Community News Update - March 22, 2024

Dear Community, 

At the top of today's newsletter, I want to remind you all of my upcoming workshop! This Monday, March 25th join me for a community workshop on the politics and history of Black hair featuring Simone Wright, founder of Parting the Roots

Monday, March 25th at 6 pm. 

Central Eglinton Community Centre (160 Eglinton Avenue E), Room 302.
Or join us on Zoom!


ALL are welcome! We hope you can join us! 


Chag Sameach to Jewish community members in Toronto–St. Paul’s and beyond who are celebrating Purim this weekend. 

The story of Esther calls on people from oppressed communities to use the power that they have for the good of the entire community, not just those who find acceptance or success. As a Queer Black MPP, I am very aware of the privilege of my position. I will never stop speaking out about the injustices still faced by so many in our communities and will always work to right these injustices. 


There is an ongoing family doctor shortage in Ontario. Currently 2.2 million Ontarians do not have access to a primary care physician; their health is at imminent risk because of the lack of access to primary health care. Amid this chronic shortage, family physicians are spending on average 20 hours a week doing paperwork: burgeoning insurance forms, sick notes, and requests for prescriptions. 

Earlier this week Ford's Conservatives had a chance to open up primary healthcare access to 2 million Ontarians without access to a family doctor. Starting right now, we could provide supports to primary care providers to free up their time to see patients instead of pushing paperwork. 

If every family doctor across Ontario had access to an integrated primary care team with sufficient nurses, administrative and interdisciplinary staff to reduce the load of paperwork, the time freed up would be the equivalent of adding 2,000 doctors to the system. This would allow for 2 million more Ontarians to have a family doctor. This would make a real difference in our health care system. 

I was proud to rise in the Legislature in FULL support of our Opposition Day Motion calling for exactly this. I've heard from far too many community members struggling to find a family doctor. We must be proposing solutions that work FOR Ontarians not against them. However, the Conservatives voted it down, denying 2 million Ontarians access to family doctors. But I will not back down. I will continue to fight to put patients first. 

Click here to watch my full speech. 


This week in Question Period, I stood up for the countless festivals, arts organizations, individual artists, cultural workers and more who have been sounding the alarms. Rising costs are putting their futures at risk. Many have already shuttered. The government is failing to meet the moment. 

Ontario Arts Council (OAC) funding has OAC funding has remained stagnant over the last cycles with no account for inflation or pandemic recovery. Experience Ontario program funding was slashed between 2022 and 2023, ignoring heightened cost of insurance, security, venue rentals, staffing, production costs and more. Not to mention softwood lumber costs—used to construct theatre sets—that have skyrocketed over 100% year-over-year due to mill closures and wildfires. 

Festivals in our own Toronto—St. Paul's community like Rastafest are worried about their future. Sinting Festival in Little Jamaica also saw zero investment last year from this province. The Toronto Caribbean Carnival, the largest festival in North America, that contributes nearly half a million dollars to Ontario's GDP and creates 4,000 direct jobs is asking for sustainable investment to keep their heads above the water, as are so many festivals across this province. 

We need an urgent culture strategy from this government to help these creative and cultural institutions in our province keep their lights on. 

Watch my full question here.


Earlier this week we revealed Ford's 'Phase 2' for Ontario Place: filling in the lake. 

Documents we revealed through Freedom of Information (FOI) request are further confirmation that this government has been burying the truth from Ontarians from the very start. They'll override environmental laws, give away millions of public dollars, and even pave over the waterfront to benefit their insider friends. Now with this latest information, it's no wonder the Conservatives exempted the Ontario Place redevelopment plans from its environmental laws. We've put forth a motion at the Standing Committee for Government Agencies to review Ontario Place. This must stop!

Read more here. 


This week at Queen's Park we celebrated the Journée de la Francophonie in recognition of the many incredible contributions of Franco-Ontarians to our province. 

I was honored to attend this year's Ordre de la Pléiade ceremony and celebrate the investiture of an incredible constituent from Toronto—St. Paul's. Abel Maxwell is a Franco-Ontarian singer and songwriter and the author of five francophone afrobeat albums. His contributions to francophone culture in Ontario and beyond are extraordinary! Félicitations Abel!


