O’Hara Garden – Native Plant Giveaway – Sept 16!

Wednesday, Sept 16, 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Parkdale People & Pollinators Peace Garden, in Honour of Parkdale’s Black Communities
Dear Parkdale Neighbours:
Interested in free native plants for your balcony or yard?
The Parkdale People & Pollinators Peace Garden, in Honour of Parkdale’s Black Communities, is sharing free plants,
in partnership with Project Swallowtail and the Parkdale Village BIA.

WHERE: corner of Queen Street West & O’Hara
WHEN: Wednesday, September 16, 4pm to 6pm – Rain or shine! First come, first served!
WHAT: Two native flowers / plants per balcony or yard
BONUS: A container + soil supplied for balcony growers. Please bring a wagon / friend to help you carry if needed.
Just supply plant love & water! Thank you for helping to honour Parkdale’s Black communities.

Please wear a mask and practice social distancing during plant pick-up.

(For more info on the Parkdale People and Pollinators Peace Garden, in Honour of Parkdale’s Black Communities, click here. https://parkdalevillagebia.com/oharagarden-
rejuvenation/ For more info on Project Swallowtail, click here.

King, Queen, The Queensway and Roncesvalles (KQQR) Construction Update

Upcoming Infrastructure Improvements at the Intersection of King Street West, Queen Street West, The Queensway and Roncesvalles Avenue (KQQR)
Start Date: September 8, 2020 End Date: August 2022
Timeline is subject to change.

The City of Toronto and Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) have coordinated various infrastructure upgrades at the King Street West, Queen Street West, The Queensway and Roncesvalles Avenue (KQQR) Intersection, The Queensway from Parkside Drive to Roncesvalles Avenue, Roncesvalles Avenue from Queen Street West to Dundas Street West and rehabilitation of the Parkside Drive bridge at The Queensway.

The infrastructure improvements will start in September 2020 with underside bridge rehabilitation of the Parkside Drive Bridge at The Queensway.

The remaining work starting in 2021 includes:

  • Topside bridge rehabilitation of the Parkside Drive bridge at The Queensway
  • Replacing watermain and relining combined and storm sewers
  • Road reconstruction and sidewalk replacement
  • Overhead wire replacement and reconstruction of the TTC track allowance and platforms
  • Relocating streetcar stops
  • Reconfiguring the KQQR intersection including: removal of the eastbound right-turn channel, removal of the centre TTC platform on The Queensway, a dedicated streetcar lane, left-turn lane, through lane and right-turn lane on the eastbound approach, new raised TTC platform/bicycle facility on Queen Street West and realignment of the northbound approach on King Street West
  • Completing the Roncesvalles Avenue design from Harvard Avenue to the KQQR intersection, including streetscape improvements and two raised TTC platform/bicycle facilities at the northbound and southbound transit stops
  • Modifying the TTC platforms on Roncesvalles Avenue from Dundas Street West to Harvard Avenue so accessible streetcar ramps can operate
  • Adding dedicated eastbound left-turn lanes on The Queensway at the Sunnyside Avenue and Glendale Avenue intersections
  • Extension of the dedicated eastbound bicycle lane on The Queensway to Glendale Avenue
  • New sidewalk on south side of The Queensway at Glendale Avenue intersection for north-south pedestrian crossing on both sides of the intersection
  • Installing a new traffic control signal at the Sunnyside Avenue and The Queensway intersection
  • New street lighting

This work is required to bring the TTC and City’s infrastructure to a state of good repair and improve intersection function for all road users and is part of the 2020 Council-approved Capital Budgets and Works Program.

Please note that following the underside bridge rehabilitation work on Parkside Drive, the remaining construction will be delivered in stages throughout 2021 and 2022. Please see map on Page 4 for more details. Construction Updates will also be distributed throughout the contract duration.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT COVID-19 AND CONSTRUCTION WORK IN TORONTO As restrictions on construction have been lifted by the Province of Ontario, City-led infrastructure will continue to proceed. During construction, the contractor is responsible for the Health & Safety on site under the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act and is expected to implement COVID-19 mitigation practices. For more information on the City’s response to COVID-19 please visit toronto.ca/covid-19.


  • Work crews will mark the location of underground utilities, such as gas, water and cable so that the construction does not interfere with these utilities.
  • You may experience dust, noise and other inconveniences. The City will make efforts to reduce the impacts. We appreciate your patience.
  • Property owners should remove items located within City property limits (boulevard), such as patios, landscaping and / or decorative objects. If you have a patio, or sprinkler system within the boulevard, follow up with the Public Consultation Unit listed on Page 4.
  • The City will not be responsible for damage to any privately owned items on City property. Work Hours for Parkside Drive Bridge at The Queensway starting in 2020: Work will take place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday and from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays, including some extended hours or additional weekend work as approved by the City. Work Hours for Remaining Work starting in 2021: Work hours will be 24 hours / 7 days a week for the remaining work in 2021. Further details will be provided on the project website listed on Page 4 and in future Construction Update notices.
  • Accessible Accommodation: Residents who require accommodation (level entry, longer notice, etc.) must contact the Public Consultation Unit listed on Page 4 to arrange for access during the construction period.
  • Pre-Construction Inspection: A third-party contractor will survey all properties within 30 metres of the construction area before each construction phase starts. Participation in the survey is voluntary; however, participating is important in determining if the construction caused damage. The inspection will look at the exterior and interior of all properties to verify existing conditions. Affected properties will receive a separate notice to set up an appointment. All inspection staff will wear photo I.D. and carry photo equipment for this work.
  • Physical Distancing: There are times when contractors need to communicate with property owners about what is happening on-site. Contractor’s staff will be identifiable by their high-visibility clothing. Where possible, a phone number for a contact person on-site will be provided on notices to answer questions about work near your property. At other times, the contractor may knock on your door, but will then step away the required distance to discuss the work that is taking place and what can be expected that day. Please practice physical distancing with workers so everyone can remain safe. If you have questions, call the contact provided on this notice.
  • Road and Sidewalk Access: In order to complete the work in a safe manner, there will be road and sidewalk restrictions within the work zone. Access for emergency vehicles will be maintained at all times. Driveway Access: The contractor will notify you of any temporary restrictions to your driveway access. If your property has two entrances, one entrance will be kept open at all times.
  • Parking: Parking in the active work zone is not permitted as space is needed for construction equipment and materials. If your parked vehicle affects construction work, it will be relocated nearby with no charge to the owner. If your vehicle is moved, please contact parking control for its location at 416-808-2222. Affected properties will get additional parking information.
  • Garbage and Recycling: Please follow your normal routine. If required, the contractor will move bins to an appropriate location and return them. Please ensure that you label your bins with your address.

TTC Service: During the underside bridge rehabilitation work on Parkside Drive at The Queensway starting in 2020:

501 Queen streetcar service will continue to operate west of Roncesvalles Avenue during the bridge work at Parkside Drive. Stairwell access at Parkside Drive to/from The Queensway streetcar stop will be closed until October 30, 2020. Streetcars on The Queensway will not be stopping at the Parkside Drive stop during this time. Intermittent delays for the 80 Queensway bus service can be expected during lane restrictions on Parkside Drive.

During the 2021 – 2022 work related to the KQQR intersection;  504/304 King, 501/301 Queen, 508 Lake Shore and 402 Parkdale Community Bus routing changes will be required. Diversion details will be provided in a Construction Notice prior to the start of the 2021 project. Routing information will also be issued by the TTC and posted at transit stops along the affected routes. Information will also be posted on TTC’s website: ttc.ca


WORK DETAILS Work Stages, Dates and Location Work Traffic Restrictions** *Subject to change ** More details on traffic restrictions and staging will be provided throughout construction

Advanced Work:

  • September 2020 to February 2021
  • Parkside Drive, North of Lake Shore Boulevard West
  • Bridge rehabilitation to the underside (sub-structure)
  • Minimum 1 travel lane in each direction on Parkside Drive under the bridge.

Stage 1:

  • February 2021 to July 2021 KQQR Intersection
  • The Queensway: Parkside Drive to KQQR Intersection
  • Queen Street West: KQQR Intersection to Triller Avenue
  • a) Watermain replacement and sewer relining
  • b) TTC pole replacement, overhead wire removals and installation, track work, (Lighting, platforms, curbs etc.), retaining wall installation, road reconstruction (base, curb gutter, sidewalk)
  • c) Rehabilitation of The Queensway bridge at Parkside Drive (outer lanes)
  • 1 east / west travel lane in each direction will be maintained at all times

Stage 2:

  • July 2021 to April 2022
  • The Queensway Median: Parkside Drive to Sunnyside Avenue Southwest corner of KQQR Intersection
  • King Street West: KQQR Intersection to approximately 100 m south thereof
  • a) Watermain replacement and sewer lining (King)
  • b) TTC pole replacement, track work, (lighting, platforms, curbs), road reconstruction (base, curb gutter, sidewalk)
  • c) Streetscape work at Beaty Boulevard Park (southwest corner of the KQQR Intersection)
  • d) Remove and install new overhead TTC wires
  • e) Rehabilitation of The Queensway bridge at Parkside Drive (inner lanes)
  • 1 east / west travel lane in each direction will be maintained at all times

Stage 3:

  • April 2022 to August 2022
  • Roncesvalles Avenue: Queen Street West to Dundas Street West
  • a) Watermain replacement and sewer lining
  • b) Queen Street West to Harvard Avenue: TTC pole replacement, overhead wire removals and installation, track work, (Lighting, platforms, curbs etc.), road reconstruction (base, curb gutter, sidewalk)
  • c) Harvard Avenue to Dundas Street West: Platform upgrades for accessibility
  • Roncesvalles Avenue will be fully closed to all traffic.


Advance Work: September 2020 to February 2021

Stage 1: February 2021 to July 2021

Stage 2: July 2021 to April 2022

Stage 3: April 2022 to August 2022 / Harvard Avenue to Dundas Street West: AODA upgrades to existing TTC platforms


If you have questions about the upcoming work, please contact us.

Public Consultation Unit

Michael Vieira, 416-392-3074, [email protected]

TTC Senior Community Liaison

Diego Sinagoga, 416-393-2197, [email protected]

City Councillor for Ward 4 Gord Perks 416-392-7919, [email protected]

TTY Hearing Impaired Service

416-338-0889 (7 Days a week, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed holidays)

General inquiries: 311

Website: Please visit project website for detailed information regarding these works (including design renderings), and / or choose to sign-up for email updates: toronto.ca/kqqr

Thank you for your patience. Building a great city takes time. Better infrastructure for all of us is worth the wait.

O’Hara Garden Rejuvenation

Introducing the Parkdale People and Pollinators Peace Garden, in honour of Parkdale’s Black Communities

The Parkdale Village Business Improvement Area (Parkdale BIA), along with local social enterprise Parkdale Green Thumb Enterprises (PGTE) is proud to share rebuilding plans for the O’Hara Garden as The Parkdale People and Pollinators Peace Garden, in honour of Parkdale’s Black Communities.

This rejuvenation project was conceived of and facilitated by Angel Beyde, Organic Master Gardener and Business Manager of PGTE, in partnership with the Parkdale BIA and many local community groups and organizations, as a vibrant and transformative symbol to honour marginalized residents, particularly within our Black communities.

