Have you carved your pumpkin yet?

It’s nearly Hallowe’en, our favourite spooky time of the year! Have you carved your pumpkin yet? Each year, DECA extends the celebrations and fun by one day, inviting you to bring your pumpkin to East Lynn Park on November 1st, starting at 6:30 until 9:00pm for our Pumpkin Parade. And there’s a surprise this year – a contest for the best pumpkins sponsored by our friends at Create Art Studio! Let’s have some spine-tingling, candlelit fun and meet some neighbours.

🎃 Contest categories are:

  • Most Scary Pumpkin
  • Most Creative Pumpkin
  • Best Decorated Pumpkin by age (7 and under, 8-11, 12-15)
  • People’s Choice as voted by the community

Please join us at this magical event. Bring your pumpkin and candle or battery operated light. We’ll be there to help you light the candles.

A huge thanks to all the community volunteers who pitch in to organize and run this special event – without you, we couldn’t make this happen.

East Lynn Park is located on Danforth Ave. one block west of Woodbine.

Learn about plans for Danforth Garage on October 30th Community Meeting

CreateTO and the City of Toronto are holding the 2nd community meeting to present Master Plan concepts for the Danforth Garage site. See the options and voice your opinion!

Date: Tuesday October 30, 2018

Time: 5:30- 6:30 pm Open House

Time: 6:30- 9:00 pm Presentation & Discussion- Draft Master Plan Concepts

Location: Monarch Park Collegiate Institute- Cafeteria, 1 Hanson Street

The Danforth Garage site’s anchor tenants are the TTC, the Toronto Police Services, and the Toronto Public Library. The purpose of the study is to create a master plan that accommodates the needs of the three anchor tenants, as well as the local community. This site could become a catalyst for regeneration and place-making in our community.

Bring your neighbour and find out more on Tuesday!

More info is available at www.danforthgarage.com

Photo taken on a recent tour of the building.

Last Farmers’ Market and Candidate Meet and Greet

Thursday, October 11 – last East Lynn Farmers’ Market of 2018!


The last market of 2018 is happening on Thursday and it is one that you do not want to miss. Stock up on all the beautiful food still available in October!
We have a special guest vendor this week, Dunbar Organic Farms.  In addition to their organic vegetables, they will have their free-range organic chickens (frozen) for sale.
In the Community Wellness Tent, Savage Falcon Energy Crystals will be offering a crystal grid display and energy clearing body work.
The farmers and vendors make the market possible, but it is our volunteers who make our market special. Thank you!
And thanks to all of you who come to the market and support our farmers. We do our best, and are always happy for new ideas and new people continue to help us make weekly magic happen for our wonderful community from June-October!
Get in touch if you want to be more involved for next year – there’s lots of cool ways to contribute.
DECA has arranged a candidate meet and greet at this week’s market, from 3:00-6:00pm. This will be a chance for market-goers to chat up City Councillor candidates (Ward 19) and TDSB Trustee candidates (Ward 16). We don’t know who exactly is coming or not so you’ll have to just come and see!
Our Ward 19 Councillor Candidate Q&A blog series is now completed and we are grateful to the 10 Candidates who responded to these six questions from the DECA Board:
1. What makes you the best person to represent the Danforth East area?
2. What do you think is the most pressing issue for this area, and what is your plan to address it?
3. Who do you support for mayor, and why?
4. DECA took the position that changing the ward boundaries during the election was undemocratic. What do you think about that?
5. We expect that our area will see a lot of development in the next four years. What do you think about that?
6. How will you contribute to a more diverse and representative Council?
Here is what they said (click on each name to go to the candidate’s answers):
Advanced voting began today and continues through this Sunday at Beaches Rec Centre (6 Williamson Road), Secord Community Centre (91 Barrington), or at City Hall (100 Queen St W) from 10am-7pm. Otherwise, election day is October 22!

The East Lynn Farmers’ Market runs every Thursday from 3-7:00 p.m. between June 7 – October 11 at East Lynn Park, located on the south side of Danforth Ave, just west of Woodbine Ave. Stay up to date by visiting the East Lynn Market Facebook page or by following us on Twitter. If you’d like to volunteer as a cookor a DECA Booth helper please connect! 

