Thursday, March 28, 2013

The City of Toronto's e-newsletter City Update focuses on the latest services, innovations and accomplishments

City of Toronto - e-updates
This 22nd edition of the City Update e-newsletter features the latest news on City services, innovations and accomplishments at the City of Toronto - Canada's largest city and sixth largest government. If the images are not visible in this e-mail, please add to your address - book, or adjust your settings to view this e-mail in HTML. You can also view past editions at

City Update

Volume 7, Issue 1
The City of Toronto's
e-newsletter City Update focuses on the latest services, innovations and accomplishments in Canada's largest city and sixth largest government. This e-newsletter is for the public, stakeholders, media, City Council and staff.
Inside this issue:

Dedicated cycling lanes

Toronto's first Cycle Track – a lane for bicycles that is separated from motorized vehicle traffic – has been built on Sherbourne Street between Bloor and King Streets. Over the next few years, Toronto will be creating a 14-kilometre network of cycle tracks in the downtown area. City Council has adopted a new Cycle Track Bylaw, which includes a $150 fine for drivers who stop or park their vehicle on the cycle track. Toronto also has "contra-flow" bicycle lanes painted on some residential streets to allow cyclists to legally ride in two directions on streets that are one-way for all other vehicles. Toronto cycling maps are available free at public libraries, community centres and bike shops in your neighbourhood. More information

Toronto at your service

High customer satisfaction numbers for 311

311 Toronto is the public face of information and service requests for most City services. Since 2009, 311 has become the public point of contact for many divisions, seamlessly taking a resident's request and relaying it to the appropriate division. According to the 2012 Annual Performance report, it was a good year for Toronto's 311 service, with improvements in almost all categories over 2011. A total of 1,129,748 phone calls were answered – a 14 per cent increase over 2011. Service level improved to 81 per cent of calls answered in 75 seconds from 63 per cent in 2011 (target is 80 per cent). In a December 2012 Ipsos Reid customer satisfaction survey, 90 per cent of survey respondents were satisfied with the 311 service – most of whom (75%) were very satisfied.

TTC Charter promises customer service excellence

The TTC introduced its inaugural Customer Charter at the Bloor-Yonge Station on February 28. The Customer Charter commits the TTC to completing key improvements by specific dates within the course of a year. Ranging from Wi-Fi testing at subway stations to quicker callbacks in the Customer Centre, the first charter was unveiled by TTC Chair Karen Stintz (Councillor, Ward 16 Eglinton-Lawrence), CEO Andy Byford and Acting Chief Service Officer Chris Upfold. The charter commits the TTC to 31 promises in 2013, all of which revolve around building a transit system that makes Toronto proud. Those promises focus on the following key areas: cleanliness, informative, responsiveness, renewal, accessibility and modernization.

Paramedics make a difference in cardiac arrest survival

Toronto residents and visitors know that when they call 911 with a life-threatening medical emergency, in minutes Toronto EMS paramedics will be there to help. Recently, Dr. Laurie Morrison of St. Michael’s Hospital shared results from her patient research conducted with the support and assistance of Toronto EMS paramedics. The results show that survival rates for Toronto patients in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest have increased dramatically from two per cent in 2004 to 11.4 per cent in 2012. For patients suffering a cardiac arrest with ventricular fibrillation (an irregular heart rhythm), the survival rates increased from eight per cent in 2004 to 27.1 per cent in 2012. Some of the contributing factors to this success include the introduction of new "Up Front" cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) guidelines in 2005 and new "High Quality" CPR guidelines in 2010, as recommended by the American Heart Association.

On the lookout for potholes

The City of Toronto is actively patrolling for potholes as they form on city streets. Crews are dealing with emergency pothole situations with temporary repairs, and as conditions become drier and more favourable, crews will make more permanent repairs. In addition, the City has doubled the number of staff fixing potholes to almost 100. The City has repaired an average of 200,000 potholes a year over the past three years at a cost of about $4 million per year. Residents are asked to call 311 or go to to report potholes. A pothole app is also available that makes it quick and easy to report potholes. While City staff usually repair potholes within five days, requests are prioritized based on the amount of traffic on the road and the severity of the pothole.