“We humbly dedicate this space as a haven of peace, harmony and mental wellness, a place to feel refuge and connect with nature among the concrete,” says Beyde. “As the plants quietly pull carbon out of the atmosphere and do their tiny part to mitigate climate change, they bring beauty and pleasure, without discrimination, to all who pass by.”

In light of recent events affecting our Parkdale neighbourhood, such as repeated vandalism inflicted upon the O’Hara Garden over the past months, anti-Black racism and the disproportionate effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Parkdale BIA is committed to continue its support of numerous programs and organizations within our community serving marginalized individuals. The BIA recognizes that the disparities and stressors are even greater among members of our Black communities.

“Parkdale People and Pollinators Peace Garden is a positive space of resilience rooted within a neighbourhood of resilience,” says Beyde. “Focused on healing and regeneration, and the importance of acknowledging struggles while also celebrating the inherent strength of the Parkdale community, the garden honours Black community members such as Regis Korchinski-Paquet and the movement for justice that Black Lives Matter embodies.”

PGTE programs help increase benefits to Parkdale’s most vulnerable residents by enhancing their employability, securing them work and support during the cycle of employment, all while helping beautify the community. Working together with Queen Victoria Public School’s Black Student Success Committee (BSSC), founded by local residents such as Naiomi Joseph, PGTE’s garden rejuvenation project will also seek to engage Queen Vic students in a Black youth citizen scientist project to help monitor butterflies, a powerful symbol of transformation, that visit the garden.

“As a first generation Canadian of Caribbean decent, I come from a family of farmers and nature lovers. I’m a mother of two and I want to continue sharing this tradition of respecting the environment and beautify our community,” says Joseph. “I’m a proud Parkdaleian, and this project demonstrates to children and youth that we can come together as one.”

In addition to Parkdale BIA’s funding, friends and organizations in support of PGTE have pledged over 400 donations of plants, many of which we hope to hand out during a Community Native Plant Giveaway day, taking place Wednesday, September 16th from 4 pm-6 pm at Queen and O’Hara. Learn more here or view the Facebook event here.

If you are interested in learning more or contributing in some form, please reach out to Angel Beyde at [email protected] / for updates follow PGTE and the BIA on social media.

Parkdale Village BIA Gardens 2002-2019

The Parkdale BIA funds and manages a number of neighbourhood beautification projects and assets in the area which help beautify, create safer streets, and enhances way finding and gateway intersections into the area as well as helping tie the area together visually. The ‘Floral’ beautification projects include over 180+ planters, hanging baskets and seven pollinator gardens along Queen Street West. In 2012, the Parkdale Village BIA was one of 21 communities selected from across the country to receive a TD Green Streets grant to support expansion of their downtown urban reforestation program. The program saw reinvigorated community gardens and historical plaques within seven Queen Street gardens.

PGTE is operated by Working for Change, a non-profit organization that emphasizes the importance of work in the lives of people who have been marginalized due to poverty and mental health issues. It operates social purpose enterprises, leadership and pre-employment training programs, as well as providing community-based research and public education on issues related to poverty and mental health.

Our Message on anti-Black racism & our Parkdale Community

The Parkdale Village Business Improvement Area (BIA) would like to share the following message:

To our Parkdale Village community,

Racism is real and pervasive in our City, and we acknowledge that Parkdale is no exception. We are heartbroken to hear about the recent anti-Black racism within our neighbourhood as it is a clear example of the ongoing struggles that our Black community members face. As a Business Improvement Area and entity of the City, we have an important role to play in addressing discrimination and anti-Black racism, which calls for City and Black community consultation. Over the course of this week, the Business Improvement Area has been working diligently with City departments to consult on and release a plan that provides tools for accountability and action. Mayor John Tory’s message yesterday was clear, and as a Business Improvement Area we are committed to the action this moment demands, using the tools and guidance provided by the City and our Black community members.  

We do not have all the answers, but we know we need to do better. 

We want to acknowledge the work of the City of Toronto’s Confronting Anti-Black Racism Unit as well as the individuals within Parkdale’s community working with us at this time.

The Parkdale Village Business Improvement Area Board of Directors  

CafeTO, re-opening, building Equitable & Inclusive Organizations

Speak to a City Business Advisor

The BusinessTO Support Centre provides one-on-one virtual support to help businesses, including not-for-profit and creative/culture organizations, complete applications for Government of Canada COVID-19 funding programs and get general business advice. An advisor will contact you within 24-48 hours to assist.  Speak to a Business Advisor, click here


Restaurants and personal care services advised to prepare for safe reopening. The provincial government has advised restaurants, cafes, and personal services including hair salons, barbers, tattoo parlours, nail salons and aesthetics to begin preparing for their reopeningGuidelines for Reopening your Restaurant and Guidelines for Personal Service Settings are now available. Decisions about when and how businesses can begin operating will be made in accordance with the Government of Ontario’s framework to reopen the province.

Building Equitable & Inclusive Organizations

There is no organization that hasn’t learned a difficult truth about itself in the last few months. Crisis amplifies pre-existing inequities and harmful organizational practices and creates new ones. The Adaway Group offers a Summer Series of online modules on July 1, July 15, July 28. Spend July building your anti-racist analysis–as an individual, as teams, as leaders.

In developing effective responses to the COVID-19 pandemic governments, non-profit agencies, foundations and community groups should pay particular attention to the unique and distinct histories, experiences, and needs of Black communities. To support community stakeholders in this regard, the City of Toronto’s Confronting Anti-Black Racism Unit
has prepared this resource: Anti-Black Racism Analysis Tool Kit. 

Get your store Online!

The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the importance of having an online presence to sell goods and services. This tool is amplified that much more with the curbside pick up approach many of you are navigating.

 Leveraging Toronto’s technology community, the City of Toronto and Digital Main Street have brought together a range of partners to build and optimize online stores for Toronto’s independent businesses and artists at no-cost.
Thanks to volunteer developers, marketing and business students, and the support of corporate partners, Toronto’s independent businesses and artists – whether they are along a main street, in an industrial park, or a studio – can access ShopHERE to get their online store built and launched with hands-on support throughout the entire process in just a matter of days.
What do businesses and artists get as part of ShopHERE?

  • Their choice of a template online Shopify store customized with their information, branding, logo, etc.
  • Hands-on assistance setting up and launching their online store.
  • Training and support covering digital marketing, shipping and operating their online store.
  • Access to free tools and various credits (from over 10 partners) to help support the launch of their online stores.

Participant Requirements:
The ShopHERE program is open to any businesses or artist that meets the following requirements:

  • Pays commercial property taxes in the City of Toronto
  • Have fewer than 10 employees, or fewer than 25 if they are a café, restaurant, or bar
  • Not be a corporate chain or franchise
  • OR must be an artist located within the City of Toronto.

To sign up for this exciting program and receive a free online store you can fill out the application form here: https://digitalmainstreet.ca/shophere/
 If you have any questions, reach out to Digital Main Street at [email protected].

Plexiglass barriers

  1. BESI is an Ontario based company who is producing COVID-19 Plexiglas protective barriers. Visit their website to see samples of their sneeze shields and barriers for custom order. BESI contact is Evelina (647) 272-1323 from 8am until 10pm.
  2. GERAGHTY & ASSOCIATES is a design firm creating Covid2020shields and is an Ontario based company who is producing COVID-19 Plexiglas protective barriers. Visit their website to see samples or call/email: 416.524.3534  [email protected]

Early Stage Entrepreneurs 

Incubator accepting applications for early-stage entrepreneurs looking to solve issues presented by COVID-19. Parkdale Centre for Innovation, an incubator focused on inclusion and equity, is looking for early-stage entrepreneurs passionate about solving problems presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications are now open for entrepreneurship programs centred around the themes of food security, connected communities and digital startups.

CafeTO / Patios

Over the last few weeks TABIA and many BIA’s have had lengthy discussions with Transportation regarding the (CafeTO) extension of new or existing patios into the sidewalk and/or curb lanes for cafes, restaurants and bars within BIA’s. We believe outdoor serving is a critical component in establishments being able to survive the remaining months.
As we continue to learn more about the current patio parameters being adjusted to help accommodate a possible patio rollout in neighbourhoods, we are leading with the recommendations from Transportation – the department overseeing this Patio project, and looking at a ‘block by block’ approach, starting with Queen Street West from Noble to Brock.
Transportation is asking BIA’s to submit the desired plans per block, the Application process for each Restaurant/Café to apply online is not yet open, however we have compiled questions and the June presentation to help you assess this opportunity.

Please confirm ASAP by email indicating if you are interested in:

  1. Sidewalk Frontage Café Patio
  2. Small Frontage Café
  3. Curb Lane Café
  4. exterior back of house Patio (back parking spaces)

It may be wise to start conversation with your insurance provider to ensure that you can have proper coverage by extending your license out the sidewalk. And there will probably be costs involved to individual businesses who choose to exercise extending the patios – however we will advocate to ensure the least amount of cost is passed along to the businesses.

Some Common Questions Answered by Transportation in May 2020:
Q: Will the patio fees be waived for 2020 for this project?
A: Unsure. Transportation Department does not have the authority to waive this. It is being investigated by the City and more details will follow later.

Q: Is it possible to close down the curb lanes of traffic in each direction to extend the patios and space for people to use the sidewalk?
A: We don’t know. Transportation will ultimately make that decision, after reviewing our street in more detail. We have suggested it to Transportation and they are aware that this could work very well on Ossington. It could also work that a hybrid combination could work where certain days of the week the street could be reconfigured. Again – at the discretion and approval of Transportation.

Q: How do I get my liquor license extended to the patio outside?
A: We have tried to connect with the AGCO and once we have more details, we will share them. The City will also be in contact with the AGCO to layout a plan.

Q: We have some exterior “back of house” space in the laneway that could potentially be used for additional patio space. Can we convert that?
A: Transportation has indicated that back private space must only be used as per its zoning use. If it extends into “public” space, then it may be doable. It will be dealt with on a case by case basis.

Q: Who will pay for the legally required barriers to enclose the licensed patio?
A: Transporation has indicated it will most likely be a “hybrid” approach whereby the City may be able to pay for some type of barriers but businesses should expect to contribute to this cost as well. Details will follow once made available.

Q: How long can we have this additional use of space for patio use?
A: This is uncertain, but we will advocate for middle to end of October (typical patio season)

Q: What happens to parking with curb lane pedestrianization & hospitality use approval?
Toronto Parking Authority and Transportation will be in contact. We will have to educate A: of alternative parking areas and parking lots.

Some Common Questions Answered by Transportation in June 2020:
Our team has been busy preparing to take action on CafeTO. We are still waiting on the province and Medical Officer of Health to weigh in what that could look like. Last week, Barbara spoke to some of the temporary measures being explored for those who already have an existing patio in place. Other cities are allowing takeout on patios that is not an option for Toronto as far as we know. We are looking at all necessary authorities and other pieces that need to be put in place for CafeTO. Essential placement guidelines are being created. The city is working with consultants to provide a design resource for BIAs to assist in creating streetscape plans. Transportation will work closely with other relevant city departments on education to ensure we are ready to move forward. Transportation is also exploring new barricades to use. We understand that the ones currently used for CurbTO are not the most attractive. These new barricades would be more secure and visually pleasing with the knowledge that some BIAs/restaurants will want to put their own spin on it. As stated last week, it is not too soon for BIAs to begin active conversations with their restaurants on this initiative. Barbra encourages BIAs who have not yet already done to start having those conversations. Unfortunately, the program has not been finalized this week, but we are very close. Barbara will have more details to share on our next call.

