Heritage Neighbourhood • Vibrant and Strong Community

Author: CLRA (Page 1 of 6)

Casa Loma Community Ice Rink

Sarah Gould, and a team of neighbours hope to build a community ice rink this winter in the Casa Loma parkette on Walmer Rd. next to the Casa Loma Stables.  With the help of Councillor Josh Matlow, they received approval from the city of Toronto through the Natural Ice Rink program and Casa Loma has agreed to donate the water for the rink flooding from the Stables facility.  However, it is up to the community to build and maintain the rink and to cover the costs of materials required.  Money is needed so that the rink liner kit can be purchased in December, which will help the volunteer icemakers build and maintain a great rink.

What better way to facilitate outdoor play and connect with friends and community, than a local ice rink in our very own corner of the city!

Any donation, small or large, will help reach the goal of raising $1,500 to build and maintain the rink.

To contribute to this Go Fund Me campaign please click HERE    

With thanks,

Sarah Gould, Robert McCann, Jeremy Speigel & the Casa Loma Community Ice Rink team.

Sharpen your skates, we hope to see you on the ice! ⛸️⛸️❄️

Update on 1467 Bathurst Street (condo development at Bathurst & St. Clair)

It’s now November, the sales office for the Condo towers is open but we are still waiting on the Record of Site Condition (RSC)  and the Transportation Study that was promised has not yet been undertaken.

The RSC summarizes the environmental condition of a property based on the completion of one or more Environmental Site Assessments.

The Transportation Study is to address community concerns about increasing traffic flow through to Bathurst by Melgund or Nina, largely attributable to backed up traffic further and further on St. Clair caused by (i) increased pedestrian traffic at the intersection limiting right turns north on Bathurst and thus effectively blocking the inner of the two lanes of westbound traffic and (ii) a short left turn lane at the intersection which often blocks the outer lane.   The traffic jam also adds greatly to the pollution around the corner and along St. Clair across from Wells Hill Park. See our June 6, 2020 posting.

Neighbourhood Group Working to Protect the Nordheimer Ravine

A  group is forming to educate us and take action to protect our Nordheimer Ravine.  The group, led by Susan Aaron of the University of Toronto with the assistance of Barbara Chernin who heads our Environmental Group, is organizing a walk through the ravine and is working to bring in staff from Toronto Parks, the Toronto Region Conservation Board and Councillor Josh Matlow’s office.   We will inform you when a date is chosen. If you are interested in helping in this very worthy endeavor, please contact Susan or Barbara for more information.

An earlier CLRA report referencing our ravine was published on April 15, 2022.  In addition, there have been many reports referencing the environmental issues affecting the ravine emanating from the 3 tower condo development at St. Clair & Bathurst.  For further work on efforts to protect Toronto’s ravines please see the recent article in the Globe and Mail below.


Update November 17: Organizers of the walk were not able to coordinate a time with city officials before the onset of winter.  Another attempt will be made next year.


Toronto’s ravines are in a critical state, threatened by invasive species, climate change and intensive land development

Globe & Mail, September 10, 2022

Toronto’s ravine system makes up a significant part of the city’s green infrastructure, as natural parklands and urban forests provide countless environmental, health and recreational benefits. However, the city’s ravines are in a critical state, threatened by invasive species, climate change and intensive land development.

In January, 2020, Toronto City Council adopted the Ravine Strategy Implementation Plan to protect the city’s ravines. A group of volunteers formed the Toronto Nature Stewards (TNS) to help implement the plan and advance independent stewardship to restore the ecological health of Toronto’s ravines.

Daniel Cushing prepares to remove lily of the valley from Roxborough Parkette North site. JOEL RODRIGUEZ/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Hundreds of volunteer stewards work under the direction of lead stewards and meet regularly to pick up litter and remove invasive plants, such as lily of the valley, Japanese knotweed and dog-strangling vine, which can crowd out native species.

Before the program started, only city park officials were allowed to remove invasive species from ravines. But the partnership allows volunteers to identify and remove these plants without supervision.

 

 

Catherine Berka, Geoffrey Chan and John Oyston work on identifying and removing Japanese knotweed. JOEL RODRIGUEZ/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Geoffrey Chan and Catherine Berka are lead stewards at TNS’s Roxborough Parkette North site.  Mr. Chan says the stewardship work has given him an appreciation for the rich variety of life that exists within the city’s ravine system.

