project. Online applications start in August. Voting begins in the fall and winners will be announced in early 2015.


Starting this fall, Play On! PARASPORT, a Host City Showcase Program initiative, will provide children, youth and adults who have visual impairments, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries, amputations or other physical disabilities with the opportunity to try a variety of parasports in a fun and supportive atmosphere. Participants can also bring along their siblings or friends to join in the program. All sessions are free and will be led by parasport or paralympic athlete ambassadors or coaches. Weekly sessions start on September 30 at the Etobicoke Olympium and on October 5 at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre. Starting in September, you can register online or call 416-338-4FUN.
Photo credit: Canadian Paralympic Committee/Frédéric Solenthaler


TTC merchandise available online
The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) is making it easier for customers to purchase TTC merchandise with the establishment of an online store. Prints of vintage TTC posters and authentic in-car subway maps are now for sale, with an expanded range of products becoming available in the coming months. Customers can choose from a variety of vintage TTC poster reproductions for $20, a poster of the cover of the upcoming new Ride Guide for $15 or subway maps for $10. TTC merchandise is still available in person at the Customer Service counter located at Davisville subway station.


Toronto EMS welcomes 50 new Canadians
For the second year in a row, as part of National Paramedic Services Week, Toronto Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Chief Paul Raftis hosted a Canadian Citizenship Ceremony at EMS headquarters in North York. Each year, Toronto EMS takes the opportunity to welcome 50 new Canadians from 29 countries to Toronto as they take their citizenship oaths. Chief Raftis remarked that 911 emergency services are available to the residents of Toronto in over 150 languages through Toronto EMS translation services.


Decommissioned street signs on auction block
The City's Transportation Division is selling decommissioned street name signs to the public. These are signs that have been replaced by newer, easier-to-read signs. The signs are available via an online auction through Platinum Liquidations. They will be displayed for 60 days and sold separately with a starting bid price of $30. It is expected that between 200 and 300 signs will be available each year. In 2007, City Council adopted a program to replace damaged signs with the new signs that are larger and easier to read than the old ones.


Web page shows road construction
The City has a new web page listing construction projects that are taking place on main roads, with the intention of helping people make choices in planning their travel on Toronto's roads. The new web page provides information about where the construction is occurring, the length of time scheduled for the construction, and its impact on the roadway – for example, how many lanes are closed. It will not include emergency work by the City or by utility or phone companies.


City Planning launches engagement plan for residents
Accountability, openness and transparency are critical to the relationship between Torontonians and their government. Toronto's City Planning Division is committed to upholding and expanding upon these principles to include residents in the decision-making process. The division has launched Growing Conversations: Making Engagement Work – a year-long initiative that will examine the strengths and weaknesses of the current engagement process and build stronger bonds between the City and Toronto residents. Learn more and get involved.


Prevention of basement flooding
In April, the City conducted a survey to gather homeowners' thoughts about basement flooding. Updating the kitchen (52 per cent) and the bathroom (15 per cent) were considered the top upgrades to improve the value of a home, yet almost half of Toronto homeowners have done nothing to prevent basement flooding. In fact, the number of homeowners who say they are "very concerned" about basement flooding has decreased in the last three years. In 2011, 29 per cent of home owners were very concerned about basement flooding compared to only 11 per cent in 2014. Visit the City's website to find out how you can help protect your home from basement flooding.


New workforce plan for a great Toronto Public Service
The City has a new workforce plan called the Talent Blueprint 2014-2018 - Building a great Toronto Public Service. Its goal is to have engaged, diverse, high-performing, adaptive and productive employees to meet the current and future needs of the City of Toronto. The City continues to advance on actions identified under each of the focus areas – employee engagement, diversity, workforce capacity and effective leaders. This plan for public service excellence, one of the City's 26 Strategic Actions, will be implemented over the next five years.

Waterfront affordable housing plan supported 
A plan to develop 80 affordable rental homes within a mixed-use market condominium building on Toronto's waterfront has been adopted by City Council. The innovative $26-million Bayside initiative is to be built and operated through a partnership among the City, Waterfront Toronto, developers Hines/Tridel and Artscape. Construction is expected to be completed by 2018-19. The affordable rental homes are to be part of the Bayside development, located between Lower Sherbourne and Parliament Streets in the emerging East Bayfront neighbourhood. The affordable units will be owned by the City and operated by Artscape. Find out more about affordable housing.


Housing for human trafficking victims
City Council has approved the creation of Toronto's first affordable housing for young women who are victims of human trafficking. The City will invest up to $850,000 to repair a vacant Toronto Community Housing building. An established charitable organization will operate the facility, which will offer support services and housing for five or six young women. Toronto has been identified as one of the principal destinations or transit points for individuals, mostly women and children, who have been victims of human trafficking, according to a City report.


