Category Archives: Toronto

Back at Toronto city hall

By Kris Scheuer

I started a new job in Media Relations with Toronto Public Health for the City of Toronto on Monday, April 30. It’s combining my background in communications at St. Joe’s (St. Joseph’s Health Centre) and 12 years as a journalist with a decade of that reporting on Toronto politics.
It’s fast paced, fun and very fulfilling so far.


Toronto among top livable cities worldwide

The Economist rates our city 4th best spot to live
Kris Scheuer

So the Economist rated Toronto number 4 out of 140 on its list of most livable cities worldwide.
The Economist used a ranking of 0-100 with 30 factors to determine the best cities to live based on 5 categories:  health care, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure.
Here are the top 10 cities on the list.

The Economist rated Toronto 4th most livable city worldwide.

What do you think? Continue reading

Mayor Ford hospitalized with kidney stones

Ford was admitted today as an outpatient
He’s fine, getting treatment and resting at home
Kris Scheuer
(Written for Town Crier Feb. 10 with update.)

Mayor Rob Ford pictured at city council, has been hospitalized with kidney stones. Photo by Francis Crescia/Town Crier file.

Mayor Rob Ford was in a Toronto-area hospital receiving treatment for kidney stones, his press secretary Adrienne Batra confirmed this afternoon around 2:30 pm.
“He is still returning phone calls. He is still talking to constituents and he is still open for business,” Batra told the city hall press gallery early afternoon.
“For anyone who’s had kidney stones it can be quite painful, but I can assure you that it’s nothing serious and being treated,” she said. “He’s fine. He’s Rob Ford. He’s still talking to taxpayers. He’s still doing what people elected him to do.”
Batra said, that it was not at the stage where deputy mayor Doug Holiday would have to fill in as acting mayor.

Mayor Ford's press secretary Adrienne Batra responds to media questions today. Photo by Kris Scheuer/Town Crier.

Mayor Ford started feeling discomfort yesterday when he was at city hall attending meetings and went into the hospital today.
By early evening before 7 pm,  Batra sent out an email update stating, “he has been released from the hospital and is now home, resting. Mayor Ford will be seeing a urologist tomorrow regarding the kidney stone which is approximately 5 to 6 mm.”
He is in good spirits as some of the pain has subsided,” she concluded.

Application to demolish Maclean House

Owner wants to tear down the heritage home near Casa Loma
Plan to replace 100-yr-old building with townhomes, apartments
Kris Scheuer
(Written for Town Crier Feb. 9.)

Maclean House before the owner removed aspects of it in Dec 2009. Image courtesy of City of Toronto.

The owner of 7 Austin Ter. has applied to demolish the designated heritage property known as the Maclean House. The plan is to build a six unit rental housing building plus eight town homes on the site.
City planning and heritage staff has advised council to refuse the demolition permit.
Currently there’s a 10 unit, one and a half storey residential building on site.
Publisher John Bayne Maclean lived in the home from 1910 until his death in 1950. John M. Lyle, who also constructed the Royal Alexandra Theatre and Union Station, built the home.
City heritage staff wrote in its report to council that, “there is no justification for the demolition of the structure at 7 Austin Terrace.”
A separate report from planning staff on the same demolition issue from a different perspective: rental housing and residential development.
The current building contains 10 units: one owner unit plus nine rentals.
The application to demolish the entire building would mean a loss of nine rentals: two of which are considered affordable, three are mid-range and four are priced on the high end.

Continue reading

Redraw wards based on population

Councillor Filion’s ward has 100,000 people
City average is 58,000
So he wants city wide ward boundary review
Kris Scheuer
(Written for Town Crier Feb. 3)

John Filion wants the city to redraw ward boundaries so the population is more evenly distributed for council representation.
And if it doesn’t happen soon, he’s looking at taking matters into his own hands.
A few years ago the Willowdale rep asked for a staff report on redrawing the 44 ward boundaries, but it never materialized. He expects a report this council term.
Filion has taken up the cause again because his ward is so densely populated.
His office represents 88,840 residents, according to city stats projections to 2009.
Filion said the current number is closer to 100,000 people. The city median is 58,776 residents per ward, so Filion represents almost double the average. Ward 23 is bounded roughly by Steeles Avenue, Bayview Avenue, Highway 401 and Bathurst Street. Continue reading

Donway post office redevelopment site

Cadillac Fairview purchased Don Mills and Lawrence site
No public plan revealed yet for redevelopment
Kris Scheuer
(Written Jan. 26 for Town Crier)

Cadillac Fairview has purchased this Donway W post office site, but has yet to announce plans for the land. Town Crier file photo.

Cadillac Fairview is expanding its real estate empire in Don Mills.
The developer recently acquired a soon-to-be shut Canada Post outlet on The Donway West. This is their newest acquisition at Lawrence and Don Mills, where the developer has built Shops on Don Mills. There is also a massive $225 million development of retail, office space and residential towers waiting in the wings.
Cadillac Fairview is leasing the property to Canada Post until the end of February when the post office at 169 The Donway West will close and move operations to Wynford Drive. Continue reading

Queensway BIA finally?

For 20 years politicians have tried to establish local BIA
Councillor Milczyn wants to see local businesses area thrive
Kris Scheuer
(Published Jan. 25 in Town Crier)

Are Queensway businesses ready for a BIA after decades of false starts? Photo by Joshua Freeman/Town Crier.

Queensway businesses are facing the decision of whether to BIA or not to BIA.
There have been attempts to form a business improvement area for the past 20 years, says Etobicoke-Lakeshore councillor Peter Milczyn.
“You can actually go down to the Queensway and see a few shops having decals in their windows ‘member of The Queensway Businessman’s Association,’” he said referring to a previous informal group. “There were all these attempts over the years to get it off the ground.”
For years, his predecessor, former councillor Blake Kinahan tried, and since 2000 when Milczyn got elected he’s attempted to drum up enough interest.

Continue reading

Advocating for change at city hall

How to impact change in Toronto
(Column written for Town Crier Dec. 22)

“You say you want a revolution,” the Beatles sang. “Well, you know, we all want to change the world.”
Even if it’s not a revolutionary change you are seeking, here are some tips on preserving a cherished service or advocating for a new policy at city hall.
As I wrote in a previous column, you can achieve small changes by calling 311, your municipal councillor, or by making a deputation at city hall.
But if you are seeking larger policy changes or want to protect services from being slashed, you’ll need a stronger game plan.
Do your research
Councillor Gord Perks is no stranger to activism, dating back to 1987 when he was involved with Pollution Probe, Greenpeace Canada and Toronto Environmental Alliance — all before he entered politics.
“You will have opponents so your information has to be as good or better,” he said.
So know your facts: why does it make economic, social and political sense for policymakers to agree with you? Continue reading

Short break, keep me updated

Taking two weeks off from posting and election coverage
Kris Scheuer
You won’t see any new posts from me for two weeks, while I take a vacation.
But I will be back with a flurry of new articles starting at the end of the month.
Please keep me posted with your comments on the election, candidates, debates, issues, scandals and anything else you want to mention.
See you back soon, Oct. 1.

Election vision for Toronto

(Column Written for Town Crier Aug. 19)

What kind of city do you want?
At debates, this is a favourite question for mayoral candidate Sarah Thomson.
John Tory, who earlier this month announced he’s not running for mayor, told me many important issues facing this city aren’t being debated in this election. I agree.
Sure some candidates are talking about cutting taxes, the streetcars vs. subways, or how to plan and design prettier buildings, etc.
These are important issues to many of us. But Toronto is a complex, multi-faceted city with many interconnected issues that can either make us or break us. Continue reading