“I used to think only of places like the Amazon as being powerhouses of biodiversity, but here in this part of Ontario, we have a wealth of biodiversity too,” he said.  “Although I grew up in Toronto, I never knew this until now. It’s right in our backyard, and it’s a treasure.”

 

 

Finbarr O’Callahan works on identifying and removing Japanese knotweed. JOEL RODRIGUEZ/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Toronto Nature Stewards now oversees 23 sites and has 60 trained lead stewards across the city. The stewardship year begins in April and runs until late October or early November.

 

 

 

 

Leslie Kestin, Geoffrey Chan, Finbarr O’Callahan, John Oyston, Jonathon Martynski and Anqi Dong at Roxborough Parkette North site. JOEL RODRIGUEZ/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Second Casa Loma Yard Sale Scheduled for Oct 1st.

Last month 40 houses participated in the 15th Annual Casa Loma Yard Sale! This is a Casa Loma Yard Sale record!!

Due to several requests, a second yard sale will be held this year on Saturday October 1st.  To register so your home is included in the advertisements, postings and maps or if you  want to volunteer or if any student in your household need community service credits, contact Cheryl Millett

Information on the Yard Sale

CLRA Joins Objection to Davenport and MacPherson Development Proposals

The CLRA has joined with the Tarragon Village Community Association (our neighbour to the south) and the Habayit Shelanu Senior Residence in objecting to developments proposed on Kendall Avenue just south of our community.

A developer, Zinc Developments  is proposing to build two 8-storey residential buildings;  one at 555 Davenport  having a gross floor area of 10,906 square meters, and containing 134 residential dwelling units and another at 500 MacPherson having a gross floor area of 11,572 square meters, and containing 135 residential dwelling units. The properties are currently owned by George Brown College and the development requires Official Plan and Zoning By-law Amendments.

The CLRA has no issues with the principle of converting the existing properties located at 555 Davenport Road and 500 MacPherson Avenue which are currently zoned industrial education, to residential but we do have concerns regarding excessive height, need for setbacks from the Habayit Shelanu seniors residence, the potential heritage significance of 555 Davenport, the preservation of views to Casa Loma, to the Lake Iroquois escarpment, the preservation of City and skyline views from the Baldwin steps, Casa Loma and public streets on the escarpment as well as the potential need to preserve parking for George Brown students and staff and the overflow parking required when there are events at Casa Loma.

Submission by the CLRA

Documents submitted by the developer for Official Plan and Zoning By-law Amendments

Development Application for 555 Davenport Road

Development Application for 500 MacPherson Avenue

 

Multiplex Proposals Report Adopted

The Multiplex  Proposals Report , part of the City’s EHON ( Expanding Housing Options in Neighbourhoods) initiative, was adopted by the Planning and Housing Committee at their July 5, 2022 meeting.  The term Multiplex refers to duplex, triplex or fourplex buildings.  The objective is for more housing units to be built in Neighbourhoods. It is intended that multiplexes will continue to be built to the same general scale and zoning standards for low-rise buildings. The Casa Loma neighbourhood is considered a Neighbourhood under the Official Plan. This can be seen in the Official Plan MAP.

Consultations on the Official Plan Amendment and Zoning By-Law changes to enable the recommendations in the Report will continue through the Fall of 2022.  The recommended Official Plan and Zoning By-Law Amendments are expected in early 2023.

Residents may now apply for Garden Suites permits.

On February 2, 2022, Toronto City Council adopted the Garden Suites Official Plan Amendment and Zoning by-law Amendment. The amendments were appealed to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) shortly thereafter. On July 4, 2022, the OLT decided that it did not have jurisdiction to hear the appeals, and dismissed them. Read the full OLT decision.

The CLRA has been following the Garden Suites initiative since March, 2021.

The changes to the Official Plan and By Law changes to implement Garden Suites were reported on my the CLRA on January 5, 2022.

Height Reduced for Self-Storage Building

The CLRA was successful in negotiating a reduction in height for the proposed Self-Storage building to be built at Dupont and Bathurst.  Other architectural changes were also agreed to.  The developer has agreed to reduce the height to 8 floor from the originally proposed 9 floors. This will improve the sightlines over the city for homes on Austin Crescent and Lyndhurst Court.

LEG Abandons Plan for Restaurant at the Stables

Good news as we have been able to stop, at least for now, Liberty Entertainment Group’s plans to re-locate their restaurant Don Alfonso 1890 to the Casa Loma Stables.

