E-News: Toboganning Ban Lifted, Proposal for 25% Property Tax Cut, Fighting for Our Small Businesses

ByBrad Bradford

Hi Friend,

If you’ve subscribed to this newsletter for a while, you know I’m a big supporter of our small businesses. They’re a big part of what makes our communities and main streets so great – but they’ve been through some of the toughest years imaginable, fighting to keep their doors open. Now that federal loans are coming due and pandemic relief programs are over, many are feeling the squeeze.

That’s why, in the early months of the pandemic, I fought to deliver a special reduced property tax rate for small businesses. Working with Mayor John Tory, we convinced the provincial government to give us this tool, and in 2021 introduced a 15% property tax reduction for nearly 30,000 eligible small businesses.

At a time like this when life has never been more unaffordable, I think City Hall can and should be doing more. That’s why this week I proposed increasing this to give small businesses a 25% property tax cut. This reduction would be revenue-neutral, and paid for by asking the large commercial businesses like big box stores and office towers to pay a little more. It’s a common-sense solution that can deliver real relief to our mom-and-pop stores and keep our main streets vibrant.

You can read more about my proposal here. And if you’d like to support our small businesses, you can write in and ask Council to vote to increase the small business property tax reduction.

We vote on Mayor Chow’s proposed Budget next Wednesday, February 14th. I’ve heard your feedback – and affordability, community safety, and a thriving economy will be my priorities when we consider how to improve the budget.

Read on for more details of what’s going on in our community, important updates from City Hall, and more. But first I wanted to highlight a few key events that have happened since our last newsletter:

Balmy Beach Skate Night 

Last Saturday night was a great time to hit the ice ⛸️🏒

Thanks to Balmy Beach School Council for the invite to family skate night and to Cari and Paul Lapas Real Estate for supplying the hot chocolate! 

Parkview Hills AGM 

Thank you to everyone in the Parkview Hills community for having me at your Annual General Meeting this past week to discuss what matters most to Torontonians. I hear your concerns around community safety, affordability, and congestion, and I’ll be your advocate for common sense solutions in next week’s debate on the Mayor’s Budget.

Budget Town Hall 2024  

Thanks to everyone from Beaches-East York who came out to the East York Civic Centre on Thursday to share their views on the 2024 Toronto Budget – with a special thanks to Budget Chief Shelley Carroll and our CFO Stephen Conforti for joining. We had a great turnout with a wide range of views, and your ideas and feedback made me especially proud to represent such an engaged community.

Enjoy the warm weather this weekend – I’m betting we haven’t seen the last of snow this year.


 – Brad

In This Issue

Updates & Announcements from City Hall

  • City Hall Updates 🆕

Small Business Spotlight 

  • Ghoroaa Restaurant 🆕
  • Michael Garron Hospital Foundation 🆕

Local Events 

  • Planning Committee Members Needed – 2024 East York Canada Day Festival 🚨
  • Model Railroad Club of Toronto 🆕
  • Family Day Skate Day at Ted Reeve Arena 🆕
  • 60s Music Night featuring Fraser/Daley and Skylark 🆕
  • Jersey Nights 🆕
  • Light It Up – Lantern Program 🆕
  • February Seniors Market 🆕
  • Annual Soup Tasting Competition 🆕
  • Kingston Rd Village – Concert Series 🆕
  • St. Luke’s Anglican Church – A Pancake Supper 
  • Super Bowl Food Drive 
  • Music for the Soul with Opera Revue 
  • Valentine’s Day High Tea  
  • Members of the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra (TSYO) in Recital 

Community Programs & Employment

  • SING! 🆕
  • Access Alliance – Snow Removal Services  
  • Queer Youth United 
  • WoodGreen Community Services: Need for Volunteers 
  • SCHC – Fall Bereavement Support Groups 
  • The Neighbourhood Group – Job Assistance 
  • Seniors Assistance Home Maintenance (SAHM) Program 
  • Thorncliffe Park Youth Wellness Hub 