Exhibition GatesExhibition Place to become CIBC Pan Am Park

Exhibition Place attracts more than 5.3 million visitors a year. The 192-acre site is a key component of Toronto's economy with respect to conventions, sport, festivals, recreation, culture and tourism. During the summer of 2015, Exhibition Place will become CIBC Pan Am Park, and will play host to up to 13 sports during the 2015 Pan Am/ Parapan Am Games. Since 2004, Exhibition Place has undertaken an environmental stewardship initiative, called GREENSmart. This initiative includes the promotion of sustainable development, environmental initiatives and leading edge green technologies across the site.
Caption: Exhibition Gates

Help shape long-term waste management strategy
The City is developing a Long-Term Waste Management Strategy for Toronto to provide a framework for solid waste management policy decisions over the next 30 to 50 years. The strategy will recommend waste reduction, reuse and recycling policies and programs, as well as options on how to manage any garbage remaining after making every effort to maximize diversion. All options and industry best practices for waste diversion and disposal methods will be considered and evaluated. The goal is to find solutions that are cost-effective, socially acceptable and environmentally sustainable. Get informed and share your thoughts.


Avoid blocking pipes with cooking grease
When warm fats, oils and grease are washed down the sink or toilet into the plumbing system, they cool, harden and stick to the inside of sewer pipes. Fat, oil and grease can build up in your pipes, causing blocked sewers – which can lead to problems such as basement flooding, contact with disease-causing organisms, raw sewage overflow into parks, yards and streets, and increased operation costs to repair damaged sewer pipes. To avoid problems, put excess grease in your Green Bin. For those who don’t have Green Bins, dispose with your regular waste. You can also put strainers into sink drains to catch food scraps and other solids. Find out more.

2014 Live Green Toronto Awards
Each year, the City's Live Green Toronto Awards recognize the people, groups and businesses that are helping to lead the way to a greener, more sustainable city. A winner in each award category – youth, individual, group, small business and corporate – is determined through a combination of online votes and judges' scores. Each winner receives an award and $2,500 courtesy of award sponsors. This year, the entrants' videos garnered more than 200,000 views and votes. Meet the 2014 winners and view their videos.


Long-Term Care Homes & Services receives two awards
Long-Term Care Homes & Services (LTCHS) received two major awards from the Ontario Association of Non-Profit Homes and Services for Seniors, a provincial long-term care sector association. After being outbreak-free for five years thanks to the implementation of outbreak prevention strategies, Seven Oaks received the Innovation and Excellence Workplace Quality Award for excellence in infection, prevention and outbreak management. The 2014 Leadership Award was given to Vija Mallia, Director, Long-Term Care Homes for her exemplary leadership in the long-term care sector.
Caption: Seven Oaks received award for excellence in infection prevention.


Recipients of Board of Health 2014 Public Health Champion awards

This year's recipients of the Public Health Champion Awards are Margaret Leslie and the organization Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests (LEAF). Margaret Leslie is Director of the Early Interventions Program at the Canadian Mothercraft Society. Ms. Leslie has provided leadership to improve the health of mothers and children for nearly 30 years. LEAF promotes the health of trees and has helped plant more than 20,000 native trees and shrubs in Toronto and in York Region since 1996, helping to improve air quality. The awards recognize an individual and an organization that have made outstanding contributions toward protecting and promoting the health of Toronto's residents.

Doors Open Toronto an outstanding success
The 15th annual Doors Open Toronto presented by Great Gulf in May featured about  150 of Toronto's most architecturally and culturally significant buildings, and attracted more than 230,000 visits. This year's theme, special programs, speaker series and walking tours were all extremely popular with visitors. Organizers thank presenting sponsor Great Gulf, walking tours sponsor, University of Toronto, media sponsors and the broader community. Doors Open Toronto will return in 2015 on May 23 and 24. Caption: Gibraltar Point Lighthouse


Dancing under the stars at Sunday Serenades
The Sunday Serenades free outdoor concert series will take place from 7:30 to 9 p.m. every Sunday until August 17 at Mel Lastman Square. Residents and visitors to Toronto can dance under the stars to some of Ontario's best swing, big band and jazz acts. This series is produced by the City's Special Events Office.


The perfect lunch-hour escape – Fresh Wednesdays
Every Wednesday this summer until August 27, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., Nathan Phillips Square will be home to Fresh Wednesdays and the Farmers' Market. Participating vendors will offer Ontario-grown fruits, vegetables, freshly baked breads, tarts and pies, cheese, meats and flowers. To complement your Farmers' Market experience, Toronto-based artists will provide free lunchtime entertainment.


 Culinary trip around the world at Tasty Thursdays
Tasty Thursdays at Nathan Phillips Square hosts a combination of entertainment and food from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Thursday until August 28. Food vendors from across the city offer international cuisine, including Asian, Indian, Latin American, Cajun, Ukrainian, Italian and Greek favourites. Free noon-hour concerts and entertainment will be available to contribute to your tasty experience.


Torontonians showed their support of seniors
Thousands of Torontonians from ages one to 104 years took part in the Toronto Challenge presented by on June 8 and helped raise close to $500,000 in support of seniors and vulnerable individuals living in Toronto. Organized by Toronto Long-Term Care Homes & Services, this event included a 5K run, 5K walk and 1K fun walk. Next year's Event will be on June 14. 


Toronto Zoo's 40 days of 40 animals
For 40 years, the Toronto Zoo has been dedicated to saving and protecting species at home and abroad. In honour of the milestone, Canada’s premier zoo launched a 40-day animal countdown on July 7. The Toronto Zoo will feature a different animal each day until the anniversary date of August 15. This 40-day countdown provides zoo visitors with a fun and interactive opportunity to learn and connect with zoo staff and animals.

Past Issues


City Update - May 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.

Final Banner.jpg

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.