#Ward19 Candidate Q&A: Diane Dyson

As we indicated in our recent blog post, DECA posed the same questions to every Ward 19 City Councillor candidate with a published email address (on the city election website). We are publishing their replies in the order that we receive them. 

Meet: Diane Dyson


1. What makes you the best person to represent the Danforth East area?

I am a proud East-Ender in this great city of ours.  I’ve lived in the East End for almost thirty years and raised my family here as a single mum. Even as a low-income family, we enjoyed a great library, recreational programs, affordable childcare, and quick access to downtown by public transit. We walked the boardwalk and ravines, picnicked in our local parks, swam in our local pools. So on a very personal level, I know that well-funded public services in every neighbourhood are what make this city welcoming for all.

Over the past two decades, my professional work has focused on ensuring everyone has the same opportunity to revel in a vibrant city, safe and sustainable neighbourhoods where we can all live well and grow, and a community where everyone belongs.

In my day job at WoodGreen Community Services, I have had the chance to oversee work on  immigrant and refugee services, wraparound housing programs, poverty reduction and commercial renewal through the Pop-Up Shops partnership with the Danforth East Community Association.

I have travelled internationally to train others on community-building, and I have been a mentor to people in the Community Foundation’s Vital People programs and the DiverseCity Fellow program.

I worked on the Strong Neighbourhood strategy and two reports on poverty at United Way Toronto. During the Harris years, I was with People for Education ensuring all kids have a fair chance, even as funding cuts came.

In each of these roles, my secret superpower has been focusing on concrete solutions to the challenges people face. Under my leadership, we have fought for and won the elimination of the vacant storefront tax rebate, created resource supports for inner city schools and, later, for community hubs. I have mapped out and then coordinated better services for immigrants, children, families and older adults.

I am running for City Council because I know the issues here from the ground up: I have done the research, studied the evidence, and developed the policy recommendations. We know what we must do: We must feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, and comfort the lonely. Yet change is slow.

I am tired of trying to convince politicians and political insiders to have the courage to act. It has become clear to me now that research reports, political strategies, and community-level advocacy can only do so much.

We need a Councillor with the political will to move to action. We need a Councillor to build the city we all want to – and can – live in. We need our ward Councillor, and the wider Council, to represent us.

I am not a political insider, but I am a city-builder. I have worked across governments at the staff and political levels to create positive changes in our community. I want to represent us all.


2. What do you think is the most pressing issue for this area, and what is your plan to address it?

If elected, I will be a champion for issues important to building strong neighbourhoods in the east end:

First is addressing quality, affordable licensed childcare and programming for youth. Publically-supported programs are in very short supply, and families are having to patch together care. As a single mother who relied on these programs and funding, this is personal.

If elected I will work with parents, child care advocates and community organizations to:

  • Protect public funding for non-profit centres
  • Expedite implementation of  the Child Care Growth Strategy
  • Keep City-operated child care services in current and new locations
  • Broaden eligibility for fee subsidy to more families, particularly part-time and shift workers, and streamline the application and approval process
  • Pay decent salaries to child care staff

Second is our natural environment – we need to protect our green spaces and waterways. Recent weather events, powerful storms and flooding in the city demand that we respond. As Harrison Ford once said, “We need nature; it doesn’t need us.” Our city must protect environmentally sensitive areas, the quality of our water, the flora and fauna. The City’s Ravine Strategy lays out a carefully negotiated vision for how we can get there. Work on the Resilience strategy should address some of the dramatic climate shifts we are seeing. And TransformTO, the City’s own climate action strategy, sets out the key goals we need to reduce emissions on a timed schedule. I will push to accelerate each of these strategies to action.

Third, we need to focus on housing. I hear this issue from local residents across the ward. City Council has some of the tools to make housing more affordable, many of which I have worked on:

  • Nonprofit, supportive and co-op housing.
  • Conversion of public land to mixed service/housing sites.
  • Community hubs with housing (imagine seniors with a childcare).  
  • Landlord licensing.
  • Inclusive zoning, second suites and laneway housing.
  • Speedier planning processes, especially for non-profit housing.