Q: Do you have a rough timeline around some sort of implementation for CafeTO?
Barbara Gray: Our goal is to be ready by the time the province is ready to re-open. We know this has to be a quick rollout and understand the complexities around meeting social distancing guidelines. Advice from the Medical Officer of Health will be key. The team is working hard and will continue to until we’re ready to launch. That being said, we don’t want BIAs to wait to identify locations and businesses interested in expanded patios. As for patios in behind buildings or on private property, those spaces are governed by a zoning by-law and can be tricky to navigate. We’re working closely with City Planning.

Q: Where can BIAs email proposals for patio cafes?
Barbara Gray: ). At the moment, this is a resource for BIAs to send in questions and requests for answers related to patios. It will be shared in the future with businesses [email protected]) We have also created a dedicated email for the CafeTO program ([email protected]) We will be launching a web portal shortly. In the meantime, you can flip that information to Jodi Callan 

Q: As part of making patios more accessible and creative, would transportation be willing to help us remove old newspaper box corrals. These have often been incorrectly placed, cost money to remove, and are rusty and broken due to no maintenance.
Barbara Gray: Certainly something that should be dealt with separately but we have no problem working out issues if it makes sense in relation to patios.

Q: None of our restaurants have patios, but there is sufficient space without disrupting or extending into the right of way. Will the city waive fees for those patios as well?
Barbara Gray: We are eager to make all patios work, looking at waiving fees for 2020.

Q: Has there been any forward movement with the AGCO?
Barbara Gray: We recognize that issue and we’ve been raising it to the Mayor’s office as well. We are also trying to engage directly with the AGCO as there could be some issues resulting in a delayed launch of CafeTO. We need a solution on that.

Q1: Update on Existing Licensed Patios Barbara Gray: This question was asked this morning to MLS and Public Health, we have not heard anything from province in terms of existing outdoor patios but tracking closely. We assume when they announce it will be a quick lead time before it takes effect, like most orders.

Q2: 2020 Patio Fees – Mike Major: I’ve spoken with Carleton Grant, and the city is looking at waiving all fees as that’s the recommendation of staff. Still needs council approval for authority. It’s possible that some restaurants may have been mailed their 2020 renewals. If so, that was done in error. If they have already paid those fees, it will be counted towards their 2021 fees.
Q: Will parklette fees be waived as well?
Jodi Callan: Yes, they will be.

Transportation will review applications when they are open, but we are doing our best to advocate. Please ensure you read the attached presentation from June and I look forward to hearing from you at [email protected]

UPDATE: CafeTO have officially launched their website and registration – www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/covid-19-protect-yourself-others/covid-19-reduce-virus-spread/covid-19-cafeto/
The CafeTO program requires that appropriate provincial orders are changed and public health recommendations enacted. Some components of the program also require consideration by Executive Committee on June 22, 2020 and Toronto City Council on June 29, 2020.
If you have any questions about the registration form or the CafeTO program, please email [email protected].

Curbside pick up, selling online & is commercial rent assistance working?

Curbside Pick Up

The Ontario government has announced that all retail stores with a street entrance may provide curbside pickup and delivery services effective Monday May 11, 2020. While a number of different strategies (i.e. scheduled pick-up appointments, pre-payment) may be used to mitigate against line-ups, if your business or organization is still experiencing high volume line ups that may be making it difficult to maintain physical distancing requirements for retail patrons and for pedestrians walking by – please contact the BIA as we can explore applying for Curb Lane Pedestrian Zones or Temporary Parking Pick-Up Zones that will support your active businesses with achieving physical distancing requirements. Please click below for signage you may find helpful as you explore Curbside Pick up;

General Information

  • Curbside pick-up does not include sidewalk sales or displays of goods on the sidewalk at this time (outdoor marketing displays by grocers with existing City permits are still allowed)
  • Customers are not permitted to enter your store to select goods, try on or sample goods, or return or exchange goods
  • Post signage encouraging at-risk customers (ie: symptoms, recent travel, exposure to someone with COVID-19) to return home and self-isolate
  • Encourage employees and customers to wear face coverings (non-medical masks or cloth masks)
  • Restrict public access to your location as much as possible
  • If pre-payment is not possible, have a wireless card reader available outside and disinfect frequently
  • Encourage no-contact payment (credit, debit) instead of cash
  • Workers should wash or sanitize their hands each time they handle cash
Encourage Remote Interactions
– Customers should order online or by phone if possible
Have customers pre-pay online or over the phone
– Establish a process to minimize the time required to complete the curbside transaction
– Schedule pick-up times
– Have customers notify you when they arrive by phone or textLoad the product into the car if possible – ask the customer to remain in the vehicle to limit contact
– Ensure employees sanitize hands and surfaces after each interaction
Advise customers not to use their own containers, reusable bags or boxes
Physical Distancing
Place multiple signs near entrances about the physical distancing methods being used and what customers should do
– Have someone in place to direct customers
– Set up queue lines at entrances – cones or ropes work well – be sure pedestrians are able to safely use the sidewalk as well
– Place markers (tape or cones) every two metres to act as distancing cues
– For in-person payments, have cashiers step back from customers if the card reader cannot be relocated two metres away from cashier
– If the queue outside your store gets too long to manage, consider ways to have customers queue up digitally and leave their contact information

Speak to a City Business Advisor

The BusinessTO Support Centre provides one-on-one virtual support to help businesses, including not-for-profit and creative/culture organizations, complete applications for Government of Canada COVID-19 funding programs and get general business advice. An advisor will contact you within 24-48 hours to assist.  Speak to a Business Advisor, click here

Keep sharing your feedback – SURVEY

To help continue Advocacy work, please help circulate this latest survey. This survey follows up from the one you completed a couple of weeks ago, and is focused on getting feedback on the Commercial Rent Relief Program.  Once again there are 2 surveys: one for commercial tenants; and, one for commercial landlords (please circulate the survey to your landlords.  This survey will close on Monday, May 11 at noon
The information that we gathered from the first survey was invaluable in directing our efforts with all levels of government.  The information that we get from this second survey will do the same.
Tenant: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CommercialRentReliefTenant


A Message from MPP for Parkdale-High Park Bhutila Karpoche:
Dear small business owners,

It has now been two weeks since the federal government announced its partnership with the provinces to deliver support to small businesses affected by COVID-19 through the Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (OCECRA) program. Since then, there has been an overwhelming response from small business owners expressing their concerns about this program.
Here is what small businesses have shared with us so far:

  • “Commercial landlords don’t see OCECRA to be in line with their interests at all.”
  • “The rent relief program is not working because it’s voluntary for landlords.”
  • “As a new business having opened this month after months of preparations and renovations, we cannot prove a significant income loss so we are not eligible for OCECRA but we still need to cover rent and other operating costs on little to no revenue coming in.”
  • “The rent relief program is not feasible. As a micro business owner, I don’t qualify for wage subsidy and I cannot afford a $40K loan.”
  • “We need an immediate moratorium on commercial rental eviction, akin to the existing moratorium on residential rental evictions.”
  • “If the rent relief applies only to base rent and not TMI, the equivalent savings to tenants is closer to 50% than 75%. This is significant.”
  • “This program is only available for landlords who have a mortgage. What about landlords, with no mortgage, but with fixed costs?”

 As it has been clearly pointed out, there are massive gaps in the commercial rent relief program. The program leaves many businesses falling through the cracks. For some, the requirements are simply too big a barrier to be eligible and for others who are eligible, their commercial landlords have no interest in applying for the program. A new survey shows that just 1 in 5 businesses expect to get rent relief. It has become apparent that this program is of no help to most small businesses. This puts the continued existence of our local restaurants, shops and cultural spaces at risk. We must pursue a solution that provides direct relief to small businesses in order to support them and preserve the fabric of our neighbourhoods.

The Ontario NDP and I have called on the Ford government to step up to fill rent support gaps by creating an Ontario-based solution. We also continue to push our proposal Save Main Street plan, which has received widespread support from small businesses and commercial landlords alike.
The most urgent piece of action is the need to extend the eviction moratorium to commercial tenants as well. As May 16 approaches, it is possible that small businesses who were unable to pay May’s rent will get locked out. We’ve already seen this happen across Toronto including several here in Parkdale—High Park.
 Small businesses are vital to our economy. As I fight for real commercial rent relief from the province for small businesses, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if there is anything else that I can be of support to you.
Finally, please join me on Wednesday, May 13 at 4 p.m. on Facebook Live as I sit down virtually with John Kiru, Executive Director of TABIA, and representatives of our local BIAs for a focused discussion on supporting small businesses during this crisis.

Get your store Online!

The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the importance of having an online presence to sell goods and services. This tool is amplified that much more with the curbside pick up approach many of you are navigating.
Leveraging Toronto’s technology community, the City of Toronto and Digital Main Street have brought together a range of partners to build and optimize online stores for Toronto’s independent businesses and artists at no-cost.
Thanks to volunteer developers, marketing and business students, and the support of corporate partners, Toronto’s independent businesses and artists – whether they are along a main street, in an industrial park, or a studio – can access ShopHERE to get their online store built and launched with hands-on support throughout the entire process in just a matter of days.
What do businesses and artists get as part of ShopHERE?

  • Their choice of a template online Shopify store customized with their information, branding, logo, etc.
  • Hands-on assistance setting up and launching their online store.
  • Training and support covering digital marketing, shipping and operating their online store.
  • Access to free tools and various credits (from over 10 partners) to help support the launch of their online stores.

Participant Requirements:
The ShopHERE program is open to any businesses or artist that meets the following requirements:

  • Pays commercial property taxes in the City of Toronto
  • Have fewer than 10 employees, or fewer than 25 if they are a café, restaurant, or bar
  • Not be a corporate chain or franchise
  • OR must be an artist located within the City of Toronto.

 To sign up for this exciting program and receive a free online store you can fill out the application form here: https://digitalmainstreet.ca/shophere/
 If you have any questions, reach out to Digital Main Street at [email protected].

Plexiglass barriers

  1. BESI is an Ontario based company who is producing COVID-19 Plexiglas protective barriers. Visit their website to see samples of their sneeze shields and barriers for custom order. BESI contact is Evelina (647) 272-1323 from 8am until 10pm.
  2. GERAGHTY & ASSOCIATES is a design firm creating Covid2020shields and is an Ontario based company who is producing COVID-19 Plexiglas protective barriers. Visit their website to see samples or call/email: 416.524.3534  [email protected]

Need access to other PPE such as face sheids, masks, gowns – please email us.

