Riverdale-East York Daily Updates: May-June 2020

MPPs hosting fight against hate in east end tonight

East-end MPPs Rima Berns-McGown and Peter Tabuns are hosting a public forum to fight hatred after the recent incident at the Michael Garron Hospital construction site. It takes place tonight from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

More details in the Things To Do column.

Fletcher to support police defunding motion “of course”

Toronto-Danforth councillor Paula Fletcher assures constituents she favours the motion by councillors Josh Matlow and Kristyn Wong-Tam to cut the police budget by 10 per cent and divert the savings to community programs.

“As a longtime advocate for reducing and reallocating the police budget towards social and community programs and mental health, of course I am planning to support the proposed Matlow/Wong-Tam motion,” according to a statement posted on her website on June 22. “I want to make this very clear as I have been hearing from a number of people who are uncertain about my position. I have always voted and worked to address the longstanding issues with police accountability and spending in our city.”

The motion to defund is on the agenda for the city council meeting on June 29–30.

Start signing up for CampTO tomorrow

Registration for the city’s new day camps initiative, CampTO, starts in this area tomorrow. Sign up by phone or online to send kids from age 6 to 12 for the camps that feature physical distancing, regular health checks and other measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Camp locations include lots of sites in the Riverdale-East York area. Find out all about it on Streeter.

Hydro pole hit in Broadview North area

A female was sent to hospital as a precaution after a vehicle knocked over a hydro pole at Broadview and Cosburn avenues, police reported on Twitter at about 8 a.m. today.

The roads were closed for about three hours as Toronto Hydro attended the scene.

Wider reopening finally gets the okay

You can soon take the family out to a local restaurant or hang out in a local bar again. Take the kids to the pool or splash pad. Go shopping for more than groceries. Get a haircut or get your nails done. All this and more as Toronto reopens businesses, cultural places and recreational centres in the move to Stage 2 of the province’s reopening plan.

Read more about today’s long-awaited announcement.

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East York’s @Home celebration of Canada Day underway

There’s no parade or park festivities on July 1 in East York this year, but still lots of celebrations planned. In fact, they’ve already begun with weekly challenges to residents and more to come. You can still get in on the fun. Get the full story.

Search leads to child porn charges

Police investigating the possession of child pornography executed a search warrant in the Danforth Avenue and Victoria Park Avenue area yesterday. Police allege a man accessed, possessed and made available child sexual abuse material.

A 22-year-old Toronto man was arrested and charged with two counts of possession of child pornography, two counts of accessing child pornography, and making child pornography available. He was to appear in court yesterday.

Local councillors join push to rename Dundas Street

Toronto-Danforth councillor Paula Fletcher is among five city councillors who sent a letter to the city manager yesterday in support of Mayor John Tory’s call to review the name of Dundas Street.

The street needs to be renamed because it honours a British lord who allegedly opposed the abolition of slavery, the councillors say. Read about it.


Police arrest police in East York human trafficking case

The Toronto Police Services’ human trafficking team has charged 10 men, including a 51 Division officer, with obtaining sexual services from persons under 18. The team was investigating men who had purchased sexual services from a 16-year-old girl in the area of Pape and Cosburn avenues, police revealed in a media release yesterday. Here’s what we know about this so far.

East-end farmers’ markets coming back?

City-run farmers’ markets — like at the East York Civic Centre, East Lynn Park Park or Ashbridges Bay — may make a reappearance this summer, if not earlier.

The city says it is working with the markets it operates to get them back up and running while complying with the new public health requirements. Read more about it.

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Arrest made for Danforth-Coxwell break-ins

Police announced today they have arrested a man in an investigation of break-ins at commercial businesses near Danforth and Coxwell avenues from April 25 to April 29.

A 39-year-old Toronto man faces three counts of break and enter, one count of mischief Under $5,000, five counts of failing to comply with recognizance, and one count of break and enter with intent. He is to appear in court today.

Local businesses fear eviction for unpaid rent

How many east-end stores will be left after the pandemic has passed? Some are worried they cannot pay their rents and may be shut down, despite the government’s rent-relief program. Beaches-East York councillor Brad Bradford is among those calling for a moratorium on evictions.

