Riverdale-East York Daily Updates: March–April 2021

Bermondsey drop-off depot thumbnailTransfer stations shut down once again

Bermondsey and Commissioners Street transfer stations have been closed to the general public, as part of today’s shutdown of Toronto’s depots for dropping off garbage and recycling.

The drop-off depots are closing on public health advice because the city’s solid waste management services have suffered an increasing number of COVID-19 cases, according to a news release yesterday.

Read more about it.


Road closures for ActiveTO this weekend

Joggers, walkers and cyclists — don’t forget the city’s ActiveTO initiative is shutting down some of its routes to vehicular traffic starting tomorrow. You’ll be able to do your thing on stretches of Bayview Avenue, River Street and LakeShore Boulevard East on Saturday and Sunday.

See the Things To Do listing for more information.

Danforth Music Hall thumbnailBradford pushes for plan to bring back live music

Councillor Brad Bradford joined Toronto’s BIAs in a letter to Premier Doug Ford saying restrictions on live-streaming music is unfairly hurting live music venues, already hard hit by the pandemic.

“We are asking you to please work with us on a plan to  bring back the joys of live music,” urges the letter. “A lot of work will be needed to keep venues, artists, staffs and music-lovers safe. The time to start is now.” Here’s the story.

12-storey development proposed on Eastern

Real estate developer TAS Design Build expects to have shovels in the ground by fall 2022 for its proposed 12-storey building at 880 Eastern Ave.

After community consultations with more than 40 people who live or work nearby, TAS designed the building to enhance the neighbourhood’s cherished diversity and inclusiveness, according to the company’s website.

Last year TAS bought properties at the northwest corner of Eastern and Knox avenues, on a stretch of Eastern that divides residential Leslieville to the north and industrial uses to the south. The properties are presently occupied by Michael and Michael Auto Body, a parking lot and a former printing plant.

TAS recently submitted a zoning bylaw amendment application to the city for the mixed-use building.


Woman, 82, in wheelchair struck and killed by dump truck

An 82-year-old woman has died after being struck by a dump truck while she was crossing Danforth Avenue in a wheelchair yesterday afternoon.

She was in a crosswalk to cross north from the southeast corner of Danforth Avenue and Main Street, when she was hit by the vehicle driven by a 53-year-old man, police say. See the story.

police car thumbnailEast York and downtown banks robbed: two arrested, two to go

Toronto police have charged two men after a series of bank robberies, but they are looking for two more.

The banks were robbed in downtown Toronto and East York between April 19 and 22, police report. Each time one of the men allegedly entered the bank, saying he had a gun, and demanded cash, while the others waited outside as lookouts. Here’s what we know so far.


Sidewalk repairs shut down Eastern lane

The curb lane on Eastern Avenue in the Studio District is to be occupied starting today as sidewalk repairs take place between Morse Street and Carlaw Avenue. The work is expected to take until May 7.

Jane Anderson on beach thumbnailOne resident’s quest to clean up the beaches

It’s a sunny day and you can expect the lakefront to be replete with people who can’t enjoy restaurants and bars on Queen Street East during the lockdown. And with them comes litter, especially cigarette butts.

So Beach resident Jane Anderson is also out on the sand picking it up. The cleanup is one of several initiatives by the group she co-founded, Toronto Lakefront Community.

Read all about her and others’ efforts to clean up the beaches and water.

Dangerous medication lost

Three bottles of methadone were lost near Coxwell and Mortimer avenues on Friday at about 3:30 p.m., police warned Saturday evening. The medication could be harmful, even fatal, if ingested, especially by children. Police say anyone finding it or with information about its whereabouts should contact them.

Pharmacy power outage thumbnailEast end hit by two power outages

A persistent squirrel is being blamed for a power outage in parts of East York and Scarborough this morning, while a separate loss of power in the Upper Beaches and East Danforth neighbourhoods may have been caused by a switch being tripped in an apartment building.

Here’s the full story.

Arrest in East York home invasion investigation

A man has been arrested following the investigation of an alleged home invasion and attempted robbery near Pape and Cosburn avenues two weeks earlier.