SOS – Calls for Help

More Useful Resources


Employment Insurance and Labour and Occupational Health and Safety

Export Development Canada


Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation & Trade

Ontario Ministry of Health – Stats and Self Assessment Tool

Canadian Chamber of Commerce  – Pandemic Preparedness for Business

Hamilton Chamber of Commerce – COVID-19 Resources

Ontario Chamber of Commerce

Access Now – AidGuide.ca – 

Access From HomeCovid-19 Canadian Aid and Benefits Information

Grant Thorton – Guiding Businesses Through Coronavirus

Corktown Residents & Business Association – Survey Results

Destination Development Association – Dealing With the Coronavirus Slide Deck

Help For My RestaurantWebsite Link

Heritage Canada

Hogg, Shain & Scheck – COVID-19 Tax Update

Imagine Canada

Medium – 9 things Canadian Governments Can Do to Avoid a “Social Distancing” Economic Tragedy

Rick Hansen Foundation – Useful Resources for Persons with Disabilities

SaveSmallBusiness.ca – Petition for non-debt solutions for small businesses

TechSoupWorking From Home

Toronto Region Board of Trade – Support & Resources for Businesses

Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO)

Retail Council of Canada

World Health Organization COVID-19 – Business and Employees


International Economic Development Council
Economic Development Preparedness as it Relates to COIVD-19 – IEDC Survey
COVID-19 Webinar Notes

Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction – Small Business Support 


blogTO Creative Ways of Supporting Local Businesses

CTVIncrease in Support for Small Business

Facebook for Business – Facebook Small Business Grants Program

Google for BusinessAd Credits for small- and medium-sized businesses

Municipal World – Municipal World Coronavirus News Update

Ottawa Citizen

Toronto Sun – Small business in desperate need of financial relief

Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre – List of Known COVID-19 Scams

Toronto Police – Crime Prevention Tips for Businesses

What’s still Open in Parkdale

UPDATE: Since our List was published below, many new Parkdale businesses are opening their doors daily. Please contact your local favorite shops directly to find out if they are open and thank you for supporting Parkdale!

As our City and community continue to fight COVID-19, we encourage you to support local businesses and organizations working tirelessly to serve our community. Many short-staffed food establishments offer delivery or can prepare bulk frozen meals, your local grocer, hardware or convenience store staff are working long hours to ensure basics are available, some of your favorite retail shops and salons are still open for online sales, online services or gift card purchases, and community organizations are working overtime to provide services to those in need.

Our community will not be the same after this, dozens of shops are struggling to stay afloat. Please help ensure you still have a mom and pop shop, grocer, vintage shop, salon or non profit at the end of your street and support! Call ahead or browse one of the many delivery apps serving our area, such as UberEats, Ritual, Foodora, Doordash, Skipthedishes, nearme.

Cafe & Bakery

  • Koffee Qween @ 1605 Queen St W: Takeout
  • Craig’s Cookies @ 1537 Queen St W: UberEats / Delivery
  • Jinks Art Factory @ 1664 Queen St W: Takeout / UberEats / Foodora
  • Capital Espresso @ 1349 Queen St W: Online
  • Tim Hortons @ 1480 Queen St W: Takeout
  • Plentea Tea Bar @ 1205 Queen St W: Takeout

Restaurant & Bar

  • Food & Liquor @ 1610 Queen St W: Takeout
  • Bar Vegendale @ 1265 Queen St W: Takeout
  • The Local Kitchen & Lucia @ 1710 Queen At W: (416) 901-4533
  • Sushi & Bibim @ 1345 Queen St W: Takeout
  • Islas Filipino BBQ & Bar @ 1690 Queen St W: Takeout / UberEats / Foodora / Ritual / Skipthedishes
  • Gyro Bar Souvlaki @ 1647 Queen St W: Takeout / UberEats
  • Amicos Pizza 1648 Queen St W: Takeout / Delivery
  • Cici’s Pizza @ 1618 Queen St W: Takeout / Delivery
  • Shangrila Tibetan & Asian Cuisine @ 1600 Queen St W: Ubereats
  • The Tennessee Tavern @ 1554 Queen St W: Delivery or Pick up
  • Tibet Kitchen @ 1544 Queen St W: Takeout / UberEats
  • Gold Standard Sandwich @ 1574 Queen St W: Takeout / UberEats
  • Songtsen Cafe @ 1504 Queen St W: Takeout
  • Little Tibet @ 1449 Queen St W: Takeout
  • Garleek Kitchen @ 1500 Queen St W: Takeout / UberEats
  • Glory of India @ 1407 Queen St W: Takeout / UberEats
  • Mother India @ 1456 Queen St W: Takeout / UberEats
  • Subway Restaurant @ 1395 Queen St W: Takeout
  • Norling Restaurant @ 1512 Queen St W: Takeout/ UberEats
  • Tsampa Restaurant @ 1528 Queen St W: Takeout / UberEats
  • Himalayan Kitchen @ 1526 Queen St W: Takeout / UberEats
  • Sho Izakaya @ 1406 Queen St W: Takeout / UberEats
  • Ali Baba’s @ 1430 Queen St W: Takeout
  • Pizza Pizza @ 1432 Queen St W: Delivery
  • The Momo House @ 1422 Queen St W: Takeout / UberEats
  • Poke Sushi @ 1405 Queen St W: Takeout / UberEats / Nearme
  • My Roti Place @ 1376 Queen St W: Takeout / UberEats
  • Tiny Cafe @ 10 Macdonell Ave: Delivery
  • Ali’s Roti @ 1446 Queen St W: Takeout
  • Logas Corner @ 216 Close Ave: Takeout
  • Extra Burger @ 269 Dunn Ave: UberEats
  • Duggan’s Brewery @ 1346 Queen St W: Takeout
  • The Heartbreak Chef @ 1316 Queen St W:UberEats /DoorDash/Foodora
  • Le Phenix @ 1263 Queen St W: Takeout / UberEats
  • Guu izakaja @ 1314 Queen St W: Takeout/ UberEats
  • Miss Things @ 1279 Queen St W: Delivery
  • Matt’s Burger Lab @ 1205 Queen St W: UberEats / Foodora / Skipthedishes / DoorDash
  • Skyline Restaurant: 1426 Queen St W: Popups
  • Gloryhole Doughnuts @ 1596 Queen St W: Popups


  • Cattlemens Meat Market @ 1538 Queen St W: Takeout
  • Chantecler Boucherie @ 1318 Queen St W: Takeout / Delivery


  • Shoppers Drug Mart @ 1473 Queen St W
  • Guardian Drugs @ 1488 Queen St W
  • Health Care Plus @ 1408 Queen St W

Grocers, Variety, Hardware, Discount Stores

  • A-1 Convenience
  • Bala Super Market
  • Bernard’s Pilipino Specialties Inc.
  • Best Convenience
  • Budget One Stop
  • Convenience Canada
  • Dollarama
  • Fullworth
  • LCBO
  • Lee’s Variety
  • Lucky Supermarket
  • Lynn’s Convenience
  • Mandala Convenience
  • Newfoundland Store
  • Parkdale Milk & Variety Mart
  • Queen and Dufferin Convenience Inc.
  • Queen Fresh Market
  • Queen Supermarket Indian & Canadian Groceries
  • Queen’s Mini Mart
  • Sam 24 Hour Fine Foods
  • T.Dot Variety Store
  • The Local Market
  • Home Hardware

Still Offering Services and/or Online


  • Vina Pharmacy @ 1460 Queen St W
  • Guardian Drugs @ 1488 Queen St W
  • Healthcare Plus @ 1408 Queen St W

Community Agencies such as the Parkdale Activity-Recreation Centre, Parkdale Queen West Community Health Centre & Parkdale Neighbourhood Food Bank are working hard to service Parkdale, please search the ‘Community Contacts’ listings in our Online Directory and contact agencies individually for details about what services they are still providing; click here

SOS – Calls for Help

Are you a property or shop owner, more resources to check out:

  • Who should stay Open, who can help, shop safety & Impact Survey
  • More Resources: Stay connected, informed, be safe during pandemic
  • Tips, resources, guides to Surviving this pandemic…
  • Bhutila Karpoche MPP, Parkdale–High Park Updates
  • Arif Virani MP, Parkdale—High Park Updates
  • Gord Perks City Councillor, Ward 4, Parkdale-High Park Updates

Who should stay Open, who can help, shop safety & Impact Survey

Essential Businesses

The provincial government has released a list businesses deemed essential. These include:

  • Grocery stores
  • Pharmacies
  • Restaurants (take-out only) and hotels
  • LCBO and Beer Stores
  • Taxis and other transportation providers
  • Veterinary services

Read the full list of essential businesses here

The mandatory closure of all non-essential workplaces in order to contain COVID-19 in Ontario will come into effect Tuesday, March 24 at 11:59 p.m. and will be in effect for 14 days with the possibility of extending this order as the situation evolves. 


Please help us, along with advocates assess the impact on our BIA community – Complete this quick survey!

Storefront Safety – scroll down for more Safety measures

We encourage you to put up extra signage within your windows communicating “There is no cash left on premise / active alarm system on premise / video surveillance on premise“. Additionally, please consider signing up for the Night Time Directory with the police. It essentially creates and a call tree should anything unfortunate happen to the premise and authorized the police to call the contacts. 11 Division / 14 Division

I need help getting my Business Online

Lorenzo from the City of Toronto’s Digital Mainstreet is now assigned to help Parkdale Businesses troubleshoot any online issues they are having or want to explore. This is FREE. If you have any questions about Digital Main Street or would like to chat further – please don’t hesitate to reach out!

Lorenzo can be reached at [email protected] or appointments can be booked by your businesses directly through a calendar link found here

Retail Check List

A Retail Check list has been created by the Retail Council of Canada.

Employment Insurance for Entrepreneurs Workshop

Workshop @ 2:00pm Wednesday March 25, 2020Register Here

The process to apply for Employment Insurance can be tedious especially if you have never done it before. The Government has announced that self employed business owners will be able to access $900 biweekly for 15 weeks. This is stage 1 and it may be extended and the amount could be increased. Brought to you by the Afro-Caribbean Business Network.

Mutual Aid/Caremongering

  • Parkdale People’s Economy has launched mutual aid networks in Parkdale to build strong connections with neighbours during the outbreak of COVID-19.
  • Windermere United Church has started a neighbourhood support group for residents in Parkdale—High Park.
  • FoodShare Toronto and Greenest City are teaming up to ensure that community members facing food insecurity have access to fresh food delivered to your door!
  • UHN Open Lab has a living document with a list of volunteer, donation and job postings for folks who want to support those impacted by COVID-19.

A list of known scams related to COVID-19, from Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre

— Cleaning or heating companies offering duct cleaning services or filters to protect from COVID-19 offering “special” air filters.

— Local and provincial hydro/electrical power companies threatening to disconnect power for non-payment.

— Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the World Health Organization (WHO) offering fake lists for sale of COVID-19 infected people in your neighbourhood

— Public Health Agency of Canada giving false results saying you have been tested positive for COVID-19 tricking you into confirming your health card and credit card numbers for a prescription

— Red Cross and other known charities offering free medical products (e.g. masks) for a donation.

— Government departments sending out coronavirus-themed phishing emails tricking you into opening malicious attachments tricking you to reveal sensitive personal and financial details

— Financial advisers pressuring people to invest in hot new stocks related to the disease offering financial aid and/or loans to help you get through the shut downs.

— Door-to-door sales people selling household decontamination services.

— Private companies offering fake COVID-19 tests for sale.

Additional Storefront Safety Measures & Crime Prevention Tips

Please take a moment and assess the following at your place of business.

Your cash

  • Keep as little cash around as possible.
  • Make bank deposits frequently, but, irregularly so as not to establish a discernible pattern.
  • Securely anchor your safe in a highly visible, well-lit location.
  • Empty your cash drawers and leave them open after hours. ( consider leaving the empty cash drawer near the front door, advertising that no money on hand )
  • Keep the premises visible from the street; avoid blocking the interior view with high window displays and/or advertisements on windows.
  • Make sure trees and shrubs around entranceways are trimmed.
  • Don’t leave ladders or tools lying around that a burglar could use to help him break in.

