Flowers and Warmth During A Very Blah January
Or How To Get Out When You Don't Like The Cold
Hope everyone has had a good week and was able to enjoy the bit of sun we had earlier this week as it has been such a gray and damp January so far. Lets talk a little tiny bit about city politics then see what actual fun can be had in Etobicoke this weekend!
This week I spent most of my time learning more about the city budget and what actually those lines fully entail and it is a lot! I truly feel that the best way to learn is by doing and if you ever wanted to learn more about local politics; watch meetings, read the reports behind the motions, and learn about the committees. With almost everything available online (both documents and videos) it has never been easier. Learning about the action first hand is better than any textbook and it can be way more interesting too, especially when some discussions get a bit heated!
That said; on Monday evening I attended my first in-person meeting at the Etobicoke Civic Centre since 2019 and it was nice to see so many in the community taking an interest in what is happening in our city! Sometimes people ask whether suburban residents are as active as downtown residents in local politics and after this week I can say that YES of course we care here in the suburbs! It was really nice to connect with others who share my passion for making life better for our entire community.
While I had already heard the budget presentation several times last week, it was the questions and concerns I was more interested in on Monday night from local residents. Much of what is worrying people in other parts of the city is of major concern here too. While property taxes are going up most homeowners recognize the city’s need for more revenue but they just want to see the money spent on helping to make life better for everyone and that is what many think are missing from this year’s budget.
The issues I heard raised that night and via the deputation meetings on Wednesday included concerns of the lack of money funding much needed climate initiatives and programs, the lack of help for those who are homeless or are close to being unhoused, and the costs associated with an increase in the police budget when money is not proportionally added to budgets to help with the underlying causes in criminal activity. Mental health supports are in the budget but we need much more access and that costs a lot more than is allocated this year.
There is a lot more conversation happening behind the scenes and the city is still accepting written submissions until 4:30 next Tuesday afternoon (Jan 24). I am preparing a submission and I will share it with you next week. My submission concerns VisionZero, road safety, pedestrian well being, and how these issues connect to the much needed climate action that the city seems to be greatly under funding.
There are so many important issues being discussed and I could write in favour of all of them but I know there are so many well spoken advocates to do these issues better justice than me.
However, traffic and safe streets for all residents is an area I have been working in for many years and it is one concern that sometimes gets forgotten. One aspect of a liveable city is one where residents don’t fear crossing the street to walk kids to school, catch a bus, or just get out for fresh air and exercise. I will ask that the Councillor’s remember this as they vote on the budget and continue the work they do each and every day for this city for the remainder of this term!
So On a Brighter Note…
I want to brighten your day on what has been a very dark and damp January. This month has felt like a year to many even though we are only 20 days in as of this writing and we still have a long time to go before the buds return to our trees.
SO what to do if you are feeling down and need to get a your mind in a happier place; go to a tropical island? I would love to but that ain’t happening so last week I went to a local park! It was sunny but bitterly cold and the high winds almost knocked me over. This is a park I spend a lot of time at in the warmer months and when there is snow its also great for tobogganing! But last weekend the sledding would have not gone well as all the green space was … well …green! What I did was take a walk through the Centennial Park Conservatory.
Those from downtown talk a lot about Allan Gardens Conservatory which the city operates but out here in Etobicoke we have a hidden gem, a conservatory of our own in the middle of Centennial Park just off of Rathburn Rd.
Here is a bit if background from the City of Toronto website: https://www.toronto.ca/explore-enjoy/parks-gardens-beaches/gardens-and-horticulture/conservatories/centennial-park-conservatory/
“The Centennial Park Conservatory complex was designed and constructed in 1969 and was formally opened by Etobicoke Mayor Horton on March 21, 1970. It consisted of a large tropical house and two smaller wing houses originally used for plant production. Over time, the wing houses became an arid house and a seasonal display house. Plant production now occurs in an attached greenhouse where, along with all the seasonal display plant material for the conservatory, 300,000+ annual and perennial plants are also grown to beautify parks throughout the city.”
The moment you enter the building you are entering paradise; the greenery with the bursts of colour from flowers from all over the world and the warmth is just what one needs when needing a burst of natural energy! The sun was out so the building had even more light coming in and it created an atmosphere I needed and many others apparently too. People of all ages were spending time around all the greenery and it was a beautiful sight. But words don’t do the conservatory justice so I took some photos so that all my readers could enjoy too!
Hope these pictures can brighten your day if even just a little bit!
What else can you do to get out this winter; dress for the weather and take a trip down to the campus of Humber Lakeshore and go for a skate at Col. Samuel Smith Park on the skate trail! https://www.toronto.ca/data/parks/prd/facilities/complex/466/index.html
I love these trails because they are a bit more exciting than a regular rink! Once you are ready to get those skates off why not take a walk along Lakeshore Blvd. The area has really grown over the past few years as Humber College has grown its Lakeshore Campus. The neighbourhood has become bustling with many new small shops, cafe’s and restaurants and they have something for everyone so there won’t be a problem finding a place to warm up with a hot chocolate or coffee!
If it is really bad outside and you need to be inside you can always go for a good brisk walk in a local mall. The walking will help improve your mood and spirit and make dealing with winter just a little bit easier! Once upon a time mall owners began allowing groups to walk the malls before opening as a way for residents to have somewhere safe and climate controlled to get out and exercise. At that point in time I was of an age that saw going to the gym as the only place to exercise. But guess what, as I have gotten older my ONLY form of exercise has become walking. It works and using the mall is actually a great place, especially if you are able to get out at off times when its not too busy. You can speed up or take your time and you can leave the layers in the car. I even have my husband doing this a few times a week with me at Sherway. If you walk at a good pace and do the full mall which is basically the shape of the number 8 you can do one lap in about 10 minutes!
The world has a lot of problems right now and things are not looking particularly joyful at Toronto city hall right now. But no matter what you do and what concerns you have try and take some time to get out and disconnect from the issues and enjoy some nature. I know from experience that if you do this your mind becomes more clear. This then makes it is easier to focus when you return to the issues you are passionate about and you will have more energy to keep on fighting for what you believe in!
Next Week the Etobicoke York Community Council meets on Monday at 9:30am at the Etobicoke Civic Centre. The meeting will also be shown on the city’s YouTube Channel.
Keep an eye out for a quick post early next week when I start to let readers know about local meetings and events that I come across that might be of interest to you. If you have an event you would like others to know about let me know and I can add your information into the calendar post.
Do you have issues you would like to see discussed or investigated? If so leave a comment or send over a quick email and we can chat.
How to connect: TheEtobicokeVoice@gmail.com
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Have a wonderful and safe weekend!
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