Riverdale-East York Daily Updates: May–June 2021

Bayview ActiveTO thumbnailCity bows to pressure to close Bayview for ActiveTO

Cyclists and pedestrians have not appreciated Bayview Avenue being taken off the list of roads closed to vehicles during ActiveTO weekends, restricting people to the multi-use trails running alongside the traffic lanes.

City staff heard the complaints and the southern end of the road is back on the list this weekend, Mayor John Tory announced yesterday. See the story with details for this weekend’s closures.

Arrest city-wide robberies, including east-end bank

A 34-year-old Toronto man faces multiple charges after three businesses — including a Leslieville bank — were robbed on two days in June in three different parts of the city.

The Toronto police’s holdup squad made the arrest after investigating three robberies:

  • On June 5, a man allegedly approached the checkout counter of a store near Bloor Street West and Runnymede Road, pulled out a black handgun, pointed it at an employee and demanded cash. He was reported to have taken cigarettes and lottery tickets before fleeing in a light-coloured sedan.
  • On June 11, a man is reported to have approached the teller at a bank near Gerrard Street East and Jones Avenue area and handed over a hold-up note with a demand for cash. He was said to have obtained cash before fleeing the scene on foot.
  • Later on June 11, a man allegedly entered a store in the Roncesvalles Avenue and High Park area, selected an item off the shelf, and pulled out a black handgun, demanding cash. He is reported to have to have taken obtained cash before fleeing on foot.

Investigating officers were able to identify the suspect in these cases, police said in a statement this afternoon.

Cody Swackhamer, 34, of Toronto is charged with two counts robbery with a firearm, one count of robbery, three counts of disguise with intent, and three counts of failing to comply with probation. He appeared in court today.

On-street parking enforcement to resume Monday

Be careful when and where you park after this weekend. During the lockdown months you may have gotten away with parking on streets longer than the city-wide three-hour limit or in front of your house without an up-to-date permit, as police have been been lax in enforcing these and other parking rules.

But that’s about to change. As the province begins to reopen and traffic increases, routine enforcement of on-street parking regulations is to resume, starting 12:01 a.m. on June 14, Toronto police announced today.

You’ll have a little more time to get your residential on-street permits in order though. Enforcement of those violations will begin on June 21.

More vaccine clinics popping up

Another round of pop-up vaccine clinics hosted Michael Garron Hospital and its Toronto East health partners are coming at these East York neighbourhoods:

  • June 10, Greenwood-Coxwell: Roden Public School, 151 Hiawatha Rd. in the gymnasium with priority access for those 12 and up who are students or immediate family of students at Roden Public, Bowmore Road Junior and Senior Public, Equinox Holistic Alternative, Duke of Connaught Public, Monarch Park Collegiate, École élémentaire catholique George-Éienne-Cartier, St. Patrick Catholic Secondary, Earl Haig Public, St. Brigid Catholic, Holy Cross Catholic, École elementaire La MosaÏque, Danforth Collegiate, Greenwood Secondary, East York Collegiate, Riverdale Collegiate and East York Alternative, as well as those who work at local businesses. Non-priority access is for those 12 and up who live, work or attend school in any “M” postal code. About 300 doses will be available, starting at 2 p.m. until they run out.
  • June 13, Woodbine Gardens: George Webster Elementary School, 50 Chapman Ave. in the gymnasium with priority access for those 12 and up who are students or immediate family of students at George Webster Elementary, Gordon A. Brown Middle, Regent Heights Public, SATEC @ W.A. Porter Collegiate, Selwyn Elementary, Presteign Heights Elementary, O’Connor Public, Our Lady of Fatima Catholic, Secord Elementary and D.A. Morrison Middle. Non-priority access is for those 12 and up who live, work or attend school in any “M” postal code. About 300 doses will be available, starting at 8 a.m. until they run out.

modular housing thumbnailEast York modular housing project proceeds

After the city council meeting yesterday, Toronto is moving ahead with two modular housing initiatives, including the East York project that has raised local opposition.