Councillor Josh Matlow organized a meeting with Robert Levy, President of the CLRA, neighbours, Joanna Kates and JoAnn Breitman, city staff and Nick Di Donato of LEG and others after neighbours noticed work taking place behind the stables.  Matlow had previously promised that nothing would be done with the stables until a full review of the lease was undertaken and the community consulted.  Matlow was taken aback that plans for a restaurant had progressed with the knowledge of City staff.

Liberty president Nick Di Donato confirmed his company had planned to relocate the Don Alfonso 1890  restaurant to Casa Loma’s stables. The restaurant had been operating as a pop-up in Casa Loma’s Conservatory during the pandemic. An application quietly filed with the City last year did show plans to build a kitchen, washroom and covered walkway to accommodate the restaurant and with “encouragement” from Economic Development construction had started ahead of a permit being issued.

There is no doubt that LEG has done a great job since taking over management of Casa Loma in 2013.  Since then, according to the City, LEG has made $11.9 million in capital improvements and paid Toronto $11.2 million in rent and other proceeds.  However the CLRA has been complaining for years about the traffic congestion and noise coming from LEG’s success with little concrete results.  None of the recommendations in an expensive Noise and Traffic Mitigation Study undertaken by the City in 2018 were ever implemented.  It is the CLRA’s view that activities at the Stables should be very limited as they are located within a residential area with homes adjacent to, behind and across from the Stables and just because the Stables are there they should not be used as an active annex to the Castle.  In a survey of street residents in November 2021, 78% of the residents on Walmer Road opposed a restaurant being established there.

The City has now agreed to consult with the community before encouraging or approving any plans for additional uses of the Stables. Thank you Councillor Josh Matlow.


Follow-up: Don Alfonso 1890 re-opened on the 38th Floor of the Harbour Castle Westin Hotel in early July.

All Things Green – Update from the Environmental Group

Post from Barbara Chernin, head of the Environmental Group

Starting off is news about homes abutting Nordheimer Ravine and a potential project where the TRCA (Toronto Region and Conservation Authority)  is exploring the idea of a Plant Native Trees and Shrubs program on private ravine properties. It would not only contribute to the beautification of the neighbourhood but have an environmental impact as well.  When I conducted a survey with a handout dropped off to homes backing on the Nordheimer Ravine back in November, I was delighted to find that 12 homes expressed interest in the project!

Colin Love, Supervisor, Community Learning Toronto  – Education and Training for TRCA will continue to explore what a City of Toronto Community Planting and Stewardship Grant would look like with the encouragement of the Casa Loma Residents Association.  If funded, this could potentially cover the costs of native trees/shrubs to be given to residents so that residents could plant themselves on their own property.  TRCA could provide some training such as webinars for residents to participate in. The program would be launched in the summer of 2023.

In the meantime, here are non-profit and City of Toronto low cost or free planting programs with additional information now on offer for spring and summer months ahead, starting with LEAF which has a wide array of volunteer and low-cost planting initiatives.

 Native Tree and Plant Programs for Your Gardens:

LEAF, a non-profit organization that teaches people about trees and gets them excited about the urban forest is located at Wychwood barns https://www.yourleaf.org/toronto-homeowners .   LEAF “envisions healthy vibrant communities where everyone values and cares for the urban forest.” They supply native species of trees and shrubs for your backyard and public spaces such as their LEAF Learning Garden , offering urban forest stewardship through planting, education and training.  Community Programs Manager Brian Millward, suggests a few LEAF programs that Casa Loma residents can get involved in:

Backyard Tree Planting Program  (low-cost)

This program allows homeowners to plant native trees and shrubs in their backyards at a subsidized price with the guidance of certified arborists. They make sure that you get the right species for the right space! 

Please note that you must move quickly if you are interested as I noticed most of the plantings are sold out until 2023. Spring deliveries begin in April and continue through to the end of June.  

Themed Bundles for urban gardens include samples in Edible Bundles with such plants as cranberry and northern wild raisin to Songbird Bundles which include lowbush blueberry and Privacy Bundles with dense growing shrubs such as bayberry. 

LEAF OFFER: They are now offering themed shrub bundles, designed to help you beautify your yard.  A bundle of four native shrubs, delivered to your door with mulch, a planting and care guide and a specialized fact sheet (only $100 + HST– that’s like buying four shrubs for the price of three!)

If you have problems ordering, contact Jess Wilkin directly at 416.413.9244 

LEAF Volunteer Program

 This program is for those who wish to have more of a hands on role in the community.