Updated mapping tool shows planned construction

The Major Capital Infrastructure Coordination Office has updated its website to show planned capital construction in 2013. Projects from Transportation Services, City Planning, Toronto Water and other divisions as well as transit authorities, utility companies and more can be accessed through the online mapping tool. New for 2013, the website now features information from Economic Development and Culture, and Parks, Forestry and Recreation, and cycling infrastructure within the Transportation Services division. In addition to providing details about the nature of individual projects, the mapping tool will be used to improve co-ordination of projects, with the goal of more efficient capital expenditures and reduced inconvenience to the public.

Less litter in the city according to audit

The 2012 audit measuring litter at 298 street locations across Toronto indicated there was less litter than was observed in the previous audit in 2006. Large litter items were reduced by almost 21 per cent and small litter items decreased by 67 per cent in comparison with 2006 data. Details, including information about the measurement of branded litter, are provided in the full report 2012 Toronto Streets Litter Audit. The City had previously conducted four city-wide litter audits in 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2006 using the same methodology, which allowed comparison of each audit's results.

Zoo Giant Panda Ambassador Volunteer recruitment

The deadline for a recent recruitment drive of the Toronto Zoo's Giant Panda Ambassador volunteers was March 8. Giant Panda Ambassador Volunteers will operate numerous interpretive/educational stations at the giant panda interpretive centre and exhibit, provide information and directional assistance to zoo visitors, and support special events. For more information about these and other volunteer opportunities, visit the Toronto Zoo website, send an email to or call 416-392-5942.

Toronto and the economy

Winterlicious a boon for business

In their 11th year, Winterlicious and Summerlicious continue to be strong economic drivers for Toronto's restaurant industry. Recent Ipsos Reid survey results indicate that the program is a boon for business and very popular with diners and restaurants. The City launched the program in 2003 as a way to boost Toronto’s restaurant industry during typically slow periods of business. The program now has 191 restaurants and 14 unique culinary events and has generated more than $166 million in direct spending through 3.7 million meals served. The data shows that customer satisfaction with the program is at an all-time high, with 99 per cent of those surveyed saying it is a valuable service provided by the City. 'Licious' is a job driver, with 38 per cent of restaurants hiring additional staff for the program, and most restaurants see nearly a 30 per cent increase in customers and revenue during each two-week promotion.

Toronto economic growth plan

In February, City Council endorsed a new economic growth plan called Collaborating for Competitiveness - A Strategic Plan to Accelerate Economic Growth and Job Creation in Toronto. The plan sets targets for improving the quality of jobs in Toronto and commits to harmonizing the policies/activities of the City and its agencies to help create a more attractive climate for business and investment. In addition to recommending the establishment of an Advisory Committee led by the Mayor, Council also endorsed strategies to accelerate investments in commercial and industrial developments; ensure sufficient land availability and infrastructure capacity to accommodate growth; improve cost competitiveness; help small and medium size enterprises to form and prosper; and strengthen sectors such as manufacturing and culture. More information

We mean it when we say green it

Community Environment Days start in April

Community Environment Days include 44 events that are held from April to the beginning of October, one per ward across the city. These events accept many types of household donations for reuse (arts and craft supplies, used clothes and household items that are in good condition). You can also drop off household hazardous waste (such as batteries, compact fluorescent bulbs, propane cylinders and tanks) and electronics for either recycling or safe disposal. All Saturday and Sunday events are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Thursday events are 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. The 2013 schedule, including a list of accepted items, is now available.

Clean Toronto Together

Residents, schools and businesses are encouraged to participate in the City’s Clean Toronto Together program. Corporate and School Clean-Up Day is on April 19, and Mayor Rob Ford's Community Clean-Up Day is April 20. There are many ways to participate: clean or green an area of Toronto that's important to you, such as a local park, school ground or playground; remove graffiti vandalism on your property; and/or report graffiti vandalism or illegal postering by calling 311. The Clean Toronto Together program is sponsored by GLAD Canada, CP24 and Newstalk1010. Let's all work together to keep Toronto clean, green and healthy!