Council reduced the size of the East York project from 64 to 59 units but authorized staff to to begin the selection of non-profit housing providers to operate the modular building at 20 Bracebridge Ave. in the Woodbine Heights, despite local calls to delay approval. See the full story.


snow clearing thumbnailSnow-clearing extended to all our sidewalks

After a two-year trial with new, smaller sidewalk plows in Toronto-Danforth, Beaches-East York and other wards, the city is extending its snow-clearing program to all sidewalks starting next winter, council decided yesterday.

This is “good news,” says Coun. Brad Bradford, whose east-end ward has been the source of some of the complaints about the lack of snow clearing. Get the full story.

Updates continue after ad

Beaches opened with expanded lifeguard hours

Toronto mayor John Tory, Beaches-East York councillor Brad Bradford and others opened the city’s swimming beaches at the Leuty lifeguard station at Woodbine Beach today. They also launched this year’s beach and water safety campaign as Toronto’s supervised beach program began today at 10 city beaches.

Lifeguards will be on duty for hours expanded from former years — 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. seven days a week.


Riverdale park rave thumbnailRave broken up in Riverdale Park

Residents visiting Riverdale Park East by Broadview Avenue to watch the sunset Friday night were shocked to see a party gathering at the foot of the hill.

Police ended up dispersing a rave of about 200 people dancing to DJs in the park in defiance of anti-COVID measures. More on this.

stunt drivers accident on DVP thumbnailMPP and councillor call for action against stunt driving

Toronto-Danforth MPP Peter Tabuns and councillor Paula Fletcher are calling on Toronto police to identify and charge stunt drivers.

This comes after an incident involving motorcycles on the Don Valley Parkway — that left one person dead and two seriously injured. (See June 1 item below.)

This is just the latest stunt driving incident that residents living along the Don Valley have been reporting. Since last summer, the number of complaints has increased, according to a joint statement from Tabuns and Fletcher. See the full story.

Fatality in double motorcycle crash on DVP

A woman was killed a motorcycle collision on the Don Valley Parkway north of Don Mills Road.

At about 10:40 p.m., several motorbikes were travelling south on the DVP at a high rate of speed, police reported this morning.

A 2016 black Suzuki struck a metal barrier and a 2009 red Honda also became involved in the collision.

A 39-year-old woman received life-threatening injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene. Two men, 35 and 40, also suffered serious injuries and are in hospital, police said.

A police message on social media shortly after the collision referred to reports that  “several motorcycles were speeding and cutting through lanes” before the accident.

Beaches-LeslievilleCentral TorontoDavenportDon ValleyForest HillLawrence WestLeasideNorth TorontoYork Mills

Broad choices of vaccine clinics popping up over coming week

Michael Garron Hospital and its Toronto East health partners are hosting a new round of pop-up vaccine clinics in the coming week, including at these Riverdale and East York sites:

  • June 1, Broadview North: Chester Elementary School, 115 Gowan Ave. in the gymnasium, with priority access for those 12 and up who are students or immediate family of students at Chester Elementary, Westwood Middle, East York Collegiate, William Burgess Elementary, Holy Name Catholic and Holy Cross Catholic as well as residents of Gowan Avenue buildings. Non-priority access is for those 12 and up who live, work or attend school in any “M” postal code. About 500 doses will be available, starting at 2 p.m. until they run out.
  • June 4, Leslieville: Riverdale Collegiate Institute, 1094 Gerrard St. E. in the gymnasium, for students and immediate family at Riverdale Collegiate, Queen Alexandra Middle, Rosedale Heights, SEED Alternative, Holy Name Catholic, Morse Street Junior Public, Leslieville Junior Public, Dundas Junior Public, Blake Street Junior Public, Pape Avenue Junior Public, St. Joseph Catholic and Bruce Public. About 500 doses will be available, starting at 2 p.m. until they run out.
  • June 5, Old East York: East York Collegiate Institute, 650 Cosburn Ave. in the gymnasium with priority access for those 12 and up who are students or immediate family at East York Collegiate, Westwood Middle, R.H. McGregor Elementary, Earl Beatty Junior and Senior Public, Diefenbaker Elementary, École élémentaire La MosaÏque, Cosburn Middle, Holy Cross Catholic and Canadian Martyrs Catholic School. Non-priority access is for individuals 12 and up who live, work of attend attend school in any “M” postal code. About 1,000 doses will be available, starting at 8 a.m. until they run out.
  • June 5, East Danforth: Monarch Park Collegiate Institute, 1 Hanson St. in the gymnasium, with priority access for individuals 12 and up who are students or family members at Monarch Park Collegiate, St. Patrick Catholic, St. Brigid Catholic, Roden Public, Bowmore Road Junior and Senior Public, Duke of Connaught Junior and Senior Public, École élémentaire catholique George-Étienne-Cartier and Holy Cross Catholic School. Non-priority access is for individuals 12 and up who live, work of attend attend school in any “M” postal code. About 500 doses will be available, starting at 8 a.m. until they run out.

