Riverdale-East York Daily Updates: September–October 2020
A quick look at news, views and things to do locally
It’s (John) Candy day
Mayor John Tory has proclaimed today as John Candy Day, on what would have been the comic actor’s 70th birthday. Candy, as everyone knows around here, lived in East York as a child and attended high school at Neil MacNeil Catholic High School near Victoria Park and Kingston Road.
For more about the beloved actor and the proclamation, get the whole story.
Fourth community place to get your flu shot
The only community flu vaccine clinic east of the Don Valley is to open on Oct. 31, the city announced today. It’s to be located at Scarborough Town Centre, Exterior Unit D3, 410 Progress Ave. and is operated by appointment only.
It’s the fourth clinic launched by Toronto Public Health across the city, the other three launching Oct. 22. It will run until Dec. 31. For more information on locations and to make an appointment, see the TPH appointment booking system online.
The flu shot is also available at many other locations in Toronto, including pharmacies, doctors’ offices and clinics. Find a location near you at MyFluShot.ca.
Bayview closed again for ActiveTO
Bayview Avenue south of Rosedale Valley Road will again be closed to vehicular traffic this weekend as part of the city’s ActiveTO initiative. Runners, walkers and cyclists will have that stretch of road open for their exclusive use.
However, Lake Shore Boulevard East will be closed this time, as it is needed to provide alternative routes for drivers due to Gardiner Expressway closures, the city says.
Sexual assault alert
Police are alerting the public today about a sexual assault that took place in Taylor Creek Park at 260 Dawes Rd., on Sunday.
A man reportedly assaulted a woman in the park at about 7:40 p.m. before fleeing the area.
He is described as having a dark complexion with black curly hair and was wearing black-rimmed glasses and a surgical mask.
Arrest made for summer break-in spree
A man has been arrested following investigation of a series of break-ins in apartment buildings and vehicles over several summer months in the area of Woodbine Avenue And Queen Street East. (See Sept. 16 update below.)
Harris Omo, 32, of Toronto, faces charges on 24 counts, including break and enter, assault with a weapon, and failing to comply with a release order. He is to appear in court today.
Gunfire and ‘suspect’ caught on video
Gunshots can be heard one of two videos released by police two days after the incident in the Greenwood-Coxwell neighbourhood.
Also on the video is seen someone whom police call a suspect running to a car parked on Hiawatha Road, shouting “Go go go!” before driving off.
Police seek canine victim of carjacking
Police are asking for help finding Sammy, a large, white dog. Sammy was in a vehicle carjacked early this morning.
Police recovered the car and arrested a man near Victoria Park and Eglinton but Sammy was not in the car. See the story.
Knife-armed man dealt with at site of gas leak
Firefighters responding to a gas leak in a building at Gerrard and Main streets were met by a man armed with a knife and behaving erratically, police reported today at about 10:30 a.m.
Police officers had to resolve the issue with the man. “We will get him the help he needs,” police said on Twitter.
Then fire crews were able to enter and evacuate the building which smelled of gas.
The gas leak was capped residents were allowed back in, with no reports of injury, police said.
Nooses at construction site not considered hate crime
Two more nooses have been found near East York’s Michael Garron Hospital but police say they don’t believe they’re connected with previous incidents.
Police responded to a call about a suspicious incident on Sept. 24 at about 7:12 p.m. at Sammon and Coxwell avenues. Two nooses were located at a construction site there, they reported yesterday.
The hate crime unit has been consulted but it is not being treated as hate-motivated, police said.
Public consultations coming on renaming Dundas
The “problematic” legacy of Henry Dundas, the 18th-century Scottish statesman, is about to come under public scrutiny as the city considers renaming the street named for him. City council approved a staff report on the man who allegedly kept the slave trade going in his time.
Council gave the go-ahead to holding public consultations with businesses and residents near Dundas Street and with diverse Black communities. Get the whole story.
Arrest for child pornography
A 40-year-old man was arrested today after police searched an address near Greenwood Avenue and Gerrard Street East as part of an investigation into child sexual abuse material.
The man has been charged with possession and accessing child pornography. He is to appear in court today.
East-end neighbourhoods hit by latest COVID wave
A month ago it looked like much of this area was free of the coronavirus. But recent figures from the city’s interactive map show we’ve been newly infected in the recent upsurge.
Worst hit in the east end have been the Beaches and Danforth East communities. Get the full picture.
Arts festival moved from the streets to online
Nuit Blanche, which has presented art installations in Toronto streets over the course of one night for the past 14 years — including along the Danforth last year — is this year presenting a week of virtual experiences.
Funded by the city and the Government of Ontario, Nuit Blanche Online is running Oct. 3–10 this year in five online streaming programs. Find out more in Streeter Things To Do.
Dangerous medication lost
A 35-millilitre container of methadone has been lost near Main Street and Stevenson Avenue. Police have issued a public safety alert, saying the medication could be harmful, even fatal, if ingested, especially by children.
• Beaches-Leslieville • Central Toronto • Don Valley • Forest Hill • Leaside • North Toronto
Secondhand Sunday on today
Today’s the day you can give away or get reusable items — to or from your neighbours. It’s Secondhand Sunday, a city-supported event that runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Here’s more about it.
