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Find out what's happening in the Annex and with the Residents' Association
  • 03 Jul 2020 9:54 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Residents Speak Out To Defend Beauty of Queen’s Park Against U of T Proposal

    Residents of The Annex and across the city must voice their opinion about a massive building being proposed by U of T on the Planetarium site next to the ROM. Here is a letter  sent by a coalition of residents’ associations that expresses our views. The location is in Ward 11. Please voice your concerns by writing to Councillor Layton: councillor_layton@toronto.ca .
    If you can attend a virtual public meeting on July 14 from 6 to 8 pm, organized by the City, you can find details here

  • 27 May 2020 3:09 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Construction News

    A wall of trucks and heavy construction equipment invaded Huron between Bernard and Dupont last Friday. The reason? Rogers Communications’ continued infrastructure renewal. Workers are installing new cable conduit throughout the Annex – a project that was originally slated for 2019 – 2020. The team pictured here suggest that the process is only really noisy for the first couple of days. The last week and a half of work on that section of Huron will be relatively quiet, or so they promise.

    And in related construction news, after long years of petitioning on the part of the community, traffic lights are to be installed at the corner of Huron and Dupont.  The bases are in position, the ground has been excavated, wired, and cemented. The poles were installed yesterday -- Tuesday. Now we just need those lights.

    Finally, be prepared to move across the road when you're walking down Davenport between Dupont and Bedford. Signs went up yesterday announcing sidewalk replacement to be finished by July of this year. 

    Kirk, Nav, and Cody -- part of the team installing new Rogers cable conduit on Huron. 

    The last community meeting petitioning the City for lights at Dupont and Huron was in 2017. Three years later, they're almost here.

    Community Safety Concerns 

    Toronto police are reporting an increase in assaults and car break ins along with home break-and-enters, a result they believe is due in part to the crisis brought on by COVID-19.

    Here in the Annex, residents up in the northeast corner are experiencing a marked rise in petty theft. Several packages have been stolen from front porches – including a gift basket of champagne and flowers delivered just an hour before to help celebrate the owners’ wedding anniversary.

    There has also been a rash of car break ins perpetrated by brazen thieves. One resident actually caught a thief in the act of smashing his car window. But when he was challenged, the vandal simply invited the owner to “F*** Off” (which he wisely did, as it is foolhardy for civilians to physically confront someone determined to commit a crime.)

    Our Community Safety Chair, Natasha Gromoff-Kramer, says it is imperative to report every such incident to the police no matter how small, because it is only through tracking that officers can determine where they need to deploy more resources. Either call 416 808 2222 or go online at https://www.torontopolice.on.ca/core/ to complete a CORE (Citizen Online Report Entry).  

    For urgent matters, reach out to your dedicated Crime Prevention Community Safety Officer. To the east of Spadina in 53 Division that would be Constable Timothy Somers #90023 who can be reached directly at 416 808 5337 or on his mobile at 416 473 6314. For those who live to the west of Spadina in 14 Division, your direct contact is Constable Gordon Reid #1703 – available at 416-808-1427 or by email at gordon.reid@torontopolice.on.ca.

    One of several examples of car vandalism in the Annex west of Avenue Road. 

    Groceries for Purchase or Donation 

    Grocery shopping has been risky for Annex residents. Despite stringent safety measures, Fiesta Farms experienced its first Covid-19 case last Tuesday. Management responded swiftly, however, immediately closing the store to allow for testing of all staff and deep cleaning. It re-opened on Saturday. Check the store’s website at https://fiestafarms.ca/  for timely and forthright updates. They've got our safety in mind.

    Meanwhile Loblaws at Christie and Dupont has once again opened its doors to customers. While Loblaws has not released any specifics, we do know that there was a series of major outbreaks at the store causing short-term closings on April 17, April 29, and May 2. Then, when Toronto Public Health came in, the store was closed from May 11th to the 25th – the mandatory 14-day quarantine period. Hopefully management will now take more obvious precautions to protect staff and customers alike.

    The Avenue Road Food Bank that operates out of the Church of the Messiah at the corner of Dupont and Avenue Road has made another plea for donations. Items most in demand are shelf-stable foodstuffs: it’s just not feasible for staff to deal with fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats at present. Also in demand are basic toiletries and PPE. Please contact Robert Mandel (bob@churchofthemessiah.ca) to arrange a drop off time. Or consider making a tax-receipted monetary donation through Canada Helps at https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/118863141RR0001-church-of-the-messiah.