Volunteers play a critical role in helping improve the urban forest by participating in community outreach, tending to Urban Forest Demonstration Gardens and supporting our community tree planting events.  If you are interested in tree planting at home, try their:

Full Service Tree Planting for backyards

$150 – $220 (+ HST) per tree includes *

  • 30 minute consultation in your yard with a LEAF arborist
  • 5 to 8 foot tall native deciduous tree or 2 to 4 foot tall native evergreen tree
  • delivery and full planting service
  • mulch and planting/care guide
  • online educational videos
  • 30-minute virtual consultation with a LEAF arborist

Free Street Tree Program

City of Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation also offers a residential public road allowance.  A property owner can submit a tree planting request for the City-owned road allowance in front of their home or business just by calling 311.

The City of Toronto also has a number of free resources for members of the public living next to a ravine, or who want to learn about native species and combat invasive plants and trees.

Invasive plants have far-reaching and long-lasting impacts reducing populations of native plants and insects dependent on those plants, permanently altering communities and ecosystem functions, and costing economies millions of dollars each year.  See Pages 7-52 of this Booklet Beautiful Non Invasive Plants For Your Garden for a list of a variety of species that are unwanted and a  list of great alternatives instead.  Instead of English Ivy? Try planting Wild Strawberry instead to protect your garden’s ecosystem!

For property owners bordering Nordheimer Ravine, TRCA’s Colin Love strongly recommends:  A Property Owner’s Guide to Healthy Ravines.  This booklet has great information about local invasive plants common in ravines and best management practices.

City of Toronto Community Stewardship Program – Nordheimer Ravine

One enterprising volunteer organization called Friends of Cedarvale (FOC) embarked on their own tree planting program. This organization is dedicated to maintaining and improving Cedarvale Park and Ravine in Toronto.  John Cummings, Chair Friends of Cedarvale spoke to me about a pilot project created with Eric Davies, one of the country’s foremost authorities on the revitalization and preservation of urban forests. The project called Oak Sapling Nurseries grew oak saplings in 5 sapling nurseries in the gardens of Heathdale Road homeowners who have properties backing onto the Cedarvale ravine. About a year and a half later, there are young oak saplings that are healthy and expected to continue their growth in tree adulthood.

John and Eric started this project because they are greatly concerned that native trees on Toronto’s ravine slopes are being displaced by non-Native Norway Maples and European buckthorn trees and seedlings. Norway maples in particular, cause shade and prevent other plants from growing around them.  John noted when recently visiting a Wells Hill Avenue backyard, a proliferation of young Norway maple saplings in the Nordheimer Ravine.  He says “it is evident as well in Cedarvale (and I believe throughout the ravine and river valley system in Toronto). Ideally, these saplings would be removed at an early stage of their growth. Invasive plants, particularly dog-strangling vine and garlic mustard can be seen in both ravines.”

Make no mistake, invasive trees and shrubs are very responsible for the poor condition of our lovely Nordheimer Ravine and I applaud the efforts of any program that gives residents a chance to keep it healthy and thriving.

For more information and to join neighbours interested in all things green , contact  Casa Loma resident Barbara Chernin at

Community Canopy

Resident Vincent de Grandpré brought to our attention a program called Community Canopy.  Registration is now available for all Toronto residents.

The City of Toronto has partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation to connect Toronto residents with free trees through an innovative online mapping tool that may take the guesswork out of where to plant a tree on a specific property. Through the Community Canopy Program residents can use the software interface to identify the ideal planting location that will maximize the air, water, energy, and carbon benefits of their tree.

Trees available are: American Linden (Basswood), Eastern Redbud, Northern Red Oak, Smooth ServiceberrySugar,  MapleSwamp, and  White OakWhite Pine

Visit www.arborday.org/toronto to reserve your free tree today.

Update on 1467 Bathurst St. (land at St. Clair & Bathurst)

You probably have noticed the pyramid pile of earth on the old Petro Canada site at St. Clair & Bathurst. This is contaminated soil removed from the section of the property on which a condo sales office is to open this summer. The sales office will be for a 3 tower condo project to replace the original 3 tower rental project for the site.

The Environmental Group had the opportunity last week to speak to Canderel’s Director of Development and Investment Dana Roebuck regarding the 1467 Bathurst Street site.

We discussed many of the concerns the Environmental Group has regarding the remediation of the property and ongoing remediation.  Presently, thanks to City Council Motions passed with the help of Councillor Matlow in July, the City has granted the developers a building permit for a sales office only which she says will go up this summer.  Pending a completed risk assessment, they will get a Record of Site Condition (RSC) to develop the property with the intention of building 3 towers of condos.

