Riverdale-East York Daily Updates

A quick look at news, views and things to do locally

The Scribe thumbnailStore to teach the ‘thrill’ of holding old books

Justin Daniel Wood’s store, about to open Dec. 1, is different from all the other bookstores on Danforth Avenue. The Scribe specializes in rare and vintage volumes that range in price from $5 to $1,000.

But Wood is on a mission to show people they need not be intimidated by such books, which are neither untouchable nor expensive. Read all about this new business.


Pizzeria fire siteMinor fire at Pape pizzeria

Despite a report from police of a “large fire” at Pape and Gowan avenues, fire crews found only a small fire in the kitchen of a pizzeria when they responded at 10:40 this morning.

People were evacuated from the building housing 241 Pizza on Pape and the street briefly closed.

The fire itself was dealt with in 30 minutes, according to an employee at a business next door. No injuries were reported.

tobogganing hill at RiverdaleLocal parks ready for tobogganing and other winter activities

Hills in Riverdale and Withrow parks are among the 23 sites where the city is encouraging tobogganing this winter in its Welcome T.O. Winter parks plan (though you likely know several other great hills to slide down on sleds and toboggans).

The city is also pushing other outdoor activities during the pandemic this winter, including skating, snowshoeing in city golf courses, playing disc-golf and exploring recreational trails.

See the story and where to go for the best tobogganing.

Thorncliffe among areas to get added COVID-19 supports

Toronto announced enhanced COVID-19 supports today, mainly targeting the northwest and northeast corners of the city where the pandemic has “exacerbated long-standing, systemic health inequities related to poverty, racism and other forms of discrimination.”

But residents of Thorncliffe Park are also considered vulnerable and will receive targeted neighbourhood support, the city says.

The city is working with the Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Organization in the East York/Don Valley community to implement the enhanced supports.

Targeted measures include expanded testing sites, intensified community outreach and engagement, and income support for those who test positive and are unable to work due to mandatory isolation. They will also address the threat of eviction and improve newcomer access to COVID-19 services, among other measures, according to the city.

Last night for local BigArtTO show

It’s the last showing tonight of “Interchanges,” artist Winnie Truong’s work projected on the Canada Post South Central Letter Processing Plant at 969 Eastern Ave. The free art installation, part of the city’s BigArtTO initiative, is on from 6 to 9 p.m.

See the original story about BigArtTO across Toronto.

Where to go when you have to go

If you’re a person who plans your outings around available washrooms, here’s welcome news for you. The city is refitting and reopening washrooms in parks — like at Withrow Park or Dentonia Park — this winter.

It’s also adding portable toilets to new locations, along with keeping washrooms going in the usual places like libraries and recreation centres.

Get the full story here.

The story of the Empringham Hotel

The Empringham Hotel was the pride of East Toronto when George Empringham opened it at Danforth and Dawes in the 1890s and it remained an east end destination and social centre of sorts into the 1980s, when it was taken down.

Read all about it and see those great old photos in “From stately hotel to strip club — the Empringham story.”

Power restored after outages caused by windstorm

More than 10,000 people in Toronto had to have their power restored yesterday and last night, with the most outages in East York and Scarborough, according to Toronto Hydro.

The outages came after a windstorm, some have called the worst since 2018, blew through Ontario. Hydro crews worked through the night to restore power.

Work begun on upgraded Dundas bike lanes

Protected bike lanes for Dundas Street East are on the way. Work on the upgraded lanes mandated by city council for one of Toronto’s most dangerous stretches of road for cyclists (see Nov. 6 story) has begun, says Toronto-Danforth councillor Paula Fletcher in her Nov. 13 email newsletter.

Transportation staff have begun pavement markings, and other upgrades, such as adding curbs and bollards will follow over the next month, Fletcher says.

Teens arrested for armed robberies in East York

Seven boys, 14 to 16, have been arrested and charged with multiple counts of robbery and possession of offensive weapons after a series of retail robberies this week.

The alleged robberies took place at Cosburn and Donlands avenues and at Cosburn and Greenwood avenues on Nov. 9 and 10. Store staff were reportedly threatened and assaulted. Here’s the full story.


Food Basics employee tested positive

Metro stores have announced an employee at Food Basics, 1070 Pape Ave., has tested positive for COVID-19. The employee’s last day of work was Nov. 9, the company says.

You can publicly charge your EV in the east end now

Seventeen electric vehicle charging stations have been activated across the city, many of them in the east end wards of Toronto-Danforth and Beaches-East York.

Toronto mayor John Tory announced the official launch of the 12-month pilot program yesterday and Beaches-East York councillor Brad Bradford praised the program. See the full story and locations.


Potentially harmful medication taken

Police warned yesterday evening a bulk quantity of oxycodone was stolen from the Danforth Avenue and Broadview Avenue area on Oct. 31.

The pills ranged from 15 milligrams to 80 milligrams. They could be harmful or fatal if ingested, especially to children, police say. Anyone with information should contact police.

New east end locations for photo radar units

After three months of issuing tickets, the city’s photo radar units are being moved. All 50 automated speed enforcement (ASE) devices are to be moved to new locations starting this week “to address a greater number of areas with safety concerns and to encourage a wide-ranging deterrent effect,” the city said in a news release yesterday.

In Toronto-Danforth ward, the two new ASE sites are on Dundas Street East, east of Broadview Avenue, and on Lesmount Avenue, south of Cosburn Avenue. Both are near schools.

In Beaches-East York, the new sites are on Kingston Road, near Heyworth Crescent, and on Spruce Hill Road, north of Queen Street East.

The city reports 47,195 speeders were caught by ASE devices in the old locations, but the number of tickets dropped in the second and third months.

“The Automated Speed Enforcement program is working,” Mayor John Tory said. “Each month, fewer drivers were caught speeding in school and community safety zones where they’ve been placed, and they are helping to keep vulnerable people, especially school children, in these communities safer.”

‘Dangerous’ Dundas to get protected bike lanes

A dangerous stretch of Dundas Street East may become a little safer for cyclists if the city upgrades the bicycle paths to protected bike lanes. A committee of city council adopted a report yesterday calling for installing cycle tracks — protected bicycle lanes — along Dundas between Broadview Avenue and Kingston Road.

Deaths and injuries that have plagued the street may be alleviated if protected lanes are installed, proponents say. See the full story — and a dangerous situation spotted by our photographer.

John Candy Uncle Buck thumbnailIt’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.

Get the whole story.

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.

UPDATE: Sammy haas been found

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.

Henry Dundas thumbnailPublic 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.

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COVID germEast-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.

Nuit Blanche thumbnailArts 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-LeslievilleCentral TorontoDon ValleyForest HillLeasideNorth 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.


Nuit BlancheLocal 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.

climate change thumbnail2Are 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.

StrollTO thumbBe 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.

Ashbridges Bay rocksMarkham 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.

See the full story.

BigArtTO thumbnailBigArtTO 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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Posted: Nov 26 2020 12:58 pm

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