On April 9 three people were inside a residence when a man knocked on the door and, when he was not admitted, forced open the door, police said. The man allegedly pulled out a knife and demanded money.

In a struggle involving everyone present, one person was stabbed in the arm.

The man is said to have fled empty handed.

The Toronto Police hold-up squad investigated and identified a man.

On April 20, Yalcin Mirik, 35, of no fixed address, was arrested on seven charges, including robbery with an offesnsive weapon, breaking and entering, and assault with a weapon. He was to appear in court on April 21.

Riverdale store hit by two COVID cases

Two team members at Loblaw’s grocery store, 720 Broadview Ave., have tested positive for COVID-19, the store is reporting today.

The last days the employees worked at the store are listed as April 14 and 19.


Police chief James Ramer thumbnailPolice crackdown on gatherings starts today

If you’re getting together in our east end parks or on our beaches with friends or family who don’t live with you, watch out for the cops. They’re taking the latest prohibition against large gatherings — indoors and outdoors — quite seriously.

Like other divisions, 55 Division has even formed a special unit to find, break up and fine large groups flouting the rules. (The fines can surpass $10,000.)

Or better yet, give us all a break in the fight against COVID-19 — and don’t do it. See the full story.

Abhijeet Manay thumbnailGreen Party candidate announced for Beaches-East York

Abhijeet Manay has been nominated as candidate in the Beaches-East York riding for the scheduled 2022 provincial election.

The Green Party of Ontario announced the nomination today of Manay who has been serving as the party’s deputy leader and currently as the party’s critic for health and long-term care. He last ran in Mississauga-Streetsville. Get the full story.


Two case at Broadview North grocery store

Two cases of COVID-19 have been found among staff at Sobeys, 1015 Broadview Ave. in East York, the grocery chain has reported over the past three days.

The first case was reported April 18. The employee’s last day worked there was recorded as April 11.

Today the second case was reported, with a last day work listed as April 12.

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missing man thumbnailMissing man now believed dead

The search for a 54-year-old missing man in East York has now become a search for his remains. Police have arrested a man and now believe the missing person is dead, they said in a statement released late yesterday evening.

Police continue to search for the body of Paul Daly who went missing April 2. See the story.

Bayview during ActiveTO programMajor roads to be car-free again

For six months last year, as part of the the ActiveTO program, the city closed stretches of Bayview Avenue and Lake Shore Boulevard East, among other roadways, to traffic on weekends and turned the roads over to pedestrians, joggers and cyclists.

It was so popular that city council agreed yesterday to run the program again this year — with a few changes. Read all about it.


Smoke alarms to be distributed in east end

The Toronto Professional Firefighter’s Association and alarm manufacturer First Alert have each donated 100 smoke alarms to be distributed to residents in the east end.

Beaches-East York councillor Brad Bradford is to ensure the 200 devices are given to the households most in need.

“With the recent tragic fire in the east end of our city, fire safety has been top-of-mind for everyone,” Bradford said. “These contributions … will help to save the lives and raise awareness of the importance of having working alarms. At a time where we’re asking folks to stay home, it’s critical we make sure that those homes are safe.”

Riverdale CollegiateAll Toronto schools shut down

Only the day before, Toronto Public Health had advised the closing of 20 schools across Toronto for COVID investigations. Yesterday the rest of Toronto’s elementary, middle and secondary schools were shuttered on the orders of Toronto’s chief medical officer, Dr. Eileen de Villa.

Students are to transition to remote learning which is to continue until April 18 — although this end date may also be extended, TPH warns. See the full story.

Man sought for Danforth-Greenwood store robberies

Police are looking for a man more than two months after a store was robbed near Danforth and Greenwood avenues.

A man allegedly entered a store wearing a balaclava mask, pointed a covered hand toward an employee suggesting he had a weapon, and took cash, before fleeing the area on foot.

The police hold-up squad identified the man as someone also wanted for a previous assault and home invasion.

Devon Caesar, 32, of Toronto, is sought on eight charges, including robbery, assault, forcible entry and assault causing bodily harm.