Get the whole story on Streeter.

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If you gotta go while in the park….

The washrooms in Riverdale and Withrow parks are scheduled to reopen this week. But for other public facilities in east-end parks, such as Stan Wadlow and Woodbine, well, you’ll just have to hold it till next week. The city is reopening about 50 parks washrooms by June 6, with the rest of the 200 washrooms to open by mid-June, the city announced today. See the story.

East-end affordable housing sites get council okay

City council approved yesterday the second phase of the Housing Now initiative to build more affordable housing, including on two east-end properties, including on Queen Street East and Danforth Avenue. The plan and the sites had been announced by Mayor John Tory two days earlier.

East-end shooting leaves man seriously wounded

A man suffered life-threatening injuries after a shooting near Main Street and Gerrard Street East, police said on Twitter yesterday. Callers reported multiple gunshots about 5 p.m. and emergency responders arrived on the scene to find an adult male suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. He was rushed to hospital. Police are investigating.


Second east-end child care centre opened for essential workers’ families

Another child care centre for children of essential and critical service workers has been opened at 84 Blake St., near Danforth snd Jones avenues. The site was the home of the Blake Street Early Learning and Child Care Centre before it was shut down with all other daycares during the pandemic.

This is the eighth such centre opened in existing city-run facilities and staffed by city child care workers. It’s also the second in the east end, after the centre at 1125 Danforth, opened in mid-April.

Danforth and Queen among sites for affordable housing

Six city-owned locations were proposed for creating affordable housing in an announcement by John Tory yesterday. One of them is where a social services building now stands and another where a library operates — both in the Beaches-East York ward, with councillor Brad Bradford’s blessing. Check out the full story.


Quick arrest after Main-Danforth bank held up

It took uniformed officers only 45 minutes to locate a suspect and recover stolen money after being called to an east-end bank robbery on Monday, police said yesterday. Read the complete story.

Danforth stores slow to reopen

They’ve been given permission to open, but many businesses on Danforth Avenue say they can’t do it just yet. Mainly because they are unable to immediately institute the precautions necessary while the pandemic is still raging.

And after two months of being shut down with no revenue, they aren’t sure they can afford the expense involved. See the full story.

Thorncliffe and Danforth shootings among wave of weekend gunfire

Two teenage males are in hospital after gunshots were exchanged Saturday afternoon on Thorncliffe Park Drive. It was one of three shootings in East York and at least six shootings across Toronto over the weekend, including two along Danforth Avenue. Get the whole story.

Restaurant pleading: Please wear a mask here

Hollandaise Diner on Danforth Avenue is worried about a recent drop in the number of customers wearing masks. It’s imploring them on the diner’s website and Instagram page to put on a mask before entering the place. See more.

Pothole-fixing blitz continues today

If you run into traffic delays today, it may be because the city is on another massive project of fixing potholes on expressways, major roads and neighbourhood streets. Sixty-six crews and 162 workers are fanning out across the city today in the final round of pothole repairs for this month, the city has announced.

About 18,000 potholes have already been repaired in May — and 105,000 so far in 2020. But in case those numbers sound impressive, bear in mind they are only slightly ahead of last year’s pothole-fixing pace — and well behind the numbers racked up by May in each of the two previous years.

If your least favourite east-end pothole is not filled in by today’s blitz, you can report it online, by email or by calling 311. It will likely be repaired within four days, the city says.

Local libraries to start accepting book returns

Pape/Danforth Library on Pape Avenue and S. Walter Stewart Library on Memorial Park Avenue are among a short list of public library branches to reopen their drop boxes for returned items on Monday. Other branches will follow on June 1. And curbside pickup of materials ordered online is to begin shortly after that.

Read the whole story on Streeter.

Some fun in the parks is back, as long as you keep your distance

Toronto is following the province’s lead and opening more of the city’s parks facilities. Yesterday, Mayor John Tory announced skateboard parks and other facilities are opening immediately, followed by soccer fields, tennis courts, picnic shelters and other amenities by the weekend.

