Province Gambling on Health of Schools

Province Gambling on Health of Schools

by Markus O’Brien Fehr, Chief of Staff

“See you in a month, I guess,” I said to the staff at our local school dropping my boys off this morning. Having heard the news about a third-wave lockdown in Ontario starting this weekend, I assumed like many, that meant another month of homeschooling.

“Nope, we’re going to be here,” said the staff, already up to speed that the lockdown isn’t going to affect schools.

After confirming that this wasn’t an April Fools gag I started wondering, for the first …

Read More »

What’s in a Name?

What’s in a Name?

by Markus O’Brien Fehr, Chief of Staff

“Where do you live?”

How many times have you been asked that question? Whether you choose to answer with the name of a city, a neighbourhood, or even a street corner, the answer becomes part of our personal identity and often connects us more deeply with our neighbours.

We were very surprised last week to learn that the City of Toronto was changing neighbourhood names as part of a reorganization of local data collection. How could such changes be made without …

Read More »

New Park Features can Define Local Neighbourhoods

New Park Features can Define Local Neighbourhoods

by Markus O’Brien Fehr, Chief of Staff

“I want to go to the park with the cool slide,” says one of my kids on a warm spring afternoon.  “No, let’s go to the one with the treehouse,” says the other.

Though what follows is a diplomatic negotiation more challenging than some of the toughest Council battles, what’s clear is that unique features in local parks is something residents of all ages pick up on.  They can quickly come to define our neighbourhoods.

In December, John announced a major …

Read More »

HELP for Energy Efficient Home Renovations

HELP for Energy Efficient Home Renovations

by Markus O’Brien Fehr, Chief of Staff

Last night, I had the opportunity to join a virtual summit hosted by the grade 8 students at Cummer Valley Middle School. The event brought together representatives of all four levels of government (including our trustee) along with many participants from the community. The message from the students and their keynote speakers was clear: Citizens and their governments need to work together to address the most important crisis of our lifetime. They weren’t talking about COVID-19.  They were talking …

Read More »

Looking Forward MoveTO Means More Reliable Transportation

Looking Forward MoveTO Means More Reliable Transportation

If COVID-19 has had one benefit, it may be the largest drop-off in traffic volumes ever recorded in Toronto. But eventually, it would be wise to expect a return to the growth of traffic and congestion seen over many decades. The current drop in demand should only present an opportunity to be ready for the rebound.

This week, City Council unanimously approved an action plan, dubbed MoveTO, to manage congestion and create an improved transportation network. Though many of the components have been in the works for several …

Read More »

COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts Provide Hope

COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts Provide Hope

The COVID-19 case projections this week have been bleak. There’s no other way to say it. But at least in a tough week we also got a strong glimmer of hope. On Monday, the drug company Pfizer released early data on a COVID-19 vaccine under development showing that it may be up to 90% effective. Though the vaccine remains several weeks away from completing its final phase of clinical trials, and with data yet to be peer-reviewed, the results are nevertheless a very encouraging sign.

The …

Read More »

Kids Rely on Access to Local Parks

Kids Rely on Access to Local Parks

by Markus O’Brien Fehr, Chief of Staff

Public health experts are trying to balance the risks and benefits of necessary physical activity with the necessity to keep populations safe from exposure to the virus.  But what impact is the lack of physical activity having on our kids?

A couple weeks back I had the chance to participate in a workshop put on by City Building Ryerson presenting a study conducted over the spring and summer of 2020.  Dr. Raktim Mitra was part of a group looking at …

Read More »

Willowdale BIA Poll Successful

Willowdale BIA Poll Successful

Business owners want Willowdale to have its first Business Improvement Area! Since late August, the city has run a poll of business owners along the Yonge Street corridor between Bishop/Hendon and Highway 401, to gauge interest in forming a Business Improvement Area. The poll closed last week, and almost three quarters of respondents voted in favour of the formation of a BIA.

BIAs benefit local businesses and their communities in a number of ways. The BIA collects a small additional levy from local businesses, and when …

Read More »

Sports Fields Open Until October 25th

Sports Fields Open Until October 25th

This week, the City of Toronto announced the extension of the outdoor sport field season. The City’s outdoor sport and multi-use fields will remain open until Sunday, October 25th and permits will be issued for the remainder of the 2020 season.

The City offers almost 700 sport fields at more than 170 locations across Toronto. As a result of pandemic-related restrictions, many of the City’s outdoor sport and multi-use fields opened on July 6 for team training, and permits were issued for the summer season. The …

Read More »

BIA Ballots Arriving at Local Businesses

BIA Ballots Arriving at Local Businesses

This week the City of Toronto is mailing out over 800 ballots to commercial property owners and their tenants along the Yonge street corridor between Bishop/Hendon and Highway 401.  The ballot asks whether businesses will come together to form a Business Improvement Area (BIA) in the centre of Willowdale.  The majority of returned ballots will make that decision in late October.

BIAs are very successful in other parts of Toronto and benefit local businesses and their communities in a number of ways.  BIAs collect a small …

Read More »

City of Toronto expands Digital Main Street program 

City of Toronto expands Digital Main Street program 

The City announced earlier this month that they are expanding the successful Digital Main Street program as part of the city’s Economic Support and Recovery Task Force’ short-term support and recovery plan for Toronto’s businesses in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Digital Main Street was created to provide direct one-on-one support to  businesses who are trying to develop an online presence. The program has already been successful in delivering over 12,000 hours of support, training and education to businesses across Toronto.

Community Meeting on Getting Around Safely During COVID-19

Community Meeting on Getting Around Safely During COVID-19

On September 9th, pointA is hosting a virtual community meeting on getting around safety during COVID-19, with our local MP Ali Ehsassi.

The meeting will cover traveling safely by public transit, walking, and cycling. There will be an opportunity to ask questions about commuting more safely during the pandemic.

The event is free and open to all interested residents, not just those who live in Willowdale, and no registration is required.

To attend the meeting, click here.

Read More »