Doors and windows

  • Use deadbolt locks on all exterior doors. Those with glass should have double cylinder deadbolts.
  • Make sure you check all doors and windows each day, before closing.
  • Develop a system of key security. Make sure all keys issued are signed for and turned in when an employee leaves the company. You may even want to change locks and combinations.
  • Do not label or identify keys with what they are used for. If necessary, use a coding system.
  • If you have doors with outside hinges, use non-removable hinge pins. Install panel doors lined with metal to resist drilling.
  • Doors and windows on the sides and rear of a building are often inviting to the burglar because they offer concealment.
  • Steel reinforcing bars on doors and gratings or bars on windows offer good security. ( Check with Toronto Fire & bylaw regarding bylaws or codes that may restrict this practice)
  • Every exterior opening offers a potential point of entry. Do not overlook security at places like fire escapes, skylights, roof openings, air ducts, doorway transoms, loading docks, sidewalk and basement openings.
  • Before you leave, check all potential hiding places, like bathrooms, closets and storage areas. The last thing you want to do is to lock a burglar inside.

Alarm System

  • Install a good alarm system and have it checked regularly.
  • Make sure it is wired to go off at all potential points of entry, including doors, windows, roof openings, loading docks and vents.

Surveillance CCTV System

  • Protect your business with a quality CCTV system  
  • Ensure that the storage drive is recording and accessible to police when required
  • Post signs advising that the area is under video surveillance
  • Place height markers at the main entrance so employees can use them to gauge the height of a robber as he/she leaves the business on video
  • Install CCTV cameras that offer nighttime surveillance
  • Install motion-sensor lights around the exterior of the building

Reminder !

  • Attend your business periodically to assess if everything is in order
  • Post notice on front door stating “No Cash or Goods on Hand
  • Remove valuable items from the front of the store such as electronics, alcohol, IPAD, expensive hair care products, point of sale electronics

Officers will continue patrolling the division, but we need your assistance with a few simple preventative measures.

Crime Prevention offices will continue emailing our BIA associations various crime prevention material & posting information on our social media channels.  Please follow our social media accounts and ensure that any new business locations that may not have our information do so.   Please follow and retweet our information.

Twitter:       @tps11div / Instagram:  @tps11div

Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/tps11div/

11 Division Email:  [email protected]

14 Division Crime Prevention Officer: Constable Gordon Reid, 416-808-1427

Additional Resources

Business Development Bank of Canada
Support for Entrepreneurs Impacted by Coronavirus
Business Continuity Plan and Templates for Entrepreneurs

Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre
List of Known COVID-19 Scams

Canadian Chamber of Commerce 
Pandemic Preparedness for Business

Destination Development Association
Dealing With the Coronavirus Slide Deck

Dover Rocks Box
Dover Rocks Box

Employment Insurance and Labour and Occupational Health and Safety
Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) – Employment and Social Development Canada

Export Development Canada
EDC Stands Ready to Support Canadian Exporters Impacted by COVID-19
Coronavirus (COVID-19): Managing the impact on global supply chains

Facebook for Business
Facebook Small Business Grants Program

Government of Canada
COVID-19 Update Page
Resources for Business
Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan
Helping Canadians With the Economic Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Calling All Suppliers – Help Canada combat Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
ROE Guidelines for Issuing EI
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) – Benefits and services

Heritage Canada
COVID-19 Main Street Resources

Ontario Chamber of Commerce
COVID-19 Preparedness for Business

Ontario Ministry of Health
Stats and Self Assessment Tool

Ottawa Police
Safety Checklist for Businesses

Province of Ontario
Ontario Together: Help Fight Coronavirus

Restore Your Economy
Leadership in Times of Crisis

Retail Council of Canada
Planning Checklist for Retailers: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Tourism Industry Associaton of Ontario
Results from Round One Survey

World Health Organization COVID-19
Business and Employees

International Economic Development Council
Economic Development Preparedness as it Relates to COIVD-19 – IEDC Survey

Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction
Small Business Support

Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation & Trade
Support for Businesses

Municipal World
Municipal World Coronavirus News Update

More Resources: Stay connected, informed, be safe during pandemic

Although Ontario Premier Doug Ford declared a state of emergency in the province this morning, within the Parkdale Village community businesses were taking steps to protect their staff, customers and space, followed by several of you choosing to close yesterday. Many of you will have very difficult choices to make about your businesses and staff but please know that BIA’s and business advocacy groups across the City are working hard to advocate on behalf of our community.

At this stage, grocery stores and pharmacies have not been ordered to close, and a handful of Parkdale Cafes & Restaurants have switched to Takeout Only, as dining in is not permitted.
If you are providing takeout, we encourage you to post signs on your doors asking customers to wait in line at a distance of 6 feet, even if it means they wait outside for their order – let’s work to keep Parkdale fed but safe! 

Retail Businesses exempt from City of Toronto Noise Bylaw:

“As part of the City of Toronto’s response to COVID-19 in support of businesses and the community, effective immediately and until further notice, all retail businesses are exempt from the City of Toronto Noise Bylaw to facilitate after-hour deliveries”

The City’s Noise Bylaw includes the ability to provide an exemption in response to extraordinary circumstances affecting the immediate health, safety or welfare of the community. This exemption will ensure retailers can receive deliveries 24 hours of a day, seven days a week to ensure essential goods remain in stock.

Printable Information Cards & Posters

For businesses who have closed; we would like to suggest the following quick tips: 

  • If closing for an extended time period, move visible goods to a LOCKED storage space not visible from the storefront
  • Remove all cash on hand
  • Make sure empty til is easily visible from the storefront
  • Post a notice on the front door that states “NO CASH OR GOODS ON HAND” as it applies to your shop

We know many of you face cash flow challenges, high rents, food waste, having to let go of staff and not being able to make payments on bills, among having to take care of your own health and family. At this point, we encourage you to stay connected online, reach out to your community, ask for help, be creative in problem-solving. There are dozens of Facebook groups forming with citizens banding together to help each other – if you know a business who may not have access to up to date news or community resources, call them and share what you know. This is a resilient community and together we can help each other get through this!

Please read and share the resources below to help stay informed;

Trudeau unveils $82B COVID-19 emergency response package for Canadians, businesses

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced a massive $82-billion aid package to help Canadians and businesses, including income supports, wage subsidies and tax deferrals amid the global COVID-19 pandemic. The package includes $27 billion in direct support and another $55 billion to help business liquidity through tax deferrals. The emergency aid plan includes:

  • Temporarily boosting Canada Child Benefit payments, delivering about $2 billion in extra support.
  • New Emergency Care Benefit of up to $900 biweekly, up to 15 weeks, to provide income support to workers who have to stay home and don’t have access to paid sick leave. The measure could disburse up to $10 billion.
  • A six-month, interest-free reprieve on student loan payments. 
  • Doubling the homeless care program. 
  • Extending the tax filing deadline to June 1.
  • Allowing taxpayers to defer tax payments until after Aug. 31 amounts that are due after today and before September.

Continue reading more

Canada’s six largest banks today announced plans to provide financial relief to Canadians impacted by the economic consequences of COVID-19.

Effective immediately, Bank of Montreal, CIBC, National Bank of Canada, RBC Royal Bank, Scotiabank and TD Bank have made a commitment to work with personal and small business banking customers on a case-by-case basis to provide flexible solutions to help them manage through challenges such as pay disruption due to COVID-19; childcare disruption due to school closures; or those facing illness from COVID-19.

This support will include up to a six-month payment deferral for mortgages, and the opportunity for relief on other credit products. Continue reading more

Economic Support & Recovery Task Force: 

The Mayor’s Economic Support and Recovery Task Force was launched to help protect Toronto’s economic success in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Five Immediate Measures Can Be Undertaken:

  • Extend a grace period for tax and other City of Toronto payments for businesses (payment and payment penalties) first for 30 days starting March 16.
  • Protect City employees from layoffs this month due to the cancellation of City programs. The City is committed to paying for shifts that were planned for City-run daycares, museums, and recreation centres.
  • Establish a substantial contingency fund to support businesses and affected groups, based on consultations to determine need and scale.
  • Facilitate entry into the EI System for those impacted by the pandemic. The City will work with companies and employees to ensure they are fully aware of how to apply for their rights under employment insurance.
  • Expand the City’s small business advisory services to help businesses as they plan to recover from impacts. 

Hydro One Pandemic Relief Fund:  

Offering financial assistance as well as increased payment flexibility to customers experiencing hardship. The fund is designed to support customers impacted by these events and those that may experience further impacts. In addition to this, we’ve also extended our Winter Relief program so no customer experiencing any hardship has to worry about potential disconnection. Although this is for residents, Hydro One has informed us that each case is unique and businesses can still call to discuss impacts. Call us at 1-888-664-9376

EI Claims: 

Service Canada has set up a dedicated phone line for inquires regarding EI claims related to the COVID-19 pandemic: 1-833-381-2725.

Please call this number if:

1. You need to apply for EI sickness benefits because you are unable to work because you must self-isolate for 14 days ( the one-week wait period has been waved for those for whom this is the case);

2. You have been laid off because of the COVID-19 pandemic and are looking to initiate a claim for regular EI benefits, or

3. You are an employee or and employer who is looking to apply for financial support through the EI Work-Sharing program due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

What is TABIA doing?

“TABIA will be part of the Mayors roundtable that will be meeting this week to discuss among other things any new, needed interventions to directly help BIAs and their members recommended short term actions by the City/Other governments and desired federal and/or provincial stimulus efforts the city could advocate for on behalf of our BIAs and their members”.

What is the Province doing for workers?

“Premier Ford announced Job Protection for Workers during the pandemic;

  • The proposed legislation would, if passed, provide job protection for employees unable to work for the following reasons:
  • The employee is under medical investigation, supervision or treatment for COVID-19.
  • The employee is acting in accordance with an order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act.
  • The employee is in isolation or quarantine.
  • The employee is acting in accordance with public health information or direction.
  • The employer directs the employee not to work.
  • The employee needs to provide care to a person for a reason related to COVID-19 such as a school or day-care closure.

More Links:

Helping vulnerable population around you – learn more
6 tips to respond to employee anxiety about COVID-19
Ways you can support artists, creative businesses and freelancers
Resources for Canadian Businesses
nking Support
Calling all Suppliers

The Parkdale Village BIA will continue to operate remotely. We are in touch with Municipal and Provincial Governments as well as TABIA (Toronto Association of BIAs) and will relay your comments and ideas for solutions to them. Please reach out at [email protected] or via social media.

Tips, resources, guides to Surviving this pandemic…

Your big box Grocer out of toilet paper? no worries, local Mom & Pop shops, discount stores, corner stores, cafes & restaurants are Open for Business & ready to serve you. Many of your local business owners are taking extra precautions to ensure your health, call ahead and ask, order online, buy a gift certificate to redeem when things settle, or maybe ask a friend to pick up items. Let’s not forget this is a strong resilient community that can rely on each other. Let’s all encourage each other to wash hands, clean surfaces regularly & check up on the most vulnerable around you. Visit Grocery, Variety & Discount Stores on our Online Directory for your Go to Local List! http://parkdalevillagebia.com/business-directory/

Some of the below-compiled articles you may find helpful include; 1) The Ontario Curriculum: Elementary, 2) The family lockdown guide, 3) Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Awareness resources; Infographics & fact sheets, 4) Common Household Products Can Destroy the Novel Coronavirus, 5) Planning a Local Event? Risk-informed decision-making for mass gatherings during COVID-19 global outbreak, 6) How to Talk to Your Kids About Coronavirus, 7) Other ways you can support artists, creative businesses and freelancers, 8) A Homeschooling Bandaid for Public School Parents

The Ontario Curriculum: Elementary

Want to ensure your kids don’t fall too behind while away from School for 3 weeks; here’s a link for The Ontario Curriculum: Elementary as well as a list of Policy and Resource Documents for the Ontario Curriculum: Elementary is available. This page contains useful and current tools that apply to all publicly funded elementary and secondary English-language schools in Ontario.

