Update on the fire at 235 Gosford Blvd.

On Friday, November 15, the apartment building located at 235 Gosford Boulevard, near Jane and Steeles, experienced a 5-alarm fire that displaced close to 354 hundred residents and resulted in the death of one resident. The fire reportedly started on the eighth floor, but the Ontario Fire Marshall is not viewing the fire as suspicious at this time. 

Driftwood Community Recreation Centre opened their doors for the first two nights to provide shelter for residents who could not find another place to stay, and York University followed suit by opening their doors for the same purpose. The university released their Tait McKenzie Centre for 14 days to accommodate all of the residents that needed a space to eat, rest and use their facilities. The centre was open 24/7 and ID was not required to register due to the circumstances. Shelter provisions are part of the City’s Emergency Management plan to help house displaced residents and these services are provided for a 14-day period. By the end of the two weeks, 34 residents were left at the centre and were then transferred to hotel accommodations provided by the property manager, RKM.

The City indicated that the reception centre provided cots, showers, secure storage, animal care and personal services such as hygiene kits and mental health supports. The Red Cross was authorized to manage the temporary shelter and distribution of amenities. Vouchers were provided for those who lost or could not access their belongings. Most units were made accessible temporarily for the purpose of scheduling appointments with the landlords, which allowed many residents to drop in and gradually grab supplies from their homes, including clothes and toiletries.

Tenants who made alternate living arrangements were still encouraged to register with the Red Cross on site at York University over the 14-day period to ensure that they had an opportunity to access the same resources that those staying at the shelter were utilizing. Local schools accepted clothing donations for the students impacted by the fire, however, the Red Cross encouraged online donations for security reasons.

Local City Councillor Anthony Perruzza and MPP Tom Rakocevic, along with representatives from their offices were present and continue to advocate for residents. Mayor John Tory was also on-site showing support for the community and has since released statements about the ongoing progress of the situation.

Emergency Response units are still investigating the cause of the fire. While it has not been confirmed when residents can move back, contractors are working to restore the building as quickly as possible. Depending on the state of the unit, it could take months until some are habitable again. The Downsview Advocate will continue to publish updates as they become available in order to keep the neighbourhood up-to-date

If readers have further questions, please call The Red Cross – Toronto Office Emergency Services at: (416) 480-0195 or local City Councillor Anthony Perruzza’s Office at (416) 338-5335.

Update for Residents of 235 Gosford Blvd.

On Friday, November 15, the apartment building located at 235 Gosford Boulevard, near Jane and Steeles, experienced a 5-alarm fire that displaced close to 700 hundred residents and resulted in the passing of one. The fire reportedly started on the eighth floor, but the Ontario Fire Marshall is not viewing the fire as suspicious at this time. 

Driftwood Community Recreation Centre opened their doors first to provide shelter access for the residents who could not find another place to stay, and York University followed suit by opening their doors for the same purpose. The University has released their Tait McKenzie Centre to accommodate all residents if they need a space to eat, rest and use their facilities. Those staying at Driftwood were transported by TTC to York on Sunday afternoon.

Tenants are encouraged to go to the Tait McKenzie Centre at York University, located at 1 Thompson Road. The facility is open 24/7, and ID is not required to register.

The City said that the “The reception centre [at York University] is pet-friendly and will offer meals, cots and blankets, washrooms and showers, secure storage of personal belongings, animal care for pets and service animals and personal services such as hygiene kits and mental health support.” 

The Red Cross has been managing the temporary shelter and distribution of amenities since Friday. Tenants who have made alternate living arrangements are still encouraged to register with the Red Cross on site at York University to ensure that they have access to the resources that they might require going forward, including food and mental health care.

Local City Councillor Anthony Perruzza and MPP Tom Rakocevic have been present both on-site at 235 Gosford and at shelter locations since Friday night to help advocate for residents. Mayor John Tory was also on-site on Friday night to show support for the community.

Emergency Response units are still investigating the cause of the fire and contractors are working to restore the building. It has not been confirmed when residents can move back, but York University will be available for the next 14 days. Some units have been severely damaged and may not be livable for some time. The Electrical Safety Authority has restored power to parts of the building, not entirely since wires and circuit breakers need to be repaired first. The Landlords were allowed partial access to their building on Monday afternoon, and are known to be cooperating with the investigation.

The Downsview Advocate will continue to publish updates as they become available.


If readers have further questions, please call The Red Cross – Toronto Office Emergency Services at: (416) 480-0195 or local City Councillor Anthony Perruzza’s Office at (416) 338-5335.

While residents have been reportedly taking initiative and donating food, clothing and other provisions to their neighbours, the Red Cross is not currently accepting physical donations. Residents are encouraged to donate online at:

https://www.redcross.ca/donate/other-ways-to-donate/donate-by-phone

Next steps for Toronto transit

On October 16, Toronto City Council voted to launch a $28.5 billion transit plan that will be partially funded by the provincial government. Council’s decision happened after the Premier backpedalled from his original agenda to control the city’s transit system. City Councillors were widely opposed to the upload of the TTC. On November 4, Premier Doug Ford, Ontario Minister of Transportation, Caroline Mulroney and Mayor John Tory made an announcement about the plan.

Mayor Tory said, “Today’s announcement is a joint commitment to getting transit built together. I will continue to work tirelessly, as I have done over the last five years, to make sure all three governments are at the table moving transit forward as quickly as possible.”

The plan includes the Ontario Line, a downtown relief line to be completed by 2027, and an improved three-stop Scarborough Subway Extension to be finished by 2029-30. It also incorporates the Yonge North Subway Extension to York Region, to be completed by 2029-30, and lastly a light rail addition to the Eglinton West Crosstown to be finalized by 2030-31.

The Premier initially declared his plan to build the Ontario Line back in April, however his pitch did not confirm that he would incorporate the Mayor’s Smart Track approach at that time. 

The Premier has called on the newly re-elected Prime Minister Trudeau to further his investment in the future of Toronto’s public transit.

“Working with all three levels of government, we are clearing the roadblocks and getting shovels in the ground – now we are asking the federal government to commit to increasing their contribution and funding their fair share,” said Premier Ford.

The federal government has an opportunity to verify its commitment to the plan by providing an updated breakdown of its contributions. Toronto will re-allocate nearly $3.8 billion in the federal funding that they have already received to build transit. Minister Mulroney reinforced that the existing subway system would remain the City’s responsibility to maintain, while the province would undertake partial responsibility of the four extensions, which includes capital costs.

Shelagh Pizey-Allen, from the public transit advocacy group, TTCriders, highlighted the importance of having guaranteed timelines from the province and implementing integrated fares to ensure equitable access to transit. She also reinforced the value of public consultations to provide inclusiveness in an on-going conversation about Toronto’s transit system.

“Before City Council rubber-stamps a deal with Premier Ford, they must guarantee that any new transit lines are built without delay, integrated with the TTC for a single fare, respect community concerns with meaningful public consultation, and be publicly delivered and owned by the TTC,” said Shelagh Pizey-Allen.

While breaking ground is seen as progress in a City that needs transportation infrastructure sooner than it can be built, Torontonians are left speculating whether these extensions will be built in time to welcome pending population booms. Given that the Premier has cutback on public services, residents are left hoping that the province will honour their promise to improving public transit in a timely, cost-effective approach.