Photo of child and snowman by Rolian Gensaya

November/December 2017

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Toronto at Your Service

‘Tis the season

Cavalcade of Lights

The 51st annual Cavalcade of Lights presented by Great Gulf kicks off the holiday season on Saturday, November 25 at 7 p.m. at Nathan Phillips Square. This favourite Toronto tradition brings together thousands of people for the lighting of the city’s 18-metre (60-foot) Christmas tree, along with live performances, a skating party and a dazzling fireworks display. Come celebrate the wonder of the holiday season under the twinkle of more than 525,000 energy-efficient lights.

2017 Christmas Concert

With Christmas just around the corner, the City’s annual Christmas Concert on Thursday, December 21 is the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit! The joyful, fun-filled concert takes place in the Rotunda of City Hall at noon. Local choirs Toronto Beaches Children’s Chorus and Toronto Mass Choir will be joined by the Pan Fantasy Steelband and Tower Brass. And don’t forget to bring the kids because, as always, Santa Claus will make a special guest appearance!

Pay it forward this holiday season

If you’d like to brighten the season for those experiencing homelessness, the City’s annual Holiday Wish List is a one-stop resource. We asked City agencies that run shelters, drop-in centres and other services for homeless and vulnerable people what items their clients need most. Winter clothing, gift cards, toiletries, baby products and non-perishable food all top the list this year. Volunteer help is also needed at many agencies. The Holiday Wish List features agencies, items needed and volunteer opportunities.

Holiday Toy & Food Drive

The City of Toronto Holiday Toy & Food Drive, in support of the Toronto Firefighters Toy Drive and Toronto Daily Bread Food Bank, begins on November 16 at noon. Public donation bins will be located at City Hall, Metro Hall and all civic centres until December 22. Please donate unwrapped toys and/or non-perishable food items this holiday season.

Celebrate Boxing Day at the Zoo

Open year-round, there’s always something happening at the Toronto Zoo. Come visit on December 26, and you’ll enjoy 50 per cent off admission as part of the Zoo’s annual Boxing Day promotion! And don’t forget to visit Canada’s only giant panda cubs, Jia Panpan and Jia Yueyue, only at the Zoo until March 2018. Follow the Zoo on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news.

New Year’s Eve at Nathan Phillips Square

Ring in the New Year at Nathan Phillips Square! The countdown to 2018 includes an exhilarating evening of entertainment, including live DJs, a skating party and a stunning fireworks display at midnight. New Year’s Eve at Nathan Phillips Square is presented by the City of Toronto. Admission is free. This is an alcohol-free event. A schedule of performers and events will be available in early December.

Mayor’s Skate Party

Lace up your skates and join Mayor John Tory and members of Toronto City Council at the Mayor’s Skate Party. There will be complimentary skate rentals and hot chocolate at this fun event scheduled for Sunday, January 7 from 1 to 4 p.m. Check out Twitter or the City’s Festivals and Events calendar in December when we will announce the location!

King Street is changing

The goal of the King Street Transit Pilot (between Bathurst Street and Jarvis Street) is to put people and transit first by making changes that improve transit reliability, speed and capacity. One of the major changes to this portion of King Street is that priority is given to streetcars by not allowing vehicles to travel straight through at most intersections. Local access for vehicles is maintained on a block-by-block basis, so drivers can still access residences and businesses. An overview of the King Street Transit Pilot, including a map, is available to help you navigate to where you need to go.

City named one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers

The City of Toronto has once again been named one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers for 2018 by Mediacorp Canada Inc. The organization’s national competition evaluates employers against other leaders in their industries and acknowledges those that offer the most progressive and innovative programs and exceptional workplaces for their employees. Areas of evaluation are: physical workplace; work atmosphere and social; health, financial and family benefits; vacation and time off; employee communications; performance management; training and skills development; and community involvement.

Learn about technology from Library Innovators

Toronto Public Library’s Innovator in Residence program, now in its fourth year, offers a fun and hands-on way to learn about the technology offered at the library’s Digital Innovation Hubs. Three previous Innovators are back – Derek Quenneville (game design and 3D printing), Elli Raynai (virtual reality) and Yifat Shaik (game and 3D design) – to celebrate Toronto Public Library’s three newest Digital Innovation Hub locations, which opened at the Agincourt, Albion and Downsview branches in the spring.

‘Make the Right Call’ during flu season

During flu season, calls to 911 can increase from people with flu symptoms. Serious flu-related complications can occur in the very young, people 65 and older and those with certain pre-existing medical conditions. For most ailments and minor injuries, however, residents should visit a family doctor, walk-in clinic or call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-000. Toronto Paramedic Services, which operates 911 to help in life-threatening medical emergencies, offers some tips to help you Make the Right Call.