It is my opinion that the development of a 3 tower, each of 30+ stories, condo tower project with its resulting traffic congestion, use of heavy machinery equipment, overshadowing and wind tunnel effects will environmentally impact Nordheimer Ravine already in poor condition.

What is concerning now is that large mound of contaminated soil on the 1467 Bathurst Street site which cannot be moved due to a provincial trucking strike.  This means that it will sit there until the strike is over.  There are two options available—One is to truck the contaminated soil away privately so that the soil does not remain close to the street and St. Mike’s School.  Heavy rains will also affect its spread.  The other option is to stop excavation until there is a reasonable expectation that the soil will be hauled away to an appropriate landfill in a timely manner.  If you also have concerns, please contact me     I have contacted the Ministry of Environment in the hope that they will deal with this swiftly.

Community Assistance for Ukraine

Alison Reid, a resident of Casa Loma who lives at 99 Wells Hill Ave, along with a few friends, has arranged for a private shipment of goods to Ukraine to assist the Ukrainian people under attack from Russia. The goods will be shipped by MEEST a reputable shipping company that helps humanitarian efforts.

She is inviting residents in the Casa Loma community to donate anything on the list of most needed items. (See below). Things don’t need to be new so it’s a great way to purge and put gently used items to good use.

If anyone is interested in donating, she is accepting donations this Sunday on her front porch (Please place items in a garbage bag to protect them from inclement weather).

Please see the linked Google worksheet provided by Ali.

LIST OF SUPPLIES NEEDED

For further information, Ali’s email is


Follow-up March 7, 2022

I just wanted to send a big thank you to the Casa Loma community for their generous donations for Ukraine. I received so many goods on my porch this weekend that I was sent a cube van to pick it up – as my minivan was not large enough.

Ali

Garden Suites Official Plan and Zoning By-law Amendments to go to Planning and Housing Committee (PHC) on Wednesday January 12 at 9:45 AM

The CLRA has been following this City initiative since it was first announced in March this year.     We did not make a formal submission but did forward along comments we received from residents, including some who completely oppose the proposal.  We understand a couple of changes that were requested will be accommodated in the Final Report:

  1. The By-law will clearly specify that Garden Suites are to be used as a principal residence (e.g. tenant) and will not be permitted to be used as gyms, studios, offices etc.
  2. The separation requirement between the back wall of the principal residence and the garden suite does not have to meet the minimum separation proposed if it is to be constructed on the foundation of an existing ancillary building, e.g. garage

The Final Report to the PHC will be available on January 5 and we will publish it on the CLRA website.

The Planning and Housing Committee will meet at 9:45 a.m. on Wednesday January 12 and will receive comments from the public at the meeting or prior thereto.  This meeting will be held on-line and can be viewed at the time through www.youtube.com/TorontoCityCouncilLive.   If you wish to address the committee meeting directly, please register by email to or by phone at 416-397-4579, no later than 12:00 p.m. on January 11, 2022.

You may also send written comments to the Planning and Housing Committee.  Send written comments:

by email to

or by mail to

City Clerk, Attention: Nancy Martins, Administrator PHC
100 Queen Street West, 10th Floor West Tower
Toronto, ON M5H 2N2

Note that any submission will appear on the City’s website and will include your address, phone number and email address unless you expressly request the City to remove this information.

.For your information, the members of City Council on the Planning and Housing Committee are:

As we come to the end of what has been the very difficult year of 2021, the CLRA wishes all a Happy New Year and our best wishes for a healthy 2022 and a return to normalcy in our lives.

Join the CLRA and support your community

JOIN

BACKGROUND TO GARDEN SUITES

News Posting November 19, 2021

News Posting June 22, 2021

Additional Yard Waste Bag Pick-up Scheduled for Tuesday December 14th

We are pleased to report that the CLRA, through the assistance of Councillor Josh Matlow, has secured an additional Yard Waste Bag Pick-up for TUESDAY DECEMBER 14th.

This has been a late fall and many leaves fell just before our first snow fall and some continue to fall this week. For that reason we requested and secured an additional Yard Waste Bag Pick-up date.

Please take this opportunity to bag or have your garden service bag the remaining leaves, especially those that have been piled on the street. It is against City By-law 743 to dispose of leaves on the street. They pose a safety issue for drivers and pedestrians and will likely interfere with spring runoff.

The full text of Municipal Code Chapter 743 can be accessed HERE

 

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