See more about the MGH schedule of clinics on the hospital’s mobile and pop-up clinics webpage.

rental apartments thumbnailApartment rents down in east end during pandemic

The Greenwood-Coxwell neighbourhood experienced one of Toronto’s biggest drops in condo and apartment rents since the beginning of the pandemic more than a year ago, according to a recent survey. And both the Beaches and East End-Danforth were close behind. Respectively, their rents decreased 29, 28 and 27 per cent in the first four months of this year from the same period in 2020.

But there are signs rents across Toronto may be stabilizing and preparing to rise again, the survey found. Get all the facts in the full story.

Bayview not part of latest road closures

ActiveTO road closures for the coming weekend have been announced as:

  • Lake Shore Boulevard East, eastbound lanes between Leslie Street and Woodbine Avenue, from May 29, 6 a.m. to May 30, 9 p.m.
  • Roads in High Park from May 28 about 11 p.m. to May 31 about 7 a.m.

You’ll notice the southern leg of Bayview Avenue is not on this list, as it has usually been for past ActiveTO road closures.

In a press release yesterday the city said a  “multi-use trail along Bayview Avenue, between Mill Street and Rosedale Valley Road, provides a safe and protected full-time space for people walking and riding their bikes every day, while also allowing Bayview Avenue to safely accommodate vehicles.”

A partial closure of Allen Road is also being planned, but not for this weekend. for ActiveTO next weekend. The Allen’s northbound lanes between Eglinton and Lawrence avenues are expected to be closed to vehicles from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, June 5.

vaccine clinic header

East-end pop-up clinics continue to vaccinate ages 12 and up

Michael Garron Hospital and East Toronto Health Partners continue to run vaccine pop-up clinics for those age 12 and up this week, including these in Riverdale and East York.

  • May 26: Eastview Neighbourhood Community Centre, 86 Blake St. with priority access for local TCHC residents, non-priority access for individuals in any “M” postal code, from 2 p.m. until the vaccines run out (about 600 doses).
  • May 27: O’Connor Public School, 1665 O’Connor Dr. in the gymnasium with priority access for residents of Parma Court, Wakunda Place and Sunrise Avenue Buildings and non-priority access for individuals in any “M” postal code, from 2 p.m. until vaccines run out (about 500 doses).
    Also, East York Collegiate Institute, 650 Cosburn Ave. in the gymnasium, for students and immediate family of students at East York Collegiate, Cosburn Middle School, East York Alternative Secondary School, Canadian Martyrs Catholic School and D.A. Morrison Middle School, from 3 p.m. until vaccines run out (about 500 doses.)
  • May 28: East York Community Recreation Centre, 1081½ Pape Ave., with priority access for those who live or work in the Pape and Cosburn Community and non-priority access for individuals who live or work in any “M” postal code, 8 a.m. until vaccine supply runs out (~500 doses available)
  • May 29: Danforth Collegiate and Technical Institute, 800 Greenwood Ave. in the gymnasium, for students and immediate family of students at Danforth Collegiate, Greenwood Secondary, Earl Haig Public and Wilkinson Junior Public, from 8 a.m. until vaccines run out (about 500 doses).
    Also, St. Patrick Catholic Secondary School, 49 Felstead Ave. in the cafeteria, students and immediate family members of students at St. Patrick, Monarch Park Collegiate and St. Brigid Catholic School, from 8 a.m. until vaccines run out (about 500 doses).

See the MGH vaccine clinics site for more information.

Vaccines open to ages 12 to 17 at city-run clinics

As of Sunday 8 a.m. Sunday, Toronto is opening vaccination appointments at city-run clinics to youth age 12 to 17. This includes clinics at East York Town Centre, 45 Overlea Blvd., in Thorncliffe Park.