While we will see little leadership from the province on this, the new National Housing Strategy directs funds to municipalities. A focus on housing for First Nations peoples is a strong area of focus and one which is important to me.

City Council also has within its powers the ability to provide more solutions. Let’s allow co-housing so that seniors or others who may be isolated can live with one another. Let’s ensure tenants receive the property tax rates owed to them as the commercial tax rate is changed.

Having spent the last six years on the board of the Federation of Metro Tenants Association (FMTA), and having worked for one of the city’s largest housing providers, I am ready to hit the ground quickly on these issues.

Other policy commitments are available at my website: dianedyson.ca


3. Who do you support for mayor, and why?

I have worked with both of the lead mayoralty candidates and am confident I can continue to work with either on a professional level. It’s what we do, always do, in the nonprofit sector.

I worked with John Tory on the City’s Poverty Reduction Advisory Table. It was through his initiative that TTC fares for children were eliminated. We pushed hard for an expansion within a short timeline.

I had the chance to work with Jen Keesmaat around our Pop-Up Shop initiative. She was a keynote speaker at our symposium on the topic where she spoke tellingly about the importance of strong neighbourhoods. I also worked with her on our advocacy case to the province around schools as community hubs. This was during a time when the City and the local schools boards didn’t even meet to do joint planning or information-sharing. We helped change that, and they have established a Committee and now meet regularly

Torontonians have a wide choice of mayoralty candidates from whom to choose. The broadened mayoral debates have invited new voices and new perspectives into the civic conversation.

On a personal level, when I vote, I will look for a representative voice.


4. DECA took the position that changing the ward boundaries during the election was undemocratic. What do you think about that?

I think DECA is very wise.

City Council regularly passes hundreds of items at its meetings. Most issues are ready for easy adoption as they have been vetted by Council Committees, staff and members of the public who have had the chance to comment beforehand.

This move was arbitrary and disruptive. For much of August, I focused on pushing back on this provincial change. While some of my opponents were busy campaigning in the new-to-them parts of the ward, I worked with other candidates from across the city to push back.

Whether you agree that Council should be reduced or is dysfunctional, almost every agreed the timing of the change was unfair to us all. The new provincial legislation gave no recourse for consultation and discussion. While lawsuits and court challenges are continuing, the new 25-Councillor format has been implemented for this election.

How will this changed Council look? At one of the emergency meeting of City Council, Councillor Mary Margaret McMahon gave us a hint, describing her workload, responding to local residents, attending community events, preparing for meetings and more. She summed it up, “The dog I gave my children when I was elected doesn’t even know me.”

So the expanded role of a ward Councillor will be heavy, but the issues and challenges we face as a City remain the same. So I am still running to represent Beaches East York.

One of the silver linings arising out of this turmoil is the wider discussion of how residents can be more closely involved at the local level. We may redefine our Community Councils. Having written the resident engagement guidelines for United Way’s priority neighbourhoods, and having seen DECA’s good work, I am committed to building strong and representative neighbourhood networks here in Ward 19.


5. We expect that our area will see a lot of development in the next four years. What do you think about that?

Two large areas of pending development are the Main/Danforth transit hub, where I live (and have been attending the City’s meetings on this for close to a year), and the very large site of the Coxwell/Danforth TTC Garage, where community members are already organizing. I would work with all local stakeholders to balance competing interests and demands. Our community’s interests must be as strongly balanced.

I believe the Danforth, as a main corridor, should support mid-rise development. What Toronto tends to see however is more “spiky” development, highrises in the middle of residential development). More human-scaled buildings are a better fit for our community.

Because we risk becoming an enclave, where only the richest folks can live, I would welcome development that provides affordable and alternative housing forms. (The definition of ‘affordable’ is a separate policy question, one I believe will be very important as the City develops guidelines around Inclusive Zoning.) 

