North Toronto Daily Updates: March–April 2020

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

COVID-19 has struck many long-term care homes in central and midtown 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.

Nightly clamour from balconies is highlight of the day

A midtown highrise resident relates her growing involvement in the ritual of making noise to support health care workers each evening. It’s an affirmation that we’re all in this together, Andrea Freedman writes. Read her column.

Traffic lights ready to glow at Bayview-Davisville

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 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.

Fatal fire in Deer Park highrise

Firefighters found one injured person when they put out a fire on April 14 in the 29-storey residential building at 33 Rosehill Ave. The person, whose identity has not been released, was rushed to hospital but was pronounced dead. More on this 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.

Two men arrested for million-dollar jewellery store robberies

Two men have been arrested after two jewellery stores were robbed in February. The incidents took place at shops near Eglinton Avenue West and Avenue Road and near Bayview Avenue and Bayview Lane Mews.

Police say a man would walk around pretending to be a customer, then pull out a can of pepper spray and spray a store employee. He would then allegedly smash glass display cases with a hammer and take watches before fleeing the store. The total value of stolen merchandise was about $1 million, police estimate. Another man would wait nearby in a getaway car.

Police arrested a man, 30, on March 6 and a second man, 22, on April 9. Each was charged with two counts of robbery, two counts of administer a noxious thing with intent, and two counts of possession of a weapon. One also faced a charge of mischief to property.

Free shopping at Loblaws as store left unlocked

It might have seemed a series of miracles for some Forest Hill-area shoppers. First they found the Loblaws grocery store on St. Clair Avenue West apparently open on Easter Sunday. Then they found the aisles practically deserted — no physical distancing problems there. And then there were no cashiers present to take any payment for the groceries.

But it wasn’t largess on Loblaws’ part. The police eventually arrived to secure the store that had been accidentally left unlocked. See the full story.

Better behaviour found by enforcement officers in parks

Have you noticed it in Sunnybrook, Sherwood, Eglinton, Windfarms or other local parks? Fewer people flouting the city’s social distancing rules and gathering 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. 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.

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4-day police crackdown on park gatherings

Sherwood Park and Sunnybrook Park are 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.

shooting fatality
Lindsay John Templeton, 37.

Man dead from multiple gunshots on St. Clair

A 37-year-old man died in hospital after being found behind 845 St. Clair Avenue West suffering from multiple gunshot wounds yesterday evening, police report.

Officers had responded to the call shortly after 9 p.m. on April 8 when they found the man. He was rushed to hospital where he succumbed to his injuries, police say.

The man has been identified as Lindsay John Templeton of Toronto.

Homicide investigators are asking witnesses who were in the area or have security camera footage, dashcam video or other information to contact police.

Windfields dog owners among groups hit by distancing police

The city set a record for the number of tickets issued and people talked to for using shutdown facilities and congregating too closely in parks on Monday. This includes a large gathering in the off-leash dog area of Windfields Park.

For more, see the story.

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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.

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.

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 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.

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.

Mabel’s Fables more than a bookstore, columnist says

Columnist 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.

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.

Councillor exposed to coronavirus, cancels public meetings

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

Public school community 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 it 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, as well as news on any other cases of coronavirus in the local area.

Subway closed north of Eglinton today and tomorrow

Yonge Street subway service is being suspended from Eglinton to 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.

At York Mills, the Old York Mills Road entrance is closed and at Lawrence Station, the automatic entrances at Ranleigh Avenue and Bedford Park Avenue are also closed.

Here’s more details from the TTC.

Garbage deal ratified by city and union

We should be getting garbage pickup and other services in our neighbourhboods east of Yonge Street 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 Midtown every month is pushing the city to create safe lanes. 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.

Get the story in Streeter news.

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