Education Companies Offering Free Subscriptions due to School Closings

Click this link to Google Doc listing resources.

A Homeschooling Bandaid for Public School Parents

Things to buy, fighting boredom, things to do, schedules, core subjects & resources.

Fighting Boredom With Hours to Fill

So, the problem you’re going to have is that accomplishing a full day’s worth of “school work” at home, only takes a couple of hours a day for elementary school kids; it never took my high schoolers more than four hours. So… then what? You can expect to have a good 10–12 hours of TIME to fill while your kids are awake and not in school (because their after school stuff will be cancelled too, naturally). Most of us probably don’t want our kids’ screen time to increase that much while they are on sabbatical, so what else are we supposed to do? Here are some ideas:

Teach Time Management

If your kids are ten or older, try handing THEM that time block and asking THEM to organize it. Brainstorm, together, all of the things that need to go into a healthy day: Some work (school, household chores), some play, some independent learning, some exercise, some creative time. Then let your kid decide how to get all of that in and present their plan for their time to you.

Brainstorm a List of Things to Do

Your kid is going to have to entertain themselves a bit, so stock up on what they need to do that and brainstorm a list of stuff they might do with a “bored” block of time. This is where Pinterest boards become your friend. Start here, with Rainy Day Activities for Kids. Post this list on the fridge, or somewhere that everyone can see it. Make sure your Secret Weapon has all the supplies they need.

Create a Pattern to Your Days

At school, your kids are used to cycling through a rotation of activities that keep them engaged and moving. If life grinds to a halt at home when school is out, it’s gonna get messy. So, create some patterns for your days at home together.For us, this looked like: Mornings for school work, afternoon for other adventures.

Get up, do chores, get the homework done, go out and play a while, or get up and moving with a Wii game, or some other form of aerobic exercise. Read for half an hour, make some lunch. After lunch, get into an art or science project. Work on something you’re interested in independently. Take a walk or a run together. Do some yoga. Play some music. Bake something together. Do an hour or so of screen time for fun.

Whether you’re the one home with the kids, you organize a co-op, or enlist a neighbour or grandparent, I highly recommend thinking proactively about how you order your days, support your support people in keeping the kids positively engaged through this sabbatical from school. We organized our days in 30 minute blocks, thinking about balancing sitting time with physical motion, brain dead time (screens for non educational purposes) with creative and inspired time (art, music, sports, physical motion), and “work” time (school, chores, life skills) with “play” time.It really does take a village and during these sorts of emergencies, we have to work together!

Also: Plan to let them be bored and self maintain for a while. They’ll live. Studies show that boredom is good for you.

Get OUT of the House

I’m not suggesting you go to the children’s museum or the indoor playground. That would kind of defeat the purpose of the school closures. But you can and should get out and take a walk in the park, ride bikes around the block, jump rope in the driveway, shoot hoops, scooter the cul-de-sac, run the stairs in your apartment building. Get out and get moving in ways that don’t take you into crowded environments.

Physical activity also helps boost our immune systems and keeping kids moving serves more than one purpose! Wear them out and reduce their risk of infection!

How to Talk to Your Kids About Coronavirus

Earlier this week, I overheard my kids engaged in a round of “I heard” and “Did you know?” while they were getting ready for bed.
“I heard that Margaret’s dad has it,” said my six-year-old. “Did you know that it’s the worst sickness ever?” added my eight-year-old.

Neither statement is accurate, but they were revealing: I had thought my initial conversations with my kids about COVID-19 had been good enough. But with adults, kids at school and the news all hyper-focused on this coronavirus outbreak, my reassuring voice needed to be a little louder. A favorite Mister Rogers’ quote ran through my mind: “Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting and less scary.”

So before lights out, we talked. I asked what they had heard about the coronavirus. We got it all out — their questions, their “I heards” and their fears. The rest of the conversation had three themes.

First, I shared age-appropriate facts and corrected misinformation. Because my kids are young, I kept it simple. “You know what it’s like to have a cold or the flu — how sometimes you get a cough or have a fever? This is kind of like that. Most people who catch this sickness stay home, rest and get all better. And we have wonderful doctors and nurses who can help people when they need it.”

Second, I reassured them that they are safe, which is the most important message my kids can hear from me. I know that they take their emotional cues from my tone. “You don’t need to worry. Right now, lots of amazing grown ups are working hard to keep people healthy. Luckily, we already know a lot about how to keep healthy!”

Third, I emphasized simple things our family can do to be “germ busters” — for all types of germs that are out there! As Harvard’s Dr. Richard Weissbourd once shared with me, kids and adults alike are “more distressed when we feel helpless and passive, and more comfortable when we are taking action.” The hygiene routines that slow the spread of the COVID-19 are the same habits that help keep us healthy all year round.

Here are four ways we can help young kids build germ-busting habits.

Wash Your Hands

Make it a family routine before every meal and snack to wash hands. If you do it together, you can model for them how to use soap, rub your hands together and rinse. For a timer, try slowly singing the ABCs together while you scrub. In Curious George, the Man with the Yellow Hat has a cold. He teaches George how germs can move from person to person and that’s important to wash your hands and avoid sharing utensils. Good hand washers, like Daniel Tiger, are germ busters!

Catch that Cough

When kids cough or sneeze, they tend to do it right into their hands — and then they use those hands to touch everything in sight! Instead, we can cough and sneeze into our elbow. Make it a game with kids. Can they catch the cough in their elbow? In the beginning, cheer when they do: “You caught it! That’s what germ busters do!” If they accidentally “catch it in their hands,” they can simply wash their hands with soap and water and start the game again.

“Rest is Best”

Daniel Tiger reminds us that “When you’re sick, rest is best!” This is a good episode to show kids and a great song to sing when they are feeling under the weather. Tell them: When we are sick, we can stay home and rest our bodies; we can be germ busters by not spreading germs or going to school sick. And as parents, we can keep ourselves and our kids home if we have a fever or other symptoms.

Practice Healthy Habits

Remind kids that sleep, exercise and eating healthy foods are good, everyday ways to strengthen our bodies. We will all get sick sometimes! They have probably already had at least one cold this season. But we can be responsible germ busters when we practice handwashing, cough-catching, resting and basic healthy living.

The family lockdown guide: how to emotionally prepare for coronavirus quarantine | World news | The Guardian

“It gets a little crazy in our house,” Travis Diener says.

Diener, a professional basketball player, lives in Cremona in the Covid-19 red zone of Lombardy, Italy, with his wife and three young children. They are living in lockdown; the kids have been off school for two weeks, and the family is following government advice: staying in their home and only venturing outside when necessary.

“‘Time flies’ – that’s the saying,” he says. “But in this situation it can go slow. The days are long.”

As the coronavirus pandemic spreads, self-isolation or quarantine is one of the key strategies in “flattening the curve” of infection rates. These 14-day isolation periods involve individuals or families staying within their homes, and not having physical contact with those outside. With the prospect of school and daycare closures, as well as workplaces shutting down or moving to remote working, many more families around the world face the prospect of precisely the kind of long days the Diener family is experiencing.

But what can families expect and how can they survive not only the virus, but each other?

For parents trying to work from home, their ability to do so will rely on various factors from the age of their children and the layout of their home to the nature of their work. The temperament of parents and kids will also play a role.

Claire Amos, the principal of Albany senior high school in Auckland, has been self-isolating within the family home, away from her teenage children and husband, for nearly two weeks after a work trip to Italy. Amos devotes mornings to emails and Google Hangout meetings with senior staff and students, and was surprised at how productive she has been. “You can get jobs done really effectively in this state. A lot of the time you’re busy being busy, rather than doing anything productive.”

Diener’s wife works part-time from home for a local wine company, so her work hasn’t been too disrupted. For Diener, used to training and playing basketball all day, the shift has been hard. He has tried to keep up some training but it’s not the same. “For me, sitting at home is driving me a little crazy too,” he says. “I’m used to doing my job.”

With routines disrupted and families thrown into close quarters, cabin fever is a real danger. It is exacerbated by predispositions and thought processes and can manifest, says Dr Carly Johnco, a clinical psychologist at Sydney’s Macquarie University, as anxiety, extreme frustration, depression or low mood. The University of Melbourne psychology professor and parenting expert Prof Lea Waters AM says self-isolation can hit three critical components of mental health: our sense of autonomy, relatedness (a sense of being connected to others) and competency (feeling effective).

Now for the good news. They’ve all got tips on how to get through it.

Begin on the same page

“I’d suggest at the very start the family sit down and devise a family contract,” Waters says. “Have a discussion: what do you think will be the biggest challenges? What are the strengths that we each have as an individual family member that can help out?” Discussing concerns and expectations about the quarantine, and what role each person can play to make it better, can be helpful, she says. “Forewarned is forearmed.”

Be truthful

It is important for parents to listen to and empathise with their children’s fears, speak truthfully about the situation in an age-appropriate manner and put it into context, the experts say.

“Have conversations for facts and feelings,” Waters says. Critical to allaying fears will also be allowing children a sense of control, such as over their personal hygiene.

For adults too, keeping a sense of perspective and sourcing information and advice from credible sources will help stave off anxiety. Amos says it’s important for people to be open about what they are experiencing, to reduce any possible stigma or embarrassment attached to self-isolation.

Set up structure

Maintaining a routine will be important but it need not be strict. “Routines are always helpful for people to see an endpoint,” Waters says.

Amos says routine has been critical to not going “bonkers”. She wakes in the morning at nearly her usual time, showers, gets dressed and puts on her makeup, before waving off her family members not quarantined and then getting stuck into work for the morning. In the afternoon she plays with posting outfits of the day on Instagram and has “reconnected with Yoga with Adriene on YouTube”.

Diener and his family have tried to stay close to their normal routine. The school has emailed activities and lessons so the children don’t fall behind. He and his wife break up the day into seven or eight “subjects”, for their children, who are aged three, five and seven. “It could be anything from helping my wife bake cookies, a dance class, math, spelling, some Italian, some English,” he says. These lessons are broken up with something fun, like downtime or half an hour with the iPad or TV.

Waters says families should try to enjoy having more spare time than usual, especially what can be very rare downtime for kids. Parents can be prepared with games, craft, schoolwork and books, but allowing more screen time than normal will not, says Johnco, be catastrophic.

Just don’t stay on screens all the time. “It could be tempting for people to just sit in front of the telly for two weeks,” she says. “The novelty of that will wear off quite quickly. We know that when people withdraw, or stop doing their normal activities, it can have a pretty profound effect on their mood.”

Reliance on streaming services or the internet may not be practical.

Telecommunications networks are preparing for a surge in people working from home. Australia’s networks are resilient but will come under pressure, a Telstra spokesman said. “We are confident our networks can be optimised to manage a significant increase in network traffic as a result of people being at home, although depending on what eventuates there may be times when the service is slower than usual.”