As a community, we have the opportunity to look at the specifics of each development. How many family-sized units are included? What do the street-level storefronts look like? Will the areas for commercial property offer opportunities for small-scale local retail? Can the second floor be used for offices or services? I am even concerned about environmental impacts, given that we are on a major bird migration pathway, such as whether the design is compliant with the City’s Bird-Friendly Guidelines?

While some development is certain,it is important for us to look at the impact of new developments on our surroundings. Do we have the proper infrastructure to support the development (everything from sewage to local school capacity)? What benefits can be derived from the developer for the local community? How will community interests and concerns be addressed during the development so as to minimize disruptions?

Development along the Danforth is coming. The provincial plan and the City’s own Main Streets strategies call for it. The area around Main and Danforth has also been designated as a transit hub by the province, so that means higher levels of density. Change is coming. What is left with us, at the level of local government and as a community, is the shape of that development and how we can plan for its impact.


6. How will you contribute to a more diverse and representative Council?  

If Diversity is Strength, then my family is superhuman. We live at the intersection of much diversity. I am a single mother, who when they were young, had an annual income of $12,000 and a childcare subsidy from the City. My kids’ dad is Chinese, so I learned enough of the language to become close to my mother-in-law. My son and his dad, both born and raised in the East End, have been stopped and carded by Toronto police a number of times. My daughter is queer and her long-time partner has a disability. We live a very Toronto life!

My commitment to equity issues has been the driving force of my professional life – that is, the very Canadian belief that everyone deserves a fair chance and the truth that many of us don’t have the same opportunities. So I sat on and co-chaired the TDSB’s equity committee through most of my kids’ schooling. (I returned there recently for a reprise, to work specifically the Board’s Taskforce on Anti-Black racism.) I also went to enough grad school to learn the importance of an intersectional lens on equity issues, our responsibilities as allies, and understand my cross-class experience.

These learnings are deep in my bones.

But what will I do? On the first order, I will stand as a clear and vocal reminder of Toronto’s complicated and mixed diversity. Secondly, as I have in all my work, I will act as an advocate for inclusion. Even asking the simple question of who is not inside the room when we make decisions can be a radical act. Kicking open the door is even better. Third, I will push for positive change wherever I can. That means standing against police carding, that means interrogating the City’s hiring practices and staff training, and that means analyzing who benefits and who doesn’t whenever a new policy is proposed or a budget line item moved. It is what we called for when we pushed for the City to adopt its Poverty Reduction strategy; it is using a critical lens on city decisions.

This question is more important than what I can contribute individually. It is a question for all of us.

We know, because of the reduction to 25 Councillors and how incumbents are squaring off against incumbents, that our Council will not reflect the most basic demographic makeup of Toronto. By some counts, there will be at least 16 straight, white, able-bodied, cis-gendered men.

Now, there is an argument that this is okay because we may well have the most experienced and progressive Councillors there are to be had. Maybe that’s what the best look like.

But I cannot believe that old trope.

I cannot believe that old trope because, as we proclaim, diversity is strength. We are stronger when we each bring something different to the table.

Our City Council table is smaller now, so who is sitting at it matters.

I am ready to take my seat.


For more information:
Email: diane@dianedyson.ca
Campaign Office: 2084 Danforth Ave (at Woodbine)
Twitter: @Diane_Dyson
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DianeDysonforBEY/
Phone: (647) 352-2260

#Ward19 Candidate Q&A: David Del Grande

As we indicated in our recent blog post, DECA posed the same questions to every Ward 19 City Councillor candidate with a published email address (on the city election website). We are publishing their replies in the order that we receive them. 

Meet: David Del Grande


1. What makes you the best person to represent the Danforth East area?

I’ve lived in our community for nearly a decade; it’s where my wife and I have put down our roots, and where we’re raising our two children. I am the best person to represent our area of Danforth East because I care for, and love my neighbourhood and neighbours that I have the pleasure of interacting with daily. I seek to serve, and to
improve the lives of this community, where I live, shop, play, and leisure.

