Community News Update - January 19, 2024

Dear Community, 

I am grateful to share with you all that federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh will be visiting us here in Toronto—St. Paul's tomorrow. Join us at the Wychwood Barns Farmers' Market tomorrow morning at 10 am. 

I'm taking him to one of our favourite farmers' markets, so he can chat with our local farmers, small business owners, and local artists. He also wants to hear from community members on how we are all doing. Come on by and say hello!


On a separate note, from here on, I will be sending out my Community News Updates on Fridays. My newsletter began four years ago to bring you the latest updates at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and has since evolved into a beloved way of keeping the community informed of local news and events and the latest happenings out of Queen's Park.

But don't worry — we will now be sending out breaking news updates via "Special Bulletins". We'll keep Fridays reserved for our longer form emails—like this one—that feature summaries of the week's news and events as well as the many wonderful events happening in our community. As always, my office will continue to compile your submissions throughout the week for our Friday newsletter. 


When Ford's Conservatives decided to leave Toronto out of their pre-budget consultations, we decided to host our own. Yesterday, we heard from three times more organizations than we could accommodate. This is how badly our community here in Toronto wants their voices heard. By excluding Toronto from its own hearings, this government is ignoring the voices of MILLIONS of Ontarians and the issues that matter to them. 

We heard from organizations that support folks across the province with housing, healthcare, education, and community support. We heard from community members fighting for co-op housing, climate justice, fair wages and more support for workers across sectors, investment in our non-profits, childcare, and so, so, so much more. More to come, but for now — thank you to ALL the organizations who showed up to share your deputations. A special shout out to the groups and community members based in St. Paul's, including our local Toronto Education Workers, the Ontario Non-Profit Network (ONN), Lyn from the Ontario Climate Emergency Campaign, and Street Haven, for your heartwork.

A budget that leaves out the voices of our community members cannot be a budget that reflects what our province needs. I am proud to amplify your calls to the government when the legislature returns. Stay tuned for more updates about yesterday's hearings. 


During the height of the pandemic, CEBA was a lifeline for small businesses here in St. Paul's, Toronto, and beyond. CEBA allowed many to stay solvent, pay rent, and keep their staff employed. Yesterday, the repayment deadline passed and the federal government confirmed that they would not extend it despite our calls to move the deadline to the end of 2024.

Small businesses in our communities are struggling to bounce back from the devastation brought on by the pandemic. The Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses' survey warned that approximately one-third of businesses surveyed would need to take out a bank loan at today's high-interest rates to make their payments, and a further third have no means to secure a loan at all. This accounts for approximately 200,000 total businesses that could not meet yesterday's deadline. This is unacceptable. I've heard from many small business owners in our own community, who fear they might have to close their doors for good. Our communities are at further risk of becoming dominated by big box stores and empty storefronts. This is unacceptable. 

Meanwhile, rather than standing up for our small businesses, Ford's conservatives have been busy rewarding large corporations and their already-wealthy CEOs, such as Staples, Walmart, and Shoppers. The Premier could have used his political voice to urge the federal government to extend the repayment extension. His message is loud and clear: his government is only interested in supporting their political donors and corporate friends. 


Tuition hikes during an affordability crisis!?

Yesterday, Ontario Liberal leader Bonnie Crombie pitched raising tuition fees for post-secondary students despite the province facing one of the worst affordability crises in generations. The Ontario Liberals dramatically underfunded post-secondary education during their time in office, and the Conservatives have only made things worse for students. Now, the Liberals want to hike tuition fees for already struggling students!? Ontario's students deserve BETTER than this. 

Students deserve real investments in their post-secondary education. They deserve investment in safe, stable, and affordable housing. Ontario students already pay $1,100 more than the national average. Tuition hikes that drive them deeper into debt are NOT the answer. 

Click here to read more. 


Today marks the start of DesignTO Festival! I kicked off the day by visiting the six local exhibitions hosted by our very own Yonge + St Clair BIA. Yonge + St Clair BIA has provided an exhibition map and details about the local exhibition on their website which you can find here. You can also sign up for their guided tour on January 28th. 

Community, don't miss this! The festival is taking place across the city until January 28th.



Are you beginning to pave your career path? Do you have an interest in civics and current affairs? Are you actively involved in your community? Do you have aspirations to seek public office or want to know what it's like to be a political representative?

