Community News Update - November 17, 2023

Dear Community, 

The reports of bomb threats against the Tanenbaum Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto in MPP Kerzner’s riding of York Centre and against an Islamic community centre in MPP Smith’s riding of Thornhill are horrendous. Everyone deserves to be safe at school, at daycare, and in their place of worship. My heart is with all those who were evacuated, especially the children and caring adults who kept them safe. Thank you to the authorities for your quick action. I’m also incredibly disheartened to learn about an assault on a taxi driver in Toronto Centre yesterday, simply for being Muslim.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, antisemitism, Islamophobia, anti-Palestinian racism and hatred of ANY kind have no place in our community and beyond. Full stop. Now more than ever, we must hold space for compassion and kindness and stand firmly against hate. We must look out for one another. 

Yesterday, my colleague MPP Harden (Ottawa Centre) brought forth for debate Bill 40: The Moving Ontarians Safely Act. This act would see increased penalties for drivers who kill or injure pedestrians, road workers, and cyclists while breaking the law. 

Community, this is an issue that we in St. Paul’s know all too well. We’ve lost far too many to careless driving. We deserve safer streets and communities. 

The bill is up for a FULL vote Monday. Please take a moment to watch this videosign the petition & share your story. Thank you MPP Harden for your leadership in ensuring ALL Ontarians make it home safely.

Earlier this week, we learned that Metrolinx has a monthly quota for fare evasion tickets. We’ve even heard troubling reports of disciplinary actions being taken against staff who fail to meet this quota. 

Community, quotas like these are NOTORIOUS for enabling racist and anti-Black tropes to criminalize racialized and marginalized people. It creates conditions for racial profiling and discrimination. The impact is well-known and well-studied. In fact, only a few years ago a racialized member of our own St. Paul’s community was fined $240 simply because their Presto Card didn’t work! All the while, this government has failed to properly fund transit to improve service and ridership. 

Yesterday, I rose to ask the Premier why this government is implementing fare evasion quotas that may additionally harm marginalized communities – especially during an affordability crisis! 

Watch my question to the Premier here. 

This morning, I met with staff from WomanACT to learn about their Safe At Home project. The project is an approach to housing that looks at intersecting social and policy areas to ensure survivors have a safe and secure future. Survivors deserve options when fleeing violence, and access to safe, affordable housing is a CRUCIAL piece in ensuring they have the security and independence they deserve. 

Thank you WomenACT for your important work! Read more about the project here. 

This afternoon, I met with nurses from the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO). We talked about harm reduction and their calls for drug testing, safe supply programs, and decriminalization for simple possession. We also talked about the crisis in the nursing profession and the need to improve nurse retention across the province. 

Thank you Simon & Anlan! And a special shout-out to ALL the nurses in St. Paul's & beyond. Your work is SO valued and appreciated. 

On that note, many in our St. Paul's community are concerned about the opioid crisis and substance abuse issues faced by many of our community's most vulnerable. To learn more about what you can do to help, I invite you to join us at Unison Health & Community Services' Harm Reduction Townhall this Monday, November 20th from 6-8PM. The event is at John Howard Society at 1669 Eglinton Ave W.

Mark your calendars! Thursday, November 30th Bloom Bar Studio is bringing you another Comedy Cabernet featuring Amanda Feldman, Emilie Wilkinson, and Tracy Hamilton. 

They're located at 780 St Clair Ave W. Tickets are $30 (includes 1 drink). 

Reserve your ticket here!

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.

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!

 Kindly,
The Holiday Box Team

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! 

This weekend! 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

This weekend! 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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