Central Toronto Daily Updates: May–June 2020

Man killed in St. James Town fight

A 30-year-old man died after being stabbed just off Wellesley Street East at Ontario Street. Witnesses told police three people had been involved in a fight at the location, and the alleged stabber had fled the scene. Here’s what we know so far.

Murder charged in O’Keefe Lane shooting case

A 21-year-old man has been arrested for the shooting of a 25-year-old at O’Keefe Lane and Gould Street. You may recall the release of video and an image two weeks ago of a man being sought by police. (See June 11 item below.) Get the full story in Streeter news.


Drugs sold from tent in park, police charge

The 51 Division major crime unit raided a tent in George Hislop Park, near Yonge and Isabella streets, on Friday and allegedly seized quantities of crystal methamphetamine and fentanyl, as well as $951.25 in cash, according to a police press release yesterday afternoon.

Two men, age 32 and 39, of Toronto, were arrested and charged with two counts of possession of a substance for trafficking and with possession of proceeds of crime. A woman, 44, of Toronto, was also arrested and was charged with two counts of possession of a substance for trafficking and with possession of proceeds obtained by crime under $5,000. They were to appear at court on June 20.

Start signing up for CampTO tomorrow

Registration for the city’s new day camps initiative, CampTO, starts in this area tomorrow. Sign up by phone or online to send kids from age 6 to 12 for the camps that feature physical distancing, regular health checks and other measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Camp locations include several sites in Central Toronto, such as Wellesley Community Centre. Find out all about it on Streeter.

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Four sexual assaults may have been carried out by same man: police

Image of man sought
POLICE seek identity of man.

A man is being sought by police for allegedly being involved in sexual assaults on three dates between May 23 and June 14.

Police reported:

  • two women were attacked on May 23 at 11 p.m. in separate incidents in the Bay and College street area,
  • a woman was attacked on June 11 at 9:20 a.m. in the Yonge and Gerrard street area,
  • a woman was assaulted on June 14 at 12:30 a.m. in the Bay and Wellesley street area,

In all cases, women were walking along the street when they were attacked.

The description of the alleged perpetrator in all the incidents is of an Asian male, 5-foot-10, in his 20s, with short black hair and big lips. He was wearing a light blue jacket, blue jeans, and white shoes.

Police have released images from security cameras of a man they are trying to identify.

Wider reopening finally gets the okay

You can soon take the family out to a local restaurant or hang out in a local bar again. Take the kids to the pool or splash pad. Go shopping for more than groceries. Get a haircut or your nails done. All this and more as Toronto reopens businesses, cultural places and recreational centres in the move to Stage 2 of the province’s reopening plan.

Read more about today’s long-awaited announcement.

Road closures popular with cyclists, pedestrians, to continue this weekend

The weekend road closures that are turning over sections of Lake Shore Boulevard and Bayview Avenue to cyclists, walkers and joggers have proven popular, according to figures released by the city. The closures will continue this Saturday and Sunday. Get the whole story.

Potentially harmful medication stolen in Gerrard-Jarvis area

A 14-day prescription of Abilify medication was stolen near Gerrard Street East and Jarvis Street on June 13 between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., police reported today.

The pills could be harmful, even fatal, if ingested, especially by children. Anyone with information should contact police at 416-808-5100.

Local councillors join push to rename Dundas Street

Mike Layton, Joe Cressy and Kristyn Wong-Tam are among five city councillors who have sent a letter to the city manager yesterday in support of Mayor John Tory’s call to review the name of Dundas Street.

The street needs to be renamed because it honours a British lord who allegedly opposed the abolition of slavery, the councillors say. Read about it.


51 Division officer arrested in human trafficking case

The Toronto Police Services’ human trafficking team has charged 10 men, including a 51 Division officer, with obtaining sexual services from persons under 18. The team was investigating men who had purchased sexual services from a 16-year-old girl in East York, police revealed in a media release yesterday. Here’s what we know about this so far.

Farmers’ markets coming back?

Farmers’ markets, like at Riverdale Park West in Cabbagetown, may make their reappearance this summer, if not earlier.

The city says it is working with the markets it operates to get them back up and running while complying with the new public health requirements. Read more about it.

homicide suspect
POLICE released images of suspect in homicide case.

ID of homicide suspect sought, video shows altercation

Police have released images of a man sought as a suspect in the March 21 homicide at O’Keefe Lane and Gould Street, a block north of Dundas Square. The person is alleged to have shot the victim with a handgun during an altercation and then fled north on O’Keefe Lane to Gerrard Street.