But no team activities are being allowed and physical distancing rules are still in place. Get all the details.


Greektown restaurant shuts down permanently

The Pappas Grill is no more. The landmark Greek and mediterranean eatery has shut down in the middle of the pandemic after more than three decades on Danforth Avenue. See the news.

Bermondsey depot reopened to public for drop-off

The Bermondsey Transfer Station on Bermondsey Road is among two drop-off depots reopened — partially — to the public in Toronto. But the hours for getting rid of your garbage, recycling and yard waste are limited mainly to evenings and nights. And you have to follow public health guidelines to use the depots.

Read all about it.

Taste of Danforth among latest coronavirus victims

Taste of the Danforth and the Beaches Jazz Festival are among the latest local summer events to be cancelled, as the city has extended its cancellation of permits for major festivals to the end of August. Mayor John Tory announced the cancellations in his daily press briefing today.

See the latest news on what’s been cancelled, postponed and moved online.

GoFundMe money could help save Danforth child care centre

Blossoming Minds Learning Centre, which serves families in East York, Riverdale and Upper Beaches, was worried it wouldn’t survive the pandemic shutdown — thanks to high rents and non-existent revenue. But an online fundraising drive and the possibility of some government funding has given owners hope the centre will survive. Read the full story.

Woman arrested yesterday in saliva-spreading investigation

A 32-year-old woman faces a charge of mischief about two weeks after East York bank staff reported surveillance cameras showed someone coughing, spitting and spreading saliva around an ATM machine. See the update on this case.

Bradford lauds ShopHERE program to set up shops online

The city has joined with BIAs and other partners in a free program to set up small businesses and artists with online stores. Up to 3,000 businesses are expected to take up this offer, allowing more consumers to shop online, order delivery, and arrange pickup at places offering curbside service.

A city press release quotes Beaches-East York councillor Brad Bradford as supporting the “city’s effort to support independent businesses, especially the mom and pops that are the heart of main streets everywhere.”

Read all about it.

Demand is up at food banks but they’re coping

With so many unemployed during the pandemic, food banks in midtown and east-end wards are facing long lineups and big changes to how they serve those in need. But, so far, most are dealing with it well. See the full story and photos.

In-store shopping at some garden centres

Getting the go-ahead from Ontario premier Doug Ford, some local garden centres are throwing their doors open to shoppers, while others are sticking to curbside pickup and delivery. But all are promising to observe social distancing and other safety considerations. Here’s the rundown.

Mother’s Day brunch without taking her out

Some local restaurants are offering Mother’s Day brunches on Sunday for pickup or delivery. But you may have to order now. Check them out.

Garden centres opening with curbside pickup

With the Ontario government’s go-ahead, many garden centres and nurseries are open and operating as online businesses. Here are some local places you can place an order for delivery or pickup.

Woman identified from saliva-spreading images

Police are thanking the public today for help in identifying a woman after security camera images of a saliva-spreading incident at a Pape Avenue ATM were published a few days ago. She is being sought by police. We’ll have the full story shortly.

Here’s the updated story.

Local Canada Day festivities cancelled

East Yorkers will miss their parade, festival and fireworks on July 1 as the city has cancelled all in-person Canada Day celebrations. They’re the latest events to fall victim to the COVID-19 pandemic, pushing well into summer. Read about them and see the entire list of local cancellations.

You can continue putting your waste out, city says

With a record amount of yard waste being generated while residents are stuck at home, the city has decided to resume its collection. Yard waste pickup was cancelled early this spring but brought back in April for a four-week trial. The trial must have been a success, because now the city says yard waste is returning for the season. Just when garden centres and landscapers are also reopening their businesses.

See the full story in Streeter news.

If you used this ATM, contact a doctor

Anyone who used the bank machine at 1002 Pape Ave. between 5:38 a.m. and 9 a.m., on April 30 should get medical attention, police advise. That’s because security camera footage allegedly shows a woman coughing, spitting and spreading saliva on and around the ATM. Read the news account.

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