So don’t go crazy on the Netflix, and have a robust mobile data plan as a backup, if you’re likely to need to complete urgent work.

Keep moving

Johnco says keeping physically active is critical to boosting mood: “Frustration and boredom can come when kids are not getting the opportunities to be physically active.” Creative exercise ideas, like setting up an obstacle course in the backyard, could occupy both parents and kids. The Diener family in Italy break up their day with some micro-exercises, such as jumping jacks, running up stairs or playing basketball and soccer.

Get things done

Feeling as though something has been accomplished during an isolation period will be important for both children and their parents. It could include working from home, school assignments or setting sights on long-avoided chores, repairs or tasks. Waters suggests encouraging kids to keep a “corona journal”, in which they can document their experience. Amos has altered a jacket she had been meaning to work on for months, and laughs that her wardrobe has never been so organised.

“The other thing I’ve been doing is indulging,” Amos says. She has a mandatory tea in the backyard sunshine. Johnco says it is important to make time for “activities that just make you feel good”.

Families should consider things they can do together – like planning for a movie night, taking on a large project such as building something together, or even rearranging the furniture.

Give each other space

“Try to think of things you can do by yourself and as a family,” Johnco says. “It can be hard for families who are used to all going off to their own activities being forced into this intense time. That’s why when you’re on family holiday you’ll sometimes see kids squabbling – they’re not used to being in the same space.”

Waters says: “I would create spaces in the house, if possible, like little zones – ‘This is our game zone. This bean bag with a headset is our chill-out corner.’”

While respecting time alone is important, it could also be a time for creating or reconnecting with family rituals, she says. This might be as simple as a proper sit-down family meal, perhaps with a new recipe the kids have been involved in preparing.

Stay in touch

Another critical component of good mental state is feeling connected to others. This time, technology is our friend. Connecting and making time for friends on social media or over the phone will be critical for adults. Also important, says Johnco, is “reciprocal social support” – reaching out to others to make sure they are OK.

Children are used to highly social environments and will also need to connect with friends. Older children, Waters says, could create themes on Instagram or Snapchat where they can share their experiences and tips with friends. With younger children it might be scheduling in some video calls with friends and family.

Learn from the experience

Diener says his kids have been great during their isolation, and have accepted their new routine. It’s given him a new perspective, too.

“I’m gaining a lot more respect for teachers and their patience, because it’s hard to teach kids,” he says. “It’s been good for me as well. It’s helped me, I think, become a better parent.”

Amos, too, has found silver linings in her forced removal from a busy life.

“It’s quite nice to slow down,” she says. “In a weird way I hope I learn from that and change my behaviours a little bit. For probably the first time ever, I’ve actually felt guilt-free about not being busy.”

7 strategies to keep you feeling healthy & well

……and hopefully prevent the catching or spreading of the virus….

  1. Hand Washing: Experts agree that hand washing is one of the best steps we can take to stop the spread and minimize our chances of getting it. As per CDC guidelines, you should be washing your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20-30 seconds especially after being out in public places. In your home, at the office or on the go, have Thieves at the ready to clean your hands and everyday surfaces. 
  2. Remove Immune Stress: The fastest way to increase your resistance to colds, flu, and yes, viruses too is to #tossthetoxins and remove the toxic products from your home and diet!  This means removing all pesticides and all cleaning products with harmful ingredients from your home, as these directly alter the microbiome which can cause more vulnerability to illness.
  3. Eat Well and Stay Hydrated: Eat a balanced micro-nurtrient rich diet full of fresh foods, to optimize your microbiome and gut health, thereby strengthening your immune system. Make a clean sweep of your pantry and refrigerator of all foods that are not organic, have harmful ingredients, and inflammatory fats… and that includes refined sugar, which suppresses the immune system and makes you more vulnerable to bacteria and viruses but also prolongs cold and flu symptoms. Make sure to drink lots of water and fluids to help replace fluids lost and loosen mucous and aid in clearing congestion.
  4. Get outside: Natural vitamin D from sunlight boosts the immune system (and also helps improve your mood…which will keep you above the wellness line, #justsaying).  Fresh air is also so important for increased oxygen which carries good bacteria thus also strengthening your microbiome (and immune system).
  5. Prioritize Sleep:  Now we all know that sleep is super important for our functioning and also our immune system….. And I also know that many of you have little ones who are perhaps not sleeping so great.  Aim for 8-10 hours of sleep (and turn off the WIFI to reduce your EMF exposure).  
  6. Stick to the facts – look at the source of your information. Consider where you will look to in getting the correct information.
  7. Be positive:  Being positive helps you raise your energy vibration and stay above the wellness line. Surround yourself with positive people, say your affirmations every day, listen to an uplifting podcast, watch a funny movie, give your best friend a call, laugh & play with your kids.  Try really hard to step away from social media and TV from time to time, or at least don’t watch/follow the scary headlines and news stories about the coronavirus. 

We all need to conscientious of the part we play in preventing the spread of germs by how we take care of ourselves and our community.  And luckily, in my family, we have some amazing plant-based tools to use on the daily, without the harsh chemicals and harmful toxins found in your conventional brands (which hurt your immune system by the way).

Extra steps

  • Extra hand washing: We use the Thieves hand soap, but you can also make your own using liquid castille soap with added Thieves Essential Oils. Here’s the recipe I use:

    I actually put a few drops of the Thieves foaming hand soap (or my DIY one) into a small 2oz pump bottle and take it on the go with me, and/or always have my Thieves Hand Sanitizer along, because I definitely DO NOT want to be using the bright pink soap that is often found in public bathrooms (and even schools).  Reducing our toxic exposure is important for me and my family, so this is one way we can make sure our hand soap is safe!
  • Hand Sanitizer: And I am not talking about Purel hand sanitizer or the no-name brands from the Dollar Store!  I am talking about my all time favourite – the Thieves Hand Sanitizer.  Why do I love this?  Well, it contains 65% alcohol, but it is “denatured” alcohol — denatured with peppermint oil and NOT isopropanol.  Isopropanol is a big ingredient you want to avoid…read more about that here. Because the Thieves Hand Sanitizer is denatured with peppermint oil, it doesn’t feel drying and it is SAFER than your conventional hand sanitizers.

    Conventional hand sanitizers like Purel KILL everything and that is it, the bad AND the good. The Thieves Hand Sanitizer leaves a protective coating that protects from what is yet to come AND addresses the ‘terrain’ of what is there now, however does not affect the healthy microbiome (ie. it protects against the bad, but keeps the good). Plus, here in Canada, Thieves Hand Sanitizer is approved by Health Canada, as a Natural Health Product (NHP) and it can kill 99.99% of germs and bacteria. Wow!  Better stock up now!  They currently have a 1/person limit on this product because EVERYONE is stocking up!!
  • Thieves Spray: This is our quick shot of clean! You can spray everything with this Thieves Spray, and it comes in a little handy, travel size bottle, perfect for your purse, diaper bag, gym bag, or even coat pocket! Use it to clean kids toys, sanitize public washrooms, wash fruits and veggies, wipe down gym equipment before and after use, clean airplane armrests and trays (if you are still travelling now), as an air cleaning spray or freshener, sanitize hands, wipe down door handles & light switches, spray down your yoga mat, and all the other things!
  • Diffusing Essential Oils: Diffusing high quality (yup, they are not ALL equal) essential oils has so many benefits including: boosting the immune system; eliminating harmful pollutants and odours; uplifting spirits; sleep support; purifying the air we breathe; and relieving tension and stress….um yes please!  This one thing checks off almost all the strategies I listed above!

Extra supplements we’re taking…Vitamin C & Probiotics

What I’m Stocking up on….Food and pantry staples… well, we haven’t done this yet, but we are stocking up this weekend on canned goods, quinoa or chickpea pasta, and other non-perishables.  

Here are some additional resources for you to consider:

Public Health Ontario COVID-19 Public Resources

  • The site provides fact sheets in multiple languages including information on:
  • How to self-monitor
  • How to self-isolate
  • Self-isolation: Guide for caregivers, household members and close contacts

Public Health Ontario – Hand Hygiene
Ministry of Health dedicated COVID-19 website

  • This site is updated at 10:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. every day. The site provides information about out how to protect yourself, what to do if you’re sick after you travel and how to recognize possible symptoms.

Public Health Agency of Canada

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Awareness resources; Info graphics & fact sheets

Reduce the spread of COVID-19: Wash your hands

How to care for a person with COVID-19 at home: Advice for caregivers

Vulnerable populations and COVID-19

Travellers returning to Canada

While diseases can make anyone sick, some Canadians are more at risk of getting an infection and developing severe complications due to their health, social and economic circumstances.

Organizations, staff and volunteers play an important role in helping to prevent these populations from getting or spreading the COVID-19 virus. Start by sharing simple things they can do to help keep themselves and others healthy, guide them to help if they develop any signs and symptoms and learn ways help care for sick clients recovering from COVID-19.

Vulnerable populations may include

Anyone who is:

  • an older adult
  • at risk due to underlying medical conditions (e.g. heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases, cancer)
  • at risk due to a compromised immune system from a medical condition or treatment (e.g. chemotherapy)

Anyone who has:

  • difficulty reading, speaking, understanding or communicating
  • difficulty accessing medical care or health advice
  • difficulty doing preventive activities, like frequent hand washing and covering coughs and sneezes
  • ongoing specialized medical care or needs specific medical supplies
  • ongoing supervision needs or support for maintaining independence
  • difficulty accessing transportation
  • economic barriers
  • unstable employment or inflexible working conditions
  • social or geographic isolation, like in remote and isolated communities
  • insecure, inadequate, or nonexistent housing conditions

How organizations can support vulnerable populations during COVID-19 outbreaks

Take the time to learn the facts:

  • Know more about COVID-19 by visiting Canada.ca/coronavirus .
  • Keep up-to-date about the current situation in your community.
  • Contact local, provincial, territorial public health officials to get relevant COVID-19 information, resources and guidance.

Take time to get prepared:

  • Review your business continuity plan so you and your staff know what to do.
  • Plan ahead for potential disruptions.
  • Identify and plan how to continue providing the most critical services.
  • Partner with organizations that provide similar services to share resources and strategies.
  • Be prepared to answer questions from staff, volunteers, and clients.
  • Consider stockpiling general supplies and cleaning supplies.
  • Prepare for shelters and communal space limitations.

Educate staff about ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Washing hands often with soap and hot water or use of alcohol based sanitizer.
  • Increasing access to hand hygiene and cough etiquette supplies (e.g., alcohol-based hand rub, soap, paper towels, tissues, waste containers).
  • Cleaning frequently used spaces, surfaces and objects (kitchens, common areas, dining areas, desks, shared sleeping spaces, doorknobs, and faucets).
  • Staying home when sick.
  • Avoiding the use of shared personal items.
  • Sharing information about what to do if staff or a client shows symptoms of becoming sick.
  • Sharing steps about how to care for and isolate people living in a crowded facility (including the use of separate washrooms, if available).