We live in a fantastic area, in a great city, but not without our challenges. I would be the leader for our community that would to recognize and address the various big and small, new and ongoing issues that face our community.


2. What do you think is the most pressing issue for this area, and
what is your plan to address it?

Transit is the biggest issue facing our Ward.

Living by choice in a home without a car, I know the importance of reliable transit to a family and a household.

Our traffic and development patterns require many to travel along the subway, streetcar, or buses towards jobs, schooling, and appointments in the downtown area. Our system is overburdened, and relief planning and funding is deprioritized in favour of transit projects that best serve the electability of our current leadership, and not the needs of

We need to have a more honest conversation about the timelines, costs, and the way we build transit in our city. In addition, we leaders have to have the principled courage to not move forward with costly and unnecessary transit planning for the sake of perceived political expedience.


3. Who do you support for mayor, and why?

I strongly support Jennifer Keesmaat for Mayor.

Keesmaat has presented a positive vision of Toronto that I want to get behind – one that speaks to address the most pressing needs our city faces: affordability, transit, and safety.

The policies she has announced over the course of the campaign are bold, stretch-goals, and in the best interest of the city’s residents – the kind of leadership Toronto deserves.

Our city is plagued by leaders who refute data, evidence, and best-practice learnings from peer cities. Jennifer understands that while Toronto is special, our problems are not unique and there are many solutions at our disposal for decisive leaders to implement.


4. DECA took the position that changing the ward boundaries during the election was undemocratic. What do you think about that?

It was unquestionably undemocratic.

Candidates and residents were deprived of a rich, full, campaign period where ideas could be generated, disseminated, debated, and decided.

Instead, despite the City undertaking a multi-year 3rd-party lead review of Ward boundaries and despite the election having been in progress for months, a period of chaotic-uncertainty began. The constant changes and challenges deprived all of an ability to fairly assess potential leaders and to effectively decide the direction of
our neighbourhood and city over the next four years.

The relationship between Toronto and the Province needs to be redefined, as the only barrier to further interference in the electoral process and overall city governance is the will of the Premier.


5. We expect that our area will see a lot of development in the next four years. What do you think about that?

Toronto is managing a good-to-have problem: growth. We are a desirable place to live and locate jobs. That challenge filters down to the Ward level – to make space and to provide spaces that can be afforded by more residents.

The Danforth-East community can expect to see additional development applications in the coming years. As a Councillor, I’d generally be supportive of these applications provided they adhered to design guidelines, enhanced the local community, and acknowledge and mitigate neighbourhood concerns raised during the development process.

I’m also in favour of gentle density increases in our neighbourhoods, allowing for smaller-scale redevelopments (what’s generally referred to as the ‘missing middle’) that provides additional housing options.


6. How will you contribute to a more diverse and representative Council?

This is a great question in light of this election. When the election initially proceeded in a 47-ward model, many diverse (aka candidates who were not like me: able-bodied, heterosexual, white, male, home-owners), candidates were hailed as future civic leaders and received various endorsements from parties and politicians. Once Council size was reduced to 25 Wards, many of these candidates were dropped, or voluntarily stepped aside.

From this experience, I can see we’ll need a different approach to create a Council that’s more reflective of our City, as supportive words can often be hollow without further plans to back it up.

The ways I can contribute to the goal of a more diverse and representative Council are varied, and rely on data and evidence to support the solutions, namely:

– Advocating to change our voting system to one where we rank candidates by order of preference (ranked ballots). Changing the winner-take-all mentality of our current system, to one where collaboration is rewarded, has been shown to have an appreciable
impact on diversity of elected representatives.

– A commitment to not endorse any candidate. I don’t feel it’s right or desirable for a sitting Councillor to endorse another candidate, as they clearly have not had the time nor the will to fairly evaluate all contenders prior to making an informed endorsement
that’s in the best interest of their community. Instead, Councillors should serve as mentors for interested residents in their Ward, and proactively seek out people from marginalized communities to give them the tools, knowledge, and connections if they should seek to run for office. A Councillor’s role is to equip the next wave of leaders, not
to anoint a chosen one.

