The history of Bloor West Village in Toronto

Imagine walking through your neighbourhood and being able to pull back the curtains of time as you go. What do seniors remember from decades ago? What family anecdotes do they have to tell? What used to be where that condo now stands? What did newcomers experience when they settled in Toronto?

These are some of the questions Back Lane Studios hope to answer with their newest project, Mapping our Memories. Here’s their plan: Build a team to collect memories and historic information about our neighbourhoods in the west part of Toronto, including ours. Then, make the material easily accessible through links to digital maps. They will be focusing for now on Roncesvalles and High Park, Parkdale, Swansea, the Junction and Weston, with
some forays into Etobicoke.

Back Lane Studios decided to embark on this project when one of their videos, Growing up in the Junction, gained more than 2,000 YouTube views in fairly short order. In the documentary, Lois Broad, 94, who has a remarkable memory, reminisces about places and childhood experiences in west-end Toronto. The video showed the strong interest people have in what life in their neighbourhoods used to be like, and they decided to create a way to
continue collecting and organizing seniors’ memories geographically.

Mapping our Memories is supported by funding from the Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program. They are using the grant to pay instructors and cover the cost of developing the website mapping platform. Most of the work is being done by volunteers. Current funding runs until February, 2022 however, they are hoping to build a team of volunteers, involve interested partners and seek further funding to continue this as a long-term Back Lane Studios’ project with expanded geographic reach.

If you want to help or support, here is their contact details: info@backlanestudios.ca.

OSHA Scaffolding Requirements for Construction and General Industry -  Grainger KnowHow

Requirements for automobile and bike parking in newly erected or enlarged buildings are identified in a city-wide zoning by-law.

Back on January 19, 2021, the Planning and Housing Committee asked staff to review these requirements to better align them with the objectives of the City’s Official Plan. The Review is guided by the principle that parking standards should allow only the maximum amount of automobile parking reasonably required for a given use and minimums should be avoided except where necessary to ensure equitable access, such as for accessible parking or in areas which would be difficult to serve with transit.

The Review is expected to conclude by the end of 2021 and will include two rounds of public consultation, planned for early June and September. Through these consultations, Staff will seek the public’s feedback on proposed amendments to parking requirements in the zoning by-law and other related work.

If you are interested in taking part, please visit this link under meetings and invents.

Étienne Brûlé Park - Wikipedia

No doubt, you’ve noticed construction along the Humber River in Etienne Brule park. Here’s more information.

The City of Toronto is replacing the sanitary forcemain (a pressurized sewer pipe that transports wastewater from a lower to higher elevation) through Etienne Brule Park and Home Smith Park, which has reached the end of its life cycle. The existing sanitary forcemain pipe beneath the river is nearly 60 years old and is in danger of failing. This work includes the construction of sewage valve chambers, shaft construction and microtunnelling (an efficient trenchless method for construction of small diameter tunnels) beneath the Humber River. It also involves connecting the new sanitary forcemain outside the existing Baby Point Sewage Pumping Station.

In order to ensure public safety during the construction, the City will be undertaking weekday closures at Etienne Brule Park. The park will be closed (Monday to Friday, excluding holidays) to pedestrians travelling near and through the active construction work zone. This closure will be in effect starting Monday March 15th and is expected to be completed in July of 2021. The construction zone occupies Etienne Brule Park between the Humber River and the Humber Ravine slope and the Humber River Recreational Trail and the park paths are required to move heavy machinery in and out of the construction site. The area of the park off-trail is not maintained and there is not a safe route for pedestrians. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused to the residents due to this closure.

This closure will only be in effect on weekdays (Monday to Friday). On weekends (Saturday to Sunday) and holidays, the park will be opened with an access path for pedestrians.

Toronto Hydro warns against power saving device scam - The Globe and Mail

We’ve been advised that Toronto Hydro will be improving the electricity system in our area. The boundaries for the project include Humberside Avenue (North), Dundas Street West (East), Bloor Street West (South), and Clendenan Avenue (West).

Toronto Hydro advised that they expect this work to begin May 2021. More information can be found here.

Toronto's High Park to close tomorrow for duration of cherry blossom bloom  period | News
There’s been a lot going on in Bloor West Village as we head into summer (which fingers crossed, appears to be on our doorsteps). Here’s a wrap up:

Humber Theatre Condo Development
The Site Plan has been approved and demolition permits have been issued for the buildings on Bloor from Riverview Gardens to the Theatre. We expect demolition will begin in the not too distant future.

Harcroft & Bloor Condo Development 
The original developer sold this site, along with the approved plans. The new developer is currently working with City Planning, and the immediate neighbours on Harcroft, on some small changes before going ahead with this project.

