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:


3 ways to drive profitability

While most business owners want to increase profits, most do not have a plan to do so. Some say they will increase profits by boosting sales. But how will you boost sales? Will you hire more sales-people? Can you afford more sales-people? Will you leverage additional sales channels through which you can sell your products or services?

Will you try and help any customer that comes to you? Can you afford to do everything for every customer? Do you know which products or services are worth your time to produce or deliver? Do you know which products or services are actually profitable once you take input costs, overheads, salaries (Yes this includes your salary as well), delivery and other costs into account?

Will you perhaps expand to another location or add additional products and services? What will this entail? 

It seems that no matter what the initial idea, some thought and planning may be required to make this a reality. This “plan” is often called a business strategy. It could be either a strategy for a specific functional area such as marketing or sales, or alternatively, it could be a complete and comprehensive business strategy. Developing a business strategy can be difficult but it is often the difference between success and failure. If your business does not have business strategy, speak to someone who can help you create one.

Creating a niche for your business is important in making your business different from your competitors and does not force you to compete with large companies with scale, that can offer the same products or services at a cheaper price. Every business should think like their target audience or customers.  Know their exact needs, motivators, wants, dreams, goals, and interests. Find out what is valuable to your customers and what they are willing to pay a little extra for. Ever wonder why Starbucks (a normal coffee shop) was able to differentiate enough to grow much faster than their competitors? 

Finally, it is important to create internal targets and goals. This helps to determine how well you are doing. One way to measure progress toward achieving your business goals is to use key performance indicators (KPI’s). Another is to use customer satisfaction as a benchmark for external performance and success.

KPIs provide us with an immediate snapshot of the overall performance of our businesses. To be used effectively, we need to measure and track the key performance indicators crucial to the success of our business such as profit margins per product category, and total sales. They also play a key role by providing vital decision-making information. (Do we sell more of product A or Product B? Which one is actually more profitable?) 

Customer satisfaction can be measured using the Net Promoter Score (NPS) which we discussed in our last article. Have you done this for your business yet? How high is your Net Promoter Score?

“Profitability is coming from productivity, efficiency, management, austerity, and the way to manage the business”-  Carlos Slim

Reflections on the federal election: Next time, let’s choose something other than the blue and red team

On October 21,  Canada and Downsview voted for a new Federal Government. After a very messy election, the result was a Liberal Minority government and the Conservatives as the official opposition, with the NDP and Bloc Québécois  holding the balance of power.

Every time there is an election in Canada, Ontario voters seem to be given two picks. With one exception 30 years ago, since Confederation in 1867 voters have only made one of two choices at the ballot box in Ontario: red or blue. We vote Liberal when we cannot stomach the cuts that the blue team is promising to carry out. We vote Conservative when we cannot stomach the corruption and waste of the red team. In this riding we lean red federally for decades. 

Here is a list of what bouncing between the blue team and the red team have gotten us: 

  • Housing that is unaffordable in the GTA because the government stopped building cooperative housing and affordable rentals in the 1990s. 
  • Nearly 30 years of unfulfilled promises for a Universal Childcare Strategy.
  • Rising medication costs, because pharmacare is not a priority for the two main parties. 
  • The most expensive phone bills in North America, and bad internet coverage.
  • The most expensive monthly metropass in North America, and bad bus service. 

These issues affect all of us day in and day out. Whether we are stuck in traffic because public transit is not an efficient way to get around, or we are jammed in a hospital where there are not enough nurses to treat us when we need help the most. Many people have to choose between buying their prescriptions and paying their rent on time, even if they work more than 40 hours per week.

These are all things that governments in other places have tackled and worked on. Collectively, people in Ontario seemed to feel that we avoided the cutting of programs from another Conservative government. But same as the blue team – the priority of the red team on the first day after the election were tax cuts for the rich and to build a pipeline for Alberta. 

There is very little difference between the priorities of the blue and the red teams. This is why when we vote for the same people, we get the same results.

All of Toronto’s representation is from the red team. It is as if we threw a red carpet over all of the GTA to cover up all that is wrong from the last decision we took in Ontario – hoping it would make up for it.

The good news is that minority governments tend not to last the full term, so there might be an opportunity to demand more and to demand differently sooner rather than later. The same old decision to go back and forth between red and blue is not moving us forward as a society.