    Finally, in the groceries department, Sacha Lewis has announced the opening of a Little Free Pantry at 60 Albany Avenue. To our knowledge, this is the first in the Annex. Sacha asks us all to make contributions if we are able so that folks who are short on food can take what they need. Thanks so much, Sacha! 

    Tins of tuna, jars of peanut butter, cans of soup, noodles, beans … you name it … such shelf-stable items are perfect for the Little Free Pantry. 

    Notes and Queries

    ·         Last week we wrote about Willow Cabral and her fellow students at UofT who are helping develop the first-ever master plan for the Toronto Island Park (TIP). They have now posted a short Google Form survey that invites you to share your thoughts on the Island. You can find it online at tiny.cc/tipTOsurvey. A reminder also that you are invited to attend a ZOOM public participation conference tonight (Wednesday May 27) at 7pm. Contact Willow directly at willowecabral@gmail.com for information on how to join in.

    ·         And there’s an update on vandal tagging. It seems that one ubiquitous tagger now has a rival: check the image below taken this past weekend in Jean Sibelius Park. City staff have been notified of this and other tags. But residents are encouraged to help stop such vandalism by erasing the tags as soon as they appear if at all possible. If you want to know why this is so important, go to the Toronto Police fact sheet on graffiti at http://www.torontopolice.on.ca/community/graffiti/factsheet.pdf.

    "3rror" has been leaving his mark throughout the Annex and beyond. Residents are urged if at all possible to erase this and other such tags as soon as they appear. Only this way will the vandal tagging stop. 

  • 20 May 2020 3:38 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    The Scourge of Graffiti

    As you’ve ventured out recently to walk the streets of the Annex, have you noticed anything different? Resident Nicole Stoffman certainly has – and she’s on a campaign to rid our neighbourhood of the increased incidence of graffiti, or, as she prefers to name it, “vandal tagging,” in order to distinguish it from "graffiti mural art" which she loves. 

    In Toronto, vandal tagging is a crime. It might come as a surprise to you, but property owners are required by law to remove graffiti within 72 hours – or 24 hours if it is deemed hate and/or gang-related. If an owner fails to comply, the city will do the removal, and the cost of the work will be added to their property tax. However, according to Heather Leger in Mike Layton’s office, “The City pursues compliance as far as they can before they resort to laying fines or taking remedial action themselves.”

    Nevertheless vandal tagging costs our local businesses upwards of $10,000 yearly to remove, and taxpayers pay an even higher bill in the hundreds of thousand of dollars according to Toronto police.

    Some may consider this a mere nuisance. But as Jim Jacobs pointed out at a graffiti summit, his mother, Jane, always said that property neglect is the beginning of a neighbourhood in decline. Simply put, graffiti that is not removed indicates that no one cares about the state of the community.

    So how do we take back control of our neighbourhood? This was amply illustrated to the south of us by the efforts of Stephen Simpson, recipient of the HVRA Community Builder Award for his work in bringing vandal tagging under control. As he says, “It’s a fixable problem. It’s relatively easy to manage if we just have the initiative.”

    In the short term, we need to erase the tags. Paint them over. Sand or power wash them off. And if you’re dealing with oil paint on concrete there’s even a product called “Elephant Snot” available on line from St. Paul, Minnesota to liquidate the unsightly tags. For those reluctant to cross-border shop, there’s also WD40, oven cleaner, and Goof Off to add to your arsenal.

    Remember that vandalism graffiti is like litter: remove it from your property and urge your neighbours to do the same. And broaden your reach. Focus on the spots that bother you the most, that you pass every day, and ask owners for permission to let you paint out or scrub away the offending stains. Get yourself a can of white exterior primer for the job, and invite property owners to repaint if they want to colour match.

    In the long term, there’s always the possibility of encouraging true artists to decorate the large canvases of garages and walls and fences. To that end, local homeowners might want to connect with StART artist directory, https://bit.ly/3dMY6Nn & the StART Support Mural Program: https://bit.ly/364ZxUI. The mural program is temporarily suspended due to COVID-19, but you can still reach out to the artists through the directory. 

