Leaside Daily Updates: March–April 2020

The lake is back in Leaside

If you’ve been cooped up in your this spring so far, you may not have noticed Lake Leaside is back. And the ducks and geese seem happy the annual flooding of the excavation between Vanderhoof and Wicksteed avenues has returned. See the story and photos.

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

COVID-19 has struck many long-term care homes in midtown and east-end Toronto 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.

Bayview-Davisville gets lights despite some Leaside opposition

Two years ago the communities around Bayview and Davisville avenues were split over the proposal to install traffic lights at the busy T-intersection. Some residents and businesses said signals would make the intersection safer for pedestrians, while others argued traffic would be jammed up, causing drivers to veer off into residential streets.

But the city has now gone ahead with the installation of lights for cars and pedestrians at the corner. Read 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.

Donations for local shops collected by new site

Mabel’s Fables Bookstore on Mt. Pleasant Road is among shops hit by the shutdown that you can support from a distance, thanks to a new website. Mayor John Tory is lauding distantly.ca, which has been set up to accept community donations for registered local businesses to help alleviate some of their expenses and help them survive the crisis.

Read all about it here.

Better behaviour found in parks by enforcement officers

Have you noticed it in local parks? Fewer people flouting the city’s social distancing rules and hanging 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. They’ve also had fewer people calling 311 to complain about it.

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.

Four-day police crackdown on park gatherings

Sunnybrook Park is among areas to be blitzed by police and enforcement officers from April 10 to 13 to crack down on groups congregating and people using closed parks facilities, like playgrounds.

Three hundred and sixty officers will be talking to people and issuing tickets up to $1,000 to those found not complying with the city’s measures to counter the spread of coronavirus. The 10 parks targeted by officers have been the subject of public complaints or feedback from previous enforcement efforts, police say.

Read more in Streeter news.

Fatal shooting investigated in Thorncliffe’s Leaside Park

Police found one person with very serious injuries in a car crashed into the swimming pool in Leaside Park near Overlea Boulevard and Thorncliffe Park Drive last night. The unidentified person had apparently been shot and was pronounced dead on the scene after failed CPR efforts.

Local highrise residents heard multiple shots and watched the drama unfold from their apartments. See the full story.

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 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.

First-place award for local gardening group

The Canada Blooms show may have been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, but that didn’t keep the Leaside Garden Society from winning first place with its Big Bird floral exhibit. The open design category was judged prior to the show and before the event, scheduled to open March 13, was called off altogether.

We’ll have more on this honour shortly.

UPDATE: Here’s the full story.

Now we have to avoid extreme weather too

It’s bad enough 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 residents to avoid non-essential travel today, according to a city 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.

About that canoe on the library lawn

If you’ve noticed a canoe emerging from a garden on the Leaside Library lawn, you should know that it’s there for a good reason. The Butterfly Canoe, as it’s called, and the surrounding gardens are a local contribution to a national project to project to help save the habitat for disappearing bees and butterflies.

It’s even been recognized by the Canadian Wildlife Federation. Read all about it in Streeter.

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 across midtown and central Toronto.

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.

It’s more than a kids’ bookstore, columnist says

Brian Baker recalls shopping for books for his young kids at the Mt. Pleasant Road bookstore and discovering how much more the shop, overseen by a cat, means to the community. That’s why he resents the possibility of it being replaced by yet another development. Read the Blast Radius column.

Coronavirus testing centre set up in East York

Michael Garron Hospital has opened a coronavirus assessment centre with an entrance separate from the rest of the hospital, MGH announced today. It’s to meet the expected growing demand for testing in the community.

But before you rush down there, be aware the centre is taking only patients exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 — and only by telephone appointment. Read the full story with photos of the new centre.

Mabel’s Fables facing city-wide problems for retailers, store owner says

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 claims.

Read the full story.

Tonight’s meeting to save Mt. Pleasant bookstore cancelled after councillor exposed to coronavirus

Toronto-St. Paul’s councillor Josh Matlow is in isolation after being being informed he has been exposed to an individual 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.

Patrick Rocca under cyber-attack again

Leaside realtor Patrick Rocca has been suffering a blitz of emails and social media postings trying to extort him over the past two months. Threats are being made against his son and his reputation if he does not pay up. Rocca however seems to be weathering the attack as well he did a similar extortion attempt more than two years ago. Read the full story.


Rosedale public school students warned of exposure to coronavirus

Toronto’s medical officer Dr. Eileen de Villa has sent a letter to Whitney Junior Public School in Rosedale warning that its community may have been exposed to a confirmed case of the coronavirus, several media are reporting this morning.

An individual who was not symptomatic at the time, was at the school on March 4 and later tested positive for COVID-19, said the letter reportedly sent to members of the Whitney school community on Saturday.

We’ll have more on this story as it develops.

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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.

Garbage deal ratified by city and union

We should be getting garbage pickup and other services in the Leaside area for quite a while longer after union members and city councillors ratified a five-year deal with the city’s outside workers. Read the latest news.

Safe bike lanes on Eglinton pushed by local group

A cycling group that meets in Leaside every month is pushing the city to create safe lanes. Leaside resident 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.