Waterfront Summit — New Venue!

The Globe and Mail Centre, 351 King Street E. (Google map and directions)
Friday Oct. 27, 7-10 p.m. – Saturday, Oct. 28, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Friends and members of YQNA are invited to Toronto’s first Waterfront Summit. This unique event will bring together stakeholders from across our city’s waterfront – from Etobicoke to Scarborough. Together, we will hear from thought-provoking speakers and work on solutions to urgent issues facing our waterfront.

Experts and organizations ranging from community groups to governmental and business interests will share their waterfront passions, goals, and stories in panel discussions and workshops. This is where you can take part in shaping waterfront history.

The Waterfront Summit has been moved to The Globe and Mail Centre due to a strike at George Brown College. See the keynote speakers and workshops, and reserve your spot today – click here to RSVP!

Looking forward to seeing you there.

New Boundaries for YQNA

Photo: Hendrik Hart
Photo: Hendrik Hart

YQNA is changing boundaries. We are moving along Queens Quay to the west, to reach from Yonge St. to Spadina Ave. (no longer Rees St.) At the same time we are pulling back on the north side, from the train tracks down to Lake Shore Blvd. and Harbour St., hoping the new condo buildings north of us will establish their own neighbourhood associations. We were encouraged to also move further east where developments are happening quickly all the way to the Port Lands, but we don’t have the capacity to get involved in the details of it. We are hoping the future residents on Queens Quay East will organize and get involved.

The change was up for a vote at a packed meeting at the Radisson Admiral Hotel. A name change of YQNA was also on the agenda — from York Quay to Queens Quay Neighbourhood Association (QQNA). It would reflect our location on the Waterfront and carry the name of Toronto’s most prominent boulevard, but our members felt YQNA is so well established that a name change could have a negative effect, so it was voted down. (Click to see our updated Constitution with new boundaries.)

Farewell to Pam McConnell

Our city councillor Pam McConnell has died much too early at age 71, a great loss to us and the city. She was our defender and ally since YQNA started in 2003 and became a friend to many of us. Pam was easy to approach, and her office was always open to hear our concerns — if not by her then by her senior advisor Tom Davidson, our steady contact person. Pam was busy in her large Ward 28 and as deputy mayor,  but once we had her attention on Waterfront issues, she focused with tremendous energy and could out-talk anyone​. Her ability to wrap up complex issues and see through a bureaucratic haze is clear in this video from City Council. The passion and logic that flowed from her left-of-centre conscience was aimed at building the city, defeating poverty and promoting equality. YQNA joins thousands in sending condolences to her family. Here is a collage of photos of Pam visiting YQNA and taking part in our neighbourhood events over the years.

Removal of Gardiner Ramps

— as seen and photographed by a Waterfront resident

Last Saturday was quiet at the ramp removal site. Just the background hum of traffic and the City, plus the beeping of the huge cherry-pickers as the workmen cut the steel beams off their bearings in a shower of sparks.

Most weekdays are different, when a hoe-ram – which I call the Great Beast – uses its single mechanical tooth to break up the concrete and asphalt roadway on the doomed ramp off the Gardiner to York, Bay and Yonge. Its work is done up to the west edge of Simcoe Street. Next to go will be the ramp that leads to Bay Street and the one that circles down to York Street and Queens Quay, where a lovely park will be created.

It all began 12 years ago, when some YQNA members asked the City if all these ramps were really needed. Fast forward to 2008 when the City finally began to review that very idea, and decided that they could be removed if a new ramp was built to Simcoe Street instead, and if Harbour Street was improved. More recently, Councillor McConnell found money to get the project going. So on April 17, 2017 at 5 am the ramp was closed forever and the demolition began.

This is what I see from my windows: first, the Great Beast cuts off the parapet; then it destroys the deck, pushing the rubble down between the beams. Surprisingly delicately, it cleans the beams of concrete and cuts off the smaller steel ties between them. This is VERY LOUD. All the metal is going to be recycled, I assume.

Next, the beam crew comes along and cuts the beams off the pillars. Other workers clear up the concrete rubble and ensure that dust is kept down and the public kept safe. A huge magnet collects up the small pieces of steel and drops them into a dumpster.

This urban renewal project will be completed in January, 2018, when the new down-ramp to Simcoe will open to traffic. Meanwhile many residents will live with the noise and traffic congestion. Fortunately, we are well trained from the recent three years of redesigning Queens Quay. Here is more information about how the ramp removal will affect us now and in the future.

Sail Ahoy

The Disabled Sailing Association of Ontario (DSAO) helps the disabled get out on Toronto Harbour in specially-designed sailboats all summer. It’s a great charity in the middle of YQNA’s neighbourhood. Come visit DSAO at the Harbourfront slip at Queens Quay and Rees Street.

There are lots of programs for both adults and kids. They are run by students, and supported by lots of enthusiastic volunteers, many from our neighbourhood.

Thanks to the generous support of donors and sponsors, the cost to a disabled person is only $15 per sail, plus a $50/yr membership.

But paying the staff and maintaining the boats costs money! The DSAO is grateful for any contribution. You can make a secure online donation to DSAO through CanadaHelps.org. A tax receipt will be issued to you from the Canada Helps website.

The DSAO also needs volunteers. You don’t have to know how to sail; the association needs helpers on land too. To find out how you can help, please visit DisabledSailingOntario.com.