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

Get Involved this May with the City of Toronto!

Dear Ward 24 Neighbours

During the month of  May there are a number of meaningful celebrations. From Asian Heritage Month, Museum Month and Building Safety Month to Youth Week, Emergency Preparedness Week and Mental Health Week, the City of Toronto has honoured and focused on a great deal of City-wide issues.

You can find a list of this term’s proclamations at this link.

Last week the City of Toronto celebrated Emergency Preparedness Week, May 5-11. This year’s theme is “Are You Ready”—emphasizing the importance for preparing for emergencies. The City’s Office of Emergency Management is launching the first in a series of videos supporting Torontonians in preparing for emergencies. Videos can be found here.

Did you know? By 2050, 75% of all trips under 5 kilometres will be walked or cycled. That is one of the goals of the City’s TransformTO climate Action Strategy. From May 6 to 20, support the city’s TransformTO Climate Action Strategy by participating in the Walking Challenge. Walking is a clean, green and healthy way to get around Toronto, invite your friends and neighbours to join you.

You can participate by downloading the free Carrot Rewards app, found in the App store or on Google Play. All participants will be entered into the Walking Challenge and grouped into the ward that they live in.

The ward with the highest average goal completion rate will win the challenge. Your community could even win a street party hosted by Live Green Toronto and earn double points on the Carrot Rewards app towards a rewards program of your choice. So, Ward 24 let’s join the challenge and take steps to TransformTO!

All my best,

Paul

Latest News For Curran Hall

March 30, 2019

Dear Curran Hall Neighbours,

Wishing everyone a Happy and Healthy Easter!

Spring brings community clean-ups as well as readying our yards for gardening. I will be joining volunteers across Scarborough-Guildwood to participate in the Clean Toronto Together Community Cleanup Day. I encourage everyone to join the Curran Hall community clean up at Botany Hill Park on April 27, 2019 -9:00 AM to 11:00 AM.

Looking ahead to Father’s Day weekend you will have an opportunity to attend two events at the Curran Hall Community Centre and Botany Hill Park. I will be hosting my Annual Curran Hall Compost Day on Saturday, June 15, while City of Toronto Urban Forestry staff will be hosting a Community Tree Planting on Sunday, June 16, with a focus on increasing the urban forest canopy cover, creating a habitat and reducing storm water flow.

A staff report coming to Scarborough Community Council

U-Turn at the May 2019, Scarborough

Community Council will prohibit u-turn on Orton Park Road by Henry Hudson Sr. P.S. as well as the area fronting

Botany Hill Park and the off leash dog park. It was observed motorists were making u-turns in these areas causing unsafe condition in a School Safety Zone and vehicular conflicts on the road.

Please contact my office for details or if you would like to speak or send in comments to the committee as I will ensure you receive the instructions to file with the Committee Clerk.

Curran Hall Community Centre (Located at 277 Orton Park Road)

Join local programs offered for all ages: Yoga, Pilates, dance, cooking classes, marital arts, visual arts, adventure camps, youth leadership programs and much more. Drop in programs for youth 9yrs-12yrs – Saturdays: 1:30 PM – 3:30PM.

Contact the Centre for details: 416 396-5156.

Community Events:

– Councillor Ainslie’s Annual Curran Hall Compost Day

Curran Hall Community Centre, 277 Orton Park Road (Parking Lot)

Saturday June 15, 2019 – 10:30 AM

– Botany Hill Park Tree Planting – Celebrate Father’s Day by planting trees and shrubs.

Urban Forestry invites you to join in for a morning of planting native trees and shrubs in

Botany Hill Park! The details of the public planting event are as follows.

Location: Botany Hill Park.

The event site is located next to the parking lot by Curran Hall Community Centre

Sunday June 16, 2019 – 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM

– Councillor Ainslie’s Annual Curran Hall Community Picnic

Botany Hill Park, 277 Orton Park Road

Wednesday July 10, 2019 – 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM

All my Best,

Paul

Startup in Residence Initiative for the City of Toronto

Dear Ward 24 Neighbours

At the General Government and Licensing Committee meeting, on April 1, 2019, I will be requesting of my fellow committee members to consider the creation of a Startup in Residence (STIR) pilot project for the City of Toronto dealing with procurement and e-procurement.

Startup in Residence is a program that connects governments with startups to solve government-led civic challenges. The STIR program aims to bridge public-sector agencies directly with technology entrepreneurs to seed product development in the public sector.

The Startup in Residence pilot project hopes to serves the following purposes:

  • To act as a lead for procurement reform
  • To introduce City agencies, departments, commissions and boards to new innovation and technologies
  • To serve as an incubator to introduce the necessary procurement reforms needed to allow increased innovation to continue for the long term
  • To enhance government productivity, efficiencies, and help improve the resident experience with municipal government

The STIR program solicits proposals from startups for technology-based solutions to address procurement and e-procurement challenges facing City agencies, departments, commissions and boards.

The STIR program includes educational component during the residence period for the selected participants and corresponding City agencies consisting of in-person and web sessions with leaders in business, legal, finance, investment and consulting sectors as well as government executives, innovators, academics and researchers.

I am requesting the Deputy City Manager, Corporate Services, the Chief Information officer, and the Chief Purchasing Officer, in consultation with the Chief Transformation Officer, and the Director, Civic Innovation Office, to consider adopting a Startup in Residence (STIR) program, similar to those implemented by the City of Guelph and the Municipal Innovation Exchange, and whether the City of Toronto should:

  • Join an existing STIR network, such as the Municipal Innovation Exchange which was founded recently by Guelph, London, and Barrie;
  • Operate its own STIR program, as seen in some US cities; or
  • Operate its own STIR program, in alliance with other cities and/or government agencies in the Greater Toronto Area.

Stay tuned for the Monday’s, April 1, meeting of the General Government and Licensing Committee. The meeting can be watched live here.

All my best,

Paul