EAst York Collegiate thumbnailEast-end schools lead latest round of 20 school closures

You may notice today in the lists of closures, due to COVID outbreaks, the names of several local institutions.

At least four of the 11 Toronto District School Board schools closed today are in the east end: D.A. Morrison Middle School, Danforth Tech, East York Collegiate and Riverdale Collegiate. Another three of the seven Catholic board schools closed — Neil MacNeil High School, St. Brigid Catholic School and St. Patrick Secondary School — are also in the east end. George Étienne Cartier, belonging to the French-language school board, is yet another east-end school closed today.

See the story on the latest school closures.

Stretch of westbound Danforth blocked

Expect more delays along Danforth for the next two weeks as, starting today, the westbound lanes between Woodmount and Glebemount avenues will be partially occupied for inspection of power cable chambers, the city advises.

The blockage is expected to continue until April 23.

City golf courses to open Thursday

The three-par Dentonia Park Golf Course is among the city-run courses to open Thursday, several days ahead of schedule.

The city announced all five of its golf courses are opening for the 2021 season on April 1.

Guidelines have been developed in consultation with Toronto Public Health, including physical distancing between golfers and disinfection of equipment and surfaces, the city said in a press release today.

Tee times will be 10 minutes apart, starting at 7 a.m. and ending at dusk. Tee times are expected to sell out quickly, so residents are encouraged to book early. (Call Dentonia at 416-392-2558.)

Dentonia Park Golf Course header
OPENING APRIL 1: The Dentonia Park Golf Course. (Google, November 2020)
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Major Broadview work planned by city

Work on Broadview Avenue is among the projects the city is scheduling for this year’s construction season.

Mayor John Tory this morning introduced $1 billion in work planned for roads, bridges, expressways, TTC tracks, sewers and watermains across the city.

The major projects planned for this year include watermain replacement on Broadview between Gerrard Street East and Danforth Avenue.


Arrest for luring child

A 40-year-old man has been arrested on child luring and pornography charges after searches by the police child exploitation section.

Police executed two search warrants near Danforth and Woodbine avenues on March 4 and reported finding evidence of the offences and child sexual abuse material stored on devices at a residence, police announced today.

They allege that girls between the ages of 12 and 16 had been contacted online for a sexual purpose and online payments had been made in exchange for live viewings of child sexual abuse material.

Mahesh Bisesar of Toronto faces five charges including luring a child, making child pornography and accessing child pornography. He appeared in court virtually on March 5, police say.

Weekend vaccinations by Michael Garron

Michael Garron is plowing ahead with its vaccination program, each day giving thousands of shots against COVID-19.

On Friday the hospital held three on-site clinics, two primary care clinics, a pop-up clinic and two mobile clinics in the east end, vaccinating 2,155 people.

The drive continues over the weekend with five on-site clinics — at the hospital, Thorncliffe Park Community Hub and Jimmie Simpson Rec Centre and), three pop-up clinics and a mobile clinic. It plans to vaccinate about 2,417 people who are healthcare workers, individuals living in congregate settings, and community members 75 and older, according to a statement from the city this morning.

Michael Garron upping vaccinations

In its continuing vaccination drive against COVID-19, Michael Garron Hospital is today holding three east-end on-site clinics (at the hospital in East York, at the Thorncliffe Park Community Hub, and Jimmie Simpson Recreation Centre in Riverside/Leslieville) and is deploying two mobile teams.

It will vaccinate about 2,400 people who are healthcare workers, individuals living in congregate settings or who receive home care, community members 75 years and older, and individuals experiencing homelessness, according to a City of Toronto press release.

Yesterday, MGH held two on-site clinics and deployed two mobile teams to vaccinate 1,514 people.

On March 23, MGH held two on-site clinics and used one mobile team to vaccinate 628 individuals.

Arrest after robbery in Riverside store

A 19-year-old woman was arrested yesterday after a robbery in a store near Dundas Street East and Broadview Avenue, police say.

