Riverdale-East York Daily Updates

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

Bayview during ActiveTO programMajor roads to be car-free again

For six months last year, as part of the the ActiveTO program, the city closed stretches of Bayview Avenue and Lake Shore Boulevard East, among other roadways, to traffic on weekends and turned the roads over to pedestrians, joggers and cyclists.

It was so popular that city council agreed yesterday to run the program again this year — with a few changes. Read all about it.


Smoke alarms to be distributed in east end

The Toronto Professional Firefighter’s Association and alarm manufacturer First Alert have each donated 100 smoke alarms to be distributed to residents in the east end.

Beaches-East York councillor Brad Bradford is to ensure the 200 devices are given to the households most in need.

“With the recent tragic fire in the east end of our city, fire safety has been top-of-mind for everyone,” Bradford said. “These contributions … will help to save the lives and raise awareness of the importance of having working alarms. At a time where we’re asking folks to stay home, it’s critical we make sure that those homes are safe.”

Riverdale CollegiateAll Toronto schools shut down

Only the day before, Toronto Public Health had advised the closing of 20 schools across Toronto for COVID investigations. Yesterday the rest of Toronto’s elementary, middle and secondary schools were shuttered on the orders of Toronto’s chief medical officer, Dr. Eileen de Villa.

Students are to transition to remote learning which is to continue until April 18 — although this end date may also be extended, TPH warns. See the full story.

Man sought for Danforth-Greenwood store robberies

Police are looking for a man more than two months after a store was robbed near Danforth and Greenwood avenues.

A man allegedly entered a store wearing a balaclava mask, pointed a covered hand toward an employee suggesting he had a weapon, and took cash, before fleeing the area on foot.

The police hold-up squad identified the man as someone also wanted for a previous assault and home invasion.

Devon Caesar, 32, of Toronto, is sought on eight charges, including robbery, assault, forcible entry and assault causing bodily harm.


EAst York Collegiate thumbnailEast-end schools lead latest round of 20 school closures

You may notice today in the lists of closures, due to COVID outbreaks, the names of several local institutions.

At least four of the 11 Toronto District School Board schools closed today are in the east end: D.A. Morrison Middle School, Danforth Tech, East York Collegiate and Riverdale Collegiate. Another three of the seven Catholic board schools closed — Neil MacNeil High School, St. Brigid Catholic School and St. Patrick Secondary School — are also in the east end. George Étienne Cartier, belonging to the French-language school board, is yet another east-end school closed today.

See the story on the latest school closures.

Stretch of westbound Danforth blocked

Expect more delays along Danforth for the next two weeks as, starting today, the westbound lanes between Woodmount and Glebemount avenues will be partially occupied for inspection of power cable chambers, the city advises.

The blockage is expected to continue until April 23.

City golf courses to open Thursday

The three-par Dentonia Park Golf Course is among the city-run courses to open Thursday, several days ahead of schedule.

The city announced all five of its golf courses are opening for the 2021 season on April 1.

Guidelines have been developed in consultation with Toronto Public Health, including physical distancing between golfers and disinfection of equipment and surfaces, the city said in a press release today.

Tee times will be 10 minutes apart, starting at 7 a.m. and ending at dusk. Tee times are expected to sell out quickly, so residents are encouraged to book early. (Call Dentonia at 416-392-2558.)

Major Broadview work planned by city

Work on Broadview Avenue is among the projects the city is scheduling for this year’s construction season.

Mayor John Tory this morning introduced $1 billion in work planned for roads, bridges, expressways, TTC tracks, sewers and watermains across the city.

The major projects planned for this year include watermain replacement on Broadview between Gerrard Street East and Danforth Avenue.


Arrest for luring child

A 40-year-old man has been arrested on child luring and pornography charges after searches by the police child exploitation section.

Police executed two search warrants near Danforth and Woodbine avenues on March 4 and reported finding evidence of the offences and child sexual abuse material stored on devices at a residence, police announced today.

They allege that girls between the ages of 12 and 16 had been contacted online for a sexual purpose and online payments had been made in exchange for live viewings of child sexual abuse material.