Appointments can be booked online or by calling the provincial vaccine booking line at 1-833-943-3900.

Parents or guardians do not need to accompany youth to clinics as parental consent is not required, as long as the healthcare personnel administering the shots finds the youths capable of understanding the decision to be vaccinated, according to a statement from the city today.


Outdoor recreationGolf, tennis and other outdoor recreations are back

The Dentonia golf course, Stan Wadlow sports fields and Riverdale Park fitness areas should be swarming with people getting their outdoor exercise again this long weekend — if it’s possible to swarm while keeping physically distanced.

Following Ontario’s go-ahead yesterday, the city is reopening its outdoor recreational amenities — albeit with public health restrictions in place — as of May 22.

Get the whole story.

Community safety town hall tonight

Toronto-Danforth councillor Paul Fletcher is hosting a virtual town hall on community safety this evening, including news on the new 54/55 Division police station on Danforth Avenue at Coxwell Avenue. Topics are to include police reform and porch pirates.

Speakers include 55 Division superintendent Reuben Stroble, SDFA executive director Denise Andrea Campbell, and Mohamed Shuriye, manager of the city’s policing reform unit.

Register for the Zoom meeting in advance.

Pop-up vaccine clinic for 12 and up at Crescent Town tomorrow

Michael Garron Hospital and East Toronto Health Partners are operating a vaccine clinic in Crescent Town on Thursday, May 20 for individuals 12 and older who live in the area.

This includes residents of all the Crescent Town highrises and townhouses, the Goodwood Park, Park Vista and 500 Dawes Road apartment residents, and immediate family members of students at Crescent Town Elementary School.

The vaccination clinic takes place in the school playground from 12 p.m. until the 600 available doses run out.

Drop-ins are welcome. First doses of Pfizer will be administered.

For more information, see the hospital’s vaccine clinics webpage.


police car fourth man arrested thumbnailTwo more bank robberies before fourth man arrested

Four men were alleged to have robbed a series of banks in downtown Toronto and East York in April but only three men were arrested.

Now, following two more holdups, apparently by one man, the fourth suspect has been arrested. Get the full story.

Traffic light to be considered by Riverdale Park

City staff is looking for the “most optimal location” for a traffic light to facilitate crossing Broadview Avenue near the north end of Riverdale Park East.

This promise came in an April 30 letter from Barbara Gray, general manager of transportation services, in response to a request from Toronto-Danforth councillor Paula Fletcher, as reported in Fletcher’s newsletter today.

The proposal for traffic controls needs to be authorized by Toronto East York Community Council first. If it’s approved, staff are projecting an installation date in the second quarter of 2022.

East York Farmers' Market thumbnailEast York market starts tomorrow with fresh local food

The East York Farmers’ Market is returning to the Civic Centre at 850 Coxwell Ave. tomorrow morning — with health protocols in place.

The market will be running every Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. into the fall., See more about it.

Isaac Crosby thumbnailInvasive species in our ravines called danger to native vegetation, wildlife

The Brick Works’ Indigenous gardener is concerned invasive species in Toronto’s famous ravines are a danger to native flora and fauna — and to Indigenous people.

We got Isaac Crosby’s views on the ravines as a city-wide review is about to get under way. See the full story.

little league baseball thumbnail

Bring back community sports, Bradford motion asks

On a motion from Beaches-East York councillor Brad Bradford, the city is pressing the Ontario government to make a plan for the return of community sports this summer.

And local baseball associations are ready for it with new, stricter health protocols. Get the whole story.

Leslieville break-ins thumbSame man sought for store break-ins in east and west ends

Leslieville businesses complaining about a series of break-ins last weekend may have got an answer from the police. Today the police released information on a suspect in the break-ins — and it turns out to be a man they were already seeking after a similar series of store break-ins in the west end.

Images of the man being sought for both break-and-enter sprees were released by police. See the full story.

Broadview closures for rest of year for construction

Starting tomorrow, watermain replacement work will close lanes of Broadview Avenue between Danforth Avenue and Gerrard Street East, according to the city’s construction notice.

At this time, the construction work is expected to run from May 10 to possibly Dec. 31.

