It has now been one week since Toronto entered Phase Three of the reopening plan. As it stands right now, we reported 21 new cases in the city yesterday, with 85 new cases across Ontario. This is a slight increase from the single digit new cases at the end of Phase Two, but so far, we are doing better .
Key to this success has been a collective effort from Torontonians to stay vigilant in the 21st week of our fight against COVID-19. While we are seeing more shops re-open, we have certainly not returned to business as usual, and it is incredibly important that we continue to follow every regulation that has been put in place. That means that we are wearing our masks in public, washing our hands frequently, maintaining a physical distance of two metres from anyone outside our bubble, and maintaining a firm bubble of ten.
As August marches on, we are getting closer and closer to schools reopening across Ontario. And as that day approaches, questions are continuing to swirl about the proposed reopening plan from the provincial government. As it stands, the proposed Ford Ontario government plan will not provide enough funding to schools to hire the extra staff they need to keep everyone safe. Today, Toronto Public Health has raised a number of issues that they’ve identified in the reopening plan, especially as it pertains to class sizes.
We are now on track to have classrooms in elementary schools with over 30 students in them – where it will be effectively impossible to maintain a physical distance of even one metre, as is being suggested by the Ford government, let alone the two metre distance that Toronto Public Health and other medical experts have recommended. I am calling for the Ford government’s plan to be scrapped and replaced with smaller and safer classrooms. You can read more here.
On Monday, Trustees Shelley Laskin and Rachel Chernos Lin will be hosting a 'Return to School' Forum to discuss the return of school in September. If you are interesting in participating, you can register here.
Throughout the pandemic, we’ve seen our community come together to support one another. One great example has been through the Community Food Table program that has been very successful in our community, with four tables operating each Saturday. Tomorrow will be no different with tables operating at St. Matthew’s Church (11-3), in Oriole Park (11-3), in Cy Townsend Park (11-3), and in Marian Engel Park (11-1) as well. I encourage everyone to drop by your nearest table tomorrow to pick up or drop off some food!
Finally today, I’m very excited to share with you an important event being produced by the incredible Brenda MacIntyre. This is a virtual event in the time of COVID-19, and it is called The Power of Conscious Music: Reflections on Racism, Resilience & Re-Awakening. This event will host an array of powerful speakers, and will be running from August 19th-25th. The goal of the event is to have a powerful and interactive series of discussions with BIPOC and White musicians in Canada about the realities of racism, and how we can work together to make things better for all. If you are interested in finding our more, or registering for a free spot you can click here.
I hope that everyone has a safe and enjoyable weekend!
If you have a positive story from our community OR a virtual event you're hosting that you want amplified, please email us at JAndrew-CO@ndp.on.ca.
Birthday, Anniversary Greetings
During normal times, my office sends out congratulatory scrolls to folks across the riding to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and other milestones! While we're taking physical distancing measures, I will be continuing this digitally. If you have a birthday coming up in the family and you would like a special video message from me, please email us at JAndrew-CO@ndp.on.ca. And if you should decide to share your video on social media do tag us @JillsLastWord on Twitter and Jill Andrew - MPP, Toronto-St. Paul's on Facebook.
Calling Local Artists
If you are local artist, and you have a piece of work that you’ve been putting time into, we would love to share it with the community! We know that #ArtsSavesLives and minds especially during traumatic times. If you’re interested in sharing your art please email us at JAndrew-CO@ndp.on.ca
ALL art submitted MUST be accompanied by a short artists statement (50 words or less) to help contextualize the art. Additionally, there are no guarantees that submissions will be included in the newsletter. Thank you for sharing your work with us and our community."
Communit Food Table
Locations for Saturday August 8
729 St. Clair Ave W ( located at St. Clair West and Rushton)
Oriole Park Community Garden from 11am to 3pm
201 Oriole Parkway (near Frobisher and Lascelles)
Cy Townsend Park from 11am to 3pm
455 Winona Drive (corner of Vaughan and Winona)
Marian Engel Park from 11am to 1pm
285 Melita Ave (just west off of Christie)
Right Relations Garden at St. Matthew’s
If you have been by the Right Relations Garden recently, you will have noticed that what was once a circle of earth within John Shipman’s beautiful circular fence is now overflowing with vines climbing high and green. Hot days followed by drenching rain have allowed tomatoes and cucumbers to grow lusciously ripe, and harvest has begun in earnest.
We are sharing garden produce two days a week, Wednesdays and Saturdays. The Stop Wychwood Open Door crew arrives by 9 a.m. Wednesday mornings, and Community Chef Bronwyn Cawker is up for receiving whatever we bring her. Starting with a main prepared by a St. Clair West chef and paid for by Stop donations, she and her team create bag lunches for pick up by the steady stream of visitors to the church doors that arrives between noon and 1 p.m.
Soup, salad, and treats are made in the Banquet Hall kitchen. We’re contributing salad fixings, including purslane, a nutritious native “garden volunteer,” 5 types of heritage tomatoes, and cucumbers. Cuttings from mint transplanted to St. Matt’s from Laurie Monsebraaten’s place flavour tea, or fresh water.
On Saturdays, produce from our household gardens joins what’s ready to be picked at the church to the Community Pantry table set up by MPP Jill Andrew’s volunteers in the church parking lot. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., people from the neighbourhood drop by, taking what they need, leaving what they can. Seniors are often the first to arrive, and are especially grateful for fresh vegetables and herbs.
The Right Relations Garden is only the size of a household garden. Each donation we make is small, no more than a grocery bag full at a time. But the circle of green on the lawn shares other gifts with everyone who passes, gifts grown from the topsoil, compost, seedlings, seeds, mulch, time, but also the goodwill, of our congregation and community.
From London, Elder Mary Lou Smoke writes: “I’ve enjoyed looking at the pictures of your garden! So vibrant and healthy from all the good energy your volunteers have given it!”
Neniibiwa: “a whole lot, a lot each time, a lot to each one.”
Robin Buyers, member and gardener at St. Matthew’s United Church
Excerpted from the St. Matthew’s Newsletter
*I would like to credit the Ojibwe Peoples' Dictionary for the word 'Neniibiwa' and for the translation from Anishinaabowin with which the piece closes.