Night Economy Ambassador Moving Forward

Dear Scarborough-Guildwood Residents

In April 2016, I brought forward a motion to the, then, Economic Development Committee requesting appropriate staff to explore the creation of a Night Mayor Ambassador Program for the City of Toronto. Participating cities across Europe have embraced the installation of such program and have found ties between the program and a growth in economic and civic importance of cultural life in urban areas. Details on this motion can be found here.

In July 2019, I put forward additional recommendations to City Council and supported the staff recommendation requesting the Mayor to designate a Member of Council as Toronto’s Night Ambassador. This ambassador would serve as a voice for Toronto’s entertainment related and nighttime economy activities. Details on this motion can be found here.

This week Mayor John Tory announced the appointment of Deputy Mayor Michael Thomson as the City’s Night Economy Ambassador.

I am really pleased the Economic and Community Development Committee with the support of Mayor Tory has moved my overall concept forward to fruition.  I am anticipating that Toronto’s night life will thrive with this collaboration.

The term night time economy describes the social, cultural, and economic activities that take place between 6pm and 6am within the city. The City of Toronto is always striving to boost its entertainment economy through tourism through its vibrant nightlife.

Currently the City’s nightlife sector employs tens of thousands of people. Implementing a system to help positively cultivate it will benefit the entire city including our many unique communities that make up Toronto.

The Night Mayor Ambassador role began in Amsterdam, with the concept growing to include Paris, London, the Netherlands and several cities in Belgium.

All my Best

Paul W. Ainslie

Susan Street: The World in One Place

Dear Scarborough-Guildwood Residents

On Saturday October 19th, Scarborough’s largest community-painted mural was unveiled in celebration of community caregivers.

Amir Akbari, lead artist behind the Susan Street mural, Mayor John Tory, joined by representatives from Toronto Community Housing and the East Scarborough Boys and Girls club and myself were present to officially unveil the largest community-painted mural in Scarborough.

The huge wall mural is located at the 14 storey TCHC residential building at 3847 Lawrence Ave E, dubbed Susan Street. This mural honours and represents all the women and caregivers in the community who work hard to support and maintain a healthy community where children have opportunities to grow and thrive.

This mural is a meaningful community centrepiece for residents and neighbours to enjoy. The final design represents the diversity, vibrancy and optimizing of those who live in the Lawrence-Susan buildings and the surrounding communities.

The Susan Street Mural is a powerful statement to the children of this Scarborough community that the world is in their hands, while paying homage to the mothers and caregivers that allow them to grow.

Amir Akbari is a Greater Toronto Area (GTA) based Visual Artist, Educator, Community Advocate and Entrepreneur driven to create meaningful creative opportunities for young people through introspection, expression & reflection. Akbari enlisted supporting street artists, Leyland Adams and Sentooran Kannathasan.

The Susan Street mural is a part of the StART Partnership Program, a suite of innovative programs designed specifically for streets and public places. StART was initiated in 2012 as part of the City’s Graffiti Management Plan. StART has been successful in reducing graffiti vandalism and replacing it with vibrant, colourful, community engaged street art.

Check out the StART Toronto map to find other samples of murals created as part of the StART Toronto programs from 2016 to 2018 here.

The Susan Street mural is also the third project by the East Scarborough Boys and Girls Club that has been supported by the program. Some other murals in our ward can be found at 4301 Kingston Road, and 4010 Lawrence Ave E.

More information about StART is available here.

All my Best,

Paul W. Ainslie

Its Waste Reduction Week!

Dear Ward 24 Residents,

Did you know that the City of Toronto manages over 900,000 tonnes of waste per year? October 21-27 is Waste Reduction Week in Canada and it’s a good reminder of the many ways we can reduce waste to minimize the amount of garbage going to landfill. The City of Toronto has many great resources and ideas to help you reduce your waste footprint.

  • Donate – Clearing the clutter? Give items you’re not using anymore such as books, clothes and toys a new life through donation. See the map of non-profit organizations that accept used items.