It is alleged a woman had started to leave the store without paying for items taken from the shelves and, when approached by a store employee, she began to violently assault the employee causing minor injuries. She reportedly ripped a necklace off the employee and fled on foot.

Officers from 55 Division quickly arrived on scene and located a woman. She has been charged with robbery and disguise with intent, police say.

She is scheduled to appear in court today.

Woman seriously injured crossing St. Clair

A 58-year-old woman is in hospital with serious head injuries after being struck while crossing St. Clair Avenue East at Plaxton Drive yesterday afternoon.

She was reportedly crossing St. Clair on the west side of the intersection when she was struck by pickup truck driven by a 61-year-old man, trying to turn left onto St. Clair, police say.

Here’s what we know so far.


Puppetmongers thumbnailEast-end puppeteers looking to leave wider legacy

Coming up to their 50th anniversary, brother-sister team David and Ann Powell aren’t thinking about how the pandemic has tied up their puppeteering business, Puppetmongers Theatre based on Carlaw Avenue, but are rather looking to continue their legacy beyond.

Puppetmongers has been able to maintain a studio space since they started in 1974, and they plan to bequeath a puppetry space, with all the tools of the trade, for fellow puppeteers to perform shows and hone their craft.

See the full story and their current online productions.

Clinics vaccinating for COVID-19

Michael Garron Hospital and East Toronto Health Partners yesterday held two on-site clinics, one primary care clinic and a mobile clinic, vaccinating 506 healthcare workers, first responders from fire and police services, residents 80 years and older, and individuals living in congregate settings.

Today they will hold another two on-site clinics, a pop-up clinic and deploy two mobile teams, to vaccinate about 855 more such people, according to a city announcement.

Fight at Coxwell Station allegedly involved a knife

One person is in custody after a fight between two groups was reported at Coxwell Station about 8:30 p.m. today. Police said online two groups of people were fighting at the station, one person seen with a knife, and with some of the combatants moving down to subway level.

Buses and trains were diverted, and police arrived to take one person into custody. No serious injuries were reported.

‘Gunshots’ weren’t gunshots in Riverside

Did you hear what sounded like gunshots this evening about 8:20 p.m. near Broadview Avenue and Dundas Street East? Relax. Police officers investigated and found it was only fireworks.

However, it should be pointed out that these were also illegal. In Toronto, fireworks can be set off on private property without a permit only on Victoria Day and Canada Day.

New east-end locations coming for photo radar

You have until May to improve your driving on Victoria Park Avenue, Secord Avenue, Greenwood Avenue and Plains Road. That’s when the city’s automatic speed enforcement (ASE) devices will be moved to these streets to catch speeding drivers in Toronto-Danforth and Beaches-East York wards.

This will be the third locations for the ASEs. (See March 1 item below for current sites.)


Images of suspects released after tow truck arsons

Police have released today images of two people and a pickup truck suspected of being involved in the burning of two tow trucks. On Feb. 23, officers were called to fires near Victoria Park Avenue and Sunrise Avenue and near Victoria Park and Parma Court areas. Both suspects were seen fleeing the area in a silver Ford F-150 with stolen licence plates, police reported.

tow truck fire suspects
Images of suspects and allegedly stolen vehicle released by police after arsons.

How safe do you feel? Tell the city

The deadline is approaching to fill out the SafeTO survey. The city wants to know the level of safety and wellbeing you feel in your community, and your priorities for the SafeTO plan to guide social systems — like community services, healthcare, policing — in serving Torontonians.

The online survey, which should take less than 10 minutes, is to be completed before March 12.

ASE sign thumbnailFewer speeders caught in east end

East-end drivers fared well in December, scoring a relatively low number of tickets issued by the city’s newly located photo radar cameras, according to figures released today.

The automatic speeding enforcement device on Kingston Road in Beaches-East York ward issued the most tickets in the area with 673 speeders caught — but this was far less than in many other parts of Toronto. Best in the east end was Spruce Hill Road north of Queen Street East with only 33 tickets.

Tickets from the two ASE devices in Toronto-Danforth ward were between these figures. See the full story on how we compared to other areas.

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