Neighbourhood News

  • By-law Enforcement: Dogs Off-Leash Parks 🆕
  • Scarborough Bluffs West Revitalization Study 

Work in the Ward

  • O’Connor Construction Update: February 2024 🆕
  • Toronto Hydro Overhead & Underground Civil & Electrical Upgrade; Project Danforth 🆕
  • Coxwell Subway Station Stairway SOGR  
  • Access to Broadview Station Restored  
  • TTC Service Changes 
  • Toronto Hydro Overhead Electrical Upgrade; Dentonia Park Avenue Overhead Rebuild Phase 1A 
  • Toronto Hydro Overhead & Underground Civil & Electrical Work: Glen Manor Drive 
  • REVISED: Hydro Work – Danforth Overhead Rebuild Phase 2A 

City Wide News/Events

  • One Fare Programs Begins February 26! 🆕
  • Celebrate Black History Month 🆕
  • Toronto Public Health – Community Clinics  
  • Toronto Community Champaign Award 2024 
  • CafeTO 2024 
  • Toronto Vacant Home Tax Occupancy Deadline 
  • TD Park People Grants  

Additional Information

  • Make the right call! 

Thanks for taking the time to read my bi-weekly newsletter! If you have any events, news, or ideas to share for our next one – please reach out to my office. Send me an email at [email protected] and we can get you included in our next issue. 

Updates & Announcements from City Hall

City Hall Updates 🆕

City Council met on Wednesday and Thursday this week. By a vote of 21-3, we finally lifted the tobogganing ban that had frustrated so many folks in our community! Thank you to everyone who wrote in to support this move, including the more than 530 of you who signed my petition which I presented at the Council meeting. Thanks to your support, the by-law has been changed and the signs will be removed. Now we just need to wait on the snow!

Council also voted to request more detailed proposals on adding new RapidTO bus lanes on Dufferin, Steeles, Lawrence and Finch. I hear daily about how difficult it is to move around this city – from transit riders, drivers, and cyclists. When tackling our congestion problem, we have to make sure we aren’t making it worse. I look forward to seeing more details on what staff recommend for these new lanes to determine if the expected benefits outweigh the impacts in costs, travel time and safety for other road users.

Next week will be a special meeting where Council can propose amendments to Mayor Chow’s Budget. I look forward to bringing all the feedback I’ve been hearing through email, in our community, and at this week’s Budget Town Hall to advocate for some common-sense improvements to the Budget.

Small Business Spotlight 

Ghoroaa Restaurant 🆕

Congratulations to Ghoroaa on opening their second location at Kennedy and Eglinton!

Many folks have come to love Ghoroaa’s delish Bangladeshi cuisine at its location in Danforth Village / “Banglatown”. It was a pleasure to join them for the grand opening of their new location and toast their success. Soon everyone will get a chance to try the amazing food from this family-run business.

Congratulations to the whole team – and hope everyone can stop by soon to either location and check them out.

Michael Garron Hospital Foundation 🆕

Special shout out to all of the businesses who have taken the time to support Michael Garron Hospital with their notable contributions. Show your love this Valentine’s Day and go check out the local businesses below! 

Local Events

🚨 We need YOU to help Plan the 2024 East York Canada Day Festival 🚨

We need your help organizing the 67th East York Canada Day Parade and Festival for 2024. This event is run entirely by volunteers and requires community members to serve on the organizing committee – we need your help to make sure the event can take place in 2024 and beyond.

If you can provide organizing assistance, or have new ideas to bring to the event, please reach out at [email protected] for more information. 

More information on the event can also be found at www.eycdc.ca

EY Canada Day meetings are open to all. Our next committee meeting is on February 28, 2024 at 7 p.m. at Stan Wadlow Clubhouse.

This is a much beloved event and it’s counting on our community to keep this family fun, long standing event going.