  • Borrow / Share – Need a tool, camping gear, toys or games? Check out the Toronto Tool Library instead of buying new.  The library has many of these items available for you to borrow.

  • Swap – Interested in reducing your clothing footprint?  Organize a swap with friends or attend one of the many swap events happening in the city. Learn other ways to become a sustainable fashion citizen.

  • Repair or Repurpose – Something broken? Extend the life of items like clothing, bikes, appliances and electronics through the one of Toronto’s community reduce and reuse programs.

More ways to reduce waste at toronto.ca/reduce-reuse

Consultations on Reducing Single-Use & Takeaway Items

Have your say on how to reduce single-use and takeaway items in the City of Toronto.  Take the online survey today!

A single-use or takeaway item is any product designed for a single use after which it is disposed of in the garbage, Blue Bin (recycling) or Green Bin (organics). Typically, these products are not designed for durability or reuse. Examples include plastic bags and takeout containers.

Your feedback will be used to develop a final Single-Use and Takeaway Item Reduction Strategy for Toronto that will be presented to City Council in the first half of 2020.

Have your say on ways to reduce single-use and takeaway items in Toronto. Take the survey before November 4 at toronto.ca/single-use #haveyoursay #singleuse

We want to hear from you! Take the survey on single-use and takeaway items before November 4 at toronto.ca/single-use #haveyoursay

Get the TOwaste App

Never miss recycling or garbage day again! Download the City’s TOwaste app on your smartphone or tablet to get access to collection schedules, the Waste Wizard search tool and information about where to find the nearest donation location or City Drop-off Depot.

All my Best,

Paul

Expansion of LiciousTO Programs to Scarborough

Dear Scarborough-Guildwood Residents

The City of Toronto’s LiciousTO programs, Winterlicious and Summerlicious, have become well-attended annual events with over 200 restaurants participating. However, of the 200 restaurants participating in 2019’s Summerlicious only 3 were from the Scarborough community.

With the application process for Winterlicious 2019 behind us this is our opportunity to work towards 2020 LiciousTO events to encourage and invite Scarborough restaurants to participate and showcase their food.

On October 16th the Economic and Community Development Committee adopted my request for the General Manager of Economic Development and Culture to report on the following at the December 4th meeting of the Economic and Community Development Committee:

–          Efforts taken by the City of Toronto to enhance participation of Scarborough restaurants in Toronto’s Winterlicious/Summerlicious program

–          Information on the number of restaurants located in Scarborough that have participated in the program in the past 5 years

–          Measures taken to source locations within Scarborough

–          Current City-wide marketing efforts made to invite restaurants to participate 

Eligibility Criteria to participate in the Winterlicious and Summerlicious programs are:

–          Be an existing, full-service restaurant

–          Be located in the City of Toronto

–          Possess a current Dine Safe Green Pass issued by Toronto Public Health

To qualify a restaurant must also demonstrate that the average price of a three-course meal on the restaurants regular lunch and or dinner menu meets the minimum requirements below:

Winterlicious / Summerlicious Price Point Categories Minimum Requirements for
Regular Menu Average Price Point (three-course meal)
$23 Lunch / $33 Dinner $27 Lunch / $39 Dinner
$28 Lunch / $43 Dinner $33 Lunch / $51 Dinner
$33 Lunch / $53 Dinner $39 Lunch / $63 Dinner

Scarborough has a wealth of wonderful restaurants from every nation in the world, inviting them to participate would greatly enhance the culinary experience for all while providing Scarborough’s restaurants the exposure they merit.

The very culinary diverse food sector we have in Scarborough parallels our population and I think we can do a better job at boosting Scarborough’s participation.

More details on the application process and application deadlines for LiciousTO 2020 events can be found here.

Details on the item here: EC8.17: Expansion of Toronto’s Winterlicious/Summerlicious Program

All my Best

Paul W. Ainslie

Will We Ever See Better Public Transit In Scarborough???

