Community News Update - February 9, 2024

Dear Community, 

新年快樂! 龍馬精神! Chúc Mừng Năm Mới! 새해 복 많이 받으세요!

Happy Lunar New Year to everyone in St. Paul's and beyond who celebrates! Tomorrow, February 10th marks the start of the Year of the Dragon. The Dragon symbolizes excellency, power, and good fortune. I hope everyone celebrating has a wonderful time and a joyous and prosperous year!

 

Yesterday, Bell Media announced it would be laying off 4,800 employees, including hundreds of journalists. Thousands of jobs are being cut during an affordability crisis. Meanwhile, after announcing the job cuts, Bell announced it would go ahead with a more generous dividend payout to shareholders.

This makes no sense! Our province and our country do NOT work without culture workers. Full stop. Communities deserve access to high-quality, local journalism. The cultural industry has been hit hard enough. We should be doing everything in our power to strengthen this sector. We will not forget this. 

Click here to read more. 

 

Community, what's unfolding in Alberta is unacceptable. Now more than ever, the 2SLGBTQIA+ youth need our allyship, especially trans youth who are being targeted by monstrous politicians and deeply transphobic, violent policy agendas.

To any trans youth who reads this: YOU are enough. We love you! We've got your back! Trans lives matter today and every single day. Period. 

 

Earlier this week, the province announced they will be including mandatory learning about the history of Black Canadians into the Ontario curriculum. This is a solid step in the right direction, but I have many questions. 

What will the training look like for teachers delivering these courses? The resources? Supports? Our education system is STARVED. Students, teachers and caring adults need this investment to actually implement the new Black history learning. 

I'll be digging for these details as they unfold. Schools have been chronically underfunded and understaffed under Ford's government. We mustn't forget years back when the Indigenous curriculum writing sessions were cancelled by Ford... We must hold them accountable to this promise and demand investment is made to do this right. 

 

The legislature is set to return on February 20th. This week, we gathered at Queen's Park to discuss concrete solutions and meaningful support we can deliver on the issues impacting Ontarians most. We're heading into this session laser-focused on practical solutions to address health care, housing and the rising cost of living, and more.

This government is under criminal investigation by the RCMP and too mired in scandal to offer Ontarians the solutions they deserve. They've failed on housing, health care and cost of living. Ontarians are feeling the pain of living under this government. It's time for change. Today, I reiterate my commitment to using every tool in my power to fight for you, Ontarians. You deserve a government that works for you to make life more affordable and deliver the solutions you deserve. 

Read more here. 

 

Wednesday evening I attended a virtual Black History Month event with Yorkminster Park Baptist Church. We heard from Paula de Ronde who shared a brave, generous, and incredibly informative presentation about her experience caring for her husband, Bert, who had Alzheimer's. We can never be grateful enough for caregivers and the immensity of their efforts. 

As a province, we must substantially invest in home care so care givers, and those trying to age in place in their homes, have access to the support they need and deserve. Please check out Paula's memoir My Bert Has Alzheimer's: Caregiving Is Living For Two. Read more here!

Thank you to the Yorkminster Park Baptist Church for organizing this event and thank you once again to Paula for giving this thoughtful and moving talk. 

 

Last weekend, I joined dozens of community members on Zoom (and even more in person) to listen to an important panel discussion organized by Coexistence Toronto and Khouri Conversations. Thank you to both organizations for this opportunity to discuss peace, justice, and coexistence between Israel and Palestine, and the need to build community here at home. 

Special thank you Alon-Lee Green and Rula Daood from Standing Together for speaking to us all.

 

Yesterday, my community office got a very special delivery! Check out these delightful watercolor portraits of my cats painted by local artist Ian Wright!

Ian is a long-time resident of our St. Clair West neighbourhood and an incredibly talented watercolour painter. Check out Ian's pet portraits here!

Want to feature a local St. Paul's business or community organization in our newsletter? Send us an email telling us about the business or organization and why you love them + a photo! Who knows... maybe we'll feature them in an upcoming newsletter. 👀

 

Glam, Glisten & Good Vibes: Experience Toronto's Newest Festival! ✨

Glisten Festival highlights the culture, creativity and commerce community within the Yonge + St. Clair BIA. Read more from the BIA:

The festival runs from February 15 to March 18 which encompasses Family Day, March Break and International Women’s Day — highlighted by a collaborative event with Monday Girl on March 11, celebrating women-identifying leaders and entrepreneurs. 

The festival is an opportunity to explore the community, experience the Tunnel of Glam — our pedestrian walkway filled with 14 million reversible sequins, as it returns for the last time — and promote the many businesses at Yonge + St. Clair. Don't miss our Glam Giveaway that gives attendees a chance to win a $500 Glisten Prize Pack from local businesses. 

From art installations to great food and self-care experiences to fresh fashion finds, there’s something for everyone to enjoy at Glisten. Join us for the kick-off on Thursday, February 15th at 6 pm at The Tunnel of Glam (1501 Yonge St). RSVP for the launch event here.

 

A new local theatre group has popped up right in our community - meet Hillcrest Village Community Players! They will be performing Footloose at St. Matthew's (729 St. Clair Ave West) from February 22nd to March 2nd. This is a performance you do not want to miss.
 
Get your tickets here: https://www.hillcrestvillageplayers.ca/pages/upcoming-events
 
Over 100 members of the community have come together to volunteer in the cast, crew, orchestra and production team to make this production possible. Invite your friends, family and neighbours. With a timeless tale, appropriate for all ages - this is truly a community affair!

 

Don't miss the world premiere Universal Child Care created by Quote Unquote Collective! The show runs Feb 13-25 at the Berkeley Street Theatre (26 Berkeley Street).