Model Railroad Club of Toronto 🆕

The Model Railroad Club of Toronto is back with their annual shows featuring their miniature version of Eastern Ontario in the late 1950’s railroading.

Your visit will be an excellent opportunity to view their 3,200 square foot O-Scale model railway nearing completion. More scenery has been completed including addition of new bridges, industrial scenes, super-detailing and refinements to the signal system.

Their digital control system has been updated allowing more trains to operate over the entire mainline and in the yards. There’s lots to see so you do not want to miss out on this unique display!

What makes this even greater is that all proceeds go into the reconstruction.

To learn more and/or buy tickets, please visit: http://www.modelrailroadclub.com/

Family Day Skate Day at Ted Reeve Arena 🆕

I’m very happy to welcome everyone back for my annual Family Day Skate. This year, we’ll be hosting it in the newly-renovated Ted Reeve Arena ! 

This vital community hub was closed between April 2023 until this past January 2024 to undergo a major SOGR renovation. We are all thrilled to see it reopen and excited to give more families a chance to lace up and check it out.

We hope you and your family can join us for a skate day on Sunday, February 18, 2024 from 1-4pm!

60s Music Night featuring Fraser/Daley and Skylark 🆕

Join Beach United Church for a night of fantastic live 60s music, dancing, cash bar, raffles, and more with headliners Fraser/Daley (Alec Fraser and Mike Daley) and openers Skylark. 

The tickets are $50.00 and proceeds will go towards Beach United’s year-round community programs.

If you’re interested in learning more and/or buying tickets, please visit: https://www.zeffy.com/en-CA/ticketing/afc76e4e-2c59-4232-81ef-d1ce1e81069e.

Jersey Nights 🆕

Join Centre 55 for a fabulous night out that will include a gourmet dinner followed by a spectacular performance of Jersey Nights celebrating the music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons at the Georgian Theatre.

If you’re interested in learning more and/or buying tickets, please visit: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/jersey-nights-celebrating-the-music-of-frankie-valli-and-the-four-seasons-tickets-808043308287

Light It Up – Lantern Program 🆕

Calling all East Enders! You’re all invited to join East End Arts, Shadowland Theatre, Workman Arts and the Crescent Town Club for the fourth annual Light It Up Lantern Celebration! Together, let’s celebrate the Spring Equinox by filling the east end with lanterns of light and love!

The steps to participate are easy:

Step 1: Make your own paper lantern at a free lantern-making workshop. These workshops will take place on Thursdays from February 1, 2024 – March 14, 2024 at Crescent Town Club. 

Step 2: Bring your completed lanterns to the Light It Up Lantern Parade to Dentonia Park to share some light with the east Toronto community ❤️ The event will take place on Sunday, March 17, 2024 at 7:15pm. 

If you’re interested in learning more and/or signing up for the lantern classes, please visit: https://eastendarts.ca/light-it-up-2024/ 

February Seniors Market 🆕

Centre 55 continues to support the fresh food market initiative at a Toronto seniors housing building at 828 Kingston Road. This Market runs on the first Wednesday of every month and is a great opportunity for residents to purchase fresh produce at a reduced rate onsite.

They are looking for a few volunteers to assist with selling the food and assisting the seniors. This is a great opportunity to earn volunteer hours or just to be a part of a great program that benefits seniors in our community.

If you’re interested, please contact Jade Maitland at 416-691-1113 ext. 224. 

Annual Soup Tasting Competition 🆕

Join Centre 55 for their Annual Soup Tasting Competition. Please see the flyer below for more details. 

No reservations are required! 

Kingston Rd Village – Concert Series 🆕

The Kingston Rd Village is back with two exciting and affordable concerts!  These two side-by-side concerts are organized by Toronto Symphony bassist Timothy Dawson and violin star and U of T professor, Mark Fewer.