October 11, 2019

Dear Ward 24 Residents,

“Its like painting the Golden Gate Bridge. You spend a year painting it and you have to start again. It’s a never-ending challenge.” – John MacLeod (died October 3, 1937)

I found a lot of irony in this quote for a couple of reasons. First, I was sitting in my chair in Toronto City Council about to debate a development application in Scarborough when this quote came across my screen. Second, the development application was on Eglinton Ave East, where it intersects with Brimley Road.

The development in question is for 2787 and 2791 Eglinton Avenue East. The link to the report we debated at Scarborough Community Council and the Toronto City Council can be found here:
http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2019.SC8.4

The site in question is a small strip (no pun intended) plaza, no taller in height than two storeys. The pun because previous tenants included a strip club, a bowling alley, and a bar.

City Council has seen this file twice in a year. We had an extensive debate both times because the developer’s original application was for 6 blocks of stacked townhouses. City Council basically said “Go fix it….and come back”

The developer came back with an even smaller application, 5 blocks of stacked townhouses, an increased parkland area, and threw in some money for what we call “Section 37 Benefits”.

You might thing naturally the developer made the units bigger and took up more space? No…..The number of units decreased, along with the amount of livable space to be created (And no affordable housing either)

The City of Toronto Planning Department at all levels is against this application. There are three major planning parameters they follow:
1. The Avenues Study
2. The Provincial Policy Statement (2014)
3. Growth Plan for The Golden Horseshoe (2017)

Since it violated all three of these three guidelines, I thought sending this project back to the drawing board would be easy……. Turns out I was wrong. The majority of my Council colleagues voted for the lower density 15 – 8.

My motion they voted against:
1. City Council refuse the application to amend the Zoning By-Law for the lands at 2787 and 2791 Eglinton Road for the following reasons:
a. The proposal underutilizes the development potential of the site;
b. The proposed development would set a negative precedent along the Avenue;
c. The proposal has not demonstrated how it will fit into the planned context and vision for Avenues;
d. The proposed development has not demonstrated compatibility with the future Eglinton East LRT; and
e. The proposed development is not consistent with the PPS (2014), conflicts with the Growth Plan (2019) and is not in keeping with the Official Plan.

City Planners would prefer a building 6 – 8 floors in height!

Normally I wouldn’t get too wound up about a planning application in a neighbouring Councillor’s Ward (Gary Crawford) At first glance I wasn’t even initially too surprised it violated three planning studies. What really caught my eye was the fact the next stage of the Eglinton Avenue East LRT from Kennedy Station is supposed to go right by the front door of this application. Immediately adjacent to this site is going to be one of the stops for the LRT!

Approving this a development in its latest rendition sets a horrible precedent not only for Eglinton, but major roads across Toronto. Imagine taking the Eglinton East LRT from the Kennedy Subway Station looking at all kinds of tall office towers and condominiums where strip plazas used to be…..until you get to Eglinton and Brimley and see townhouses??

And maybe more in the future, where present day strip plazas get re-developed, because developers will use this as a planning precedent. “Build quick and get out” will be the construction mantra.

Continue your trip the rest of the way along Eglinton Avenue East from Bellamy Road to almost Morningside Ave, (This is my Ward) where a large number of developers are sitting on properties, waiting for the green light on LRT construction.

Many have told me when this happens, they will have a shovel in the ground.

To get an LRT from Kennedy Station to the Pan Am Aquatic Centre we need higher density….and politicians with the vision to make it happen!

All my Best,

Paul

October Highlights

Dear Ward 24 Residents,

The 10th City Council meeting was held over October 2nd and 3rd, 2019. At this meeting items were adopted in numerous categories such as climate and environment, road safety, housing, licensing and standards, and diversity, social and health issues and more.

On the declaration of climate emergency, Council voted to declare this state and adopt a stronger target for emission reductions aiming for net zero emissions for Toronto by 2050.

City Council supported a motion calling on Transportation Services to work with two contracted vendors to provide crossing guard services at 704 locations. The School Crossing Guard program plays an essential role in safeguarding communities across Toronto. Crossing guards maintain the safety and wellbeing of schoolchildren as they walk to and from their schools.