Suggestions for supporting vulnerable populations during COVID-19 outbreaks

Provide clear instructions about how to wash hands and cover coughs using:

  • the most commonly used language in the community
  • short messages that explain simple steps they can take
  • large font and graphics
  • accessible instructions (e.g., braille, pictoral)
  • by posting signs in common areas near sinks, entrances, intake areas, restrooms, sleeping areas, recreation areas, waiting rooms

Consider supporting alternatives such as:

  • using volunteer drivers and subsidized taxi fares instead of public transportation
  • putting in place alternative outreach measures or a “buddy” system
  • including policies to allow sick clients to rest in shelters during the day
  • providing access to food, drinks and supplies, as possible
  • reminding clients to fill or refill prescriptions, and necessary medical supplies

If you suspect a client is sick from COVID-19, please contact your local public health authority.

We can all do our part in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

These Common Household Products Can Destroy the Novel Coronavirus

A gloved hand using a disinfectant wipe to clean a faucet.

News of stores running out of hand-sanitizing gels and chlorine wipes may have you worried about how to protect your family at home as COVID-19 spreads. But plain old hand soap will go a long way.

“It isn’t possible to disinfect every surface you touch throughout your day,” says Stephen Thomas, M.D., chief of infectious diseases and director of global health at Upstate Medical University in Syracuse. “The planet is covered with bacteria and viruses, and we’re constantly in contact with these surfaces, so hand-washing is still your best defense against COVID-19.” 

CR’s Coronavirus Resource Hub Stay up to date on the latest news and use our advice to keep yourself and your family safe. Learn More

You need to amp up your typical cleaning routine only if someone in the household exhibits signs and symptoms of a respiratory infection, or if you live in an area with known cases of COVID-19. In that scenario, Thomas says, “Clean high-traffic areas that get touched frequently, such as kitchen counters and bathroom faucets, three times a day with a product that kills viruses.”

The good news is that coronaviruses are some of the easiest types of viruses to kill with the appropriate product, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. “It has an envelope around it that allows it to merge with other cells to infect them,” explains Thomas. “If you disrupt that coating, the virus can’t do its job.”

Even if you can’t get your hands on hand sanitizer or Clorox wipes, below are a number of cleaning products you probably have around the house already, and that stores are more likely to have in stock, that are effective in deactivating the novel coronavirus. We also tell you the products that don’t work, and when you can expect retailers to stock back up on cleaning supplies.

Cleaning Products That Destroy Coronavirus

Soap and Water
Just the friction from scrubbing with soap and water can break the coronavirus’s protective envelope. “Scrub like you’ve got sticky stuff on the surface and you really need to get it off,” says Richard Sachleben, an organic chemist and member of the American Chemical Society. Discard the towel or leave it in a bowl of soapy water for a while to destroy any virus particles that may have survived. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a diluted bleach solution (⅓ cup bleach per 1 gallon of water or 4 teaspoons bleach per 1 quart of water) for virus disinfection. Wear gloves while using bleach, and never mix it with anything except water. (The only exception is when doing laundry with detergent.)

“Bleach works great against viruses,” Sachleben says. Just don’t keep the solution for longer than a few days because bleach will degrade certain plastic containers.

Bleach can also corrode metal over time, so Sachleben recommends that people not get into the habit of cleaning their faucets and stainless steel products with it. Because bleach is harsh for many countertops as well, you should rinse surfaces with water after disinfecting to prevent discoloration or damage to the surface. 

Isopropyl Alcohol
Alcohol solutions with at least 70 percent alcohol are effective against coronavirus. Do not dilute the alcohol solution. Alcohol is generally safe for all surfaces but can discolor some plastics, Sachleben says.

Hydrogen Peroxide
According to the CDC, household (3 percent) hydrogen peroxide is effective in deactivating rhinovirus, the virus that causes the common cold, within 6 to 8 minutes of exposure. Rhinovirus is more difficult to destroy than coronaviruses, so hydrogen peroxide should be able to break down coronavirus in less time. Pour it undiluted into a spray bottle and spray it on the surface to be cleaned, but let it sit on the surface for several minutes. 

Hydrogen peroxide is not corrosive, so it’s okay to use it on metal surfaces. But similar to bleach, it can discolor fabrics if you accidentally get in on your clothes. “It’s great for getting into hard-to-reach crevices,” Sachleben says. “You can pour it on the area and you don’t have to wipe it off because it essentially decomposes into oxygen and water.”

What Not to Use Against Coronavirus

Homemade Hand Sanitizer
You’re probably seeing all sorts of hand sanitizer recipes floating around your social media and the internet, but Thomas, at Upstate Medical in Syracuse, advises against making your own. “People don’t know the right ratios to use, and the internet won’t give you the right answer,” he warns. “Not only can you hurt yourself, but it could give you a false sense of security.” 

Sachleben seconds that advice. “I’m a professional chemist, and I don’t mix my own disinfectant products at home,” he says. “Companies spend a bunch of time and money to pay chemists specifically to formulate hand sanitizers that work and that are safe. If you make it yourself, how can you know if it’s stable or if it works?”

There are widely circulated recipes on the internet using vodka to combat coronavirus. A couple of vodka makers, including Tito’s and Smirnoff, have already come out with statements telling their customers that their 80-proof product does not contain enough ethyl alcohol (40 percent compared with the 70 percent required) to kill the coronavirus. 

Distilled White Vinegar
Disinfection recommendations using vinegar are popular online, but there is no evidence that they are effective against coronavirus. (Read about the 9 things you should never clean with vinegar.)

Planning a Local Event? Risk-informed decision-making for mass gatherings during COVID-19 global outbreak

Mass gatherings occur in a range of public places (e.g., spiritual and cultural settings, theatres, sports arenas, festivals, conference halls) and result in a large number of people being in close contact for extended periods of time.  Mass gatherings can contribute to the transmission of respiratory pathogens, such as the virus causing the current outbreaks of COVID-19. However, mass gatherings are not homogenous and the risk must be assessed on a case-by-case basis by Public Health Authorities, event organizers and relevant planners. Canceling large events may be recommended from a public health perspective, but compliance and sustainability may be difficult and may cause significant social disruption and public resistance.

PHAC recommends conducting a risk assessment when determining the public health actions related to a mass gathering during the COVID-19 outbreak.  This involves assessing the epidemiology, related impacts, and the weight (importance) of each of the factors involved in the risk assessment.  The rationale for the potential health risks of mass gatherings include: increased crowd density, restricted points of access/exit which force participants through high touch areas (e.g. doors, elevators), and limited medical care. The diversity of spectators and participants can be varied which can increase the risk of communicable disease transmission due to close contact with people who have a diverse risk factors and/or immunological status. Limited environmental cleaning and the potential for individual health measures (e.g. hand hygiene) may play a role in increasing health risks at mass gatherings.

This tool was based on advice contained in the World Health Organization’s mass gathering guidanceFootnote 1.  Public Health Guidance on COVID-19 is available on Canada.ca/coronavirus, with community-based measures (including mass gatherings).

Decisions regarding mass gatherings can be considered on a continuum from no changes needed, to enhanced communication to attendees, to risk mitigation strategies being employed without cancelling the event, through to postponement or cancellation of the event.

Risk mitigation strategies could include:

  • reducing the number of participants or changing the venue to prevent crowding;
  • staggering arrivals and departures;
  • providing packaged refreshments instead of a buffet;
  • increasing access to handwashing stations;
  • promoting personal protective practices (hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, staying home if ill);
  • offering virtual or live-streamed activities; and
  • changing the event program to reduce high risk activities such as those that require physical contact between participants.

Since mass gathering events, their settings, and participants/attendees are generally unique, the advice varies regarding which measures should be implemented.   Public health authorities and event organizers must work together to assess the situation. The following risk considerations related to the event, the disease, and the environment/setting are provided to promote a systematic review of risk and to inform decision-making.  The classic epidemiologic triad contributes to the framework for risk assessment by highlighting the interplay between the host (in this case, the mass gathering event), the agent (SARS CoV 2 causing COVID-19) and the environment/setting (the broader context of the gathering in terms of its geographic location and associated resources).

More things you can do:
• Address key strategies in your emergency operations plan
• Promote daily practice of everyday preventative actions for respiratory infections.
• Provide COVID-19 prevention supplies at your event (e.g., adequate supply of soap, hand sanitizers, tissues, disposable facemasks (if someone develops symptoms)).
• Plan for staff absences
• Increase social distancing (e.g., separation of 2 metres, not shaking hands, avoiding communal sleeping areas)
• Eliminating self-serve buffet style eating at social/religious gatherings or sharing food/drinks
• Promote messaging to discourage those who are sick or have high risk medical conditions from attending
• Identify a space where participants can self-isolate if they become ill -an important measure to prevent transmission.
• Develop flexible refund policies for participants from affected areas
• Identify actions you need to take if you need to post-pone or cancel your event (e.g., insurance, vendor cancellation), or re-arrange your event (e.g., offering virtual participation, live streaming).
• If possible, collect comprehensive contact information on participants as this may be needed by public health.

Communicate about COVID-19:
• Keep up to date with the local situation and current public health advice.
• Providing clear communication to participants before attending about the risks and advice on how to protect themselves and others to reduce virus transmission to inform individual decision making about attending the event.
• Update and distribute timely and accurate emergency communication information.
• Know who is in your chain of communication (e.g., event staff, participants, suppliers, vendors, community partners, stakeholders) and establish systems for sharing.
• Identify potential language, cultural, and disability barriers associated with communicating COVID-19 information to event staff and participants.

Ways you can support artists, creative businesses and freelancers

Many businesses, organizations and people are finding themselves in the position of canceling public events and gatherings due to the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. This is disappointing and scary for a lot of organizations and businesses who rely on in-person events to fulfill their mission and to generate income. It also has the potential to be extremely damaging to artists and other freelancers’ economic stability.

Many artists heavily rely on contract work to make a living, feed their families and to sustain themselves. We know that many artists do this work without strong contracts that protect them from cancellations or loss of income. We recognize that canceling or postponing events is a hardship for everyone involved and we encourage businesses and organizations to help mitigate the impact on artists, freelancers and contractors.

Together we can help sustain our vital creative community by taking the following actions, even if you are not contractually obligated:

1. If you can, postpone the event and keep the artist’s contract in place, even if you don’t yet have a date for the future event, the reassurance that you intend to reschedule and honor your commitment is important.

2. Consider transferring your event online. Can you reimagine the event as a video or web-based offering? Classes, workshops, and even fundraising events might be able to take place in a new way.

3. If you have paid an upfront fee or deposit to an artist, do not ask for the fee to be returned.

4. If the artist has invested time in planning, supplies or other preparation, compensate them fairly for this work.

5. If the artist has hired other artists to be a part of the event or project, talk with them about how you can work together to compensate these artists.

6. Discuss other opportunities with the artist, if the event or project must be cancelled are there other things you might be able to hire the artist to do? Webinars, graphics for your social media accounts, performances at a future fundraising event, writing case studies or conducting interviews to share your work, creating drawings for a publication. Invite artists to think creatively about how you might be able to work together in other ways.

Other ways you can support artists, creative businesses and freelancers:

1. If you have flexibility in your budget consider moving up the start date of projects that don’t take place in person. Can you contract with artists now that you might not have reached out to until later in the year?

2. Promote artists work online, encourage your supporters and followers to buy their work.

3. Buy gift cards from your favorite venues, artists, chefs, and restaurants — you can make sure the creative businesses that make our community strong can survive AND give yourself something to look forward to!

4. Write to your local and political representatives and encourage them to support measures to include artists and creative businesses in economic relief efforts.

The Above links and Resources can be found here; The Guardian, Public Health, Blog, Gov of Canada, Ministry of Education, PBS, Springboard for the Arts, Medium,