Mahesh Bisesar of Toronto faces five charges including luring a child, making child pornography and accessing child pornography. He appeared in court virtually on March 5, police say.

Weekend vaccinations by Michael Garron

Michael Garron is plowing ahead with its vaccination program, each day giving thousands of shots against COVID-19.

On Friday the hospital held three on-site clinics, two primary care clinics, a pop-up clinic and two mobile clinics in the east end, vaccinating 2,155 people.

The drive continues over the weekend with five on-site clinics — at the hospital, Thorncliffe Park Community Hub and Jimmie Simpson Rec Centre and), three pop-up clinics and a mobile clinic. It plans to vaccinate about 2,417 people who are healthcare workers, individuals living in congregate settings, and community members 75 and older, according to a statement from the city this morning.

Michael Garron upping vaccinations

In its continuing vaccination drive against COVID-19, Michael Garron Hospital is today holding three east-end on-site clinics (at the hospital in East York, at the Thorncliffe Park Community Hub, and Jimmie Simpson Recreation Centre in Riverside/Leslieville) and is deploying two mobile teams.

It will vaccinate about 2,400 people who are healthcare workers, individuals living in congregate settings or who receive home care, community members 75 years and older, and individuals experiencing homelessness, according to a City of Toronto press release.

Yesterday, MGH held two on-site clinics and deployed two mobile teams to vaccinate 1,514 people.

On March 23, MGH held two on-site clinics and used one mobile team to vaccinate 628 individuals.

Arrest after robbery in Riverside store

A 19-year-old woman was arrested yesterday after a robbery in a store near Dundas Street East and Broadview Avenue, police say.

It is alleged a woman had started to leave the store without paying for items taken from the shelves and, when approached by a store employee, she began to violently assault the employee causing minor injuries. She reportedly ripped a necklace off the employee and fled on foot.

Officers from 55 Division quickly arrived on scene and located a woman. She has been charged with robbery and disguise with intent, police say.

She is scheduled to appear in court today.

Woman seriously injured crossing St. Clair

A 58-year-old woman is in hospital with serious head injuries after being struck while crossing St. Clair Avenue East at Plaxton Drive yesterday afternoon.

She was reportedly crossing St. Clair on the west side of the intersection when she was struck by pickup truck driven by a 61-year-old man, trying to turn left onto St. Clair, police say.

Here’s what we know so far.


Puppetmongers thumbnailEast-end puppeteers looking to leave wider legacy

Coming up to their 50th anniversary, brother-sister team David and Ann Powell aren’t thinking about how the pandemic has tied up their puppeteering business, Puppetmongers Theatre based on Carlaw Avenue, but are rather looking to continue their legacy beyond.

Puppetmongers has been able to maintain a studio space since they started in 1974, and they plan to bequeath a puppetry space, with all the tools of the trade, for fellow puppeteers to perform shows and hone their craft.

See the full story and their current online productions.

Clinics vaccinating for COVID-19

Michael Garron Hospital and East Toronto Health Partners yesterday held two on-site clinics, one primary care clinic and a mobile clinic, vaccinating 506 healthcare workers, first responders from fire and police services, residents 80 years and older, and individuals living in congregate settings.

Today they will hold another two on-site clinics, a pop-up clinic and deploy two mobile teams, to vaccinate about 855 more such people, according to a city announcement.

Fight at Coxwell Station allegedly involved a knife

One person is in custody after a fight between two groups was reported at Coxwell Station about 8:30 p.m. today. Police said online two groups of people were fighting at the station, one person seen with a knife, and with some of the combatants moving down to subway level.

Buses and trains were diverted, and police arrived to take one person into custody. No serious injuries were reported.

‘Gunshots’ weren’t gunshots in Riverside

Did you hear what sounded like gunshots this evening about 8:20 p.m. near Broadview Avenue and Dundas Street East? Relax. Police officers investigated and found it was only fireworks.

However, it should be pointed out that these were also illegal. In Toronto, fireworks can be set off on private property without a permit only on Victoria Day and Canada Day.

