April 17, 2020 Mid Day Update

April 17, 2020 

Dear Neighbours, 

I want to thank everyone for your efforts during this very difficult time. It is very important for all of us, to the best of our ability to follow the mandatory social distancing bylaw!

Please see the following update regarding COVID-19 key information and resources in the City of Toronto: 

Zoo Food For Life 

For more than 45 years, the Toronto Zoo has been committed to saving and protecting endangered wildlife and species at risk in Canada and around the world. The Toronto Zoo Wildlife Conservancy, established in 2019, works to secure financial resources for the Zoo, and has launch new fundraising campaign in response to COVID-19 pandemic.

The cost of food for the Zoo’s 5,000 animals is $1 million per year and is normally funded by parking and admission revenues. The new “Zoo Food For Life” campaign will raise funds to offset these revenues. Our goal is to raise $50,000 (initially $20,000) on Facebook to go towards the overall goal of $100,000 to assist in feeding the animals in our care. Zoo Food For Life page can be accessed here: https://bit.ly/3eu6QJB

Follow Toronto Zoo Wildlife Conservancy and visit: https://bit.ly/2KdAswW to learn more about the Zoo’s nutrition program and how the public can help during this time.

Senior Focused Grocery Store Hours:

Many grocery stores across Toronto are offering dedicated hours for seniors to complete their shopping. These hours are usually early in the morning, like 7:00am-8:00am, 8:00am to 9:00am, or the first hour of the store’s operation.

More information has been covered in the media:

These stores are reserving shopping hours for seniors

Coronavirus: Major Canadian grocers to offer special hours for seniors to stock up

These are the grocery stores in Toronto now offering dedicated hours for seniors

Managing Stress and Psychological Wellbeing is as Important as Managing your Physical Health

As we adapt to our current circumstances, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed. It’s important, however, to avoid feelings of isolation as we work to change our behaviours from wanting to connect and be physically close to one another as social beings to respecting social distancing. 

Here are some tips for staying emotionally healthy and resilient during the COVID-19 pandemic: 

  • It’s OK to not be OK. Notice what your emotions and your body are telling you, acknowledging these feelings may lessen and become more manageable. 
  • By helping others you may benefit from focusing on their needs. 
  • Ensure self-care. Be sure to take care of yourself, eat healthy foods, get enough sleep and exercise. 
  • Find ways to stay connected, emotionally when we cannot be physically close. This can reduce your sense of isolation. 
  • Setting a routine for yourself can provide some structure in your day can be helpful to maintain positive habits. 

Know when one should seek professional help for COVID-19 relation stress or anxiety. Some warning signs may include: 

  • Persistent anxiety, worry, insomnia or irritability 
  • Taking excessive or unnecessary hygiene precautions, such as wearing a facemask at home when you have no symptoms of the virus 

Where to find Mental Health help: 

See this link for tips on managing your stress and well-being: http://www.paulainslie.com/FILES/2020/COVID_AnxietyTips.pdf

SPARK Ontario Connects Volunteers to Your Organization 

SPARK Ontario is partnering with the Ontario government to connect volunteers with opportunities to support seniors, people with disabilities and other Ontarians requiring assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

All not-for-profit organizations supporting the response to COVID-19 can post volunteer opportunities at sparkontario.ca so potential volunteers can be put to work quickly. 

Need help posing your opportunities click here: https://bit.ly/3eurUjc Interested in volunteering? Sign up here: sparkontario.ca  

Many of our community and neighbourhood agencies rely on volunteers to help deliver their services. Many Torontonians have expressed an interest in helping vulnerable, isolated residents and families during this emergency period.

Residents interested in volunteering should register with Spark Ontario and/or with Volunteer Toronto to get alerts for volunteer opportunities (some of which may be remote). Call Volunteer Toronto at 416-961-6888 or email info@volunteertoronto.ca to connect with an advisor to discuss volunteer opportunities.


The City of Toronto is working hard with its partners to support everyone impacted by COVID-19. Your gifts help us to enhance much needed services and supports, especially for the most vulnerable. If you’re interested in donating, please visit this website for more information: https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/covid-19-how-you-can-help/covid-19-donateto/

Gardiner Expressway’s westbound Sherbourne/Jarvis off-ramp to reopen this weekend; Yonge-Bay-York off-ramp to close 

The Gardiner Expressway’s westbound Sherbourne/Jarvis off-ramp will reopen on Sunday, April 19, at 12:01 a.m. The off-ramp, closed since October 2019, was replaced as part of Gardiner Expressway Strategic Rehabilitation Plan. News release can be accessed here: https://bit.ly/3cpgMSQ

A list of food banks and soup kitchens in Ward 24 can be found here: https://bit.ly/2RcvdRV 

Please remember to call ahead to book to ensure they are properly stocked. For those interested in volunteering, food banks are always looking for volunteers, so please feel free to save and share this information.

The City’s website is updated daily with the latest health advice, and information about City services and social supports. Check https://www.toronto.ca/covid-19/ for answers to common questions before contacting the Toronto Public Health COVID-19 Hotline or 311.

You can also reach me by telephone at 416-396-7222 or email me at councillor_ainslie@toronto.ca 

All my Best,