Beaches-Leslieville Daily Updates: November–December 2020

East York Chronicle founder dies

Gary Webb-Proctor, music journalist and founder of the East York Chronicle, is reported to have died on Dec. 28 at the age of 70. The cause of death of the man who went by the nickname of “Gary 17” has not been announced.

Stabbings send three to hospital

Two females and a male were taken to hospital after an apparent round of stabbings near Jones and Boultbee avenues at about 1:30 p.m. today.

Police first reported a man had been stabbed in the area, but this soon changed to three victims with stab wounds.

Blake Street and Boultbee were closed for the investigation. Police said they have “no outstanding suspects.”

CampTO and winter instruction programs cancelled

City-run holiday camps and skiing or skating lessons have been shut down by Toronto’s rising COVID-19 numbers.

The cancellations were announced today, following recommendations from Toronto Public Health and the city’s medical health officer, Dr. Eileen de Villa.

Read more about this.

Thorncliffe Park PSEast-end schools closed by COVID outbreaks

East-end schools shut down by Toronto Public health on Sunday after outbreaks of COVID-19 include CALC on Danforth Avenue, R.H. McGregor Elementary on Mortimer Avenue and Oakridge Junior Public on Byng Street — though no schools specifically in Beaches or Leslieville neighbourhoods have been closed so far.

The latest closures bring the total number across the city to 13 schools, including nine in the Toronto District School Board system. See the full story.

UPDATE: Second suspect in explosion surrenders

Police say they have made a second arrest in connection with the explosion and fire on Woodbine Avenue that sent two children to hospital with serious injuries (see Dec. 5 and Nov. 29 items below).

Cassandra Nicholson, 30, of Toronto, who was being sought by police after the arrest of another suspect, is reported to have surrendered to police today. She faces nine charges, including two counts of arson causing bodily harm, two counts of criminal negligence causing bodily harm, and arson with disregard for human life.

She is to appear in court today.

Site where nooses found in East YorkInvestigation of nooses leads to arrest

A 34-year-old man has been charged with criminal harassment nearly six months after two nooses were found at the construction site at Michael Garron Hospital.

Hate crime charges are yet to be filed, if they are considered applicable.

The arrest came from officers working with a task force set up to investigate a series of such incidents involving nooses at construction sites across Toronto. Get the story as we know it so far.

East Toronto testing sites extended through December

The temporary COVID-19 testing sites set up in in East Toronto (see Nov. 2 item below) are being continued until the end of December, Michael Garron Hospital has announced. The popup sites offer drop-in and same-day appointments for residents of priority neighbourhoods in East Toronto, as well as for the homeless and those without internet access.

The testing sites being extended to the end of December include:

  • East York Community Centre, 1081 Pape Ave.
  • Warden Woods Community Centre, 76 Firvalley Ct.
  • Dennis R. Timbrell Resource Centre, 29 St Dennis Dr.
  • Angela James Arena, 165 Grenoble Dr.
  • South Riverdale Community Health Centre, 955 Queen St. E.
  • Thorncliffe Park, 45 Overlea Blvd.
  • Oakridge Community Recreation Centre, 63 Pharmacy Ave.
  • Crescent Town Health Centre, 4 Market Place

See the website for dates, times and how to get tested.

Arrest after store robbed in East Danforth area

A 34-year-old man was arrested the day after a store was robbed near Danforth and Coxwell avenues.

The robbery happened in the early morning hours of  Dec. 2 shortly when a man allegedly approached a store counter, indicated he had a gun and demanded cash from the register. After the victim handed over money, the man fled the store, police say.

Holdup squad investigators were able to identify a suspect and on Dec. 3 Carlos Novello-Brideau of Toronto, was arrested. He faces charges of robbery, disguise with intent, and failing to comply with probation.

He was to appear in court on Dec. 4.


explosion thumbnailWoman sought in Woodbine Avenue explosion

A 38-year-old man was arrested after an explosion and subsequent fire on Woodbine Avenue sent two seriously injured children to hospital on Nov. 27.

But now police are also looking for a 30-year-old woman suspected of being his accomplice in the manufacture of illicit drugs in the residential building, thought to have caused the the explosion.

Get the full story.

Image released of man sought in assault of woman

man sought for assaultPolice have released an image of a man being sought after the alleged assault of a woman in the area of Queen Street East and Glen Manor Drive.

Police report the woman was walking with a shopping cart on Nov. 29 when an unknown man started shouting at her and kicked the cart.

He then assaulted her, police said.

The man is described as white and short, having a stocky build, brown eyes and brown hair. He was last seen wearing a red backpack and a thick dark-brown and grey jacket.

Police car thumbnailWoman charged with attempted murder

A woman has been charged with attempted murder after an alleged stabbing in the area of Coxwell Avenue and Hanson Street yesterday evening. A man remains in critical condition after being rushed to hospital, police say.

Officers responded to the stabbing call in the area at about 6:52 p.m. Get the story so far.

Woodbine explosion thumbnailExplosion, fire on Woodbine spark charges

A man faces serious arson charges after an explosion and fire at a Woodbine Avenue house that caused minor injuries to several people.

The incident happened late Friday afternoon. Toronto Fire Services forwarded all media enquiries to police when it became apparent that charges were being laid. Here’s what we know.

The Scribe thumbnailStore to teach the ‘thrill’ of holding old books

Justin Daniel Wood’s store, about to open Dec. 1, is different from all the other bookstores on Danforth Avenue. The Scribe specializes in rare and vintage volumes that range in price from $5 to $1,000.

But Wood’s on a mission to show people they need not be intimidated by such books, which are neither untouchable nor expensive. Read all about this new business.

tobogganing hill at RiverdaleLocal parks ready for tobogganing and other winter activities

Hills in Greenwood and Glen Stewart parks are among the 23 sites where the city is encouraging tobogganing this winter in its Welcome T.O. Winter parks plan (though you likely know several other great hills to slide down on sleds and toboggans).

