Forest Hill Daily Updates: January–April 2020

Local long-term care homes hit more lightly than in other parts of city

COVID-19 has struck many long-term care homes in the Forest Hill and midtown Toronto area but with less dire consequences than in other parts of the city, judging by a city report today. The St. Clair O’Connor Community Care facility in East York now tallies eight deaths while centres in suburban Toronto have been hit worse. See the full story.

Put out your yard waste at least one more time

The city has extended its yard waste collection for another two weeks. It had been suspended as part of Toronto’s COVID-19 response but the city resumed it for a period from April 6 to 17. Yesterday it was announced the service would be continued to May 1. For more details see our report.

Free shopping at Loblaws as store left unlocked

It might have seemed too good to be true — three times over — for some Forest Hill shoppers. First they found the Loblaws grocery store on St. Clair Avenue West apparently open on Easter Sunday. Then they found the aisles practically deserted — no physical distancing problems there. And then there were no cashiers present to take any payment for the groceries.

But it wasn’t largess on Loblaws’ part. The police eventually arrived to secure the store that had been accidentally left unlocked.

See the full story of this near Easter miracle.

Better behaviour found by enforcement officers in parks

Have you noticed it in local parks? Fewer people flouting the city’s social distancing rules and gathering in groups, or using closed park facilities, like playgrounds and fitness stations?

That’s what enforcement officers have discovered on the first two days of their four-day holiday weekend blitz of the city’s parks. This comes as they move from issuing warnings to issuing tickets — up to $1,000 — for infractions of the public health measures. Read more about it.

St. Clair break-in spree leads to two arrests

Patrol officers caught two men breaking into St. Clair Avenue West premises last month — which led to charges for a long list of commercial break and enters along the street, police say. Read the full report.

Doors closed and other local cancellations

Doors Open Toronto, originally scheduled for May 23 and 24, is among the local events that have been shut down in the latest wave of cancellations due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Now the cancellations, postponements, and moves to the internet extend right into summer. See our updated guide to the changes.

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Local cancellations now extend into mid-May

The Forest Hill Art Club’s annual show, scheduled for April 24, is the latest victim of the coronavirus shutdown. Local events scheduled over the next two months have been cancelled, postponed and — in rare circumstances — moved online. See our full list of closures in midtown, central Toronto and the east end.

Local business shutdowns to spread after premier’s announcement

A lot more local businesses will be shut down tomorrow — temporarily, it is hoped — as Premier Doug Ford has announced only “essential workplaces” can stay open in the province.

This latest move to combat the spread of the coronavirus will leave our local grocery stores, pharmacies, hardware stores, pet shops and several dozen other types of businesses operating from their storefronts and offices, while many more others are forced to close their doors. The closed shops, however, can still offer their products and services online and by phone, and eateries can still provide takeout and delivery service.

Here’s what we know so far about how it will affect the businesses in our communities. We’ll have much more about the local business scene later.

Now we have to avoid extreme weather too

It’s bad enough that our streets are already almost empty with people avoiding the coronavirus, but now we have another reason to stay home. Toronto Public Health is asking all residents to avoid non-essential travel today, according to a media release this morning.

This comes after Environment and Climate Change Canada issued a weather statement warning of possible extreme weather today. See the story in Streeter news.

Local shutdowns and cancellations prompted by coronavirus crisis

Ontario’s and Toronto’s chief medical officers have issued their warnings and recommendations about combating COVID-19 through local distancing. And now the speed of local shows being cancelled, venues shut down and programs postponed has accelerated.

We’re trying to stay on top of it with an updated tips list in Streeter news. If you’ve learned of any other schedule changes in our communities due to coronavirus concerns, let us know.

Man, 29, arrested after stabbing death

Forty-three-year-old Birchfield Matthews was pronounced dead after being rushed to hospital on Sunday, victim of an alleged stabbing near Dufferin Street and Eglinton Avenue West. A 29-year-old man was arrested near the scene, police say.

Police responded to a medical call shortly after 6 a.m. and reported a man had stabbed another man inside an apartment.

Kenroy Samuel of Toronto faces second-degree murder charges. He is scheduled to appear in court Monday morning.

$3-million government grant for businesses hit by LRT construction called ‘useless’

Despite the meeting to save Mabel’s Fables being cancelled last night, store owner Eleanor LeFave is still upbeat about its prospects. The community is still strongly supportive — and not only of her business but of businesses across the city facing the same problems, she says. Especially of concern are the Eglinton Street retailers who are most suffering from the continuing LRT construction, LeFave says.

And she doesn’t think much of the latest $3 million gift from the provincial government for business adversely affected by the work. It will all be wasted on media and marketing companies, she charges.

Read the full story.

Matlow cancels public meetings after exposure to coronavirus

Toronto-St. Paul’s councillor Josh Matlow is in isolation after being being informed he has been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Which means all his public meetings have been cancelled or postponed for two weeks, including tonight’s meeting to “Save Mabel’s Fables Bookstore.”

For more on this story, see the Streeter news account.

Eglinton synagogue closed for cleaning after coronavirus scare

Beth Sholom Synagogue announced it was closing for today to for a “thorough sanitizing” of the building, after discovering a lay leader has the coronavirus.