Police responded to calls of gunshots at 7:41 p.m. and found the victim, Mamadou Drame, 25, of Toronto.

Homicide investigators are looking for the man described as in his 20s, about 5-foot-10, of medium build, and wearing thick black-framed glasses.

Police released an image of the man in a press release and posted video on YouTube showing the altercation between the man and the victim.

Mischief maker sought

An apartment lobby was trashed with a brick in the Harbord Village area about two months ago but police have just now released images of a man wanted in the investigation. They seek the public’s help in identifying the man wanted for mischief and theft. See the story.

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South end of Bayview closed to vehicles for weekend again

Vehicle access is again banned from the south end of Bayview Avenue on June 6 and 7. Walkers, joggers and cyclists will have th run of Bayview from Rosedale Valley Road to Front Street East, as well as River Street from Gerrard Street East to Bayview.

Also closed to traffic for the weekend in the east end will be the eastbound lanes of Lake Shore Boulevard East from Leslie Street to Kew Beach Avenue near Woodbine park, the city has announced.

Local grocery store employee tests positive for COVID

Grocery chain Metro has announced a positive test for COVID-19 of an employee at the 735 College St. store at Shaw Street. The employee’s last day of work was June 7, the company said today.

Pride Month at the libraries

The Pride parade and other festivities may have been cancelled but the Toronto Public Library is going ahead with its celebrations of Pride Month with online and virtual events throughout June. All about it.

If you gotta go while in the park….

The washrooms in Christie Pits Park are scheduled to reopen this week. But for other public facilities in Central Toronto parks, well, you’ll just have to hold it till next week. The city is reopening about 50 parks washrooms by June 6, with the rest of the 200 washrooms to open by mid-June, it was announced today. See the story.

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Man sought for two sexual assaults

Police are reporting today the alleged sexual assaults on two women in separate incidents near College and Bay Street on May 23. Before 11 p.m., a 25-year-old woman was walking eastbound on College at Bay Street when she was approached and sexually assaulted by a man who then fled the area, police report. The same allegedly happened to a woman walking eastbound on Grenville Avenue at Bay.

Police are seeking a man described as Asian, in his 20s, about 5-foot-10, and having short black hair. He was reported wearing a grey fitted puffy jacket, blue jeans and white shoes.

South end of Bayview to be shut down to cars for another weekend

Vehicle access is again closed on the south end of Bayview Avenue this weekend to give space to walkers, runners and cyclists. Bayview will be closed to vehicular traffic from Rosedale Valley Road to Mill Street, along with River Street from Gerrard Street East to Bayview. Read more about it.

Sherbourne Street among sites for affordable housing

Six city-owned locations were proposed for creating affordable housing in an announcement by John Tory yesterday. They include sites on Danforth Avenue, Queen Street East and — with Toronto Centre councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam’s blessing — Sherbourne Street where a Green P parking lot now stands. Check out the full story.


Bizarre events ended with arrest in Harbord area for stealing police car

It began on Saturday with reports of a speeding car near Eastern and Coxwell avenues and ended with an arrest on Harbord Street on 13 charges. In-between, the sequence of events included a crash into a store window, a vehicle bursting into flames, a stolen patrol car, and a scuffle with arresting officers, according to a police account released Monday. See the full account.

Wellesley shooting among wave of weekend gunfire

Police were called to a reports of gunshots Sunday night outside a Wellesley Street apartment building late Sunday night. It was among at least six confirmed shootings across Toronto over the weekend. Read all about it.

Police chase suspect vehicle to College and Shaw after Wychwood shooting

Reports of gunfire and of a residential window being shot out after midnight this morning led police on a high-speed chase of a vehicle from Christie Street and Lambertlodge Avenue in the Wychwood area to Shaw and College streets.

We’ll have more on this as new information is received. Get the story here.


Pothole-fixing blitz continues today

If you run into traffic delays today, it may be because the city is on a massive project of fixing potholes on expressways, major roads and neighbourhood streets. Sixty-six crews and 162 workers are fanning out across the city today in the final round of pothole repairs for this month, the city has announced.

About 18,000 potholes have already been repaired in May — and 105,000 so far in 2020. But in case those numbers sound impressive, bear in mind they are only slightly ahead of last year’s pothole-fixing pace — and well behind the numbers racked up by May in each of the two previous years.

If your least favourite pothole is not filled in by today’s blitz, you can report it online, by email or by calling 311. It will likely be be repaired within four days, the city says.