    Official signs are prime targets for vandal taggers.

    A StART sponsored mural in Harbord Village

    Who's Calling the Shots? 

    Working with Councillor Cressy, the ARA approached City staff all the way back in 2016 to look at measures to help deter speeding and improve the pedestrian environment on Spadina Road between Dupont and Bloor. As a short-term measure, staff suggested that the existing pavement markings could be adjusted by narrowing the lane widths as much as possible. The long-term plan was to use the space provided by the urban shoulder to permanently widen the sidewalks along the corridor and narrow the roadway.

    Flash forward to 2020. Implementation of the short-term pavement marking plan has been deferred in response to the on-going TTC construction work at Spadina and Dupont as well as possible watermain work scheduled on Spadina between Dupont and Lowther this year.

    Councillor Layton asked staff to include this pedestrian improvement work in the upcoming watermain work on multiple occasions, but was ultimately told (in February 2019) it was not possible to include it in the project scope as E&CS were planning to tender in November 2019 and commence construction in early 2020. They further noted that the schedule could not be delayed as it was being coordinated with TTC elevator work at Lowther Ave as well as a planned bridge rehabilitation project north of Dupont, both of which were being scheduled following the watermain work.

    In January 2020, Mike again requested that the sidewalk expansion and lane narrowing be included in the tender as it had not yet gone out. Despite repeated requests, Mike received the following response: "Transportation Services and Toronto Water staff have reviewed your request to reconstruct and widen the sidewalks on Spadina Avenue (Bloor Street West to Dupont Street) as part of the upcoming watermain replacement work. Staff have determined that deferring the waterman replacement to allow for the scale of change in the current scope of work is not possible as the time to undertake a reconstruction along Spadina Avenue is unknown. The latest condition data for the roadway shows it is in good condition and no rehabilitation is currently programmed or planned."

    So there you have it: we and our Councillor are committed to making Spadina Road more pedestrian friendly. The Planning Department is on board. But the engineers at Transportation Services now seem to be the ones planning public spaces. And they certainly don't appear to be listening to the wishes of residents, despite our Councillor's efforts on our behalf. 

    It seems even Transportation Services staff are unaware of the difference between Spadina Avenue (which runs south of Bloor) and Spadina Road (pictured here, running to the north).

    Notes and Queries

    ·         The City of Toronto is developing an Island Park Master Plan and therefore seeking input from Toronto residents about their experiences of the Island and any changes they would like to see made there in the future. Willow Cabral and her colleagues in a studio program at UofT have developed a Google Form survey for people to share their experiences and are also organizing a ZOOM Public Participation conference on Wednesday, May 27th at 7 pm.  If you are interested in participating in either the survey  or the ZOOM conference, feel free to contact Willow directly at willowcabral@gmail.com.

    ·         According to Kayla Chambers, Community Liaison Worker for YWCA Davenport, the women’s shelter at 348 Davenport Road has recently moved to a temporary location on Queen St East in order to support social distancing for residents and staff. However, construction at the Davenport Shelter will continue as scheduled for the next 12 to 13 months. If you have any questions about the construction, please reach out to Christine Wallace at Christine.Wallace@toronto.ca.

    ·         Little free libraries are a familiar sight in the Annex. However, there have been queries as to whether these might have morphed into “little free pantries” in response to the COVOID-19 pandemic. As this Global News item attests, these pantries have sprung up successfully in other parts of the city: https://globalnews.ca/news/5469185/little-free-pantry-canada/. If any Annex resident is contemplating such an initiative, they should go to http://www.littlefreepantry.org/frequently-asked-questions for advice on how to begin.

  • 13 May 2020 3:43 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Celebrating Community Builder Helen Goldlist 

    Helen Goldlist has had an eclectic career, beginning her professional life as an occupational therapist but then some two decades later re-training as a draftsman to design and build offices around the world. Her life-long work as a volunteer is similarly eclectic, ranging from service on boards in social service organizations like the JVS Toronto, Jewish Family and Child Services, and Bridge to Health: Medical and Dental, to those in the arts like the McMichael Canadian Art Collection.

    Fourteen years ago, Helen was winding down her most recent business when she encountered a notice urging anyone who was interested in setting up a farmers’ market to come to a meeting. She was instantly intrigued: “I thought as I was working towards retirement this would be such a positive enterprise to be involved in. I’d moved into the Annex a few years before but hadn’t met a lot of neighbours and this would be a start. And I thought it would be great to have some good fresh food available.”