A statement from the synagogue at 1445 Eglinton Ave. W. said: “Last week one of Beth Sholom Synagogue’s lay leadership exhibited flu-like symptoms. He had himself tested and it showed positive for COVID-19. As a result, he was placed into a 14 day quarantine where he currently remains at home and is showing signs of recovery. This member has not been to the synagogue since his diagnosis.”

We’ll have more on this story as it develops, as well as any other news about the virus in this area.

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Subway closed north of Eglinton today and tomorrow

If you’re planning a trip by transit north in the city this weekend, you night want to reconsider your route. Yonge Street subway service is being suspended between Eglinton and Sheppard-Yonge stations on Saturday and Sunday for track work, the TTC says.

Shuttle buses are operating and all stations are open for fare sales, access to bus routes and connecting lines. Here’s more details from the TTC.

Safe bike lanes on Eglinton pushed by local group

A cycling group that meets in Midtown every month is pushing the city to create safe lanes. Holly Reid, who co-chairs Cycle Don Valley Midtown, says one of the group’s focuses now is getting city funding for protective lanes in the plans for Eglinton Connects.

Get the story in Streeter news.

Beaches-LeslievilleCentral TorontoDon ValleyLeasideNorth TorontoRiverdale-East York

How we’d be affected by a garbage strike

Forest Hill may seem a far way from the looming garbage strike east of Yonge Street, but a work stoppage would also affect this area too. If city-union negotiations don’t result in a deal before midnight tonight, the east side will lose garbage, recycling and green bin pickup along with a number of other city provided services. But some of those service losses will extend to the west side of the city as well. Further we won’t have pickup from green bins and we’ll have to throw organic matter into the garbage bins.

So you see, a garbage strike would affect us. Read the latest news on the possibility in Streeter.

Local MPP calls for Ford to support Eglinton businesses

Toronto-St. Paul’s representative Jill Andrew is asking the provincial government for a plan to support local business owners suffering during the building of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT line. The call came after another delay in the construction, ongoing since 2011, was announced.

“Liberals and Conservatives have bungled the Eglinton Crosstown project so badly that it’s being sidetracked again,” said the NDP MPP in s press release. “Businesses in vibrant communities like Little Jamaica, Yonge and Eglinton, and Dufferin and Eglinton, right here in my riding of Toronto-St. Paul’s, are already paying the price, and they simply can’t afford to keep hanging on by a thread, wracked with debt and stress, for two more years.”

Andrew said she is urging the Doug Ford government to produce a plan to support business owners who are struggling until the Crosstown construction is completed.

Winterlicious in and around Forest Hill

Winterlicious is well underway across Toronto with 200 restaurants presenting affordable, fixed price menus. Midtown Toronto has about 25 of them going strong — including in Forest Hill, North Toronto and Leaside. Here are the local places to call for reservations before the annual two-week food experience is over.

Giulia Matthews
Giulia Matthews homicide victim: police.

Boy arrested after dead woman identified, called a homicide

A boy has been charged with second-degree murder after police identified a woman found dead three days ago and deemed her death Toronto’s fifth homicide of the year.

The body of Giulia Matthews, 54, was found at an address near St. Clair Avenue West and Atlas Avenue during a well-being check at the home by police.

The coroner attended at the site and called the death suspicious. An autopsy was conducted and resulted in the death being called a homicide.

The accused cannot be named under provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

Charges laid against driver for girl struck by fire truck

Charges have been laid against a firefighter for the Dec. 16 accident when an 11-year-old girl was struck in a crosswalk at Oakwood and Rosemount Avenues, police said yesterday.

Fire chief Matthew Pegg also announced the fire department was carrying out an internal investigation into the incident in addition to the police investigation that resulted in the charges.

The driver, who is unnamed, faces charges of careless driving causing bodily harm and passing a stopped vehicle at a crossover.

For more on this, see the full news report.

Time to make your Winterlicious reservations

Reservations are open for the two weeks of Winterlicious that Toronto diners look forward to every year. Nearly every neighbourhood in the city has local dining rooms, bars and bistros taking part this year, offering fine foods from economical, fixed priced menus.

Starting today, reservations can be made online or by phone for the food extravaganza that runs from Jan. 31 to Feb. 13.
Eateries are presenting three-course prix fixe lunch menus in their choice of $23, $28 or $33 categories and dinner menus priced at $33, $43 or $53. Watch for our guide to Winterlicious dining in the Forest Hill area.

Midtown relatively unscathed by shootings

Shootings may have increased dramatically in the city last year, but they are still relatively rare in Forest Hill and the rest of midtown, judging by year-end data from the police. And while shootings and shooting victims are up across Toronto, the number of fatalities and homicides is actually down. See the full story.

Photo radar installed on local streets

Fifty speed enforcement cameras are ready to take your picture if you’re driving too fast on streets across Toronto — especially near schools or parks where kids play. Drivers have already started getting warnings in the mail. Stiff fines are to follow.

See the main article to find out more about this, including where the cameras have been set up in Forest Hill and other midtown neighbourhoods.

City archives take you back to the 1920s

As the 2020s begin, the city archives has a new exhibit showing Toronto a century ago, “The Twenties: Snapshots of Everyday Life.” The period between the First World War and the Depression is explored in the free exhibit at the archives at 255 Spadina Rd. More details in Things To Do.