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Toronto at Your Service

2018 municipal election update

Black box with white text reading VOTE October 22On July 27, the Province of Ontario announced its intention to pass legislation that would reduce the number of Toronto City Council seats from 47 to 25. The proposed 25 ward structure is intended to align with federal and provincial riding boundaries. For up-to-date information on your municipal election, visit the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing website or toronto.ca/elections.

Summer fun in the city

Sugar Beach

Take advantage of one of the many great things to do in the city during the dog days of summer:

When not to swim in Lake Ontario

Storm clouds loom over beachDid you know it’s unsafe to swim in Lake Ontario within 48 hours of a rainfall? Rainwater flows along the roads picking up pollutants and making its way into the lake. Bacteria from combined sewers can overflow into the lake as well – a major issue in many older cities. Discover what the City is doing to manage this problem and improve the quality of our lake and river water. And visit Toronto Public Health’s online beaches water quality portal anytime to find out when and where it’s safe to swim.

Plan your routes as construction season continues across Toronto

City street with a road closed sign and construction equipmentConstruction season is well underway and this year the City has more than 200 projects planned to improve Toronto’s aging infrastructure. These projects, which include approximately 60 major endeavours, will make improvements to roads, bridges, sewers and watermains. The City takes a coordinated approach to construction to reduce disruption to the public. To learn about road restrictions and plan travel across the city, residents and visitors are encouraged to use the online map found at toronto.ca/roadrestrictions.

Artists selected for East End Bridges to Art

Street artists Jason Pinney and Kirsten McCrae with their murals
Street artists Jason Pinney and Kirsten McCrae with their murals

Street artists Kirsten McCrae and Jason Pinney have been selected to create vibrant, community-focused murals as part of the East End Bridges to Art program. Their murals, the first of nine planned in East York, are located on underpasses at Gerrard St. E. at Carlaw Avenue and Jones Avenue between Gerrard St. E. and Boultbee Avenue. The artists will begin painting their murals this summer, with an official unveiling event planned for the fall. As part of the program, both street artists will mentor other emerging artists from the community. This initiative is part of StreetARToronto.

Port Lands Flood Protection

Construction on a piece of land in a Toronto harbour in Lake OntarioIn an extreme weather event, floodwaters from the Don River would damage parts of the Port Lands, Leslieville and South Riverdale. Waterfront Toronto received funding last year from the City of Toronto, Province of Ontario and Government of Canada for the Port Lands Flood Protection Project that will create two new outlets for the Don River (including a kilometer-long river valley), clean up polluted land and build new roads, bridges, utilities and public trails. When complete, Toronto will have an additional 40 hectares of greenspace and the foundation for a new island community. Sign up for monthly updates.

Another well-attended Toronto Newcomer Day

Toronto Newcomer Day logoThe City of Toronto and its partners hosted the fourth annual Toronto Newcomer Day at Nathan Phillips Square on May 29. The event, which was emceed by two newcomers from the Toronto Newcomer Council, included an information fair, City Hall tours, a citizenship ceremony, a stage show and interactive activities. More than 8,500 people attended this year’s event, including newcomers, representatives from 80 agencies and 21 City divisions that serve newcomers, residents and four private-sector sponsors.

Get Involved

New datasets available

A man working on a laptopTwo new open datasets are available that can be downloaded and used to improve our city:

  • 2017 Seniors Survey, which could help us better understand the needs of Toronto’s aging population
  • Daily Shelter Occupancy stats, which could be used to come up with solutions that better serve vulnerable communities who require access to shelter

Members of the public are also hard at work as part of the Vision Zero Challenge using transportation-related datasets to develop solutions that will make all Toronto road users safer now and in the future.

Tenants First – one year at work

Two hands holding puzzle pieces that fit togetherIt’s been a year since City Council adopted Phase 1 of Tenants First, a phased plan aimed at creating better living conditions and experiences for all social housing and Toronto Community Housing (TCHC) tenants.

Here’s a summary of what’s been achieved through the plan so far:

  • A Tenant Advisory Panel was established to guide recommendations and engagement with tenants
  • An interim funding model that funds capital repairs for TCHC was approved
  • An interim process for selecting two new Tenant Directors for the TCHC Board was established
  • 204 new properties of supportive housing within TCHC rooming houses were created

What’s next?

  • A new Seniors Housing Unit will be developed to help tenants in Toronto Community Housing seniors’ buildings to experience a better quality of life

Improving bike parking in Toronto

A hand holding a cellphone with the BikeSpace app open on itIf you’ve ever struggled to find a parking space for your bike, you’ll appreciate the function behind the new BikeSpace community-built app. Using this free app will help City staff, businesses and property managers improve bicycle parking facilities by highlighting areas where new bike parking is needed and reporting bike racks that are broken, full or have abandoned bikes. This web app, created in partnership with Civic Tech Toronto and Code for Canada, is easy to use, builds a public map of bicycle parking problems in Toronto and creates a data-driven picture to help bring about improvements.

