Rink at Mel Lastman Square to Open Next Week

Rink at Mel Lastman Square to Open Next Week

The open air rink at Mel Lastman Square is due to open on November 28. In addition to being a great way to get some exercise, the rink is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and the winter weather.

Due to COVID-19, the city is taking extra precautions to ensure that people are safe and physically distanced. This year, we will be limiting the occupancy to 25 people on the rink at a time, and there will be staff and fencing to ensure that the …

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The Shutdown Has Landed

The Shutdown Has Landed

This day has been dawning for many weeks: a shutdown, which became increasingly inevitable when other measures weren’t taken early enough and large segments of the population continued to act as if it were still August, a month in which Toronto saw one day in which there was only a single new COVID case.

Starting Monday, non-essential businesses in Toronto and Peel are closed except for curbside pickup and delivery. Outdoor dining is no longer permitted. Personal services such as hair salons are closed. So are …

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Federal Government Updates Advice on Masks

Federal Government Updates Advice on Masks

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam has now recommended adding a “filter layer” to masks to provide Canadians with extra protection against COVID-19.

While the addition of a filter layer is important, Dr. Tam reiterated that the most important factor on mask effectiveness is the fit. Masks need to be large enough to completely and comfortably cover the nose, mouth and chin without gaping

Non-medical masks should be made of at least 3 layers, of which two should be tightly woven material fabric, such as …

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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 …

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A Turning Point Meets a Wrong Turn

A Turning Point Meets a Wrong Turn

Amid continued evidence that COVID levels remain dangerously high, the Province has created new regulations likely to make them higher.

First the numbers: Toronto’s weekly case total stands at 2445, very close to last week’s all- time high and up significantly from1900 weekly cases when the Province deemed it necessary to close bars, gyms and indoor dining. COVID hospitalizations in Toronto are up 63% over that period.

Until this week, rising numbers have meant more restrictions until the situation is under control and it is safe to …

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Numbers that Tell the Truth

Numbers that Tell the Truth

Given a choice, I’ll pick facts over political posturing every time. A case in point:

Last year, the Province abruptly slashed the amount developers pay the city to provide facilities to serve new residents. They presented it as if this was somehow a good thing for anybody other than the only ones to benefit: developers.

When I called out the Ford government on this, it offered assurances that the final version of the legislation would be “revenue neutral.” Local MPP Stan Cho went further, claiming Willowdale residents …

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COVID Testing Protocol Update

COVID Testing Protocol Update

Last week, because the government was facing a severe backlog in processing COVID-19 tests, and it looked like testing capacity would be overwhelmed, the provincial government made changes to the rules about who could get tested for COVID-19. As well, the government has decreed that there will no longer be drop in tests, instead moving to an appointment only model. This is being done to cut down on lines at testing centres, which were sometimes over 6 hours long.

With the series of changes, there has …

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Giving Thanks

Giving Thanks

A few years ago, I attended a talk by an author who had written a book about the year he had spent scrupulously following Biblical guidelines. He was asked which practices he’d decided to stick with after the year was up.

“Giving thanks for something every day,” he replied without hesitation. A simple act that is undeniably good for the soul. It’s something some of us do without thinking and others never think to do.

In this very difficult year for everybody, I feel very fortunate. I …

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New Measures to Curb COVID

New Measures to Curb COVID

The Province has announced immediate measures to curb the very alarming rise in new COVID cases.

Ontario had a record 939 new cases today, topping the previous record of 797 set yesterday. Toronto also saw a very alarming 326 new cases today. The weekly Toronto total was 1900, down slightly from last week’s 2001 but still a dangerously high number to be levelling off at. That number needs to be driven way down before a true second wave, widely expected this fall and winter, sweeps over …

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Changes to Visitor Policy at Long Term Care Homes

Changes to Visitor Policy at Long Term Care Homes

Effective October 5, Long-Term Care (LTC) homes in Ontario will be restricting entrance to staff members, essential visitors and essential caregivers to ensure that all long-term care homes are able to continue to keep residents safe and to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The new Provincial guidelines state that:

Essential visitors include a person visiting a very ill or palliative resident.
An essential caregiver provides direct support to the resident, such as feeding, personal hygiene or assistance in decision-making.
This person could be a family member, from the …

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Frightening Numbers Require Decisive Action

Frightening Numbers Require Decisive Action

The careless disregard that a relatively small number have shown for the wellbeing of others has sent us backwards into the frightening world of out-of-control COVID and pandemic shutdown.

This week, Toronto had an astounding 2001 new cases. That’s almost 50% more than the 1104 cases which sounded loud alarm bells last week. As recently as early August, Toronto had less than 100 new cases in a week.

Today, Toronto Public Health reached the unhappy conclusion that pleas to act responsibly were not working and much more …

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Backlog of COVID Testing a Growing Concern

Backlog of COVID Testing a Growing Concern

Yesterday I received a call from my son’s school.  He was in the office with an upset stomach, a condition he deals with from time to time.  As “nausea” was one of the screening symptoms for COVID-19, I picked him up resigned to the fact that we’d be spending today standing in line at a local testing site.

As it turned out, the Ontario government also announced new screening rules yesterday, indicating that a student showing a single, less severe symptom, such as a runny nose …

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