Witness the sheer power and force of the unaccompanied human voice in the newest work from Quote Unquote Collective. Part concert, part theatre play (and self-consciously neither of those things), the ensemble screams about the lack of affordable child care and growing inequalities while comparing different approaches to child care around the globe.

There will be three on-site childcare options available during the February 25th matinee. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets. 

 

This weekend! Joy Bullen, Culturpreneur is bringing you a concert in honour of Black History month!

Celebrations & Revelations 2024: Unyielding Roots
 

Second generation Canadians with roots in the Caribbean and Africa, Rashaan Rory Allwood, pianist / instrumentalist, and Kathryn Patricia Cobbler, Loop pedal violist, will premiere their original compositions, with the outstanding soprano voice of Nadine Anyan.

Rashaan and Kathryn will take you on a musical journey with pieces that reflect upon elements of the Caribbean immigrant and African diaspora experience. A program of original ambient jazz, folk, and classical compositions performed against a background film of images and events from life in the Caribbean and in Canada, exploring themes of being raised within multiple cultures and redefining beauty against a North American colonial landscape.

The performance will take place Sunday, February 11, 2024 at 3 pm at Holy Blossom Temple. Early bird tickets are $35 (until Jan 16th). Regular price: $45. 

Click here to buy yours!

 

The Hillcrest Community Food Bank (2 Vaughan Road) needs URGENT help filling their shelves!

The need for food in our community is increasing and they're in urgent need of MORE food (and household items) to meet this higher demand. Please contact them via Instagram if there is anything you can do to help or if you are a local business that would be interested in becoming a community partner. Food donations in kind or monetary donations to their Canada Helps website would be greatly appreciated.

 

Have you say in the future of arts and culture in Toronto! 

The City of Toronto is developing a new Action Plan for Toronto's Cultural Sector. The plan will guide services, policy and programming over the next decade. The new action plan will set a vision for strengthening Toronto's arts and culture sector, which prioritizes equity, and ensures that residents in all corners of the city have opportunities to engage with the arts. It will provide recommendations for the sector including arts and culture, museums and cultural heritage, and the film and entertainment industries.

Submit your feedback using the online survey and/or attend a virtual town hall on February 15th or 22nd. Click here for to fill our the survey and for more information!

 

The Toronto Community Champion Award is back! The award is a collaboration with United Way Greater Toronto and recognizes outstanding community organizations that support the health and solidarity of the residents of Toronto, particularly those from Black, Indigenous, and other equity-deserving groups. Nominations are open until February 11 at 11:55 pm.

Click here for more information and to submit a nomination. 

 

Pride at Work is seeking nominations for its 2024 CHANGEMAKERS campaign. The campaign will recognize15 people championing 2SLGBTQIA+ inclusion in the corporate, public service and non profit sectors across Canada as a part of their 15th anniversary.

The nomination process is open from January 15th to March 17th, 2024. Click here for more information.

 

 In Ontario, 1,400 people on average are waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant while thousands more are in need of a life-changing tissue donation. They are our friends, neighbours, colleagues, and, in some cases, members of our own families.

When you register as a possible organ and tissue donor, you have the potential to change the story for someone in need.
 
One donor can help over 80 people get back to life.
 
Register your consent to become an organ and tissue donor after your death and tell your family so they can help honour your wishes.
 
Did You Know?

  • Any Ontario resident who is 16 years or older and has an Ontario health card is eligible to register as an organ and tissue donor
  • Everyone has the potential to be an organ and/or tissue donor, regardless of age or health.
  • People from every major religion have donated. Many religions support donation or respect and individual’s choice.
  • The first and foremost concern for health care professionals is to save lives. Only when a life cannot be saved does organ and tissue donation become an option.
  • It takes two minutes to register or check your status at www.beadonor.ca. You can also register in person at any ServiceOntario location.

 
More information about the donation process, who can register, and the importance of speaking to family can be found online at www.beadonor.ca.

 

Each year across Ontario, thousands of lives are lost to overdoses. We need every level of government to prioritize implementing harm reduction strategies to combat these senseless deaths, and you can help.

As many of you know, Naloxone is a medication that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose, and these kits are FREE with training at participating pharmacies across the city. Together, we can prevent unnecessary deaths and work toward a more compassionate society that is safe safe for everyone.

Find a pharmacy with Naloxone kits near you, and make sure you can recognize the signs of an overdose.

 

In solidarity, 

Dr. Jill Andrew, Ph.D

MPP Toronto-St. Paul's

 

 

 

 

 

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Dear Community,

Join me and Save Ontario's Science Centre on Sunday in Wells Hill Park to speak out against Doug Ford's scheme to move the Ontario Science Centre to Ontario Place, which has now led to the surprise closure of the Science Centre.

This benefits no one. Not the people of Toronto who are losing a beloved insitution or the 400+ employees of the OSC, many of whom will lose their jobs.

Meet us in Wells Hill Park at St Clair and Bathurst to tell Doug Ford NO.

RSVP here

Community News Update, June 14, 2024

Dear Community,

The house rose early for the summer on Thursday last week, so it's been a full week of community events.

QUEEN'S PARK NEWS

Raise ODSP and OW Rates

Before the house was adjourned early by the conservative government, I was proud to table a petition calling for the doubling of ODSP and OW rates in Ontario.

Recently, I heard from Disability Without Poverty - Ontario at their Queen's Park Lobby Day. People with disabilities in Ontario are struggling to make ends meet. Enough is enough. It's time to raise the rates!

Thank you to Dr. Sally Palmer for sharing this petition with my office. I will continue to stand with you until these demands are met.

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