The Legislative Assembly of Ontario’s Women’s Forum will bring together 124 young women and gender-diverse individuals from across Ontario for a full-day program in Toronto to promote active citizenship and public engagement through education and empowerment.

One individual between the ages of 18-30 will be selected from each provincial riding to represent their community and experience parliament in action, meet prominent Ontario women and key parliamentary figures, and gain a behind-the-scenes perspective of Ontario’s Parliament.

Applications are due January 21st, 2024. Click here to apply. 


James Rottman Fine Art is launching their latest exhibition INVENTION ILLUSION. 

The exhibition opens January 20 and runs until March 10, 2024. The gallery is open 11 am to 5 pm Tuesday through Saturday. They're located at 830 St Clair Ave W. 

Read details about the exhibition below: 

A feature exhibition showcasing two iconic Canadian artists Gordon Rayner and Graham Peacock who challenge our notion of painting through the use of illusion, invention, colour, unorthodox materials, and the moulding and shaping of canvas.
“Gordon Rayner (1935 - 2010) had an idiosyncratic way of making art, a style that is marked by constant innovation and change, and by the transformation of any medium he used. This quality is combined with an apparently endless series of startling juxtapositions in his work, also a colour sense that was often edgy, violent, and surprising — so surprising at times to create in the viewer new ideas of what colour can be.”
- Joan Murray, Canadian art historian

“Illusion is a centuries old pictorial practice of making the subject look ‘realistic’ on a flat surface. From Rembrandt portraits to the apples of Cezanne, illusionistic tradition forms the basis of representational art today. Beginning with the Impressionists and the Fauves, the traditional illusion of realism was diminished… The Within the Frame series reestablishes the modelling and shading of traditional illusionistic space, but in abstraction.”     
– Graham Peacock


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. 


Attention St. Paul's, Toronto, & surrounding area!

Join Joy Bullen, Culturpreneur is bringing 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!


Hillcrest Village Community Players is looking for volunteers for their upcoming production of Footloose (Feb 22–March 2, 2024)! 

There is a lot of fun to be had in their Front of House team! Roles available include:

  • Two ushers
  • Two ticket-takers
  • Two merch sales people
  • Two cafe and intermission sales people
  • Two coat-checkers

Interested? Fill out their interest form by January 29th here

Tickets for the production are on sale NOW. You don’t want to miss it! Click here to purchase. 


dance Immersion Presents the North American Premiere of
Traditional Future
by Kenya’s Fernando Anuang’a
Friday, January 19, 2024:
Pre-Show Reception – 7:15 PM
Performance & Artist Talk – 8:00 PM – 9:30 PM
Saturday, January 20, 2024:
Performance & Artist Talk – 8:00 PM – 9:30 PM
The Theatre Centre, 1115 Queen St W, Toronto, ON
General – $32.50    
Students/Arts Workers – $22.50
About the Performance:
dance Immersion presents Kenya’s Fernando Anuang’a in his internationally-renowned contemporary Maasaï dance solo, TRADITIONAL FUTURE, in North America for the first time!
With this work Fernando explores: How do we evolve tradition toward modernity without obliterating its tracks, without betraying one’s roots?
Fernando Anuang’a is an autodidact artist (self-taught dancer/choreographer) from Kenya. He is supported and inspired by Kenyan Maasaï songs, his ancestral memories, and his community’s vocal rhythmic power for his vocabulary. He is driven by a will to take tradition into the future, and continuously researches ways for Maasaï dance to live fully in this era. While tourists have exploited the image of the Maasaï jump tradition, Fernando’s practice instead infuses this cultural vertical energy with evolving Maasaï undulation gestures. For his third solo, TRADITIONAL FUTURE, he stays loyal to the Moran (Maasaï warrior) tradition as a symbolic root, while finding a deeper energy and more liberating form of self-expression to bring the tradition into the future.
This work is presented as part of dance Immersion’s 30th Anniversary Season! The performance will be accompanied by an opening night pre-show reception, and artist talks following both performances.


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 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


This is a reminder to get up-to-date on your COVID-19 boosters. The XBB 1.5 updated boosters are NOW available. I got mine and I encourage you to join me! 

Consult this page for information about where you can get vaccinated.


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 for Toronto-St. Paul's

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