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Toronto to open 3 new shelters to tackle winter demand – Toronto

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The city of Toronto says it has taken additional steps to shelter the city’s most vulnerable residents this winter after high demand and frigid weather put a significant strain on the system last year.

The city is opening three new, prefabricated 24-hour respite sites during the winter. One is located in the Liberty Village area in the parking lot of Lamport Stadium, another is on Fleet Street near Fort York and the third is on Lake Shore Boulevard East near Cherry Street.

The first site, at 1155 King St. W., is scheduled to open on Dec. 15, with the others opening on Jan. 31.


READ MORE:
Temporary shelters to be built to address homelessness in Toronto

In the meantime, the city said, a temporary 24-hour respite site with up to 200 spaces will open at Exhibition Place next week.

As of Nov. 15, there will be 600 winter respite spaces available, with a contingency plan to add additional capacity if required.

Paul Raftis, general manager of the city’s Shelter, Support and Housing Administration division, said at a press conference on Friday that this year’s plan is based on the lessons from last winter and recommendations from the city’s ombudsman.


READ MORE:
Rally at Toronto City Hall calls for more shelter beds for homeless

“Last year’s long stretch of extremely cold weather, coupled with rising demand for shelter, changed our team’s approach to planning for this winter, he said.

“We focused on providing additional shelter beds, additional 24-hour respites spaces, higher quality service and higher quality standards in respite spaces.”

There were 31 extreme cold weather alert days during the previous winter season, and the city added additional emergency shelter capacity, including temporarily opening up the Moss Park Armoury.

Ombudsman Susan Opler found in March that the city’s intake call centre and 311 staff relied on outdated information about locations and capacity of respite sites, and gave callers inaccurate information at least twice.

This year, the city said steps have been taken to improve communication, including adding additional staff to manage intake calls.

“There’s no question that there were operational and communication challenges within the shelter system,” Raftis said.


READ MORE:
Toronto to purchase 4 temporary shelter structures for $10M to house homeless

There are about 7,000 beds in the shelter system in Toronto, and the number of people accessing city services is increasing.

Last month, there was an average of 6,694 people staying in emergency shelters per night, compared with an average of 5,270 the previous year, and 4,164 in 2016.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.



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A stunning Water Lantern Festival is coming to Montreal

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What might just be the most magical night ever is coming up for Montreal this year.

The Water Lantern Festival has announced that it will be gracing Mississauga with thousands of floating lanterns later this year, as part of a celebration that spans the entire world.

According to the festival’s official website, the event is a celebration of life with proceeds going towards charities and non-profit organizations within the area.

“Water Lantern Festival brings together individuals from all ages, backgrounds, and walks of life to join in one emotional and memorable night. At the Water Lantern Festival, we cherish these moments and will do our best to help you have a memorable experience that you’ll never forget as you witness the beauty of thousands of lanterns reflecting upon the water,” the website states.

The festival takes place throughout multiple cities around the world, with the Canadian cities of Quebec, Regina, Vancouver, Hamilton, Calgary, Ottawa, Mississauga, and, of course, Montreal taking part.

For the Calgary event, a date has been confirmed and tickets are already rolling out. Montreal shan’t be far behind, and you can click the Notify Me tab on the event’s site to be kept in the loop.

Expect an evening filled with food trucks, music, lantern designing and finally, a magical launch of the lanterns into the water as the sun goes down.

For our pals over in Calgary, their event includes a floating lantern, a commemorative drawstring bag, a marker, and a wristband. Expect something similar, if not the same, when more details float through about Montreal’s event.

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Euthanasia order on hold for Montreal dog that attacked children

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A pit bull dog that attacked four children and two adults in August 2018 in Montreal North will not be euthanized in the immediate future.

The euthanasia order has been temporarily suspended pending the appeal of a Quebec Superior Court decision.

On Tuesday, Judge Lukasz Granosik rejected a request to halt the euthanasia order issued by the Montreal North borough, which declared the animal a “dangerous dog.”

The City of Montreal has not changed its mind. This is only a delay before it proceeds with euthanizing the dog, a source told the Canadian Press.

Shotta, the one-year-old dog, was in the care of its owner’s acquaintance in August 2018. The dog attacked four children and two adults, causing serious injuries in separate incidents on the same day.

After the attacks, the dog was taken from the home and entrusted to the SPCA.

WATCH: Dog found dead in Angrignon Park

The Road to Home Rescue Support, an American shelter, asked the court if it could take in the dog. Christa Frineau, the dog’s owner, had also asked that Shotta not be euthanized.

Granosik refused to grant the request.

—With files from Global’s Kalina Laframboise

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9 Things To Do In Montreal This Friday, Saturday & Sunday

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Today’s sunny skies have me itching to make weekend plans. I absolutely cannot wait to make the most of this warmer weather. This might be the time to inflate my bike tires and dust off my running shoes…

Whether you want to brush up on your cooking skills, let loose, or fill your stomach with amazing food, there’s an event out there for you. Read on for 9 fun things you can do with friends or a fling this weekend.

TL;DR Read on for 9 fun things you can do in Montreal this weekend.

Let Yourself Go At Dress Up

Where: 185 Avenue Van Horne, Montréal.

When: Friday, March 29, 9:00 p.m.

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