Professionals and senior U of T students will perform two Orchestral Suites of J.S. Bach, the E major violin concerto (soloist Mark Fewer) and the Concerto for Oboe and Violin (Mark Fewer and TSO principal oboist Sarah Jeffrey). ‘

For the first time, we’ll be welcoming members of the University of Toronto Graduate Oratorio Ensemble and vocal faculty to perform two gorgeous cantatas. It’ll be a musical feast!

The concerts are an amazing opportunity for these gifted students to perform side-by-side with their teachers from the Toronto Symphony and the University of Toronto. Come witness performances by the next generation of exceptional music-makers!

The first one is tomorrow (Saturday, February 10, 2024) at 7:30pm – go check it out! 

To learn more and/or buy tickets, please visit: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/back-two-bach-feb-10th-tickets-776298488677?aff=ebdssbdestsearch&keep_tld=1.

St. Luke’s Anglican Church – A Pancake Supper 

St. Luke’s Anglican Church is hosting a fundraising event, A Pancake Supper, on February 13, 2024 from 5:30pm-7:30pm.

Come and support their fundraiser by indulging in some delicious pancakes and meet others in the community.

Super Bowl Food Drive 

Feed Scarborough’s Super Bowl Food Drive is happening tomorrow (Saturday, February 10, 2024). Please consider supporting Feed Scarborough and our neighbours in need by donating non-perishable goods – several grocery stores in our community will be collecting donations (see list in the flyer below). 

Music for the Soul with Opera Revue  

They are excited to present the hit opera show that everyone is talking about! Opera Revue aims to take away the exclusive nature of opera, and make it accessible for all audiences. 

Tickets are pay-what-you-can, and support Beach United’s year-round community programs. 

If you’d like to purchase a ticket, please visit: Music for the Soul with Opera Revue

Valentine’s Day High Tea  

Join Centre 55 for a Valentine’s Day High Tea this Sunday, February 11, 2024 from 2:30pm-4pm at Centre 55.

Please contact Tamara at [email protected] or call 416-691-1113 to reserve a spot. Payment is due before or by February 7, 2024.

Members of the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra (TSYO) in Recital 

Kingston Road United Church is hosting a series of monthly recitals featuring Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra musicians in brief, informal recitals. Each recital features different instruments from the orchestra. 

For more information, visit: TSYO Recitals.

Community Programs & Employment Events


SING! is back and they are open for Winter and Spring 2024 sessions. If you’re interested in learning more, visit: https://www.theredwoodtheatre.com/

Access Alliance – Snow Removal Services  

Need help with your snow shovelling? As the season gets colder and snowier, Access Alliance has organized a snow shovelling service. 

For more information, please contact Shaheda at 416-699-7920 ext. 4226 or Access Alliance Snow Removal at [email protected].

Queer Youth United  

Queer Youth United (QYU) at Beach United Church, 140 Wineva Ave. every Thursday from 4-7pm.

QYU is is a 2SLGBTQ+ youth group for ages 15-29, where you can come and engage with others in a safe space within the community, while sharing meals, finding support and resources. 

You are welcome to drop-by at any time during the 4pm-7pm time period!

For more info: instagram.com/QueerYouthUnited or beachunitedchurch.com

WoodGreen Community Services: Need for Volunteers 

WoodGreen Community Services runs a free tax clinic and are seeking volunteers to assist them in this meaningful initiative.

Their clinic helps low-income individuals navigate the complexities of tax preparation, ensuring they receive the refunds and benefits they are entitled to. However, the demand for their services has grown considerably each year, and they are struggling to meet this increased demand due to a shortage of volunteer tax preparers. 

If you’re interested in volunteering with WoodGreen, please contact Ansley Dawson at [email protected] or 416-645-6000 ext. 1331.  

SCHC – Fall Bereavement Support Groups 

Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities is a not-for-profit organization that provides a variety of holistic programs to support the health and well-being of the community. One of the programs offered is the Bereavement Peer – Support Groups. They provide several different types of virtual and in-person options. 

