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A Shiny New Road for Don Valley North

I know that people are getting tired of the after-dinner virtual consultation meeting. I am too. The online format really doesn’t provide the same opportunities that come when we meet in-person, but we still have a few virtual consultations ahead of us and we have to make the most of them. The most important consultation for Don Valley North, in my view, is coming up in December. You would probably rather spend your evening relaxing and watching TV, but it’s time for another consultation about your city and we need your feedback. City transportation staff will be consulting you before embarking on a major road reconstruction on Sheppard Avenue East between Bayview Avenue and Leslie Street. They will also be doing road resurfacing on Sheppard Avenue East from Bonnington Place to Bayview Avenue. The community consultation will take place on Tuesday, December 7 from 6:00 – 8:00 PM. You can find the registration details at the end of this column.

Road reconstruction might not sound like the most exciting thing in the world, but it is a once in a lifetime occurrence. The City only completely reconstructs roads once every 75 to 100 years. This is a huge opportunity for our community to create a road that can support our growing population for the next century. Unlike a simple surface repave job, during road reconstruction the road is dug down to its base and rebuilt entirely. This means the concrete base, asphalt, curb and sidewalk are all completely replaced.

This diagram shows the various layers that make up our roads. In road reconstruction, the "base" layers and the surface layer are completely replaced.

Council has a policy that when a road reconstruction comes around, staff must consult the community on any potential for road redesign according to Toronto’s Complete Streets Guidelines. As I said, these reconstructions only come around once every 75 to 100 years. This means we need to figure out how to design Sheppard Avenue East to support the needs of the community now and decades into the future. Complete Streets is a design approach to make streets safe, convenient, and comfortable for users of all ages and abilities, regardless of their mode of transportation. This means looking into improvements like widening sidewalks and making them more level, which makes them safer and easier to navigate for pedestrians. This is especially important along Sheppard Avenue East as we have a large and vibrant population of seniors who often walk along this major artery. Staff also look at things like the location of bus stops to see if they can improve the road experience for transit users.

This short video explains the ideas behind complete streets and shares some examples of road design changes that can help makes streets comfortable and accessible for everyone, regardless of their mode of transportation.

Bike lanes are also considered when road reconstruction happens. I know that our office receives dozens of calls per month from pedestrians who have had close calls with cyclists on the sidewalk, and that there are frequent requests to add bike lanes to this road from cyclists and other road users. I know that proposing big changes like bike lanes garners a lot of questions and concerns from the community. The most important thing is that we get all the details about the proposal so that each of us can form our opinions and share them with staff effectively. For example, for bikes lanes, it helps to know what type of lane is being proposed, whether they can be installed without losing a lane for cars and buses, and how they would function in intersections. The answers to these questions make a big difference, so be sure to ask staff whenever you need clarification or want to know more about something they’re proposing. Overall, it’s important to come into the virtual consultation meeting with the goal of walking away with as much information as possible. Keep a pen and paper handy to jot down your questions while staff are presenting so that you can remember to ask them during the Q&A portion of the evening. You get much more helpful answers when you ask questions based on the presentation itself. These questions are often what let us get right into the detail of what’s being proposed. Let’s make sure we come away from our Sheppard consultation with all of the info we need, in addition to making our opinions clear. For my own part, I will be asking staff to show us real life examples of any changes they propose. Complete Streets are being put into practice all across North America, so it shouldn’t be hard to show us some visuals so we can fully understand what’s being proposed. Through a quick search, I was able to find this great example of what road reconstruction can look like from Nanaimo, BC:

Finally, for those of us who primarily use our cars to get around, here is a key thing to remember: They really aren’t out to get us, those transportation planners. Honestly, they know that many of us will always own cars, and part of a road reconstruction is making the road work for drivers. However, Council has directed City staff to work with the community to examine what road design changes are possible when the opportunity arises. Sheppard Avenue East is our busiest corridor, and we know many more people will call it home in the coming decades. This reconstruction is a real opportunity for all of us to get involved in designing a road that works for our community for decades to come. I know I can always count on Don Valley Northerners to come out to a consultation, and look forward to working with you on this major capital project.


To register for the Sheppard Avenue East Reconstruction community consultation on Tuesday, December 7 from 6:00 – 8:00 PM, visit the link below:

If you are not able to attend this consultation session, rest assured that there are many more opportunities for engagement. There will be an online survey available from November 30 until the end of December and a second consultation session later this winter with more details that reflect the feedback received at the first consultation. For more information on these additional ways to get involved and details about the project, visit the City’s website below:


Vaccines for Kids Ages 5-11 Calling all Team Toronto superheroes! More than 20,000 COVID19 vaccine appointments are now available for kids ages 5 to 11. All kids can be super heroes and get vaccinated. Heroes protect their city, and getting vaccinated protects kids, their families, school and community. Appointments cam be booked through the provincial booking system online or by phone:

  • Online:

  • Phone: 1-833-943-3900

All children who are born in 2016 or earlier are eligible. Some locations where the vaccine will be available include:

  • City-run Clinics, including Mitchell Field Arena

  • Family health teams, including North York Family Health team

  • Local pharmacies

The City of Toronto is also planning on hosting hundreds of school-based clinics in the coming weeks, and has extended hours of operation at City-run clinics to make vaccinations as accessible as possible for families. It is important that parents share information with their kids and answer their questions about vaccines. Our kids have the opportunity to protect our city and be Team Toronto superheroes! The City's vaccination clinics will have selfie stations, colouring sheets, sticker books, and everything needed to make our kids feel like the superheroes that they are. You can find helpful resources about vaccines for kids at the City's website below:

Vaccine Passports Proof of vaccination is now in effect for select non-essential settings in Ontario. If you need to print or download your proof of immunization, you can do so by visiting or calling the Provincial Vaccine Booking Line at 1-833-943-3900. For more information on the vaccine passport, visit the link below:


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