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Keep it up, Don Valley North!

BY SHELLEY CARROLL Bravo to you all. This past week I've noticed that Don Valley North is taking its duty to flatten the curve of COVID-19 very seriously. Most stores are placing markers on their floors to encourage physical distancing and are controlling the number of people allowed inside at a time. Where they haven’t, residents are letting us know. People are learning how to be careful on their fresh air outings by keeping a safe distance and avoiding playgrounds. I've been calling a few of you every afternoon and most of you have said you're happy to do your part. A more serious tone Yesterday morning, you heard Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health take an even more serious tone with us. That tone was matched by other leaders as the day progressed. That's because our local incidence of the virus has grown by 500 per cent in just two weeks — and our leaders want us to be mindful that this can mean an exponential increase over the following two weeks if we don't continue to take physical distancing seriously.

Mayor John Tory sounded so stern that he reminded me of my grandfather, Wallace Baskerville. No one could make you feel worse when we disappointed him with our shenanigans than my dear old granddad, mainly because we loved him so much. Hopefully, John will evoke the same feeling in us. We can still do better John is particularly disappointed, as am I, that people are taking advantage of the quiet roads to do some extreme speeding. While they are not health care workers, Toronto’s police officers are key to our response during this crisis — having them stop to ticket people racing down Leslie Street at 90 km/h is a tragic waste of their time. We still see the odd person forgetting to keep their distance as they walk through parks. Remember that we should only be walking closely with people we live with, otherwise we must keep at least a two-metre distance. In fact, Mayor Tory just announced this afternoon that anyone caught walking within two metres of another person in a Toronto public park or square may be subject to fine as high as $5,000.

Additionally, removing caution tape from playgrounds and sports equipment endangers everyone — not to mention it will incur a hefty fine. Leave it taped off for the sake of others if you don’t care about your own safety. Even sitting on a park bench for a quick rest is a risk. Just keep it moving and be sure to wash your hands as soon as you get home even if you think you didn’t touch anything. If you live in a building with a common laundry room, wash your hands before you go downstairs to use the machine. Stand away from others and wash your hands again when you get back upstairs. Think about it: what if the other person in the laundry room works in a nursing home? Being diligent with your hygiene helps keep that worker safe as well as her patients. Dr. Eileen de Villa really wants us to limit our outings to the grocery store as much as possible. So dust off some cookbooks and try something new. Earlier this week I baked "Corona Cupcakes" for my daughter to take to the hospital where she and her co-workers are working so hard.

I tried a type of icing I haven’t before and botched it. I ended up doing them over at midnight with my tried and true buttercream. My husband and I had some laughs and got them done. The hospital staff loved the treats even though they were required to individually bag them and isolate them for three hours before consuming — I am told it was worth the wait!

Available supports With the range of supports being offered at every level — from school supports that your local school trustee can help with to employment insurance from the federal government — we want you to know how to access your Don Valley North elected representatives at every level. Here is their contact information: Federal Representative: MP Han Dong Email: Phone number: 416-443-0623 Provincial Representative: MPP Vincent Ke Email: Phone number: 416-494-8778 Toronto District School Board: Trustee James Li Email: Phone number: 416-395-8787 Toronto Catholic District School Board: Trustee Angela Kennedy Email: Phone number: 416-512-3411 I also want to remind you that if you are able, a donation to North York Harvest Food Bank is the safest, fastest way to help our community right now. Many of our neighbours have suddenly become unemployed and are facing food insecurity. Click here to find out how to donate. Something to make you smile I want to close with a cute video and a shout-out. In Parkway Forest, local community leaders Candice and Lubna partnered (while distancing, of course) with TPS Constable Extraordinaire, PC Dale Swift, to get residents of the towers to thank our first responders.

It got very loud and joyous as the video demonstrates. If you doubt the meaningfulness of these impromptu displays, take a look at the touching comments that have been left on the video. I hope this brightened your day even a little. Please consider sharing this e-blast with anyone who may need the information included here — it's especially important now to stay connected and know how to get help.


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