Some local libraries to start accepting book returns

The Toronto Reference Library on Yonge Street and the Lillian H. Smith library on College Street are among a short list of public library branches to reopen their drop boxes for returned items on Monday. Other branches will follow on June 1. And curbside pickup of materials ordered online is to begin shortly after that.

Read the whole story on Streeter.


Part of Yonge line shutting down tomorrow

Not that you’re keen to ride the subways anyways these days, but there will be no subway service on Yonge Street line between Eglinton and King stations on May 23. The shutdown has nothing to do with COVID but is for installation and testing of a signalling system on the line, according to the TTC.

Replacement shuttle buses will run between Eglinton and Union stations, and staff will direct customers to and from the shuttles.

Some fun in the parks is back, as long as you keep your distance

Toronto is following the province’s lead and opening more of the city’s parks facilities. Yesterday, Mayor John Tory announced skateboard parks and other facilities are opening immediately, followed by soccer fields, tennis courts, picnic shelters and other amenities by the weekend.

But no team activities are being allowed and physical distancing rules are still in place. Get all the details.

Where to take your garbage, recycling and yard waste

The Ingram Transfer Station on Ingram Drive is probably the closest drop-off depot available to most Central Toronto residents, after the city reopened two of its facilities to the public. The other reopened depot is on Bermondsey Road.

Starting today, the Ingram depot is open to the public on weekday evenings and nights —from 6 p.m. to midnight and from 12:30 a.m. to 6 a.m. Following public health guidelines, payment must be by debit or credit card and a two-metre distance must be kept from others. A face mask or covering must be used when physical distancing is not possible, as in interactions with transfer station staff.

See more details on the city’s COVID-19: Changes to City Services site.

More festivals cancelled as city cuts permits to end of August

Summer events scheduled for up to Aug. 31 have been cancelled, as the city has extended its cancellation of permits for major festivals to the end of August. Mayor John Tory announced the cancellations in his daily press briefing today.

See the latest news on what’s been cancelled, postponed and moved online.

Fire destroys local playground — again

Arson is being investigated after fire ravaged the playground in the Ontario Street Parkette on Sunday. It infuriated residents, the local councillor and fire officials. Read the whole story.

City program sets up shops online

The city has joined with BIAs and other partners to offer a free program to set up independent businesses and artists with online stores. Up to 3,000 small businesses are expected to take up this offer, allowing consumers to shop online, ordering delivery and arranging pickup at places offering curbside service. Read all about it.

Demand is up at food banks but they’re coping

With so many unemployed during the pandemic, food banks in midtown and east-end wards are facing long lineups and big changes to how they serve those in need. But, so far, most are dealing with it well. See the full story and photos.

In-store shopping at some garden centres

Getting the go-ahead from Ontario premier Doug Ford, some local garden centres are throwing their doors open to shoppers, while others are sticking to curbside pickup and delivery. But all are promising to observe social distancing and other safety considerations. Here’s the rundown.

Mother’s Day brunch without taking her out

Some local restaurants are offering Mother’s Day brunches on Sunday for pickup or delivery. But you may have to order now. Check them out.

Garden centres opening with curbside pickup

With the Ontario government’s go-ahead, many garden centres and nurseries are open and operating as online businesses. Here are some local places you can place an order for delivery or pickup.

Canada Day leads latest list of local cancellations

The city has cancelled all in-person Canada Day celebrations — the latest events to fall victim to the COVID-19 pandemic, pushing well into summer — although a virtual celebration is in the works. See the full list of local cancellations, postponements and moves online.

You can continue putting your waste out, city says

With a record amount of yard waste being generated while residents are stuck at home, the city has decided to resume its collection. Yard waste pickup was cancelled early this spring but brought back in April for a four-week trial. The trial must have been a success, because now the city says yard waste is returning for the season. Just when garden centres and landscapers are also reopening their businesses.

See the full story in Streeter news.

Rosedale bridge blocked after fire kills one

An occupant of a homeless camp under the Glen Road bridge was found dead yesterday by firefighters called to put out a fire. The bridge near South Drive remains blocked to traffic by vehicle or by foot while engineers study the structure’s safety. Read the full story.

Local streets to get more and better bike lanes

Central Toronto cyclists may be the biggest beneficiaries of city council giving the go-ahead to the installation and upgrading of 10 kilometres of bike lanes at yesterday’s emergency meeting. Local streets to get approval for the work include Brunswick, College, Borden, Sumach and Ulster.

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