New east-end locations coming for photo radar

You have until May to improve your driving on Victoria Park Avenue, Secord Avenue, Greenwood Avenue and Plains Road. That’s when the city’s automatic speed enforcement (ASE) devices will be moved to these streets to catch speeding drivers in Toronto-Danforth and Beaches-East York wards.

This will be the third locations for the ASEs. (See March 1 item below for current sites.)


Images of suspects released after tow truck arsons

Police have released today images of two people and a pickup truck suspected of being involved in the burning of two tow trucks. On Feb. 23, officers were called to fires near Victoria Park Avenue and Sunrise Avenue and near Victoria Park and Parma Court areas. Both suspects were seen fleeing the area in a silver Ford F-150 with stolen licence plates, police reported.

How safe do you feel? Tell the city

The deadline is approaching to fill out the SafeTO survey. The city wants to know the level of safety and wellbeing you feel in your community, and your priorities for the SafeTO plan to guide social systems — like community services, healthcare, policing — in serving Torontonians.

The online survey, which should take less than 10 minutes, is to be completed before March 12.

ASE sign thumbnailFewer speeders caught in east end

East-end drivers fared well in December, scoring a relatively low number of tickets issued by the city’s newly located photo radar cameras, according to figures released today.

The automatic speeding enforcement device on Kingston Road in Beaches-East York ward issued the most tickets in the area with 673 speeders caught — but this was far less than in many other parts of Toronto. Best in the east end was Spruce Hill Road north of Queen Street East with only 33 tickets.

Tickets from the two ASE devices in Toronto-Danforth ward were between these figures. See the full story on how we compared to other areas.

modular housing thumbnailEast York community split over homeless housing initiative?

Mayor John Tory announced on Tuesday the city-owned lot at Trenton and Cedarvale avenues in East York would be one of two new sites chosen for the city’s modular housing initiative for those facing homelessness.

He was supported in this by Beaches-East York reps MPP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith and Coun. Brad Bradford. But the reaction online so far has been mixed, with some neighbours raising fears of safety for kids and seniors in the area. Get the full story.

Tabuns attacks return of higher hydro rates

Toronto-Danforth MPP Peter Tabuns has criticized the Ontario government for reinstating its standard electricity pricing this week. This is particularly a problem in areas, like Toronto, where stay-at-home orders apply, causing electricity bills to jump while people are still coping with a pandemic, Tabuns said in a statement released by the NDP today.

The step is by the Doug Ford to cancel the discounted rates is “callous,” Tabuns said.

“So many Ontario households and small businesses are doing their best to stay on top of their bills right now, as the pandemic continues to rage and incomes continue to be impacted. They need things to get more affordable, not more expensive.”

TTC constable uniforms reported taken

Someone may be walking — or riding — around wearing unauthorized special constable’s uniforms. Police reported yesterday three TTC Special Constable Uniform shirts and the front half of an external ballistic vest carrier were stolen near Woodbine and Danforth avenues on Feb. 18 at about 5 p.m.

The shirts are described as baby blue with TTC Special Constable patches on the shoulders. The front half of the ballistic carrier is black and does not contain any plates, police say.

Duties of TTC Special Constables include preventing crime, enforcing laws and ordering maintenance on the transit system.

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Arrest for luring child for pornography

The Sex Crimes and Child Exploitation Section of the Toronto police arrested a man after searching a residence near Victoria Park and Sunrise avenues.

Police say they recovered child abuse material and alleged a user lured a child online to make child pornography. A 31-year-old man has been charged luring a child as well as three counts of possessing, accessing and making child pornography

The man appeared virtually in court today.

memoir thumbnailReview: Poignant memoir of finding and losing family secrets

East-end author Sharon Kirsch went looking for buried treasure under the floorboards of her old family home after moving her ailing mother out, but she uncovered prizes of another kind.

She relates what she found in a compelling memoir The Smallest Objective, which came out in the fall. Here’s editor Eric’s review.


police investigate man shot thumbnailMan was shot in his own home

The man who was shot near Broadview and Erindale avenues a couple of days ago was actually wounded in his own home, police have told us now. The 51-year-old was shot in the leg and suffered non-life threatening injuries, police say.