Avenue Study & Heritage Conservation District Study
While the Avenue Study has wrapped up, the HCD Study has determined that, while there were individual properties meriting an HCD designation, there were not enough Heritage Elements to warrant a District designation. We are pleased to report that a number of HCD guidelines are currently being worked into the Avenue Study. The approval process has been slowed down by the COVID -19 pandemic and staffing changes in both the Planning and Heritage offices. We are hoping things will soon get back on track with the next steps being a presentation to the Community before being sent to City Council for approval. Our efforts toward encouraging responsible development should be significantly reduced once the resulting bylaws and zoning restrictions are put into place.  

Laneway Suites & Garden Suites
Laneway Suites, approved by the City of Toronto in July 2019, are typically located in the rear yard, with access next to a public laneway, and are generally smaller in scale and completely detached from the main house on the lot. Garden Suites are similar except that their access is from the front of the property. The Garden Suites project is one of several studies being undertaken by the City to help create more housing options in residential neighbourhoods. The City would like to hear what you have to say on this topic by taking a brief survey that can be accessed on the BWVRA website.

Bloor Street Bike Lanes
The Bloor Street Bike Lanes have been successfully installed westward from downtown to Runnymede Road. Planning is now underway to eventually extend these lanes all the way to The East Mall. This extension of the Bike Lanes will require the approval of the Etobicoke-York Community Council.

Kennedy Park-Margdon Parkette   
In 2019 there were extensive improvements made to the Kennedy Park-Margdon Parkette, located behind the Runnymede Library,  between Glendonwynne Road & Kennedy Park Road. A section remains that has not been renovated, immediately behind the Library, that has mysteriously fallen off the Toronto Parks to-do list. We are working with our Councillor Gord Perks to get this project back on track.

BWVRA Annual Meeting
The BWVRA fiscal year is April 1st to March 31st, usually followed by an Annual Meeting in May. Last year we postponed our Annual Meeting to the Fall, in the vain hope that large gatherings would once again be possible. So, here we are a year later facing the same situation. Our virtual Meeting last Fall was a success and we thought it would be best to once again postpone to the Fall, with the hope that by then there may be some progress to report on the Avenue/HCD Study approval process and, if the chatter is accurate, there may even be a Federal Election!  

BWVRA Membership   
In addition to reporting to the Community, a key element of our Annual Meeting is having the Financials and our Board approved by our Membership. Only Residents who are Paid-up Members of BWVRA (have paid the $20 annual fee) are eligible to vote on any Motions presented at the Meeting. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated on-going restrictions our expenses have been minimal, so we have made the decision to suspend our Annual Membership Canvass. This means that those eligible to vote at our Annual Meeting, to be held at a yet to be determined date in the Fall, will be all those Residents who have already renewed their Membership since April 1st, 2020 last year, along with those who might decide to renew their Membership anytime between now and our Annual Meeting in the Fall. 

We’ve been advised that the Howard Park Tennis Club will be getting a long-overdue service of its own.

Howard Park tennis club is a hidden High Park gem | The Toronto Observer

The City will be undertaking construction and repairs, the scope of work including replacing the existing dilapidated timber retaining wall with a new pre cast stone retaining wall, and replacing the existing unit paver driveway, new concrete steps and handrails. Work is scheduled to commence starting April 5th and is expected to be completed during the summer of 2021. Sounds like match point to us.

For a map of the location of the work, please visit our Councillor’s website.

It may not be a guarantee this summer.

How the battle over Toronto's new, temporary bike lanes might play out in  2021 | CBC News

Cycle Toronto wants to hear from you. Or more importantly, wants your pledge to ensure it is guaranteed. To show your support to City Council, click here for more information. Last year, there were as many as 21,000 people riding bikes and 4,400 people walking on weekends along Lakeshore Blvd. West. Cycle Toronto wants your help to ensure it can happen again.

We’ve been informed by our local Councillor Gord Perks, that the High Park TTC Station will be getting accessibility upgrades.

High Park Subway Station - 1874 Bloor St. W.

As part of the TTC’s ongoing efforts to make all TTC stations accessible by 2025, the work is expected to commence early next year. The project includes installing two new elevators via a new one-storey structure/addition fronting Quebec Avenue. The majority of the work would take place on the Quebec Avenue side.

There is a Committee of Adjustment meeting for this project tentatively scheduled on March 3, 2021 at 4 p.m (Application 20 229717 STE 04 MV). The TTC requires minor variances in order to provide an accessible station to the community.

Are you a registered charity, not-for-profit group or individual hosting free activities in support of social, environmental and recreation initiatives in High Park and Western Beaches that needs funding?

Grants up to $3,000 are available to support Parks, Forestry and Recreation (PFR) objectives of environmental stewardship, promote activity, social well-being and/or other as outlined in PFR Parks Plan.

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