I’m happy to inform that City Council supported my recommendation to immediately cease the issuing of new licenses to payday-loan establishments in Toronto. These outlets are now required to give their customers information about credit counselling services to help manage their financial situations to avoid cash shortfalls and cyclical debt. Council also voted to prohibit payday-loan establishments, pawnshops and cash-for-gold vendors from advertising on City property.

In 2016 the City’s Open Door Program was approved to support the City’s efforts to deliver new affordable homes and help meet housing targets. At this time City Council authorized City funding to facilitate the creation of the 651 affordable rental homes in eight non-profit and private sector developments across Toronto.

Council has approved a motion requesting the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) board to explore discounted post-secondary fares taking into account the provincial government changes to post-secondary fee system. The TTC will be asked to report on this matter during the City’s 2020 budget process.

The development of a gender equity strategy for the city was directed by City Council along with the support for establishing a gender equity unit within People and Equity at the City. Creating this unit will provide dedicated resources to ensure the creation of a robust strategy.

Full details on the October 2nd and 3rd City Council meeting can be found here.

On October 5th Toronto explored the 14th edition of Nuit Blanche in downtown Toronto and Scarborough. There were nearly 90 projects from 300 artists, which included performance art, interactive installations, sculptures and mixed media. Eight projects remain on display including Ephemeral Artifacts at Scarborough Town Centre and Scarborough Royalty in Albert Campbell Square. More details on which projects are still on display across the city can be found here.

You can also vote for your favourite photo taken at Nuit Blanche Toronto 2019 here. You can vote by liking the one you like most on Instagram. 

All my Best,

Paul W. Ainslie

Licensing of Payday Loan Establishments Update

Dear Ward 24 Neighbours,

I am proud to say during the September 4th, meeting of the General Government and Licensing Committee, my recommendation asking for the city to immediately cease issuing licenses to new pay day loan stores was supported.

In April 2018, Toronto City Council adopted interim regulations for payday lending which limited the number, location, and location change processes of payday loan establishments. This included prohibiting establishments from relocating on or within 500 metres of Woodbine Racetrack.

Since the implementation of these regulations, locations within the the City of Toronto has decreased from 212 to 187 payday loan licenses. Where previously existing license holding establishments have closed, moved to online services or merged with existing services.

My focus on this serious matter has been a reoccurring concern brought to my attention by constituents in recent years. After looking into the details of payday loans and the establishments which offer these services. It is clear payday loan companies charge high fees for short-term loans resulting in a predatory lending-borrowing cycle.

At the October 2nd City Council meeting I am requesting support from my City Council colleagues to immediately cease the issuing of new licenses to pay day loan establishments, I also moved motions for additional regulations and to request both the provincial and federal governments to enact regulations on annual interest rates, loan fees, requiring lines of credit which are universally accessible, and to create a national database of payday loan establishment users.

You can tune into the October 2nd City Council meeting here: https://bit.ly/25L28MX

All my Best,

Paul W. Ainslie

City Council Wants to Regulate Firearms and Ammunition

Dear Ward 24 Residents

In July 2018, Toronto City Council heard and adopted a motion I put forward for the seizure and destruction of illegal guns. It was found that seized illegal weapons often make way back onto city streets, which should not be occurring.

As a result, requests to the Toronto Police Service (TPS) Board, the Ontario Provincial Police and the Province of Ontario were made to adopt and implement the necessary measures for an elimination procedure of illegal guns and ammunition confiscated by law enforcement agencies.

It was also adopted that the City Manager would report back to City Council during the first quarter of 2019 on the implementation of this seize and destroy procedure. More on this motion can be found here.

At this week’s Executive Committee meeting, the motion for City Powers to Regulate Firearms and Ammunition and Update on Related Initiatives was adopted without amendments.

This item recommends a number of requests to the Government of Canada to:

  • Ban the sale of handguns in the City of Toronto
  • Implement a tougher screening for mental health and intimate partner violence issues for licensed gun owners and those seeking to acquire firearms permits
  • Control handguns coming into Canada along the American and Canadian border
  • Include tougher penalties including mandatory-minimum sentences for gun traffickers

With requests made to the Government of Ontario to:

  • Ban the sale of handgun ammunition in the City of Toronto
  • Legislate a suspension of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission liquor license for establishments where the TPS has evidence of multiple gun-related offences on the premises

More information on this motion can be accessed here.