It was an honour to meet with the Toronto Caribbean Carnival's Festival Management Committee at Queen's Park earlier this week!

The Carnival, lovingly known as Caribana, is an ENGINE for Ontario's economy, contributing $480M to the province's GDP and creating 4000 direct jobs each year. It's the largest festival in North America, bringing in 2.3 MILLION attendees from around the WORLD each year for a celebration of Caribbean culture and traditions. Not to mention the many wonderful memories so many of us have wrapped in the excitement of Caribana— the community, food, dance, costumes, and music!

The pandemic hit festivals hard, and the growing affordability crisis has left far too many unsure about their future. The Carnival is no exception. The province must invest now to ensure it can continue to grow and meet its demand.


Last night, I had a wonderful time celebrating the launch of the one and only award-winning author, social worker, and psychotherapist Farzana Doctor's book, 52 Weeks to a Sweeter Life for Caregivers, Activists, and Helping Professionals at Caversham Booksellers! I've been a fan for many years and this book, just from flipping through the pages, I know this book won't disappoint. 

The last year has been quite the rollercoaster ride, so this couldn't have come at a better time. Thank you for the invitation Farzana! Wonderful to see you and bump into other buddies too! The evening was moderated by Judy Rebick! If you haven't already, check out Farzana's debut poetry collection You Still Look the Same. It's quite the read!

For anyone who knows me, you'll know I'm not the biggest fan of the self-help genre. It reeks of neoliberalism and boot strap ideologies. As if our wins and challenges aren't deeply connected to access to resources and other structural realities that hit each other differently in this world and that enable or significantly hamper our access to the resources we need to thrive.

This book isn't all that! It's a call to action, and it provides tools for us to tackle those systems as individuals and also as collectives. Self care isn't a bad word, but it's all in the application and the practice, and in knowing that it's never just about the self ♥


I love our local florists from Flowers of the World (FLOW) Toronto! They always have wonderful bouquets and incredible customer service. They're located in our Midtown community at 191 Eglinton Avenue East. Check them out!


The Stop's Debbie Jenkins Tax Clinic is back from March 6 to April 25th at 1884 Davenport Rd. 

What you need:

  • Photo ID and social insurance number (SIN)
  • Proof of income (T4 or T5 forms)
  • Rent receipts (if you have them)

Wednesdays 9 am to 3 pm. 

  • Limited virtual appointments are also available. 

For appointments:
Phone: 437-231-1169
Email: [email protected]


James Rottman Fine Art (830 St Clair Ave W) is bringing us another incredible new exhibition!

Go see Mark Crozier "Painting Toronto" and John F. Marok "Reflections" from Mar. 16th until May 11th. 

Their opening reception for the exhibition is tomorrow, Saturday, March 23 from 2 pm to 5 pm. All are welcome! Both artists will be in attendance. Come mingle, meet the artists and enjoy the fabulous art.

Artist Mark Crozier

Toronto artist Mark Crozier captures, in paint, the dynamic beauty of Toronto's downtown neighborhoods, architecture and city life. Crozier's paintings were created from on site pencil sketches and a collection of 6000 photographs shot over 40 years by the artist. Crozier's painting evoke a sense of place and nostalgia for old Toronto. 

As Canadian art daily describes Mark Crozier's art, "Crozier's art, a love letter to the city, draws its vibrant energy from the transformative urban landscapes of Toronto. The artist's attention to detail and vibrant use of colour captures the essence of Toronto's downtown urban landscapes and city life, rendering his work not just visually appealing but also deeply emotional."

Artist John F. Marok

"I often depict narratives of love, reflections on solitude and childhood memories. My work is abound with historical cameos. The process of my paintings and how they unfold, results from much reworking. Brushes, rags and palette knives are the tools I employ in the service of my colours, lines, shapes and texture to give my subjects a heartbeat, a sense of vitality."

John F. Marok lives and works in Wakefield, Quebec, a quaint little village in the Gatineau Hills, where he paints full-time.

Artists from Beth Sholom and Beth Tzedec Out of the Cold Program have reunited in the Art Circle. They are so excited to share their talents and exhibit their work. The artists proudly invite you to the 2024 Art Show and Sale.