Donating items to charity?

With spring cleaning season just around the corner, you may have some household items to donate to a good cause. When offering items to charity, it's important to sort before you donate. Consider the following tips: remember to sort/examine items confirming they are clean, in very good condition, in working order, and can be sold or reused. Consider and obey sanitary, health/safety regulations and contact the intended charity to make sure they accept your items. There are some items you should not donate to charities. These include items that are not reusable; are broken; are missing parts, labels or instructions; and any items containing hazardous materials. For a list of donation programs, visit

Who's #1? Vote in the Live Green Toronto Awards

Fifteen finalists are in the running for the City's 2013 Live Green Toronto Awards and they need your votes to win! The City's search for the greenest youth, individual, group, small business and corporation began in January, and with the finalists now selected, voting is open for Toronto residents to determine the winners. Winners will receive $2,500 courtesy of award sponsors, and a chance to tell their green story on CP24. See who's greening Toronto, view their videos and vote for your favourites. Winners will be announced on April 22.

Awards and recognition

Toronto ranked one of world's top intelligent communities

Toronto has been named one of the world’s "Top Seven Intelligent Communities of the Year" by the Intelligent Community Forum – a think tank that studies the economic and social development of the 21st century community. The Top Seven Intelligent Communities are being recognized for creating local prosperity using broadband and information technology to attract leading-edge businesses; build skills; generate economic growth; and improve the delivery of government services. Toronto’s robust post-secondary cluster, innovative business incubator initiatives, and programs that use technology for enhancing social inclusion were among the many reasons for Toronto being named a Top Seven. Toronto has the largest information technology sector in Canada and the third largest in North America. Other City of Toronto rankings

Toronto named a must-see destination

Toronto was selected, along with Amsterdam, Seoul, Nashville and New Orleans, as one of “Five Must-See Destinations" by Condé Nast Traveler magazine – one of the most respected authorities in world travel. This “hot list” was also announced on the Today Show broadcast throughout the United States on NBC. Condé Nast Traveler notes Toronto's "stunning architecture, diverse array of restaurants, and energetic arts and cultural scene" as some of the reasons for making the list. To find out more about what to do and see in Toronto, visit the Tourism Toronto website.

Artist's rendering of Victoria Park station

City recognized with FCM award in transportation

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) unveiled the winners of its 2013 Sustainable Communities Awards at a ceremony during the FCM Sustainable Communities Conference and Trade Show in Windsor, Ontario. The awards recognize innovation and excellence in municipal sustainable development across Canada in six categories: brownfields, energy, neighbourhood development, transportation, waste and water. The City of Toronto and the Toronto Transit Commission were recognized in the transportation category for Creating a Better Victoria Park Terminal.

City makes Security 500 list for third straight time

For the third straight year, the City of Toronto has been named to Security Magazine's "Security 500" - the Top 500 Security Organizations. The Security 500 Benchmarking Survey is based on information from several sources, and the purpose is to create a reliable database to compare organizations, and to create a benchmarking program among security organizations. The City of Toronto is listed overall at number seven in the Government Category, and is the highest Canadian entry as well as the highest- rated city.

Award presentation (L-R): Grace Machado, Chair, BFI Ontario in Community Health Services Committee; Councillor Joe Mihevc, Chair, Board of Health; Eileen Chuey, Breastfeeding Committee for Canada Provincial/Territorial Implementation Committee Co-Chair; Susan Makin, Director, Healthy Families; and Dr. David McKeown, Medical Officer of Health.

Baby-Friendly designation for Public Health

Toronto Public Health was awarded the prestigious Baby-Friendly Initiative designation in January. The Baby-Friendly Initiative is a worldwide program of the World Health Organization and UNICEF. In Canada, the designation is awarded to hospitals and community health services that put policies in place to protect, promote and support breastfeeding. These practices strengthen mother-baby and family relationships for all babies, not only those who are breastfed. Toronto Public Health is the largest community health service in Canada to receive this prominent award. For more information about infant feeding, local breastfeeding clinics and parenting programs, call 416-338-7600 or visit the Toronto Public Health website.