    Helen is modest about her role. She says she was elected Chair because she was the only person in the room that first meeting who had a pen in her hand.  She’s quick to acknowledge the work of so many others like Gus Sinclair, Eleanor Levine, Christine Innis and Jim Jacobs. But there is no doubt that a huge degree of the enormous success of the market goes to her – to her incredible drive, vision, and superb social skills working with farmers and volunteers and local businesses to bring the market to life and sustained prosperity.

    When asked what her greatest struggle has been over the years, the answer came swiftly: Weather! Only once did the market have to close because of gale force winds. Otherwise it has remained open rain or shine, hot or cold for 21 Wednesdays each summer and fall.

    And her greatest satisfaction? “The market has become a place for our disparate community to come together: to appreciate where our food comes from and the farmers who produce it, to listen to live music by local musicians, and to engage with each other in a welcoming atmosphere.”

    COVID-19 is naturally proving a challenge to the re-opening of the market. But Helen says, “We’ll work it out. I’m sure we’ll find ways to make it happen.” And it’s that spirit which explains how fitting it is that she is this year’s winner of the ARA Community Builder Award. Congratulations and thank you!  

    Helen Goldlist

    Winner of the ARA 2020 Community Builder Award

    Brunswick Makes Music 

    Adam Seelig is a Canadian and American poet, playwright, director, musician and Artistic Director of One Little Goat Theatre Company who lives on Brunswick Avenue. Micky Fraterman tracked him down to find out about the nightly music that cheers the street every evening at 7:30. Here’s Adam’s response:

    "In the early days of the pandemic, I started a band with my two kids (Shai 17 on tuba, Arlo 13 on trumpet, I'm 44 on trombone) to cheer on frontliners and to cheer up the neighbourhood (plus ourselves). We were soon joined by two more horn players at a distance (Vanessa and Neil). Their other band? The Toronto Symphony Orchestra! And then another two from across the street (Marcus and Jack), and more…

    "We call ourselves Horn on the Cob and the Social Distance and have played a newly arranged song from our front porch and yard every night at 7:30pm for 50 nights in a row (as of May 9, 2020). Nomi Rotbard, my spouse, introduces and videos each night’s song. It has been such a pleasure to share music with the neighbourhood!”

    Click on the link below to hear the group’s 50th song: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ae7eq2bewgtrkto/Hockey%20Night%20in%20Canada%20Horn%20on%20the%20Cob%202020_05_09.MOV?dl=0

    And follow them on Twitter at https://twitter.com/HornOnTheCob.   

    Walkway l-r: Kyle Windjack (trumpet), Patrick Smith (tenor sax), Marcus Thompson (cornet)

    Porch steps: Adam Seelig (trombone), Shai Rotbard-Seelig (tuba), Arlo Rotbard-Seelig (trumpet)

    Driveway: Neil Deland (horn), Vanessa Fralick (trombone)

    Supporting Local Businesses under COVID-19

    ·         The ARA urges us all to support our local businesses as the COVID-19 lockdown is gradually lifted. One way is through the City of Toronto’s launch of ShopHERE to help local businesses and artists open free online stores.

    ·         The Bloor/Borden Farmer’s Market is struggling with the details of re-opening this June. ShopHERE may help some of the farmers who attend the market. Helen Goldlist also needs assistance from younger helpers who might step into the roles usually taken by her more senior volunteers. If you can lend a hand, please contact aracares@theara.org.

    ·         The Loblaws store at Dupont and Christie has shut its doors to in-store shoppers as of Monday this week to become a dedicated PC Express store providing pick-up orders only. The pharmacy will remain open for patients, and prescriptions can be picked up or delivered during regular pharmacy hours each day.

    ·         No word on the planned 2021 opening of competitor Farm Boy at 740 Dupont, the Riocan site just west of Christie.

  • 08 May 2020 10:12 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    ARA May 14 Board Meeting 7:00 p.m.

    Our Board Meetings are now being held on Zoom.
    All welcome! Please email secretary@theara.org to receive login information.