For more information, please visit: SCHC – Bereavement Care.

The Neighbourhood Group – Job Assistance 

The Neighbourhood Group is offering FREE Employment Services to help you prepare for and find work. Whether you’re out of school and looking for a job, new to Canada and want your first Canadian work experience, looking to change your career, or trying to get back into the workforce, they have various training programs, work placements, workshopsonline job board, and resource centres.

For more information, visit The Neighbourhood Group.

Seniors Assistance Home Maintenance (SAHM) Program

The Seniors Assistance Home Maintenance (SAHM) program has been organized to support the seniors community with services ranging from garden and yard work to light housekeeping. 

If you or anyone you know is looking for more assistance around their home, contact Kevin at 416-531-8447 or email [email protected] for more information.

Thorncliffe Park Youth Wellness Hub 

We’re thrilled to share that in-person services are available at the Thorncliffe Park Youth Wellness Hub, a new welcoming space at East York Town Centre that provides health, wellness, employment and other services for youth and young adults! To access services, come by the Thorncliffe Park Youth Wellness Hub during its drop-in hours: Monday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

It is located at East York Town Centre, 45 Overlea Blvd. (Please use mall Entrance 6; the Youth Wellness Hub is located beside Dollarama). All services are free and open to everyone aged 12 to 25. Youth and young adults do not need a health card, family doctor or medical referral. Services include wellness counselling, peer support, employment services, settlement services, food support, primary care and more. No matter what you might be dealing with, their team can help.

For more information, please visit Thorncliffe Youth Club or follow them on Instagram @ThorncliffeYouthHub.

Neighbourhood News

By-law Enforcement: Dogs Off-Leash Parks 🆕

Bylaw is relying on complaint data to focus higher levels of enforcement on the following problem dogs off-leash parks with the hope that education and escalated enforcement will encourage responsible dog ownership: 

  • Dentonia Park 
  • Fairmount Park 
  • Woodbine Beach Park 
  • Woodbine Park 

We understand the importance of exercise for your beloved pet. However, it is important to practice Responsible Dog Ownership and keep your dog on leash in areas that are not marked off as official dog off-leash areas. 

Please take the time to visit the following dogs off-leash areas in Beaches-East York by visiting the interactive map.

Be a good neighbour and be mindful of your surroundings! 

Scarborough Bluffs West Revitalization Study 

The City of Toronto and Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) have initiated an Environmental Assessment for the Scarborough Bluffs West Revitalization Study (SBW). 

The SBW study will explore the renewal of and improvements to approximately 4.5 km of Lake Ontario shoreline, from Balmy Beach at Silver Birch Avenue to Bluffer’s Park. The study will explore opportunities to preserve and enhance the Bluffs’ natural features and minimize hazards such as erosion, while improving how the public access, move through, and experience the waterfront. Please see the attached Notice of Commencement for more information.

The public will have opportunities for input at key stages throughout the project. Consultation will start in the coming weeks, and opportunities will be advertised on the project website, by email, in local newspapers, on social media pages, and through mail to households and businesses in the area. More information, including details about the first round of public consultation, will be shared at toronto.ca/ScarboroughBluffsWest.

To ensure you receive project updates including information about consultations, register for the project mailing list.

Work in the Ward

O’Connor Construction Update: February 2024 🆕

The contractor is back onsite to complete the water main and sewer work on the west side of O’Connor Drive. My office has requested the contractor have TWO crews working in each direction to finish this work quicker. Crews will be beginning at Curity Ave, with one crew going north to Bermondsey and one crew going south to Sandra to complete this work.  

Staff have confirmed that crews will be working OVERNIGHT from February 7, 2024 – February 11, 2024 in order to facilitate faster construction as they approach the St. Clair and O’Connor Dr intersection. We are hopeful this will assist with keeping traffic moving.

