Community News Update - June 21, 2024

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

Today is National Indigenous Peoples Day, which is a time to recognize and celebrate the culture of all Indigenous Peoples in Canada.

It is also a time to reflect on the historical injustices perpetrated against Indigenous Peoples and the continuing harms inflicted on them by systemic racism and oppression. We can see these harms in the continuing scandal of contaminated water in Grassy Narrows and the failure to fully implement the recommendations of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

I encourage you to read Sol Mamakwa and Marit Stiles's thoughts about National Indigenous Peoples Day here.

On Saturday, I attended the official launch of Caribbean Carnival  for 2024 along with Marit Stiles. Caribbean Carnival is one of the most vibrant events in the city, with its own unique energy.

I know that the Mas Bands, volunteers and organizers will give us another unforgettable event this year, and I look forward to being a part of it!

Thank you Councillor Josh Matlow for hosting your Davisville Community Festival! I caught the tail end this year but from what I heard and saw our peeps had a GRRREAT time making memories & learning about beneficial community services helping our wonderful neighborhood & beyond!

What a fun morning hanging with The Republic of Rathnelly! We 'pumped up the jam' alright lol celebrating Rathnelly Day! Our community is never boring and keeps me on my feet!

Earlier this week I joined OVCO for their AGM and got the chance to catch up with some of the members of the Oakwood Vaughan Centre for Healthy Aging who won the Mayor's Community Safety Awards. We also enjoyed a video presentation of an oral history of the neighourhood and its residents.

On Thursday I joined the group Hope for Refugees to help recognize World Refugee Day. This is a vital global event designated by the United Nations to honor the strength, courage, and resilience of millions of refugees who have been forced to flee their home countries to escape conflict and persecution. This year's theme, "Solidarity with Refugees – For a World Where Refugees are Welcomed," underscores the urgent need for collective support for refugees, especially as we face unprecedented numbers of refugees worldwide, here in Canada and specifically in Toronto. 

I was honoured to join these activists to support their ongoing efforts to empower refugee-led initiatives.

On Tuesday I attended Journey of Sacred Sound at Timothy Eaton Church, co-sponsored by Holy Blossom Temple. Performances include the choirs of both congregations, the Temple Sinai congregation of Toronto and the Kol Zimrah Jewish Community Singers.

Great performances as always from Timothy Eaton's conductor Dr. Elaine Choi and Cantor David Rosen of Holy Blossom. The combined sound of over 120 voices gave me goosebumps.

I had a wonderful time stopping by the Tayo Canada Immersive Filipino Cultural Experience Saturday!

This was a fantastic festival, and I can't wait for the next one!

How wonderful it was to catch a bit of the magic of the 45th annual Toronto International Storytelling Festival Storytelling Toronto Saturday night at St. Michael & All Angels
“All tongues are Red. Stories without Border” featuring THEE Jan Blake Dan Yashinsky and special guest Annemarie Cabri.

Not to mention all the beautiful local faces in the crowd and visiting neighbours. Storytelling IS our humanity on full display. And when life happens and some of us struggle with tapping into that humanity or we lose our way entirely through hurtful words and actions it is the sharing of stories and the lessons they hold that can serve as a roadmap back!

On Saturday I joined Marit Stiles for another successful Ontario NDP provincial council!

Marit called on our supporters to be ready for an early election, saying that “We’re ready to be a government for the many and not the money”.

I'm fed up with Doug Ford’s corruption. Let's finally get a govt that puts people FIRST!

So, I had the chance of a lifetime to attend the INAUGURAL Black Physicians of Ontario Association Black Joy Gala on Saturday celebrating Black doctors past, present, and future!

I can't tell you how much pride, gratitude, and excitement I felt being in the room! Thankyou Dr Chenai Kadungure for inviting me❤️

So some off key humour first: I'd never felt safer in my LIFE LOL! Figured if I had a random accident, I was in the best possible place! Every specialist including ER doctors and nurses were in the room. I'd be covered! Shout out to Canadian Black Nurses Alliance founder and CEO Ovie Onagbeboma who I also met!

Seriously though, it was beautiful, inspiring, and most wonderful to see the bright faces of so many Black medical students, researchers, and health professionals also in attendance and it was a reminder that we can be in EVERY and ANY room with the right supports, resources, of course hard work, and with invaluable mentors and sponsors - folks truly invested in seeing us climb vertically. Representation when done right really matters!

As a child, my pediatrician was Dr. M. Grant - a Black woman I saw in our community right here in Toronto—St. Paul's. I remember what that meant to me even as a kid, and I can only imagine what it meant to my mom, too. Dr. Grant was amazing.

On Saturday, I ran into my mom's family physician at the gala - an incredibly supportive, compassionate, and DILIGENT Black woman who walked with me step by step during my mom's health crisis last year and still to this day. I also had the pleasure of meeting the incoming Ontario Medical Association President Dr. Zainab Abdurrahman MD, as well as joining the celebration of the husband of one of my former bosses, Dr. Dominick Shelton, the Admissions Dean at TMU School of Medicine. I also got to chat with Dr. Onye Nnorom a leader in public health and health equity for Black and other communities made marginalized. She is also the former president of BPAO. And there were many other moments (like having some good laughs with George Brown College President Dr. Fearon at our table - we show up everywhere😀!) It was a special night, and I was truly grateful to be there❤️ Check out BPAO to learn about all the amazing folks recognized!

I was honoured to extend greetings from Marit Stiles to the RNAO at their AGM yesterday. Our nurses need help that this government won't give. Finally confirming that the pay caps in Bill 124 were unconstitutional is a first step. But we will need far more to give our nurses what they need to succeed. Special thanks to Dr. Claudette Holloway, President of the RNAO, for the warm welcome.



What a beautiful send off! We gathered at Tarragon Theatre yesterday to say goodbye to Tarragon’s Managing Director Andrea Vagianos!

Andrea, thank you for helping to shepherd Tarragon through those difficult years as the theatre world weathered COVID. You raised your voice and championed alongside your colleagues for the safe return and opening of theatre doors. Thank you for being such a steward of the arts and for seeing not only its artistic value, but knowing the value of live performance for people’s physical and mental health AND not to mention art’s contribution to our economy!

You will be missed but we know you’ll be around!

Many hugs and countless thanks for your work!

It was a wonderful send off with delicious treats and in usual Tarragon style there were beautiful artwork pieces by Tony Miller hanging on their walls. What a welcome into the space! I’ve included some images here along with the artists statement. Please stop by and visit to see even more great works AND to grab a copy of Tarragons new season program guide! It’s beautiful!



Sometimes you just need a lil Aviv Immigrant Kitchen in your life! And the ribs that just happen to deliciously fall off the bone? Well, that’s an added bonus

Lastly, I would like to call everyone's attention to this rally for peace and a better future sponsored by Toronto Friends of Standing Together. This group is made up of both Israelis and Palestinians and are rallying at the Israeli consulate for an end to bloodshed, a ceasefire, and the realease of hostages. Attendees are encouraged to wear purple, and attendees are asked not to bring any kind of nationalistic flags. The rally will be at the Israeli Consularte at 2 Bloor St. E on Sunday at 1 PM.

I would like to share this appeal for volunteers from Sprint Senior Care. Volunteers are needed to:

  • Deliver healthy and affordable meals to seniors
  • Provide security checks
  • Reduce Isolation

You will need to have a car and a valid driver's license to help, but gas reimbursements are available. To volunteer call 416-481-0669 ext. 8723 or e-mail [email protected]

In Solidarity,

Jill Andrew





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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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