The city will be replacing the watermain and the city-owned portion of substandard water services on Broadview, with additional watermain replacement work also on Montcrest Boulevard.

Traffic will be reduced to a single lane in each direction on Broadview. Pedestrian access is to be maintained
throughout construction.

goat thumbnailThree-month-old goat stolen from Riverdale Farm

An alleged thief or thieves entered a pen at Riverdale Farm in Cabbagetown sometime on Wednesday evening or Thursday morning and took a young goat named Juniper, police are reporting today.

Police are asking for public help in their investigation.

Here’s what we know so far.


More roads for walking, jogging and cycling this weekend

ActiveTO major road closures will again be in place this weekend along Lake Shore Boulevard East and Bayview Avenue, but now with High Park added to the mix.

The following roads are closed to vehicular traffic and open to pedestrians and cyclists from May 8 at 6 a.m. to May 9 at 9 p.m.:

  • Bayview Avenue, between Front Street East and Rosedale Valley Road, as well as River Street between Bayview Avenue and Spruce Street.
  • Lake Shore Boulevard East (eastbound lanes only), between Leslie Street and Woodbine Avenue.
  • Roads through High Park, with road closures extended from Friday at about 11 p.m. to Monday at about 7 a.m.

As previously, residents should use these routes only with members of their own household.

Three days of pop-up clinics for vaccinations

The East Toronto Health Partners are organizing pop-up clinics at the Warden Hilltop Community Centre to vaccinate those in hotspots.

The next clinics take place May 6–8 at 25 Mendelssohn St., near Warden Avenue and St. Clair Avenue East.

Every adult 18 and over who lives in any priority postal code in Toronto is eligible.

Drop-ins are welcome but eligible individuals can also book an appointment online.

The clinics are open each day at 8 a.m. until the vaccine runs out.

Four COVID cases uncovered at Loblaws store

Four staff have tested positive for COVID-19 at the Loblaws store at 50 Musgrave St. in the Upper Beaches, the grocery chain reported today.

The last days the affected team members worked at the location near Gerrard Street and Victoria Park Avenue were recorded as April 24, 28 and 29.

Third alleged bank robber arrested

Another man has been charged in a series of bank robberies between April 19 and 22 in East York and downtown Toronto. This makes three arrested in the police hold-up squad’s investigation so far, but a fourth man is still being sought, they say. Get the ongoing story.

Bayview during ActiveTO - thumbnailJoggers, strollers and cyclists return to ActiveTO roads

The numbers seem down a bit from last year, but plenty of people are walking, jogging and cycling this weekend on roads that are usually full of cars and trucks.

It’s part of Toronto’s ActiveTO initiative to help residents get fresh air and exercise during the pandemic lockdown by closing parts of Bayview Avenue, River Street and Lake Shore Boulevard East to vehicular traffic.

See more about it.

Fallen tree with squirrelsFalling tree hits car, closes Bingham — and moves a home

Bingham Avenue in the Upper Beaches was closed to traffic after a tree fell in the gusting winds that hit Toronto yesterday evening.

The tree fell on a car and brought down hydro lines shortly after 7 p.m. near Bingham and Gerrard Street East, police reported online. What they didn’t report was that a family of squirrels lived in the tree, leaving the little ones to run around the tree where their fallen home was.

More on this and other effects of the wind storm.

More COVID cases found at Riverdale grocery stores

The new month begins with a slew of coronavirus cases at Toronto grocery stores, including in the Riverdale area.

Topping the sick list now is Loblaws at 720 Broadview Ave., just south of Danforth Avenue in Riverdale. Four staff at the store have just tested positive for COVID-19, the chain announced today. The last days the affected employees worked were recorded as April 19, 22, 23 and 28.

On April 22, the Riverdale store had reported two positive tests among its staff. (See April 22 item below.)

Also in the east end today, Loblaw Companies is reporting two COVID-19 cases among staff at Jeff’s No Frills, 449 Carlaw St., just north of Gerrard Street. The last day the employees worked were April 17 and 25.

Among grocery stores reporting single cases in Riverdale-East York on May 1 is the Loblaw-affiliated Davidson’s Valu-Mart at Woodbine and Danforth avenues,