The water main and sewer infrastructure is the first phase of this work, with the major streetscape reconstruction to begin in late Spring 2024.

Building a great city takes time, and  we thank you for your ongoing patience during this critical infrastructure work.  

This work is projected to be complete by early Fall 2024.

My office continues to monitor the ongoing construction, which we know has been very disruptive for anyone attempting to travel through the area. We have continued to request additional notice for any closures that are required, and to maintain as many lanes for travel as possible. 

If you have any concerns or suggestions, please reach out to my office.

Toronto Hydro Overhead & Underground Civil & Electrical Upgrade; Project Danforth 🆕

Toronto Hydro is pleased to inform you they will be improving the electricity system in our ward. 

The boundaries for the project include Dentonia Park Avenue (North), Victoria Park Avenue (East), Danforth Avenue (South), and Eldon Avenue (West). We expect the work to begin March 2024.

Coxwell Station Stairway SOGR  

As a part of the network-wide Subway Station state of good repair program, The TTC will repair stairs inside Coxwell Subway Station from Jan 15 to the end of March 2024. One set of the stairway and the escalator will remain open to customers.

Access to Broadview Station Restored  

Good news – at long last, access to Broadview Station has been restored and all regular bus services have resumed. Streetcar service is expected to resume in mid-February. Thank you for your patience in supporting necessary infrastructure and road work improvements.

TTC Service Changes 

501 Queen

The 501 Queen route will generally operate along the following sections until further notice, unless a temporary diversion is required such as upcoming work at Queen and De Grassi (see below).

  • West-end: 501 Queen streetcars will operate between Roncesvalles Avenue and McCaul Loop (Queen and McCaul). Once construction along The Queensway is completed, streetcars are anticipated to resume travel as far west as Long Branch Loop.
  • Downtown: 501B Queen replacement buses will continue to operate between Queen Street/Bathurst Street and Broadview Avenue/Gerrard Street, diverting around the Queen Street closure due to Ontario Line work.

501D Queen buses are currently operating in the east end on Queen Street between Church Street and Neville Park Loop.

Starting October 8 until further notice, the 501D Queen route will convert into a streetcar service.

Toronto Hydro Overhead Electrical Upgrade; Project Dentonia Park Avenue Overhead Rebuild Phase 1A 

Toronto Hydro is hard at work to improve the electricity system in Ward 19. Please see the detailed graphic below for more information.

The boundaries for the project include Rosevear Avenue (North), Victoria Park Avenue (East), Dentonia Park Avenue (South), and Dawes Road (West). 

Toronto Hydro Overhead & Underground Civil & Electrical Work: Glen Manor Drive 

Toronto Hydro will be conducting further infrastructure upgrades in our community. Please see the detailed graphic below for more information.

The boundaries for the project include a section of Glen Manor Drive between Duart Park Road (North) and Queen Street East (South). 

REVISED: Hydro Work – Danforth Overhead Rebuild Phase 2A 

Toronto Hydro is currently doing some upgrades on Danforth. The boundaries for the project include Dentonia Park Avenue (North), Thyra Avenue (East), Danforth Avenue (South), and Avonlea Boulevard (West). Staff expects the work to begin in February 2024.

City Wide Events

One Fare Program Begins February 26! 🆕

On February 5, 2024, the Ontario government announced that they are keeping costs low for transit riders with the launch of the “One Fare Program”, which will save transit riders an average of $1600 a year.

Starting February 26, 2024, customers who are paying with a PRESTO card, PRESTO in Google Wallet, debit or credit card, will be able to transfer for free between the TTC and Brampton Transit, Durham Region Transit, MiWay and York Region Transit within the two-hour transfer window.

Also, TTC customers paying single-ride fares connecting to and from GO Transit within a three-hour transfer period will benefit from a fare discount, making their TTC fare-free.