  • 06 May 2020 10:23 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    A Call to Action

    Valedictorians are delivering their speeches on line. Recipients of honorary degrees are publishing their remarks in newspapers. So it only seems fitting in the absence of a 2020 ARA Annual General Meeting that we hear from the keynote speaker who had so kindly agreed to address us. 

    Dr. Dianne Saxe is an internationally recognized lawyer, rated among the top 25 environmental lawyers in the world. She studied law at Osgoode Hall, earning an LL.B. in 1974 and a Ph.D., also from Osgoode, in 1991.  Most recently, she served as Commissioner of the Environment for Ontario until the Ford government cut that position. But that hasn't stopped her voice. The media know her as our "environmental guardian" or "watchdog," titles befitting her passionate defence of the environment, her unrelenting warnings about climate change, and her fearless critiques of weak governmental policies.

    Our Chair, Rita Bilerman, wrote to Dr. Saxe, asking permission to quote her in our newsletter. And here follows her reply:

    "Hi, Rita, no problem at all. None of us know when such meetings will be allowed again, much less when people might decide to actually attend such a meeting. And I cannot predict what my availability will be at that time.

    "However, the climate crisis will become only more emerging with the passage of time.

    "I will keep putting useful materials on my website, as well as some narrated presentations for free public use.

    "It would be very helpful if you would encourage each of your members to write to your members of parliament this week, while the federal government is wrestling over the shape of the government recovery program. People can write their own letters or can attach and endorse one of the existing ones, such as:


    "It's really crunch time now, and citizens who care about this issue must speak up. Thank you."  

    You can learn more about Dr. Saxe at:

    https://saxefacts.com/dianne-saxe-ph-d-in-law/ ;

    Charity Begins at Home 

    Small and not-so-small acts of kindness continue to play out in the Annex, ranging from the posting of encouraging signs to significant philanthropic actions. 

    An example of the latter is Spero Bassil's generous forgiveness of his tenants' April rents in apartments and small businesses at the corner of Dupont and Davenport. As Spero says, "They're all important contributors to our community. I'm just trying to help in the best way I can."

    On the other side of the Annex, artisan Catharina Goldnau on Howland Avenue is selling hand-made, Toronto-themed ceramic mugs with the proceeds going entirely to the University Health Network in support of COVID-19 research.

    If readers learn of any other such generous-hearted gestures, please let us know at aracares@theara.org. We love to applaud such initiatives.   

    A loud and colourful show of support on Brunswick Avenue.

    Catharina's Covid-19 support mugs are available on her website at http://catharinagoldnauceramics.ca/

    Nowhere to Go!
    Since last week's trumpeting of Curb-TO, editorials in the mainstream press as well as in community newspapers and on the radio have called for an extensive increase in the program. The City is still seeking input on pinch- points such as the one pictured below at Dupont and St. George. But many believe we have to go beyond pinch-points to actual re-purposing of some streets. 

    Just yesterday our councillor, Mike Layton, released a letter to Transportation Services supporting such a move. You can read Mike's comments at:  https://mailchi.mp/6f3311ef74de/ward11newsletter-1341090?e=6333cd4b89 

    Now also available on line is a map of our city sidewalks:  https://sharedstreets.github.io/sidewalkwidths-toronto/#14.78/43.67014/-79.3998

    You didn't need this map to know that almost all the sidewalks in the Annex are too narrow to accommodate safe pedestrian bypassing. But the factual information it contains will be useful if you wish to express your concerns or offer further suggestions to Mike (councillor_layton@toronto.ca) or Mayor Tory (mayor_tory@toronto.ca). 

  • 29 Apr 2020 3:47 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Making Room for Pedestrians and Cyclists
    Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, pedestrians have been hard-pressed to maintain the mandated 2-metre distance as they take to the sidewalks for exercise or to carry out essential errands. So when reckless drivers feel free to do "donuts" at intersections such as Yonge and Dundas, and when midnight drag racers commandeer Bloor and Bay, it's long been time to re-purpose Toronto's emptied streets.

    There has been mounting pressure in the press and from individual citizens to introduce measures that help ease crowding while our own ARA has joined forces with a dozen other neighbourhood associations to petition various City officials to address the problem.

    On Monday, Mayor Tory responded, but it is clear that he is flat-out against the lead of other cities in closing streets. He just wants to facilitate the pick up of food and pharmaceuticals where, presumably, delivery isn’t possible. This isn’t about people getting exercise, it is strictly about breaking up jams around the two things that the City sanctions going out for: food and pharmaceuticals. He HAS acknowledged the efforts of our residents' associations, but he also is clearly reluctant to satisfy our requests. 