Get Involved

Climate changes everything. It’s time to #TransformTO

TransformTO is Toronto’s ambitious plan to fight climate change, improve health, grow our economy and advance social equity. In July 2017, City Council unanimously approved a set of long-term, low-carbon goals and some strategies to reach them. Everyone will have a part to play in transforming Toronto into a low-carbon city. Discover what Toronto will look like in 2050, how we will meet our greenhouse gas reduction targets and what can you can do to help – it’s time to #TransformTO.

Apply to sit on a City of Toronto Board, Committee or Tribunal

Do you want to share your skills and influence decisions on City programs and services? The City of Toronto is recruiting members of the public to sit on various public boards, committees and tribunals. Upcoming opportunities include Toronto Community Housing Corporation, Heritage Toronto and the Bill Bolton Arena.


Your Toronto

Free admission to City museums through November

General admission to nine of the City’s 10 history museums is free through November thanks to Mackenzie Investments. Visitors can explore the historic sites and discover exhibits like Eaton’s Goes to War: Family, Memory & Meaning and Maple Leaf Forever: Toronto’s Take on a National Symbol.

The city you thought you knew

Breathtaking views of the Scarborough Bluffs, ravines that cut through the heart of the city, wooded trails through Carolinian forests of the Rouge Valley and poetry and prose by celebrated Canadian writers. All of this and more can be found in renowned photographer Robert Burley’s An Enduring Wilderness: Toronto’s Natural Parklands, which explores the complex relationship between Toronto’s urban wilderness and civic life at a pivotal time in the City’s history. This book will change the way you see the city you thought you knew. Commissioned by the City of Toronto, it’s available for purchase at bookstores and for viewing at Toronto Public Libraries.

Thousands honour veterans at City Remembrance Day Services

Thousands of residents honoured Canada’s Veterans by attending a City of Toronto Remembrance Day service this past Saturday, November 11. Watch the recorded livestream of the Old City Hall ceremony on YouTube.


Environmental Initiatives

Waste Reduction Community Grants – New!

On January 2, the City’s new Waste Reduction Community Grants will open for applications. Grants of up to $25,000 will be available to support community-led efforts to reduce residential waste and increase participation in Toronto’s waste diversion programs. Priority will be given to actions that reduce waste in multi-residential buildings. Examples of projects eligible for funding could include waste education and engagement initiatives and proposals that support reduction and reuse, such as repair, exchange, swapping and sharing of goods.

Live Green Perks

Live Green Perks is a program that offers exclusive deals and discounts at hundreds of local businesses, as well as invitations to special events and contests. It’s free to join. Anyone who lives, shops or visits Toronto can get the perks by downloading the free app for iOS and Android devices. Participating businesses include restaurants, retail shops and attractions. Known previously as the Live Green Card, Live Green Perks is a component of Live Green Toronto, a City program that promotes sustainable living.

City recognized on international stage for Solid Waste excellence

The City was recently honoured with two Solid Waste Association of North America Excellence Awards. These awards recognize outstanding solid waste programs and facilities with environmentally and economically sound solid waste management practices. The City won Gold in the Integrated Solid Waste Management System category for its Long-Term Waste Management Strategy, a roadmap for waste management in Toronto over the next 30-50 years, and Bronze in the Landfill Management category for its state-of-the-art Green Lane Landfill. Photo: Councillor Jaye Robinson (Ward 25 Don Valley West) and City staff with the Solid Waste awards

2017 Community Environment Days

It may have been a cool, rainy year, but that didn’t deter Torontonians from coming out to their Community Environment Days. More than 19,000 people attended the 43 events held throughout the city, helping to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill by dropping off reusable, recyclable or hazardous items. In the process, 99,370 kg of electronics, 290,260 kg of household hazardous waste, 48,790 kg of reusable household goods and 9,840 kg of arts and crafts supplies were collected. People also donated 105 kg of food and learned about various environmental programs that saved them water and energy costs. Well done, Toronto!

Clothes live on through pop-up clothing swap

The average Toronto household throws out about 13 kilograms (29 pounds) of clothing and other textiles every year. As part of Waste Reduction Week, the City partnered with the Recycling Council of Ontario to host a pop-up clothing swap at Nathan Phillips Square in October. Over 300 people participated and almost 900 items were swapped. The City’s Long-Term Waste Management Strategy prioritizes waste reduction, as the less waste produced, the less there is to manage. Find out how you can reduce your waste and keep items out of the landfill.