Three suspects are still being sought. See the latest update on the story.

gun control graphic thumbnailAs a new season of the gun shapes up….

We need strong gun control to help stop handgun violence that is once again terrorizing Toronto residents — in all parts of the city. And the federal government ban on military-style assault weapons, while welcome, is not nearly enough, Streeter editorial argues.

Read and comment on the editorial.

COVID rates mapEast-end among neighbourhoods with lowest COVID-19 rates

The Beaches appear to be one of the safest areas in Toronto, judging by the latest figures from the province. The city’s mapping of the COVID rates over a recent three-week period shows the Beach community to have experienced 65 cases per 100,000 population — the second-lowest rate in Toronto.

Other east-end neighbourhoods getting good news are Player Estates-Danforth with 77 and North Riverdale with 84 — well below the worst-hit areas in Toronto with more than 700 cases per 100,000. See how our neighbourhoods compare to other central, midtown and east-end areas.


police car at night thumbnailMan shot, three sought after gunfire near Broadview Station

A man was rushed to hospital after a shooting near Broadview Station just before midnight last night. Three other males are being sought by police after they responded to reports of gunfire at Broadview Avenue and Erindale Avenue, the short street running across the north side of the station grounds.

Here’s the story so far.

2301 Danforth thumbnailDanforth shooting caps four days of Toronto murders

A shooting in a parking garage on Danforth Avenue has left a 47-year-old man dead. It happened at 2301 Danforth Ave., a recently opened, eight-storey apartment condominium building at Oak Park Avenue, yesterday at about 10:24 p.m.

The east-end death is the fourth shooting homicide in Toronto in four days and the sixth over the past two weeks. Here’s what we know about it so far.

No shinny or large groups on rinks, Bradford warns

Beaches-East York councillor Brad Bradford is warning members of the community not to gather in large groups or play  hockey on outdoor rinks in the area. In a newsletter released today, Bradford mentions Love Crescent in Upper Beaches, Topham Park in northeast East York and Fairmount Park in Beach Hill as rinks where skaters have been ignoring public health guidelines.

“Anyone on the rink should be wearing a mask or face covering, watching their distance, and not playing shinny,” he says in the newsletter. “There is also a capacity limit of 25 on all ice rinks.

Anyone seeing a large gathering or hockey being played on an outdoor rink is advised to call 311.

“I’m pleading with anyone who thinks they don’t have to follow the rules and guidelines, to please think again. We’ve seen this [pandemic] drag on too long and it takes every single one of us playing our part to stop the spread.”

Arija Jansons GoFundMe thumbnailSeveral online campaigns raise thousands for east-end fire victims

More than $116,000 has been raised in two GoFundMe campaigns to help Arija Jansons who lost her son, mother and close friends in the Gainsborough Road house fire on Jan. 29.

And more has been raised for the families of the fire victims in other online campaigns. See the full story.

Beaches-LeslievilleCentral TorontoDon ValleyForest HillLeasideNorth Toronto

Budget consultation with east-end councillors tonight

Councillors Paula Fletcher and Brad Bradford join Toronto’s budget committee chair Gary Crawford for the East End 2021 Budget Consultation today from 7 to 9 p.m.

The meeting is to include a presentation by Stephen Conforti, executive director of financial planning for the city.

Residents of Toronto-Danforth and Beaches-East York wards are invited to join the discussion on Zoom and ask questions.

To take part, register in advance online.

Pedestrian sent to hospital after being struck

A female pedestrian was struck by a vehicle near Victoria Park Avenue and Musgrave Street at about 8:30 a.m. today, police say. The woman, described as being in her 30s, was attended by paramedics and taken to hospital. Her condition is unknown.

The vehicle reportedly remained on the scene. Police temporarily blocked off the streets to investigate.

Victoria and Musgrave is an intersection in Upper Beaches giving access to plazas featuring Loblaws, FreshCo and McDonald’s.

Deadly fire in east-end house

Four people are dead and two more were injured after fire ravaged a house on Gainsborough Road early this morning.

