City of Toronto

March/April 2017

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Dudley the dog photo by Michael Mitchener

Toronto at your service

Fire building, Fire sky, Chief Pegg updates media and firefighter saved dogCity marshals resources during six-alarm fire

The six-alarm fire that broke out at the Badminton and Racquet Club of Toronto on February 14 took 520 firefighters 20 hours to combat, with additional hours spent monitoring the site afterwards for spot fires. Firefighters fought the blaze from the ground – employing dozens of hoses – and from tower trucks and balconies of adjoining buildings. While Toronto Fire Services got the massive fire under control and prevented it from spreading to neighbouring businesses and condos, various City divisions and agencies collaborated to provide assistance in the battle:

  • Toronto Water boosted water power to help battle the blaze, pumping 19 million litres onto the fire
  • Toronto Police Service evacuated the residents of surrounding buildings, including a 14-storey, 87-unit 
  • TTC shut down St. Clair Station and diverted streetcars and buses around the scene; buses were used to shelter those forced to leave their homes until other arrangements could be made
  • Transportation Services rerouted traffic around the area for 24 hours and monitored traffic flow in real time during the evening and morning rush hours
  • Paramedics were on site to assess and aid firefighters and anyone injured and to distribute protective masks to media and public at the fire scene
  • Toronto Hydro cut power to surrounding buildings
  • Toronto Building conducted structural and other assessments
  • The Office of Emergency Management, the City of Toronto's coordinating agency for emergency and disaster activities, set up a centre for displaced residents

New City services website and finder tool

Looking for child care or interested in upgrading your job skills? Need help with housing or medical-related expenses? The City has created a new, easy-to-navigate website that will make accessing services provided by Children's Services, Employment and Social Services, and Shelter Support and Housing easier. The City's new one-stop human services website also features a finder tool. Answer a few questions and you'll get a personalized list of services you may be eligible to receive.

Newcomers Services kiosk

New to Canada or know someone who is? A new kiosk aimed at helping newcomers is now open at City Hall (100 Queen Street West). Kiosk hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. from Monday to Friday. The services offered are free and include assistance with:

  • Accessing community and government services
  • Finding training and career-building opportunities
  • Connecting to housing, employment, health, recreation and other services

Drop by or call 416-338-0688 to book an appointment. Other resources can be found on the City's Newcomer Services page.

City approves 2017 tax-supported budgets

On February 16, City Council approved a 2017 tax-supported operating budget of $10.5 billion and a 10-year capital budget and plan of $26.5 billion. The 2017 budgets maintain current service levels and make important investments in key strategic priorities such as social infrastructure and housing. The budget includes a 2% property tax increase as well as a 0.5% increase for the City building fund. Factoring in the City's policy shift to enhance Toronto's business climate, the total residential tax increase is 3.29% or $90 on the average property assessed at $587,471, which will pay $2,835 in municipal taxes in 2017. There will be no property tax increase for multi-residential buildings. Learn more

Ready, Set, PLAY!

Help your kids take the first step toward a lifetime of fun and activity by enrolling them in Ready, Set, PLAY!, the City's new physical activity program. Offered at more than 60 recreation centres across Toronto, Ready, Set, PLAY! is designed to help children learn how to move confidently and competently through specially designed games and activities that will help them build skills such as running, dribbling, throwing, catching and more. Physical activity can help children develop self-confidence, improve learning and attention, increase fitness and build healthy hearts. Register

Unique Library spaces for special events

Looking to hold an event somewhere special that's affordable and managed by expert event staff? Toronto Public Library offers a number of unique venues to rent for special events, business meetings, conferences, weddings and cultural experiences. In addition to the Bram & Bluma Appel Salon, the library now offers additional spaces at the Reference Library and three branches: Bloor/Gladstone, Fort York (pictured) and Scarborough Civic Centre. Rental revenues will support great programs and services at the library.

Vision Zero Road Safety Plan

The City of Toronto is taking steps to reduce deaths and serious injuries on Toronto streets and improve safety for all road users. Visit the City's website to learn more about the comprehensive five-year Vision Zero Road Safety Plan or watch the video. In 2017, the plan will focus on safety for pedestrians, school children, older adults, cyclists and motorcyclists, and on aggressive and distracted driving.

Gardiner Expressway rehabilitation

After almost 60 years of use, the Gardiner Expressway is in need of significant maintenance work. The City is moving forward with a new rehabilitation strategy, which will begin on the elevated section of the expressway from Jarvis to Cherry Streets. The cost of the maintenance work on the 18-km expressway, which will take place over the next 10 years, is $2.3 billion. This funding is part of Transportation Services' approved 10-Year Capital plan. Learn more

City named one of Canada's Best Employers by Forbes

The City of Toronto has been named one of Canada's Best Employers for 2017 by Forbes for the second year in a row. The top employers were chosen based on the results of a survey conducted among 8,000 Canadian employees working at large companies and institutions. Employees were asked to rate their employer on how likely they were to recommend their employer to someone else, as well as how they felt about the other employers in their respective industries.