One more weekend of ActiveTO road closures
Saturday and Sunday will be your last chance this year to walk, jog or cycle selected major streets that have been closed to traffic.
Included in the closures from Sept. 26 at 6 a.m. to Sept. 27 at 11 p.m. are Bayview Avenue from Front Street East to Rosedale Valley Road, and River Street from Gerrard Street East to Bayview Avenue.
Note, the usual closure on Lake Shore Boulevard East between Leslie Street and Woodbine Avenue is not taking place this time, the city advises, due to Saturday’s planned construction on the eastbound Gardiner Expressway from Yonge Street to Cherry Street.
Local events cancelled or moved online in city announcement
The Beaches Santa Claus Parade, the Riverside Halloween Fest and Nuit Blanche are among the east-end events seeing their live festivities shut down by the city this week. Some of them though will carry on as virtual or online happenings.
The city followed public health advice in cancelling all upcoming festivals and other large in-person gatherings held at outdoor sites managed by the city or at public locations, the city said in a news release on Wednesday.
See the story in Streeter news.
Are you a champion for climate action in the neighbourhood?
Could you help educate and collaborate with local residents to develop climate action projects reflecting the needs and values of your Riverdale or East York neighbourhood?
If so, the city wants you. To become a Neighbourhood Climate Action Champion.
Being a local champion will take about four or five hours a month and it won’t pay much — a $500 honorarium. But you’ll get free training and the satisfaction of helping fight climate change. Read all about it.
Be a tourist in our own communities
How well do you know the Greenwood-Coxwell neighbourhood? A walking tour of the area is part of Toronto’s StrollTO program, announced today. Self-guided tours are presented in all 25 wards, with self-guided tours pointing out culturally and historically significant local sites.
It’s part of an overall ShowLoveTO initiative to encourage residents to discover shops, stops, places and spaces on local streets, the city says. Get the whole story and links to local tours.
Markham man charged in fatal boat crash
Charges have been laid in that fatal boat crash beachgoers witnessed two weeks ago.
A Markham man, registered as the vessel owner and alleged to have been driving when it hit rocks near Woodbine Beach, faces criminal negligence charges, police say.
BigArtTO scheduled for the east end
The Donald D. Summerville swimming pool in Beaches-East York ward and a yet-to-be-announced building in Toronto-Danforth ward are to be used as canvases for art projection in Toronto’s just-announced BigArtTO initiative.
BigArtTO features free access to more than 200 hours of temporary public artworks created by Toronto artists, shown across Toronto’s 25 wards.
The Beaches-East York event is running Oct. 21 to 24 and the Toronto-Danforth event on Nov. 18 to 21. See the full story.
Public meetings on renaming ‘racist’ Dundas Street proposed
City staff is recommending the city hold public consultations on its response to the petition to rename Dundas Street and other sites bearing the Dundas name.
The petition objected to the street being named after Scottish politician Henry Dundas “who was involved in delaying the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade, causing more than half a million more Black people to be enslaved in the British Empire,” according to a city press release today.
Mayor John Tory and several councillors signed a letter on June 12 calling for the street to be renamed, referring to “signs of historic racism on streets, buildings and monuments all across Toronto.”
Some historians argue Dundas strongly favoured abolition of slavery and added “gradual” to the 1792 motion to abolish the slave trade in order to pass the motion, which would otherwise have failed.
The staff report is going to city council’s executive committee on Sept. 23.
Suspect sought in break-in spree
A series of break-ins in the Woodbine Avenue and Queen Street East area between June 25 and Aug. 1 has led to a search for a 32-year-old man. Police allege a man broke into various apartment buildings and vehicles in the apartment buildings in that time period.
Harris Omo of Toronto, who is wanted on numerous charges, including four counts of committing break and enter, theft over $5,000, assault with a weapon, and five counts of failing to comply with a release order.
He is described as 5-foot-5, 146 pounds, and having black hair and brown eyes.
Riverdale pool to stay open an extra week
City outdoor pools have been set to close on Sept. 6, but the summer season for at least 10 of them, including Riverdale Park East pool at 550 Broadview Ave., has been extended to Sept. 13. Mayor John Tory announced the extension today “recognizes the new start of the school year for many Toronto children.” Most kids are returning to school on Sept. 14, a week later than in previous years.
St. Clair work to shut down two lanes through September
Work continues on St. Clair Avenue East, east of O’Connor Drive. The latest is sewer and water main installation at Rexleigh Drive.
Two eastbound lanes will closed, though two-way traffic will be maintained at all times, according to Toronto’s Traffic Management Centre. The work starting today is expected to run to the end of September.
Anti-racist art in park torn down — and recovered
The artwork created by the community as part of the anti-racist rally in Dentonia Park on Saturday was discovered torn down and crumpled the next day. But the artwork was back up shortly. A Facebook post on the Toronto East Anti-hate Mobilization page gave the bad and good news. The city had given rally organizers permission to keep the artwork up in the park.
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