    We can view Mayor Tory's actions as a reasonable first step, particularly since he says there are possibly 100 more sites to be accommodated. But we could easily implement more measures intended for pedestrians and cyclists -- and not just in the short term.

    If you know of a hot spot/pinch point that hasn't been addressed or would like to see the City move towards more radical and permanent accommodation of cyclists and pedestrians, then consider making your voice heard. There are three basic options:

    a) dial 311
    b) email the mayor at (mayor_tory@toronto.ca)
    c) email our councillor Mike Layton at (councillor_layton@toronto.ca)

    We were able to win bike lanes along Bloor. If we apply enough pressure we can surely achieve even more!  

    Making "donuts" at Yonge and Dundas

    The City of Brampton
    accommodates cyclists

    Volunteers Groom Taddle Creek Park 
    During the pandemic, the City has been working hard to keep public spaces clean and safe. Staff are out each day picking up litter, emptying waste bins and sweeping streets. Unfortunately, the annual Clean Toronto Together community cleanup campaign was cancelled due to COVID-19. And that means most of our parks have been in a sad state awaiting the City's targeted spring cleanup.

    Not so, though, for Taddle Creek Park. Just last week Ted Humphreys, a long-time Admiral Road personality, assembled his team of gardeners to groom the park. Together they raked, hoed, and edged the beds, collecting 41 bags of leaves in the process. They chopped up several massive tree branches that had fallen and removed all manner of litter and debris from coffee cups to plastic bags. As Ted told us, "I couldn't ignore the mess at the park. I wanted to give back to my community and help City workers keep up during COVID-19." Kudos to Ted for this volunteer effort.  

    The crew at work in Taddle Creek Park

    Ted Humphreys

    Light at the End of the Tunnel?
    Residents have waited an interminable amount of time for the completion of renovations to the Dupont subway station. It was more than six years ago -- on April 1, 2014 -- that the TTC held the first community consultation meeting regarding its Easier Access Program for Dupont. A year and a half later, they were ready to go with a targeted end date of 2018. Unfortunately, construction was halted for two years after the original contractor went bankrupt.

    But recently there has been visible progress. Most of the hoardings are down and passersby can see the elevator canopy. The glass walls of the elevator were briefly on view last week, but once again they are muffled in white plastic.

    According to Denise Jayawardene at the TTC, "The Dupont Station elevator is scheduled to open in mid-2020 (the exact date is TBD). There will be other minor work that will continue after that date at the station."  

    For more information, click on the link below: 

    TTC Dupont Station Improvements

  • 25 Mar 2020 12:26 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Non Essential Businesses must Close

    There is naturally some confusion as to which businesses are deemed essential and which ones are not. The complete official list is available at https://www.ontario.ca/page/list-essential-workplaces.

    Spring is Happening Regardless

    Snowdrops, crocuses and scilla are in bloom throughout the Annex. Tulips, daffodils, and irises are forging ahead. The robins are here. And some residents have been able to get into their gardens to start the seasonal cleanup.

    These signs of Spring are so welcome at a time when we’re forced to walk separately, not allowed to congregate on our sidewalks or in are parks, keeping our distance firmly from each other.

    But there is much we can do to help those who are quarantined or unable to get out without assistance or forced to work long hours keeping essential services going.  Reports in from this week:

    The Avenue Road Food Bank at Church of The Messiah

    The Rev’d Tay Moss writes that the food bank at Church of The Messiah (Corner of Avenue Road and Dupont) has switched service models and is now pre-packaging food "hampers" which people can either come to the church to pick up on Wednesday afternoons OR can be delivered to those who need to stay home  for any reason.

    Most of the guests at the food bank are the “working poor” who often work in service industry jobs for cash. They rely on the food bank to get through hard weeks, and there is fear that many will be laid off or otherwise experience financial distress during this crisis. Many other food programs have had to close, which is also driving up visits to the church’s food bank.

    The food bank doesn't do any means testing and registering is a simple matter of getting a name and family size so it can track how many people the service meets.