Where: Beth Sholom Synagogue (1445 Eglinton Ave W)
When: Sunday, April 7th from 1 to 3 pm - Artists' speeches at 2 pm
The Art Circle is a safe space where everyone, from the novice to the experienced artist, can come together. Hardship, perseverance, kindness, and creativity are shared.

The artists receive 90% of the sale of their artwork. The remainder goes towards framing and art supplies.
Admission: Pay what you can (suggested $5.00).

Music by Juno Award Winner Richard Underhill, Harley Card, and Ethan Tepper.
Refreshments will be served.
The Beth Sholom and Beth Tzedec Out of the Cold Program provides hot dinners, bagged lunches and clothing to those in need.


Community One Foundation is now accepting applications for their 2024 Rainbow Grants. 

Rainbow Grants provide funding to foster new and innovative services and programs that have a positive impact on the 2SLGBTQ+ community in the Greater Toronto Area (including Toronto, Durham, Peel, Hamilton, York, and Halton Regions, and Indigenous Communities across Ontario) under the following streams:

  • Indigenous Communities
  • Refugees
  • Trans Communities
  • Spiritual/Social Groups
  • Arts & Culture

Click here for more information and to download the application guide. 

The deadline is Friday, May 3rd, 2024 at 11:59 pm. 


Are you looking for a family doctor or nurse practitioner?

The Toronto Western Family Health Team is accepting new patients living in the neighbourhood. 

They have a team of health care professionals working together with you for your health care needs. Their team includes:

  • Doctors/Nurse Practitioners
  • Nurses
  • Chiropodist
  • Dietitian
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Pharmacist
  • Physiotherapist
  • Respiratory Therapist
  • Social Worker

They offer a broad range of programs and services, interpretation, and offer extended hours and urgent same day appointments. 

Click here for more information


150 affordable rental homes (starting at $1,589) will be available starting Summer 2024 at 1283 Dupont St. Those eligible can apply now to be entered in the random draw for 1, 2, and 3 bedroom units.

Deadline: April 30th, 8PM
Click here to learn more!


This Trans Day of Visibility, March 31, LGBTQ+ at the J and the Ontario Jewish Archives present The First Jew in Canada: A Trans Tale, written and performed by S. Bear Bergman

In 1738, a young transgender man named Jacques LaFargue set off from France to what is now Quebec City, determined to make for himself a new life. The First Jew In Canada: A Trans Tale is his largely untold story, embroidered onto the bones of nine verifiable facts about his life and existence, and interwoven with the modern experience of a trans and Jewish immigrant to Canada three hundred years later. A thrilling and illuminating tale, The First Jew In Canada takes its audience on a stubbornly Jewish journey of optimism, faith, and joy - including the joy and affirmation of finding an ancestor you never knew you had.

More information about Bear, the play, and accessibility can be found at


Check out Homework Hub at the Oakwood Vaughan Community Hub in Vaughan Road Academy (529 Vaughan Rd). 

The program is offered Wednesday from 4 to 6 PM and is open to students in grades 4-8. Sign up for support with:

  • Homework
  • Reading, writing, math
  • Test prep
  • Organization

Register at [email protected].


Also from the Oakwood Vaughan Community Hub!

There is an 800-900 sq. ft. classroom space available for community programming on weekdays at the Oakwood Vaughan Community Hub in the former Vaughan Rd. Academy.

Contact Peter Clutterbuck, OVCO Board member and Community Hub Chair by email ([email protected]) or by phone (416-738-3228) for more information. 


Applications are now open for My Main Street's Business and Community Activator Streams.

My Main Street is a $15-million investment to foster the stabilization and revitalization of main streets across southern Ontario. The program will offer streamlined direct-to-business supports and complementary programming for community projects that will encourage growth and economic prosperity.

Application deadline is March 31, 2024.

Click here for more information.


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.


On April 4th from 5-7 pm, join the Hillcrest Village BIA for a Meet & Greet at Bloom Bar Studio.

This is an opportunity to meet the BIA Board of Management, learn about BIA neighbourhood initiatives, and share your thoughts for the future. Join the BIA team for a casual evening with food, drinks and friendly conversations. Don't miss this chance to connect with fellow residents and business owners! 


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


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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