Celebrate Black History Month 🆕

The City of Toronto is proud to produce and support events during Black History Month. Explore and celebrate the heritage, traditions and culture of Black Canadians through exhibits, events, public art and more across Toronto.

To enjoy Black History Month events and activities, please visit: https://www.toronto.ca/explore-enjoy/history-art-culture/black-history-month/.

Toronto Public Health – Community Clinics  

Toronto Public Health is hosting community clinics to help students catch-up on their school-based vaccines. The clinics will provide vaccines against the following nine designated diseases under Ontario’s Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA), in addition to the HPV and Hepatitis B vaccines:  

  • Measles
  • Mumps
  • Rubella
  • Diphtheria
  • Tetanus
  • Polio
  • Meningococcal
  • Pertussis (whooping cough)
  • Varicella (chickenpox) – only applies to students born on or after 2010.

ISPA requires that all students be vaccinated against the above nine designated diseases or have a valid exemption. Parents or guardians must submit their child’s vaccination information to Toronto Public Health. 

The Toronto Public Health community clinics are by appointment only and residents are encouraged to book an appointment online through the Toronto Public Health Appointment Booking System. An OHIP card is not required. 

Vaccination is important for the health of each student and the school community. More information is available on the City’s Required Vaccines for Students webpage

Q: What are Toronto Public Health’s community clinics?     

A: Toronto Public Health is hosting community clinics for students who live or study in Toronto to help them stay up-to-date with their school-based vaccines. The clinics will provide vaccines against nine designated diseases students are required to be vaccinated against under Ontario’s Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA), unless they have a valid exemption. These clinics are appointment based and residents are encouraged to book an appointment at TPHBookings.ca. 

Q: Who is eligible for these vaccines?     

A: Before booking a vaccination appointment, find eligibility information on the City’s Toronto Public Health – Student Vaccines webpage

Book an appointment now: TPH Bookings

Toronto Community Champaign Award 2024 

The City of Toronto, in partnership with United Way Greater Toronto, has opened nominations for the 2024 Toronto Community Champion Award! The annual award recognizes the extraordinary contributions community organizations make to support the health and solidarity of Toronto residents, particularly those from Black, Indigenous and other equity-deserving communities. The award is an opportunity for residents to shine a spotlight on organizations that are known for their community collaboration. 

Nominations are open until Sunday, February 11 at 11:55 p.m. The nomination process and eligibility criteria is available on the City’s Toronto Community Champion Award webpage

Q: Who is eligible to be nominated for the Toronto Community Champion Award? 

A: To be eligible for the Award, priority will be given to organizations that:  

  • Are community-focused by adapting services and approaches to respond to the needs of a geographical location, identity, interests or other demographic characteristics of the neighbourhood/community.
  • Demonstrate an inclusive and innovative approach to their work.
  • Serve Indigenous, Black and/or equity-deserving groups and communities and areas.
  • Provide community service as their primary focus, rather than fundraising or grant making.
  • Have not been recognized previously for the same initiative with a Toronto Community Champion Award.

 Q: How will recipients be honoured for the Toronto Community Champion Award? 

A: The City will announce award recipients in May, when they will be honoured at an award ceremony. 

The #CityOfTO 2024 Toronto Community Champion Award is open for nominations! This is a great opportunity for Toronto residents to shine a spotlight on, and nominate, a local organization making a difference 💙 Find details and nominate: toronto.ca/CommunityChampion

CaféTO 2024 

The improved CaféTO curb lane program is now open for applications! Curb lane cafés are outdoor dining areas located on the street, directly adjacent to a curb, that provide expanded temporary outdoor dining space.  

 Local restaurants and bar owners and operators interested in expanding their dining space outdoors can apply online for 2024 curb lane café permits. Applications will be accepted until March 1, with the expectation that at least 90 per cent of approved curb lane cafés will be installed by Victoria Day weekend. New operators must submit an application online. City staff will contact 2023 operators with instructions on how to renew their permit. Submit online and find more information available on the City’s CaféTO Program webpage

 Made permanent last year, the curb lane CaféTO program has transformed Toronto’s main streets, revitalized neighbourhoods and supported hundreds of local restaurants while helping to protect thousands of jobs during a challenging time for the hospitality industry. 