    How you can help

    Operating in this new service model has meant unanticipated expenses for the church. There are many ways you can help to get aid to where it’s needed:

    • Inform: If there are people in the neighborhood who need food assistance, just inform Rev’d Tay at the Food Bank by email and he’ll coordinate delivering a weekly food hamper:  taymoss@churchofthemessiah.ca
    • Donate Money:  Money is always helpful. You can easily donate online using the Canada Helps website at this address: https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/118863141RR0001-church-of-the-messiah/. In the message line of the donation form, just note that the money is for the Food Bank. Canada Helps will issue tax receipts for all donations.

    Alternatively, you can contact Rev’d Tay directly and he can facilitate other means of giving such as checks: taymoss@churchofthemessiah.ca or 416.922.4371.

    • Volunteer: Help is also needed, especially people willing to use their cars to fetch donations or deliver hampers. You may contact the Volunteer Coordinator at elliott@churchofthemessiah.ca to find out how you can contribute your time to these efforts.
    • Donate Food: Food is, of course, always welcome. The food bank is in particular need of protein sources like meat, fish, and peanut butter. Shelf-stable items are preferable, but the food bank also has sufficient freezer and fridge space to accept and distribute fresh items as well.
    The best time to deliver at the church is either Monday mornings or Wednesdays before 3 p.m. Other times can be arranged by appointment. Please let them know when you are coming so that the volunteers are expecting you.

    Grassroots Initiatives

    Not all outreach has to be on such a grand scale to make a difference. Reva Landau at 95 Prince Arthur notes that five people in her condominium building have volunteered to help residents who may not be able to get out for groceries, etc. during the Covid-19 time.  The names and telephone numbers of the volunteers are posted in the Mail Room.

    And our ARA chair, Rita Bilerman, has a great idea to support high school students languishing at home with their enforced absence from school. A lot of them need to accumulate volunteer hours. That makes them the perfect workforce for helping out older people and those in isolation. Consequently, the ARA is willing to sign volunteer hour forms for any high school students willing to help out now. Contact us at aracares@theara.org for information.

  • 18 Mar 2020 3:28 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Annex Responds to COVID-19

    Even as we are all encouraged to practice social distancing, there has never been a more urgent need for us to come together as a community. 

    • Those who are facing self isolation will need support with basic groceries and supplies.
    • Those with young children at home will need help in order to run outside errands.
    • Many of those who are alone or in vulnerable risk groups need to be checked on.

    Individual Initiatives

    Already we have witnessed extraordinary gestures as neighbours have reached out to help neighbours.

    Terri Chu on Albany, for example, has distributed flyers on her street urging those who need assistance to contact her. As Terri says, “If I can’t do it myself, I will put you in touch with someone who can.” And already she has heard from twenty people who have volunteered to lend a hand.

    Terri says there are two critical needs right now:

    • Reaching out to those who might not be online to make sure they get the help they need.
    • Supporting all those health care workers who live in our community and work in hospitals. We want to be able to support them as they put their own health at risk.

    Celebrating Acts of Kindness

    We know that there are many more acts of kindness to applaud out there. Please let us know if you have been the recipient of such thoughtfulness or have witnessed neighbours helping neighbours. Are there examples of apartment dwellers coming together? Are there movements to shop locally in order to help the small businesses in our community?

    We’d love to celebrate this generous spirit in our Annex neighbourhood.

    Send your reports to aracares@theara.org and we’ll post them in the coming days.

    City-Wide Initiatives

    Residents can also take advantage of and/or support the following city-wide initiatives. We’re all in this together – and together we can make it through!

    • Good Neighbour Project on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/GoodNeighbourProject/
    • Friendly Neighbour Hotline - a single phone number that seniors needing assistance can call.  It's connected to a network of volunteers throughout the city who can help with picking up essentials during this difficult time. http://uhnopenlab.ca/project/hotline
    • The City’s website will continue to be updated regularly as new information becomes available, and residents are encouraged to check back often for the latest information on programs and services. Visit https://www.toronto.ca/covid19 for Toronto Public Health info.  Check the FAQ first before you phone 311.

  • 01 Oct 2019 2:03 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The ARA would like to thank Workin’ Moms Productions IV Inc. for their generous donation of $500. They filmed in the Annex this summer. We ask film and production companies to make donations to the ARA in recognition of the disruption that filming can cause in our neighbourhoods.

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