Your Toronto

Learn from an Artist at the Library

A colourful graphic depiction of various art suppliesGet creative with Artists in the Library. Presented in partnership with the Toronto Arts Council, Artists in the Library brings local artists to Toronto Public Library branches across the city. Enjoy workshops focused on storytelling, podcasting, media arts and much more. Programs run from September to December at 10 library branches.

Bike City

Picture of a woman riding a unicycle in the 1950sThe City’s Market Gallery exhibit Bike City: How industry, advocacy and infrastructure shaped Toronto’s cycling culture tells the story of the bicycle and its impact on Toronto’s past, present and future. Running until November 17, this exhibit showcases 13 Toronto-made bikes alongside archival photographs, early advertisements and artifacts from private and public collections. Three illustrated timelines also outline the history and development of Toronto’s bike industry, its bike infrastructure and the many different ways the bike has been used in the city.

Check out all the new additions at Toronto Zoo

Two women on a zipline looking back and smilingMeet some of the newest additions to the Zoo family, including our baby gorilla, Charlie, rhino calves, Kiran and Theodore, and Arctic wolf pups. Enjoy fun events for the whole family, including movies, painting, yoga and a toy animal hospital, at Wild Weekdays at the Zoo, until Friday, August 31. Looking for an adventure? Take a ride on the Toronto Zoo’s new Wild Rouge Zipline and Canopy Tour. And don’t forget to check out the Special Events Calendar and Zoo Education Programs, too.

HOT Eats is back

Various delicious-looking items of foodIn 2018, the City of Toronto’s Cultural Hotspot is celebrating the vibrant arts, culture and community in central/north Scarborough. As part of that celebration, the Cultural Hotspot’s annual HOT Eats program is back, this time highlighting 56 delicious and diverse restaurants in north and central Scarborough.

Six-storey mural officially unveiled at Bendale Acres

Six-storey mural of a tree on the side of a buildingsix-storey intergenerational mural on the east and south-east sides of Bendale Acres on Lawrence Avenue East celebrates life and highlights Bendale Acres’ role as a community hub for healthy aging. Funded by the City of Toronto’s StreetARToronto program, VIBE Arts (a charitable organization for children and youth) worked with Toronto Long-Term Care Homes and Services to create the large outdoor mural. The intergenerational art project was a collaboration between youth, Bendale Acres residents, the community and professional artist Sean Martindale and was unveiled in June.

Another successful year for the Toronto Challenge

Toronto Challenge participants warm up for the raceRunners and walkers of all ages and abilities came together to raise awareness and funds to enhance the quality of life for seniors throughout the city. The Toronto Challenge, presented by MonsterMortgage.ca, included a 5K run, 5K walk and 1K fun walk. CTV Toronto News weather anchor Anwar Knight hosted the awards ceremony, presenting medals to the fastest, oldest and youngest participants. This year’s event is expected to raise more than $300,000 for non-profit organizations supporting seniors.

Environmental Initiatives

Get HELP to improve your home

Home Energy Loan Program logoWant to enjoy a more comfortable, energy-efficient home while reducing emissions that contribute to climate change? In addition to the rebates available from utility companies for installing energy-efficient windows, insulation, heating and cooling systems, heat pumps, rooftop solar and more, the City offers low-interest loans up to $75,000 to cover the cost of these improvements. Rates start at two per cent and you can repay the loan at any time without penalty. Learn more about the City’s Home Energy Loan Program (HELP).

Eco-Roof Incentive Program

Eco Roof Incentive Program logo in green and blue with a small leafTime for a new roof? Consider a green or a cool roof: either one will help to reduce your building’s energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as help keep our city cool. Through the Eco-Roof Incentive Program, the City offers grants to support the installation of green and cool roofs on Toronto’s residential, industrial, commercial and institutional buildings. To date, the program has helped to green or cool more than 330 rooftops across Toronto. Yours could be next. Learn more at livegreentoronto.ca.

Water-efficient landscaping: Easy as one, two, tree

Close up image of a hose with water spouting out of itIt’s summer and we all want our outdoor spaces to be lush, green and vibrant – and you don’t need a lot of water to accomplish this. Knowing when and how to mow your lawn, using compost to add nutrients and watering wisely will increase your lawn and garden’s capacity to hold water. To save water, promote growth and control weeds, check out the City’s other great lawn and garden care practices (for example: plant native trees and plants because they are low maintenance and drought-tolerant as they’ve adapted to local climate and soils).

Awards and Accolades

City recognized with two Excellence in Municipal Systems Awards

Project Tracking Portal solutions and Parking Tags Administrative Penalty System teams.
Project Tracking Portal solutions and Parking Tags Administrative Penalty System teams.

For the second year in a row, the City of Toronto has won two Excellence in Municipal Systems awards. The Municipal Information Systems Association’s (MISA) Ontario chapter recognized the City’s Parking Tags Administrative Penalty System and the City’s Project Tracking Portal solutions for furthering the City’s objectives using information technology. Each year, MISA Ontario recognizes municipalities and individuals within municipalities who have successfully undertaken a significant initiative or set a new standard that others may follow in the use and delivery of technology. These initiatives are another way the City of Toronto is modernizing to improve service to the public and create efficiencies.