  Q: What are the key dates for the 2024 CaféTO curb lane season? 

A: The program timeline for CaféTO curb lane cafés summer season:  

  • Permit application and renewals open online from January 15 to March 1.
  • Temporary accessible platform designs are due from March 15 to April 15.
  • At least 90 per cent of curb lane cafés are installed by Victoria Day weekend, May 17 to 20.
  • Deadline for temporary accessible platform installation is June 1.

  Q: What improvements can business operators expect this season? 

A: Key improvements to the CaféTO curb lane program this year include: 

  • Earlier installation of traffic safety equipment needed to operate curb lane cafés so that at least 90 per cent of participating restaurants can open their curb lane patio by the Victoria Day long weekend
  • A more user-friendly permit application process for new restaurant operators.
  • Enhanced City of Toronto staff support to accelerate permit application and platform review processes for restaurant operators.
  • Opportunities to improve the “look and feel” of curb lane cafés by painting or wrapping barriers and concrete blocks.

Curb Lane Café applications and renewals are now open! Restaurant, café and bar owners can apply to request expanded temporary outdoor dining space. Applications close March 1.  

Get patio season ready! ⛱️ Learn more and apply: CaféTO

Toronto Vacant Home Tax Occupancy Deadline 

Owners of properties in Toronto that are classified within the residential property tax class are required to declare the occupancy status of their property every year, even if they reside there. However, the tax does not apply to:

  • properties that are the principal residence of the owner
  • properties that are the principal residence of a permitted occupant or occupied by a tenant (including business tenants)
  • properties that qualify for an exemption

Declarations of occupancy status can be submitted through the online portal or by mail, either by the property owner or an authorized representative acting on their behalf.

Owners of properties subject to the tax will be issued a Vacant Home Tax Notice at the end of March and payment will be due in three instalments in May, June and July.

You do not have to declare if:

  • your property is not yet assessed
  • the property is classed as multi-residential, commercial or industrial
  • the property is classified by MPAC as vacant land, parking space or a condominium locker

Declare the 2023 occupancy status of your residential property. Owners of properties in Toronto that are classified within the residential property tax class are required to declare occupancy status every year. The deadline to declare is February 29, 2024.

To declare online, visit: https://www.toronto.ca/services-payments/property-taxes-utilities/vacant-home-tax/ 

TD Park People Grants 

Exciting news! The TD Park People Grants Program launched earlier this week. The $2,000 grants will support 70 groups hosting park events in 21 urban areas across Canada. Successful applicants will use the grant to host two events supporting the ongoing care and protection of green spaces through environmental education, sustainability and stewardship initiatives. 

The application deadline is Tuesday, February 27, 2024. 

Additional Information

Make the right call! 

The City of Toronto, in partnership with the Toronto Police Service, unveiled the “Make the Right Call” social media campaign.

The campaign aims to increase awareness among Toronto residents about when to call 311, 211, 911, the police non-emergency line or when to file an online police report.

The five-week campaign will highlight a different service number weekly, accompanied by compelling real-life scenarios that illustrate precisely when to make that specific call. 

Learn more and see a few campaign graphics on the City’s “Make the Right Call” webpage: www.toronto.ca/home/311-toronto-at-your-service/make-the-right-call.

Thanks for taking the time to read my bi-weekly newsletter! If you have any events, news, or ideas to share for our next one – please reach out to my office! Send me an email at [email protected] and we can get you included in our next issue.

Have questions, comments or concerns? Just hit reply to this email and get in touch with me.

For real-time updates on the local issues that matter to you most, please follow any of my social media accounts! 

Facebook – Twitter – Instagram