TRCA building’s groundbreaking event

I was pleased to participate in the ground-breaking ceremony on June 7 for the brand new Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) head office in our community. This project is significant for many reasons.

The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority is an essential provincial body that manages our city’s watershed and ravine system (such as the Humber River and Black Creek waterways). They ensure that the ongoing effects of climate change are mitigated, and they do the bulk of behind-the-scenes work in ensuring our community remains as safe as possible from flooding and pollution. The reason we have clean and reliable water sources is partially due to the good work done by the TRCA. As seasonal and flash flooding becomes more commonplace, the TRCA’s efforts are becoming ever-more essential.

The building itself is to be on 5 Shoreham Drive. It will be a state-of-the-art eco-friendly structure that sets a new standard for office building development with the highest ‘green’ certifications and low-carbon footprint. The building is aiming for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) platinum certification as well as “WELL Building” certification. It is the kind of building we can point to when looking to achieve the highest standards in commercial building development in our community and City. It is set to be completed in spring, 2021.

The economic impact of this new building will also be a welcome benefit to our community. The hundreds of full time jobs the office will bring, in addition to the thousands of volunteers it will attract every year, will generate new business and economic activity to our area.

The TRCA was founded in the wake of Hurricane Hazel’s disastrous flooding impact on the City of Toronto. Its mission statement is to ensure our city and region’s ability to weather 10, 25, and 100-year storms is maximized, and our watersheds and ravines remain protected from pollution and inappropriate development. It is essential to the quality of life in our city. 

In my roles as TRCA Chair, Toronto City Councillor, and TRCA Board Member I have overseen this project since its infancy and I was extremely proud to be alongside other dignitaries to break ground for it in Humber River—Black Creek. 

Maria Augimeri
TRCA Board Member,
Former TRCA Chair,
Former Toronto City Councillor

Summer in Downsview Park

It’s that time of year again. The sun is beaming, the birds are chirping, and the children are out of school.

If you’re looking for something to do this summer, Downsview Park is offering a number of programs to get you outside, meet members of the community, and explore Canada’s first urban national park.

And this year, there is a lot to do. Downsview Park is offering free educational programs for all ages that focus on urban sustainability — how people today can live in a way to ensure the wellbeing of our city and its people, for generations to come.

For example, Nature Connection is a family-friendly program that will get you outside exploring and learning about our local natural environment. If you’re looking for something to do with your toddler, try out the hands-on outdoor activities with the Jr. Forest Explorers program. And if you’re looking for something a little more relaxing, consider joining a guided stroll through the Walk in the Park program. Or, if you love food (and really, who doesn’t?) forage for food in park’s orchard or grow and harvest your own food in the park’s educational garden through the Food in the Park program.

These programs are an important part of our community. They help us learn new things, stay active, and foster deeper connections with one another and our natural environment. We should appreciate the hard work and effort that goes into organizing them. Downsview Park is staffed by a small group of individuals and with limited resources – but every year they find creative ways to engage our community. And the programs are largely facilitated by a group of volunteers who dedicate their time to make our community a more liveable and enjoyable place to be.

This summer lets show our support and our appreciation for the hardworking and dedicated group of staff members and volunteers who help bring our community together to experience the magic of Downsview Park.

If you want to learn more about the programs offered at Downsview Park check out their website: www.downsviewpark.ca and if you’re interested in volunteering in the park this summer, reach out to Allison Best at abest@clc.ca.

See you in the park!


Youth Mental Health Conference: The pain is real but so is healing

The month of May is not only for showers and flowers – it’s also for healing and revealing. For the first time, PEACH organized a Mental Health Conference and the event brought community members, leaders and youth together in one room to create dialogue about a topic that is not the easiest to discuss.

Panelists included Louis March, Gregory Leslie, Destiny Mae Abraham, Adam Ellis, Derek Williams and Keynote Speaker Scot Wortley. Not to mention, MPP Tom Rakocevic made a special guest appearance. Amongst many topics raised at the conference, some included speakers’ experience with mental health, the role of the father in the household, gun violence, the role of Toronto Police and, of course, youth mental health.

“You cannot continually run youth through the wringer and expect them to come out with a smile on their face. We are all paying today for what we messed up yesterday and this madness must stop” Zero Gun Violence’s Louis March says, “It’s a daily battle and we are not giving up. The youth deserve better.”

Keynote Speaker Scott Wortley presented eye-opening research and statistics as well as quotes from youth who have had encounters with the police.  This of course brought up a lot of important questions from community members.

PEACH, which stands for Promoting Community Health and Education, offers a wraparound program that provides a tailor-made approach to address complex issues that sometimes deal with the justice system.

Youth Advocate, Wayne Black, notes, “The Criminal Justice System does not adequately address mental health. Rather, it breeds, houses and contains it. Being locked up for long periods in institutions without resources to address mental health, especially in a system that’s supposed to rehabilitate the individual.”

Other topics such as toxic masculinity and the role of women were brought up and evoked a lot of emotion from the audience. The reaction from speakers and the audience was certainly an indication that events such as the Youth Mental Health Conference are necessary in this community and according to Black, it will not be the last.