A Note from John About COVID-19 – Sept 25

A Note from John About COVID-19 – Sept 25

I was holding out hope that recent COVID spikes would cause enough Toronto residents to change their behaviour for us to see a leveling off the upward trend. After today, with its 237 new cases, I’m finding that increasingly less likely.

That’s at the tail end of a week that saw Toronto cases hit 1,104 – up from previous weeks of 617, 385, 265, 206, and 161. Simple math shows that, over those five weeks, the number of cases increased by 685%. Project that ahead to …

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New COVID-19 Distancing Restrictions

New COVID-19 Distancing Restrictions

The Province has responded to an alarming rise in new COVID cases in Toronto, Peel and Ottawa with new restrictions on meeting size and much tougher penalties for those who don’t follow the rules.

The size of social gatherings, such as backyard barbecues or parties, has been reduced to 25 people outdoors and 10 indoors.

Fines for those who organize gatherings above those numbers can range from $10,000 to $100,000, with the possibility of up to a year’s jail time. All guests who attend illegal events face …

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Pandemic and the Opioid Crisis

Pandemic and the Opioid Crisis

The number of COVID cases and deaths tell only part of the tragic story that has been unfolding in our city since March.
In Toronto alone, 27 people died in July from opioid overdose. That’s almost one death per day and the highest monthly total ever recorded in Toronto. In the first five months of the pandemic, opioid overdose deaths increased by 85%. In British Columbia the situation is even worse, with a 200% increase compared to the same period last year.There appear to be three …

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A Time for Greater COVID Caution

A Time for Greater COVID Caution

Many thanks to all of you who took the time to write with good wishes for my speedy recovery from West Nile virus. I’m getting a bit stronger every day and expect to fully recover.

A friend jokingly chided me for getting a one-in-a-million virus. “Why do you always have to be different? Couldn’t you just get COVID like thousands of other people?”

Both viruses can be life-threatening, with many potential short and long-term consequences. I am, of course, taking every precaution so that I will never …

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A Note from John

A Note from John

On August 17, I woke with an extreme case of double vision, quickly followed by an extremely  high temperature and very high blood pressure. This led me to Michael Garron Hospital, where I was admitted and sent for a battery of tests.  After more than a week I got the surprising result: West Nile Virus.

The more serious symptoms have subsided and I am now at home dealing with the main remaining one: extreme fatigue. While I regain my strength, my Chief of Staff Markus O’Brien …

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New Public Art at Mel Lastman Square

New Public Art at Mel Lastman Square

If you’re passing by Mel Lastman Square, be sure to take a look at the new art that is in the outdoor amphitheatre. Willowdale artist Jieun June Kim was commissioned by North York Arts to transform the space with a temporary creative social distancing artwork.

While there are no events scheduled to use the amphitheatre due to the pandemic, the art will make it easy for people to physically distance once the threatre opens back up. Jiuen used spray chalk with her custom stencils to mark safe seating areas and bring a bright pop of rainbow colours to …

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Alexander Brown Elected Chair of TDSB

Alexander Brown Elected Chair of TDSB

Willowdale trustee Alexander Brown was elected Chair of the Toronto District School Board earlier this week. I have worked closely with Alexander over the past several years and have found him excellent at involving the community in decision-making – something that is greatly needed as we enter the uncharted territory of school reopening during a pandemic.

In recent years, school boards have frequently turned to Willowdale representatives for leadership. In 2019, Trustee Maria Rizzo was elected to a one-year term as Chair of Toronto’s Catholic School …

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My Parents’ Generation and the Pandemic

My Parents’ Generation and the Pandemic

Seventy-five years ago today, my father learned he’d soon be heading home. World War II was officially over in the Pacific, where he’d served with the RCAF. Two years earlier, he’d said goodbye to family, friends and, most notably, a wife and their new baby – not knowing if he’d see them again.

He returned full of optimism at age 30 and set about building the life he wanted: a family, a home, a career, a contributor to a strong society. Much of this was already …

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Toronto Attractions – Summer in the City

Toronto Attractions – Summer in the City

If you’re looking for something to do in the city this summer, more and more attractions are opening up! For a few ideas, just look at the list below.

What’s Going On at the ROM

Have a dinosaur lover in your life? Well good news, the Royal Ontario Museum is back open to the public.

If you’re looking to go and enjoy all the museum has to offer, there are a couple of things that you should know. First, the museum is only open from Wednesday to Sunday, …

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Willowdale Attractions – Summer in the City

Willowdale Attractions – Summer in the City

If you’re looking for something to do around Willowdale, here is a list of just some of the activities around the neighbourhood.

Toronto Pools – Splash Pads – and Beaches

If you’re looking for places to cool down in the city, there is now an online Cool Spaces Near You page to help you. In WIllowdale, some of your options include:

Outdoor Pools – including Goulding and Mitchell Field Community Centres.

Splash Pads – at Hendon Park, Willowdale Park or Glendora Park.  Hours are 9 AM – 8:30 PM weather permitting.

City Beaches – All public beaches in Toronto are …

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Masks Mandatory Condos and Apartments

Masks Mandatory Condos and Apartments

Masks will soon be required for anyone using the enclosed common areas of condos and apartment buildings. As of August 5, condo boards and the owners of apartment buildings will be required to have policies in place covering such areas as elevators, laundry rooms and lobbies.

Although some owners and boards had already voluntarily adopted such measures, others have not, prompting Council to make it mandatory at its meeting earlier this week.

The move came amid concerns about keeping the number of new cases low as Toronto …

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Learning To Live Safely With COVID

Learning To Live Safely With COVID

It’s a risk, to be sure, but one that’s being cautiously managed.

Starting today, Toronto moves to Stage 3. This means that restaurants and bars can now seat customers inside. Other re-opening permissions include larger indoor and outdoor gatherings and the long-awaited ability for children to return to public playgrounds. For a list of what can open, with restrictions, click here.

With many businesses hanging on by their fingernails and all of us needing to return to whatever semblance of normal life we can do safely, this seemed like …

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