– A desire to explore municipal parties, similar to the experience in other large Canadian cities (such as Montreal and Vancouver); which would serve to encourage the parties to seek out and present a slate of candidates that matches the residents they’re
looking to represent.
For more information:

#Ward19 Candidate Q&A: Valérie Maltais

As we indicated in our recent blog post, DECA posed the same questions to every Ward 19 City Councillor candidate with a published email address (on the city election website). We are publishing their replies in the order that we receive them. 

Meet: Valérie Maltais

1. What makes you the best person to represent the Danforth East area?

I gained a vast array of skills and broad knowledge working in the private sector and volunteering with various organizations that support victims and marginalized communities over the last 15 years. With a degree in environmental science and a certification in project management, I will bring a data-driven and structured approach to solving problems and implementing solutions. Prior to my environmental and sustainability career, I was a funeral director (studied at Humber College).

My first job in Toronto was on the Danforth at the family-owned O’Connor Bros. Funeral Home in 2002. I am a shop-local advocate and supporter of small business. I have strong family values and a natural ability to bring people to the table to find win-win solutions. I love people and I love problem-solving. These are some of the reasons why I am confident that I can represent and serve the Danforth East area well.


2. What do you think is the most pressing issue for this area, and what is your plan to address it?

Residents are telling me that they are concerned about affordability, small business revitalization, and transportation. These form my priorities, but I see affordability as the most pressing. Solving affordability will have the knock-on effects of reducing crime and improving small business (as people have more disposable income).

The two main affordability issues are the cost of housing and the cost of childcare. My plan to address housing is to increase housing inventory by supporting gentle density including low-rise & mid-rise condominiums and apartment buildings; Remove barriers for creating laneway housing (currently approximately $40k for application); Ensure affordable housing units are included in new buildings. My plan to address child care is to make the Childcare Growth’s Strategy a reality (ensure 50 % of kids aged 0-4 to have access to licensed childcare – this currently sits at 34 %). We can achieve this by supporting a thriving workforce for early childcare educators, building capacity to meet the demand, and improving the affordability with public / private investment (for all income families) and fee subsidies (for families in financial need; Introduce measures that protect families from predatory business practices (e.g.: mandatory year-round childcare).


3. Who do you support for mayor, and why?

I am currently undecided who I will vote for in the mayoral race. I am still researching as the candidates continue to unveil their platforms. Regardless of who is elected, I will work with the mayor and the 24 other councillors to make our city more sustainable and prepare for the anticipated growth in population.


4. DECA took the position that changing the ward boundaries during the election was undemocratic. What do you think about that?

Changing the ward boundaries mid-election was anti-democratic in that it disenfranchised voters.  One of the reasons that I decided to run for city council was because I see the inefficiencies when watching council meetings and I want to improve this from the inside. The ward boundary change has seen approximately 75 candidates drop out of the election across Toronto, many of these individuals would have brought fresh ideas and diversity to the municipal government. To encourage new candidates and diversity on city council, I have committed to serving no more than two terms.


5. We expect that our area will see a lot of development in the next four years. What do you think about that?

Development, done responsibly, is a great opportunity for Beaches – East York. Adding gentle density will reduce the cost of living for residents and provide additional patrons for the struggling businesses. It will be important that the character of the neighbourhoods are maintained, that developers are held accountable to meeting the Green Standards, that affordable units are mandatory (rather than incentivized), adjacent property owners concerns are considered and impacts are avoided and responsibly mitigated, and that the supporting infrastructure and services are advanced at the appropriate rate (e.g.: parking, transportation, sewage, childcare, and schools).


6. How will you contribute to a more diverse and representative Council?

I am a woman, a francophone, a scientist and a project manager.

I am the only candidate with a background in science and project management (a true rarity in politics). Beaches – East York has the opportunity to change the composition of city hall to bring a more data-driven and structured approach to our municipal government.

City council is currently composed of just 32% women. This number is predicted to drop during this election due to incumbent advantage unless we elected women in the two open wards, including Ward 19 Beaches – East York.


For more information, visit: www.vmaltais.com