Community News Update - November 15, 2023

Dear Community, 

Yesterday, I was joined by Ontario Library Association and Ontario Federation of Ontario Public Libraries for their Queen's Park advocacy days. As the voices of hardworking librarians and library card carriers, they spoke to the crucial need for sustainable funding for libraries across the province. Because they are more than the books they hold. They are spaces for community, education, harm reduction, equity building, and an investment in Ontario's future. But to reach their full potential takes investment in return! Investment they haven't seen an increase in close to 30 years - what we are all paying the price for, as we're forced to spend public dollars on reacting to crises, rather than preventing them. 
I want to thank the group for their time and more importantly, advocacy. I look forward to amplifying their calls to demand this government to to ensure Ontario's future is one made in our libraries! 
Learn more about Ontario Library Association & Federation of Ontario Public Libraries.

For over 50 years, the Co-operative Housing Federation have been building not only homes but whole communities. We don't need to look far to see the impact they've had. With 9 co-op buildings across Toronto—St. Paul's and hundreds of residents, co-op housing is a cornerstone to what makes us, US!
Yesterday, I had the chance to hear from leaders with the CHF to learn more of how we can continue the organization's legacy to protect and expand co-op housing in our community and beyond! While the city is doing some heavy lifting when it comes to investment in their model, the province still needs to step up to the plate. 
But best believe, I will be demanding they do! Because for-profit supply has not, and will not alone, solve our deep housing crisis. Non-profit models, like what co-op housing offers, must be placed at the centre.
Learn more.

Earlier today, the Ontario NDP put forth our opposition day motion to demand day-long, two-way Kitchener GO service. As an investment in Ontario's infrastructure, our climate, Kitchener residents, and Toronto's economy as more visitors are welcomed to our city at anytime, the motion was a call to action towards public transit as a building block of our future! 
Like clockwork, however, the Conservative government voted it down to leave Kitchener residents behind and Ontario on its same path where the needs of Ontarians go unheard. Read more here.
But our fight isn't over and in fact, is about to grow stronger as Kitchener-Centre's by-election moves full-steam ahead to elect Ontario NDP candidate, Debbie Chapman. We've done it here in TorontoSt. Paul's and we can do it again, but not without you! Explore volunteer opportunities here.

Over the weekend, I attended the Remembrance Day Ceremony at Mount Pleasant Cemetery hosted by the RCAF Foundation. Thank you to ALL the organizers and participants for a beautiful service. Now more than ever, it is important to reflect on the cost of war, honour those who served, and commit to a peaceful future. 

I would also like to thank the first responders and healthcare workers on site for their quick response in helping the young person who experienced a medical emergency during the service. My thoughts are with the young person and their family. 

Monday, I had the pleasure of joining many friends and community members in the local arts community for The Mayor's Evening for the Arts! It's always a JOY to come together to celebrate arts and culture, and of course, the contributions of the many talented artists in our city! You know as well as I do, that the arts are a vital part of our economy and health, and arts access is crucial to a thriving community. The proceeds of this year's event went to the Toronto Arts Foundation's free public art initiative, Arts in the Parks as well as other Creative City initiatives, developed as a direct response to issues confronting Toronto’s artists and the desire to increase arts access across the city.

It was also great to catch up with Karen Carter (Executive Director of Myseum), Mayor Chow, and Kevin Pennant (Pennant Media Group).

Special shout out to Sara Schwartz Geller (founder of Soul Provisions & Toronto Soup Co in our very own St. Paul's) for the INCREDIBLE performance. THANK YOU to our talented host, Amanda Parris, and ALL involved for a fabulous evening!

As the holiday season draws closer, there's much to celebrate and that includes local art and performance! Luckily, there's much to choose from to bring family, friends, and loved ones together.
From now until December 2nd, Canadian Stage is showing The Lehman Trilogy, telling the story of the rise and fall of the banking empire as written by Stefano Massini, adapted by Ben Power, and directed by Philip Akin. Click here to reserve your spot.

Hot off its heels, Toronto—St. Paul's own Alicia Richardson is also premiering her play, Sweeter from December 2nd through 17th. With a mango tree taking centre stage as a metaphor many will relate, the show welcomes the whole family to laugh, reflect, and most of all, enjoy Toronto arts. With matinee and evening showtimes, you won't want to miss this one. Learn more and secure your tickets here.

November 20th, I invite you to attend a Harm Reduction Town Hall hosted by Unison Health & Community Services. The event is from 6-8 PM at the John Howard Society at 1669 Eglinton Ave W.

The Stop Farmer's Market Holiday Boxes are back! See their message below:

It's that time of year again when The Stop Farmer's Market is launching the sale of our amazing Holiday Box! We've sold out both prior times, so get your order in early if you want one this year! This wonderful edition includes 13 incredible and delicious local products. You can purchase a box for yourself and family, or we assure you, they also make great gifts!

Also, this year back by popular demand, there is an option to buy a box for a family in need. Our organization will be handing out donated boxes both through local charities, and to individuals. By purchasing a box you will be helping local business, farmers, and/or a family in need if you choose to. Proceeds from the sales of this limited box will also support The Stop Community Food Center, and also Humewood House.

Boxes are $150 each, and can be picked up at The Stop Wychwood Barns Farmer's Market on either of Saturday December 9, and Saturday December 16. If you would like to confirm yours, simply send us a note to the email below, and we'll reply with full details! Thank you for your continued support of the market, and the community!

The Holiday Box Team

Boxes can be ordered at [email protected].

Students and educators of St. Paul's! N:OW for Net Zero is now accepting grant applications for student-led net-zero projects that will reduce emissions in their community. Funding available ranges from $2,000-$15,000. The deadline to apply is December 15th. 

Know someone interested?  Spread the word!

Learn more here! 

Community! Check out this incredible opportunity to support young artists. Youth Alliance for Intersectional Justice is hosting an incredible art exhibit November 18 & 19 from 12-3pm at 192 Spadina Ave! See their message below:

Join YAIJ for this unique celebration of visual and performance art by and for neurodiverse youth!

Check out visual artist Andre Lopez, performance artist Nathan Baya, spoken word artist Jadyn Hardie-Bardy, Violinist Jane, and more!

You'll be treated to an art exhibit, live music and dance performances, presentations, and interactive art sessions. You can stop by on Saturday Nov 18th or Sunday Nov 19th or both days (we have different performers and activities on each day).

Learn from young artists, experience the beauty of self-advocacy, and connect with community partners supporting YAIJ youth!

Tickets are on sale HERE

The Christie Gardens Annual Holiday Gift Sale is back! Saturday, November 18th from 10:30 AM to 2 PM at the Christie Gardens Auditorium (600 Melita Crescent). 

Funds raised will support the resident social programs and activities at Christie Gardens. See below for more information.

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

MPP Toronto-St. Paul's




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