The three-alarm blaze destroyed the top floor of a two-storey house near Coxwell Avenue and Eastwood Road and spread to the rooftops of two neighbouring houses.

Here’s the full story.


Sexual assault reported at Broadview after altercation on bus

A man is being sought after an incident that began with a verbal altercation on a bus in the Thorncliffe Park area and allegedly ended with a sexual assault at a subway station Wednesday afternoon.

The 30-year-old woman and an unidentified man reportedly got off the bus at Broadview Station and the woman was sexually assaulted. The man then fled into the station, police say.

He is described as brown, 45–50 years old, 5-foot-5 to 5-foot-nine, and having a medium build. He was last seen wearing a red and black hooded jacket, a black baseball cap, black pants, brown boots and a blue mask.

Alleged diaper thief arrested

For nearly two months from Dec. 1, a man was removing soiled diapers from a green bin beside a home in the Gerrard Street East and Woodbine Avenue area, police charge. This sparked a prowl-by-night investigation, which resulted in an arrest on Jan. 23 of a 40-year-old Toronto man.

He faces charges of prowling by night, criminal harassment and theft. He appeared in court via video the same day.

Another COVID case at a Danforth mart

Loblaw Companies announced today a staff member at the Shoppers Drug Mart, 1630 Danforth Ave., has tested positive on a presumptive test for COVID-19. The last day the employee worked there was Jan. 22, the store says.

COVID cases found at local grocery stores

Food retailers in the east end have recently reported several positive tests for COVID-19 among their staff, including three cases at one location:

  • On Jan. 23 the Loblaws at 17 Leslie St. reported a team member tested positive. The last day the employee worked was recorded as Jan. 19.
  • On Jan. 19 two staff at Davidson’s Valu-mart at Danforth and Woodbine avenues tested positive. The last day they worked was on Jan. 12.
  • On Jan. 18, Metro announced the positive test of an employee at the Food Basics at 1070 Pape Ave., their last day in the store being Jan. 10.
  • The Sobeys at 2451 Danforth Ave. experienced at least three recent COVID cases. The store reported positive tests on Jan. 19, 24 and  25. The employees’ last day worked ranged from Jan. 10 to 16.

Pickup driver found after failing to remain at collision: police

A vehicle and driver have been located two days after a collision at Woodbine Avenue and O’Connor Drive on Jan. 20 shortly before noon hour, police say.

A 59-year-old man was reportedly riding an e-bike north on Woodbine and tried to make a right turn to travel east onto O’Connor, when he collided with a white Ford F250 Supercab pickup truck.

The e-bike rider was taken to hospital with serious injuries but the truck failed to remain at the scene, police said. They released a photograph of a vehicle.

Police reported today the vehicle and person of interest have been located.

Composite image of Taylor Creek sexual assault suspect

Investigators today released a composite of a suspect in the investigation of the sexual assault in Taylor Creek Park earlier this month.

A 24-year-old woman was reportedly walking eastbound in the park when she was attacked by an unknown man, described as 27 to 28 years old and 5-foot-5 to 5-foot-6.

(See Jan. 6 item below.)

Anyone who recognizes the man is urged to contact police.

‘Missing middle’ housing pilot sought for Beaches-East York

The city’s planning and housing committee is considering a plan to find a city-owned site to develop with what’s called “missing middle” housing, hopefully with a pilot project in Beaches-East York, councillor Brad Bradford says.

“Missing middle” refers to a plan to increase the supply of housing in the middle ranges between expensive single homes and highrise condominiums — adding such housing forms as duplexes, triplexes, townhouses and low-rise apartments.

It would require planning and zoning bylaws to be changed to allow these forms of housing in areas where they had been previously prohibited.

Bradford has been pressing since early last year to bring a missing middle pilot project to Beaches-East York.

East end drivers chalked up large number of ASE speeding tickets

A total of 4,593 speeding tickets were issued by four photo radar stations in the east end over five months last year, according to city figures released today.

These were all from the first round of automated speed enforcement (ASE) devices located in the Toronto-Danforth and Beaches-East York wards from July 6 to Nov. 30, 2020. The devices, placed mainly near schools, were moved to new locations beginning in late November.