I feel strongly on the matter of protecting Toronto’s communities and find that this is a good vehicle to stronger voice that guns are not welcome in the City of Toronto.

This item is to be heard for final approval at the June 18th, 2019 meeting of City Council.

All my Best

Paul

Toronto Zoo’s Washed Ashore Exhibit and the Evolution of 311

Dear Ward 24 Neighbours

On Tuesday May 21, 2019 the fifth meeting of the General Government and Licensing Committee started with a presentation on the Evolution on 311 and Toronto At Your Services presented by Director of 311, Gary Yorke.

The presentation highlights the service’s collaborations, partnership and accomplishments along with planned projects for the future. The presentation can be found here.

On Thursday May 26, 2019 I had the pleasure to attend the opening of the Washed Ashore – Art to Save the Sea exhibit at the Toronto Zoo.

Washed Ashore is a non-profit organization whose mission is to use the arts to educate a global audience about plastic population in oceans and waterways and to spark positive changes in consumer habits. This project began in 2010 to create artwork made completely from garbage collected from beaches.

It was a pleasure to attend the exhibit opening with Councillor Jennifer McKelvie, Jo-Anne St. Godard, Hon. Rod Philips, Angela Hasteltine, Dolf DeJong, and Hon. Elizabeth Dowsdell.

A large marlin sculpture at the exhibit was displayed, made of plastic waste that has washed up on the shore.

Each year, sea birds, whales, seals, sea turtles and other marine life die from ingesting or becoming entangled by plastic debris. Approximately 300 million points of plastic is produce globally each year and less than 10 percent of that is recycled.

This exhibit educates the public about the negative and devastating effects of plastic pollution and to spark positive changes in consumer habits. This exhibit is a first for Canada and the City of Toronto is committed to promoting environmental and climate change policies.

If you’re interested in how YOU can make a difference in your day-to-day life check out the Washed Ashore-Art To Save The Sea exhibit at the Toronto Zoo from May 2019 to November 2019. Visit the 10 larger-than-life sculptures including an 8 foot tall penguin and a 12 foot high jelly fish and Washed Ashore’s newest, an 800 lb shark.

The Exhibit is free with Toronto Zoo admission. Find more information here.

All my best,

Paul

Digital Literacy Week 2019

Dear Ward 24 Residents

This week, May 27 to June 1, the City of Toronto celebrated Digital Literacy (DL) Week. Digital Literacy Week celebrates the way technology has changed the way we work, play, learn and teach.

The week kicked-off at the North York Central library where I was able to speak alongside City Librarian, Vickery Bowles, Chief Information Officer-ETEE at BMO, Claudette McGowan, TCDSB Superintendent, Lori DiMarco and TDSB Executive Officer, Peter Singh.

Happy to kick off DL week with (From Left-Right) Vickery Bowles, City Librarian, Claudette McGowan, Chief Information Officer-ETEE at BMO, Lori DiMarco, TCDSB Superintendent, and Peter Singh, TDSC Executive Officer.

The City of Toronto offered more than 250 free events and workshops for all ages created to showcase the digital and technology programs and services across Toronto. Digital Literacy Week collaborated with City of Toronto, Toronto Public Library, TCDSB, TDSB, CIBC, Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) and more.

The Digital Literacy Week is built on the success of the “Digital Literacy Day,” that was celebrated in May 2018. Digital literacy can be defined as a new literacy that creates lifelong opportunities and challenges for people of all ages, backgrounds and skill levels.

Nowadays, to be digitally literate is fundamental to succeed in everyday life and that is what Digital Literacy Week is promoting and helping people understand what digital literacy means and how it impacts our lives and how to succeed.

I hope you’ve had the opportunity to participate in any DL week events and share your support towards the advancement and impact that technology has on your everyday life. Find more details here.

All my best

Paul