RBC Race for the Kids (Lane Restrictions) & Terry Fox Run

RBC Race for the Kids (Lane Restrictions) & Terry Fox Run

Willowdale residents will want to be aware of races being held in our community this weekend.  RBC’s annual Race for the Kids in support of youth mental health at Sunnybrook, will be held on Saturday, September 16, 2017.  Over the past three years, the race has welcomed 28,000 participants, raising over $7-million for this important cause.

Road closures will be in effect on Yonge Street (between Sheppard Ave and north of Finch Ave) from 7:15 AM to 11:15 AM.  Finch Ave will also be closed between Doris Ave and Beecroft Road.  For a …

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City Consultation on Short Term Rental Policy

City Consultation on Short Term Rental Policy

Municipal Licensing and Standards and City Planning staff are holding a series of open houses on the newly proposed regulations for short term rentals in the City. The term “short-term rental” describes rentals that occur over a short period of time (e.g. 28 days or less). Popular online platforms, such as Airbnb, Flipkey, VRBO etc. facilitate bookings and payments for short-term rentals.

A local open house will be held from 3:00 to 8:00 PM (with short presentations at 4 PM and 7 PM) on Monday, September 11 at the North York Civic Centre Council Chamber (5100 …

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Re-imagining Yonge Street (UPDATED)

Re-imagining Yonge Street (UPDATED)

Update (September 5, 2017)

Re-Imagining Yonge, the City’s plan to reconstruct the badly aging stretch of Yonge Street between Sheppard and Finch Avenues continues as a critical infrastructure project for our community.  Over the spring and summer, John and his EA Markus O’Brien Fehr, participated in fireside chats with over a dozen local neighbourhoods and condominiums in small “fireside chat” formats, sharing information on the project and hearing a wide range of views and opinions.  One thought that most residents share is that Yonge Street is in …

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Healing Gardens Musicfest – October 14

Healing Gardens Musicfest – October 14

Each year, Terry Eagan of Patio Records in Massachusetts boards a plane from Boston, rents a performance hall in Toronto, hires some of his favourite musicians, and writes a cheque to cover all the costs.  Ticket sales from his concerts go towards building healing gardens for cancer patients in local hospitals, a project he started in memory of his late wife, Mary.

On Saturday, October 14, Terry brings this year’s Healing Garden Music Fest to North York’s Lyric theatre, a newly renovated 500-seat gem in the Toronto Centre for the Arts (5040 Yonge St).  …

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Cultura 2017 (July 7, 14, 21 & 28)

Cultura 2017 (July 7, 14, 21 & 28)

The Cultura Festival returns Friday July 7 for our annual outdoor summer celebration of music, food, dance and film in Mel Lastman Square.

The free festival, enjoyed by all ages, begins at 6 p.m. each Friday in July with strolling musicians, street performers, tango dancing, activities for families, and some of the city’s best food vendors serving specialities from around the world. Great music on the main stage begins at 8 p.m., followed each evening by a world-class busker and an award-winning feature film.

From its founding …

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Canada 150 Celebrations

Canada 150 Celebrations

As our community prepares to join Canadians from coast-to-coast-to-coast celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday on July 1, some information for residents interested in joining the celebration.  Mel Lastman Square will play host to one of several citywide celebrations this year.  Music will be playing on the mainstage between 2 and 11 PM with outstanding musicians including The Jerry Cans, Shauit, The Lytics and Busty and the Bass.  If you’re planning to attend, be on the lookout for other activities and performances in the Orchard, at the Pond and in the Gazebo too.  Fireworks will …

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York Cemetery Opens Victoria Cross Memorial – June 25

York Cemetery Opens Victoria Cross Memorial – June 25

Update (June 20, 2017):

Many thanks to the Mount Pleasant Group of Cemeteries who have donated approximately 13 acres of ravine land to the City at the western end of York Cemetery. This land is adjacent to Bathurst Park, Burnett Woods and the Hinder Property in the West Don River Valley. We are continuing to talk with residents about future use of the property, which will remain in its natural state, once the City releases its Ravines strategy later this year.

Making this land public is part …

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Building & Development: Inside the War Zone

Building & Development: Inside the War Zone

Some developers no longer even feign interest in following the city’s planning rules. Far too many choose instead to submit proposals they know don’t come close to following the rules. When these proposals are rejected by city Planning staff and City Council, they appeal those decisions to the developer-friendly Ontario Municipal Board.  Here are just some of the developments and secondary plans headed there:

Sheppard West Secondary Plan
Earlier this year Council adopted a new secondary plan for Sheppard Ave. West, between Beecroft Rd. and slightly west …

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From City Hall: Stormwater Management Fees

From City Hall: Stormwater Management Fees

Many Willowdale residents who attended public consultation meetings this spring were concerned with a City proposal to separate stormwater management costs from their existing water bill and implement a new fee. Stormwater is runoff that occurs when rain or melting snow flows off hard surfaces instead of soaking into the ground. The proposal offered no difference however to residents who had taken efforts to absorb stormwater on their own property and minimize impact on the City’s water system.  In large part due to public feedback, Council voted to receive this …

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OMB Reform Coming Soon

OMB Reform Coming Soon

The provincial government has announced that it intends to replace the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) with a Local Planning Appeal Tribunal which will be required to give much more weight to the decisions of local municipal councils. Under the proposed system, the Tribunal would evaluate appeals by whether the City had followed its own planning rules in the initial decision. The set of proposals, if implemented, would put planning back in the hands of your local elected councils, which John believes is very good news.

This legislation, part of Bill 139, passed …

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Citywide Transit Update

Citywide Transit Update

Keeping track of the city’s transit priorities has become a difficult task – even for those of us who vote to set the priorities. However, an update on one of the most critical files at City Hall:

The new Line 1 subway extension from the Sheppard West Station (at Downsview) to Vaughan Centre is expected to open by the end of this year.

Construction is underway, via Metrolinx, for both the Eglinton Crosstown and the Finch West LRT (from the new Finch West station to Humber College) with openings planned …

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Updates to Edithvale Park

Updates to Edithvale Park

Edithvale Park and Community Centre (131 Finch Ave W) is one of our busiest hubs for recreation.  John has continued to work with the community and City PF&R staff to make the park more functional for its users.  The next set of updates will begin in the fall of 2017 with the restoration of the Native Plant Garden.  Many residents have seen this area tarped off to remove a number of invasive plants and weeds.  The new garden will be designed as a natural habitat for …

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