Across Toronto, 50 ASE devices issued 53,090 tickets during the first round, an average of nearly 1,062 per location.

Three of the four east end locations recorded numbers well above that average, with just one far below that average:

  • Chatham Avenue east of Jones Avenue in Toronto-Danforth: 1,634
  • Barrington Avenue north of Secord Avenue in Beaches-East York: 1,547
  • Main Street south of Swanwick Avenue in Beaches-East York: 1,294
  • Morse Street south of Queen Street East in Toronto-Danforth: 118

East end drivers will get a chance to redeem themselves by driving more carefully past the second round of ASE stations, currently located in Toronto-Danforth ward on Dundas Street East east of Broadview Avenue and on Lesmount Avenue south of Cosburn Avenue and in Beaches-East York on Kingston Road near Heyworth Crescent and on Spruce Hill Road north of Queen Street East.

Or you could try just following the speed limits wherever you drive.

Homeless at risk during stay-at-home push, MPP says

The provincially government’s stay-at-home order doesn’t help homeless stay safe, says Beaches—East York MPP Rima Berns-McGown in a statement released today.

The order exempts those without homes, “yet the government is making no real effort to provide them with safe housing options,” Berns-McGown said. “People are being told to stay home to suppress the virus, and merely exempting people without a home from the order cannot keep them safe.”

She called it a “callous move that is bound to contribute to the spread of COVID-19.”

Local libraries open for pickup and drop-off

Branches of the Toronto Public Library will remain open during the lockdown beginning tomorrow — but for pickup and drop-off of library materials only.

Current operational hours are being maintained. A previous communication that branches will close at 8 p.m. were mistaken, the TPL says.


Still more COVID discovered at grocery store

Sobeys has reported yet another employee has tested positive for COVID-19 at its Freshco store at 2490 Gerrard St. E. and Victoria Park Avenue. (See Jan. 7 and 12 items below for previously reported cases.) In this case the employee’s last day on the job is listed as Jan. 10.

Crescent Town shooting thumbnailImages released in Crescent Town shooting investigation

Images of two men sought in the investigation of a shooting in an east end apartment complex have been released today.

Video shows two males believed to be suspects running through the Crescent Town grounds after a victim was pepper sprayed and shot in the leg on Dec. 23 at about 5 p.m.

See the full story and images.

More COVID cases at FreshCo

Sobeys grocery stores have reported four more cases of COVID-19 at the Freshco franchise at Gerrard Street East and Victoria Park Avenue. Two were reported on Jan. 9, one on Jan. 10 and one on Jan. 12. The affected employees’ last days worked, according to Sobeys, were Dec. 31 for one of the earlier cases and Jan. 5 for the rest.

FreshCo reports COVID case

Sobeys grocery stores have reported a case of COVID-19 at its Freshco franchise at 2490 Gerrard St. E. at Victoria Park Avenue. The affected employee’s last day on the job was Jan. 4, according to Sobeys. It’s one of more than 30 cases to be reported across Ontario to date since Jan. 1 at Sobeys, Foodland and Freshco outlets.

Sexual assault reported in Taylor Creek Park

Police are looking for a man who allegedly assaulted a woman in Taylor Creek Park on Jan. 5 at about 5:15 p.m. The 24-year-old woman was reportedly walking eastbound in the park when an unknown man approached and attacked her before fleeing.

The man is described as 27 to 28 years old and 5-foot-5 to 5-foot-6, with a a brown complexion, a thin build, black hair, brown eyes, and bushy eyebrows. He was wearing a black jacket with the hood up, black jeans, black boots, and black winter gloves, police said.

Blossoming Minds thumbnailLocal child care free for essential workers

Riverdale-East York is home to five of the 35 child care programs approved to provide emergency care for the children of essential workers in Toronto communities during the current lockdown of elementary schools.

Families that meet Ontario’s definition of essential workers can apply directly to the approved centres for this free service funded by the province.

Get the full story.

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Posted: Apr 8 2021 2:30 pm

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