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Free and affordable activities for March Break!

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Monday, March 12 to Friday, March 16 is March Break for elementary and high school students in Toronto. The City of Toronto is offering many free and affordable activities for students and their families all week that are fun for the whole family.

Drop-in programs
City of Toronto community centres offer free or low-cost programs for all ages. More information is available at http://www.toronto.ca/rec or call 311.

Skating
Many outdoor artificial ice rinks are open until the end of the day on March 18, weather permitting. Locations, hours and program details are available at http://www.toronto.ca/skate.

Indoor leisure skating programs, including caregiver and tot, family skate and shinny, are free for all ages. Hockey helmets approved by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) are mandatory for children under six years of age and all shinny hockey participants, and are recommended for skaters of all ages. Schedules and locations are available at http://www.toronto.ca/skate.

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#LoveWins Statement

As organizers and supporters of #LoveWins we have actively listened to concerns from community members about the March 29, 2018 event. Our intention was to bring the city together in love and healing after hearing from many people who wanted to come together in unity and strength. Unfortunately, the event created an unintentional division at a historic time in the LGBTQ2S community.

‎For the many who expressed support and enthusiasm for the concert, and gave freely of their time and talent to its organizing, we sincerely apologize for this disappointment.

We will postpone the event and work with all community members to ensure that any future endeavour will address the concerns raised thus far. We welcome continued dialogue and honour the broad spectrum of opinions in the community.

Thank you everyone for your patience and understanding.
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City of Toronto Calls Upon 49,000 Toronto Real Estate Board Members to Help Find Locations for New Emergency Shelters

TORONTO, FEBRUARY 28, 2018 – The City of Toronto's Shelter, Support & Housing Administration (SSHA) and Real Estate Services (RES) are looking for new shelter sites to better meet the demand for emergency beds. They are working in partnership with the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) to identify properties that will meet the City of Toronto's shelter criteria. 

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Safe Injection Site Now Open in Fred Victor

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Starting February 21, 2018, a safe injection site will be open at Fred Victor.

Where: Fred Victor, 139 Jarvis St. at Queen Street East, downstairs
When: 6:00pm to 12:00am, 7 days a week

Toronto has been facing an increasingly deadly opioid crisis and many are seeing their friends, colleagues and clients overdose on a daily basis. The installation of Supervised Injection Services (SIS) in Toronto cannot come any sooner. Toronto Public Health has moved as quickly as they can to address the increase in overdoses, through training and the distribution of Naloxone, but it still is not fast enough to respond to the emergency we are facing. For more information, please read my statement on the Moss Park Overdose Prevention Site.

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February 2018 Council Round Up

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It's been a big week at City Hall! Here's your January 2018 City Council round up.

Toronto Poverty Reduction Strategy 2017 Report and 2018 Work Plan
City Council adopted the TO Prosperity 2018 Work Plan, which includes measures such as implementing the Open Door Affordable Housing Program to create new affordable rental and ownership homes across the City by expediting planning processes, creating 1000 new affordable rental units, and renovations to create 119 new affordable homes with supports at 389 Church Street.

Improving Data Collection Management of Toronto's Homeless Population
City Council has directed the Shelter, Support and Housing Administration to work with the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto and other interested stakeholders to report back in 2018 on measures to improve tracking information on admission and discharges of homeless individuals between shelter, respites, and hospitals. Direction was also given to increase transparency in occupancy statistics for the City's shelters.

Ensuring a Robust Hotel Supply to Strengthen Tourism
City Council directed staff to review the potential for the implementation of a hotel accommodation replacement policy and or strategy to protect the existing amount of hotel space in mixed use and regeneration areas in Toronto's Official Plan. As staff conveyed to Council, Toronto is increasingly unable to support large-scale international events with the decline in hotel stock, impacting the city's ability to receive tourists and host important industry shows. This is a challenge for hotels that, while profitable, are often located on sites being re-zoned to condominium use.

Yellow Creek and Vale of Avoca Update
City Council supported recommendations from Councillors Wong-Tam and Matlow to have staff engage local community organizations on planning for long-term improvements to Yellow Creek and the Vale of Avoca. This will help to identify funding gaps, infrastructure needs, and a timeline to restore the ravine, in conjunction with the current hydrogeological study and forthcoming Ravine Strategy.

Municipal Accommodation Tax
City Council approved the implementation of a 4 percent tax on the sale of transient accommodations in short-term rentals. This policy is expected to bring in a net revenue of $16,100,000.00 in 2018.

Old City Hall – Future Uses and Tenant Options
City Council directed staff to develop a design and plans for Old City Hall that include a Museum of Toronto, a public library branch, wedding chamber, café, public event space, and institutional uses.

Modernization of 389 Church Street
City Council authorized the release of $14.738 million in funds to construct 120 new self-contained one and two-bedroom affordable housing units at 389 Church Street, as well as significant upgrades to the building to facilitate accessibility and modernize its health and safety systems.

Review of Current Winter Respite and Shelter Services During the Recent Cold Weather
City Council reaffirmed its commitment to a 90% shelter occupancy cap across all sectors, develop options for real-time space availability reporting, and explore opportunities for more spaces to be made available through partnerships with faith-based and other community organizations. An amendment by Councillor Wong-Tam was adopted to have staff review the recent report "An Evaluation of Toronto's Warming Centre and Winter Response to Homelessness", which indicated many Toronto shelters were failing both local and UN standards for facilities and service delivery.

Parks Ambassador Service Level
City Council directed the General Manager of Parks, Forestry and Recreation to establish adequate service levels for the Parks Ambassador Program to meet City-wide demands and report back in the first quarter of 2019. The Ambassador program represents front-line staff who work with shelters, housing, medical, and police teams to ensure that parks are safe, clean, and that those in need are connected with appropriate resources.

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