The city is also pushing other outdoor activities during the pandemic this winter, including skating, snowshoeing in city golf courses, playing disc-golf and exploring recreational trails.

See the story and where to go for the best tobogganing.

Arrest for Beaches break-ins

If your home or business was broken into last week, they may have caught the guy. Police say a man committed break-ins between Nov. 17 and 19 in the area of Queen Street East and Waverley Road. Several residences and commercial buildings were hit.

Yesterday police arrested a man. Kevin Burger, 31, of no fixed address, has been charged with nine counts of breaking and entering, 30 counts of failing to comply, and other charges.

Mary-Margaret McMahonMary-Margaret McMahon is back — as MPP candidate

Mary-Margaret McMahon, who served two terms as councillor for Beaches-East York, has been nominated as Ontario Liberal Party candidate for the next provincial election, the Liberals announced today.

The riding has flipped between the Liberals and New Democrats. Rima Berns-McGown now holds the seat for the NDP, having in 2018 defeated Liberal incumbent Arthur Potts, who himself had taken the seat from the NDP’s Michael Prue in 2014. See the story.

Where to go when you have to go

If you’re a person who plans your outings around available washrooms, here’s welcome news for you. The city is refitting and reopening washrooms in parks — like at Greenwood Park and Kew Gardens — this winter.

It’s also adding portable toilets to new locations, along with keeping washrooms going in the usual places like libraries and recreation centres.

Get the full story here.

The story of the Empringham Hotel

The Empringham Hotel was the pride of East Toronto when George Empringham opened it at Danforth and Dawes in the 1890s and it remained an east end destination and social centre of sorts into the 1980s, when it was taken down.

Read all about it and see those great old photos in “From stately hotel to strip club — the Empringham story.”

Queen East lane closed for underground work

The westbound lane of Queen Street East between Coxwell and Rhodes avenues is closed starting today due to work on the “underground concrete duct bank,” the city warns.

The construction is planned to continue until Dec. 4, with the work being done daily between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Work begun on upgraded Dundas bike lanes

Protected bike lanes for Dundas Street East are on the way. Work on the upgraded lanes mandated by city council for one of Toronto’s most dangerous stretches of road for cyclists (see Nov. 6 story) has begun, says Toronto-Danforth councillor Paula Fletcher in her Nov. 13 email newsletter.

Transportation staff have begun pavement markings, and other upgrades, such as adding curbs and bollards will follow over the next month, Fletcher says.

You can publicly charge your EV in the east end now

Seventeen electric vehicle charging stations have been activated across the city, many of them in the east end wards of Toronto-Danforth and Beaches-East York.

Toronto mayor John Tory announced the official launch of the 12-month pilot program yesterday and Beaches-East York councillor Brad Bradford praised the program. See the full story and locations.

New east end locations for photo radar units

After three months of issuing tickets, the city’s photo radar units are being moved. All 50 automated speed enforcement (ASE) devices are to be moved to new locations starting this week “to address a greater number of areas with safety concerns and to encourage a wide-ranging deterrent effect,” the city said in a news release yesterday.

In Toronto-Danforth ward, the two new ASE sites are on Dundas Street East, east of Broadview Avenue, and on Lesmount Avenue, south of Cosburn Avenue. Both are near schools.

In Beaches-East York, the new sites are on Kingston Road, near Heyworth Crescent, and on Spruce Hill Road, north of Queen Street East.

The city reports 47,195 speeders were caught by ASE devices in the old locations, but the number of tickets dropped in the second and third months.

“The Automated Speed Enforcement program is working,” Mayor John Tory said. “Each month, fewer drivers were caught speeding in school and community safety zones where they’ve been placed, and they are helping to keep vulnerable people, especially school children, in these communities safer.”

‘Dangerous’ Dundas to get protected bike lanes

A dangerous stretch of Dundas Street East may become a little safer for cyclists if the city upgrades the bicycle paths to protected bike lanes. A committee of city council adopted a report yesterday calling for installing cycle tracks — protected bicycle lanes — along Dundas between Broadview Avenue and Kingston Road.

Deaths and injuries that have plagued the street may be alleviated if protected lanes are installed, proponents say. See the full story — and a dangerous situation spotted by our photographer.

Kind message

Sign outside Upper Beach Health and Wellness on Gerrard Street East, as posted on the Facebook page for the Beach Hill Neighbourhood Association today.

Seven popup testing sites in east end

Seven COVID-19 testing sites are popping up in East Toronto, Michael Garron Hospital is announcing.

Operated by East Toronto Health Partners, the temporary testing centres offer drop-in and same-day appointments for residents of priority neighbourhoods in East Toronto, as well as for the homeless and those without internet access.

Five new testing locations open this week and join the two sites that were launched and recently extended in Thorncliffe Park and Taylor-Massey (Crescent Town). The five new sites are at:

East York Community Centre, 1081 Pape Ave.
Nov. 2 to 30: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday from 1 to 7 p.m.

Warden Woods Community Centre, 76 Firvalley Ct.
Nov. 5 to 30: Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 7 p.m.

Dennis R. Timbrell Resource Centre, 29 St Dennis Dr.
Nov. 3 to 30: Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday from 1 to 7 p.m.

Angela James Arena, 165 Grenoble Dr.)
Nov. 9 to 30: Monday, Wednesday and Saturday from 1 to 7 p.m.

South Riverdale Community Health Centre, 955 Queen St. E.
Nov. 7: Saturday, 7 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Nov. 10: Tuesday, 2 to 4 p.m.
Nov. 16: Monday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Nov. 17: Tuesday, 5 to 7 p.m.

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