Nominations open for Public Health Champion Awards

Toronto Public Health is inviting the public to nominate individuals and organizations for the 2013 Public Health Champion Awards. Nominations will be reviewed by a committee of the Board of Health, based on achievement in four areas: providing leadership in efforts to reduce health inequalities; fostering partnerships and collaboration to improve the health of the population; building community capacity through innovative health promotion strategies; and achieving impact by acting as a catalyst for change. Nominations are open until April 30. This year's recipients will be honoured at an awards ceremony in June.

City hospitality program receives Economic Developers award

The City's "Welcome to Toronto...We've Been Expecting You" hospitality excellence program has won an Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO) award in the Product Development - Workforce Development category. The program was created in 2011 by the City of Toronto with the support of Tourism Toronto and the Province of Ontario. It was designed to foster a culture of hospitality excellence. The program also helps to support and unify organizations by providing training and tools that connect and inspire visitors around the common message of Welcome to Toronto. More than 1,000 participants representing 144 organizations have participated in the program to date. The EDCO awards are presented to Ontario organizations that have developed leading edge, innovative marketing programs, or implemented new initiatives to foster economic growth.

Out and about

Building a City exhibit

A new Market Gallery exhibition called "Building a City: People, Places and Life in Toronto 1845 to 1899" will run until September 14. The exhibit includes historical maps, photographs and paintings in the City's art collection dating back to the 1850s. The exhibition highlights the people and places that transformed Toronto during this period, illustrating a time of tremendous change. It also shows that there were many critical issues back in 1845, including public health, fire and security, the railways and the waterfront. The City's Market Gallery is located on the second floor of South St. Lawrence Market, 95 Front St. E.

Activities to mark 200th anniversary of Battle of York

The City of Toronto and the Canadian Forces will commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of York on April 27. Activities include a presentation by His Royal Highness Prince Philip, a parade of more than 1,000 sailors and soldiers from the Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian Army, and a commemorative ceremony at Fort York National Historic Site with re-enactment units in War of 1812 uniforms. The City will also offer free themed tours at Fort York, along with family-oriented activities and military demonstrations.

University of Toronto Munk School for Global Affairs

Doors Open Toronto

The 14th annual Doors Open Toronto will offer residents and visitors an opportunity to take a peek behind the doors of nearly 150 architecturally, historically, culturally and socially significant buildings across the city on Saturday, May 25 and Sunday, May 26. This year's theme focuses on creators, makers and innovators. Many locations represent Toronto's innovation future – older buildings that have been redesigned, re-invented and re-purposed into modern spaces that host creative and collaborative teams of imaginative people who are creating new ways of thinking, making and doing.

Keep Toronto Reading

Toronto Public Library’s eighth annual Keep Toronto Reading Festival (KTR) in April, tagged "It Just Takes a Spark," is a literary festival that invites everyone to come out to readings, discussions, workshops and other events at more than 60 library branches across the city. As part of KTR, everyone is invited to read this year’s One Book selection: Fahrenheit 451, the classic sci-fi novel by the late Ray Bradbury. Readers are then encouraged to participate in events and activities – including “KTR 451” the library’s first-ever Alternate Reality Game – that bring the book’s themes to life.

Teed up for golf season

The City of Toronto's golf courses offer a challenge for players of every skill level. The City has five great golf courses that are nearby and accessible by public transit. Weather permitting, they will open in April. City golf courses are available for single players, teams, children, seniors, corporate outings and professionals. There are also family golf times, when each adult green fee purchased allows one family member under 18 to play free. City golf courses include Don Valley (Yonge Street and Highway 401); Humber Valley (Albion and Weston Roads); Tam O’Shanter (Birchmount Road and Sheppard Avenue East); Dentonia (Victoria Park and Danforth Avenues); and Scarlett Woods (Eglinton Avenue West and Jane Street).

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