Maple Leafs encourage bystander CPR

During Heart Month in February, members of the Toronto Maple Leafs teamed up with Toronto Paramedic Services to encourage bystander CPR and increase awareness of the need for more people to step in to help save someone's life. Every year in Toronto, bystanders help paramedics save lives by calling 911, starting CPR and administering a life-saving shock from a public access defibrillator. In 2016, nine people lived as a result of early CPR and public access to defibrillation. Watch the video made by Leafs' goaltender Frederick Andersen and centre Nazem Kadri. More

Pilot program for dispute mediation

The City now offers a free, city-wide mediation pilot program to assist in resolving disputes for minor variance and consent applications being considered by the Committee of Adjustment. The mediation sessions are conducted by a neutral third party mediator and professional planner. Learn more

TO Canada with Love

TO Canada with Love: Honouring 150 Years

The City of Toronto is celebrating Canada's 150th birthday with a year-long series of exhibitions, commemorations and celebrations. Toronto's cultural love letter to the country, TO Canada with Love features more than 30 City-produced events taking place in 2017. Information and updates are available on the City's website and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. Join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #C150TO.

My City My Six

We belong where love finds us – Anne Michaels, Toronto Poet Laureate

Part of TO Canada with Love and the City's Cultural Hotspot program, My City My Six is a public art project in celebration of Canada 150 that asks Toronto residents of all ages and backgrounds to reveal themselves and their city in six words. Submissions are being accepted through May and those who participate may have their My City My Six selected to appear as part of a series of exhibitions taking place in the fall.

Becoming Canadian in Toronto

Becoming Canadian in Toronto, a new exhibit at the Market Gallery running from March 25 to July 15, will reveal how immigration has transformed the city from the 1700s to the present. Video, oral histories, artifacts and historic documents will be used to explore immigrants' stories of struggle, triumph and celebration. This exhibit is part of the TO Canada with Love program.

18th annual Doors Open Toronto

From May 27 to 28, the 18th annual Doors Open Toronto presented by Great Gulf will give visitors a look into more than 150 of Toronto's most architecturally, historically, culturally and socially significant buildings. This year's theme, "Fifteen Decades of Canadian Architecture," honours Canada's 150th birthday as part of the City's year-long TO Canada with Love program. The event will showcase buildings pre-dating confederation in 1860 and from each decade onwards. A list of participating buildings will be available in early May. 

Your Toronto

March and April at the Zoo

The Zoo is the place to be during March Break with daily character meet and greets, including PAW Patrol, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Hatchimals and more. Open Good Friday through Easter Monday (April 14 to 17), visitors can enjoy Connecting with Wildlife Conservation programming. And don’t forget to visit Canada’s only giant panda cubs, Jia Panpan and Jia Yueyue! For details and character meet and greet info, visit and follow @TheTorontoZoo on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news!

What's your Bazaar memory?

The Gerrard India Bazaar is North America’s largest South Asian market and a cornerstone of Toronto's diversity. Residents are invited to submit photos and/or stories that reflect the Bazaar's rich culture, energy and spirit for a chance to win great prizes. The top submissions will be displayed as part of a special exhibit at Toronto Archives. The contest closes March 31.

Toronto Archives exhibit reopens

From Streets to Playgrounds: Representing Children in Early 20th Century Toronto will reopen to the public this month after renovations at Toronto Archives. Archival photographs, artifacts and artwork paint a vivid picture of the lives of children in the impoverished Toronto neighbourhood known as 'The Ward.' The exhibit is produced in partnership with faculties from Ryerson University, the University of Toronto and the University of Brighton, U.K.

Environmental initiatives

Home healthcare waste

Home healthcare waste does not belong in Toronto’s Blue Bin recycling program. Needles, syringes, injectors and prefilled pens are household hazardous waste and must be returned to your local pharmacy or taken to one of the City's Drop-off Depots or a Community Environment Day. Other items, such as IV bags and tubing, gastric and nasal tubes, catheters, soiled dressing, gauze and sponges, go in your Garbage Bin (double bagged in plastic bags). If they won't fit in a bin, put items in double-bagged garbage bags with a City-issued bag tag. For more information, check Waste Wizard or call 311.

Eco-Roof Incentive Program update

Installing a green or cool roof on a home or other building is even more attractive thanks to recent changes to the City's Eco-Roof Incentive Program, including enhanced funding and new eligibility. For green roof projects, the incentive has increased to $100 per square metre, funding is now available for structural assessments, and all new construction projects by not-for-profit organizations are eligible for green roof incentives. For cool roof projects, partial retrofits and new buildings are now eligible. Cool roof incentives are $2 to $5 per square metre. Learn more and apply.

Clean Toronto Together

It's time for a little spring cleaning, Toronto! Each year, thousands of residents, students, businesses, organizations and community groups come together to remove litter and help keep our city clean and green. Save the following dates and register to take part. Registering your cleanup will help the City to coordinate special waste pickups. Let's Clean Toronto Together

  • Friday, April 21: Corporate & School 20-Minute Makeover
  • Saturday, April 22/Sunday, April 23: Community Cleanup Days 

TransformTO update 

In December, TransformTO: Climate action for a healthier, equitable and prosperous Toronto issued its first report, which recommends a number of short-term strategies to meet and exceed Toronto’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent by 2020. Last month, Toronto City Council approved funding to support the immediate implementation of several of the recommendations: expansion of the City's Better Buildings Partnership and Smart Commute programs, and efforts to secure additional public and/or private funding. Learn more about TransformTO


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