Regent Park residents say they can’t access their neighbourhood pool. City data backs them up


“Where is our pool?” read one of the signs held aloft by children who had waded into the reflecting pool in Nathan Phillips Square on a summer day in July 1969.

Their protest was over the lack of recreation space in their Regent Park neighbourhood and their demand was for a wading pool for those hot days.

Mary Ann Scott, left, typically lines up overnight to register her children for programs at the recreation centres in Regent Park, and often still can’t get them in. She is pictured here with her children Tessa, 13, Selam, 12, and Abyssina, 7, outside the Pam McConnell Aquatic Centre.
Mary Ann Scott, left, typically lines up overnight to register her children for programs at the recreation centres in Regent Park, and often still can’t get them in. She is pictured here with her children Tessa, 13, Selam, 12, and Abyssina, 7, outside the Pam McConnell Aquatic Centre.  (Rick Madonik / Toronto Star)

It would take several more decades for their request to be exceeded by the state-of-the art Pam McConnell Aquatic Centre, which opened its glass doors in 2012 with a 25-metre lap pool, hot tub, water slides and more in the heart of a neighbourhood in the midst of revitalization.

But now that there is plenty of pool right in their backyard, Regent Park and nearby residents say they are consistently struggling to access the new space and that most of the people signed up for the popular swim programs are coming from other parts of the city, a claim backed up by City of Toronto data.

The data provided to the Star shows that only about a quarter of the registrations at the aquatic centre for the most recent fall/winter session of city-run programs were for registrants whose home address was in Regent Park or the area immediately surrounding it.

And while there continues to be a waiting list tens of thousands of people long for recreation programs across the city, the Star has learned that the most recent budget recommendations would significantly delay the council-approved goal of creating 70,000 new spaces in three years. Instead of 25,000 new spaces council had approved for 2019, the latest budget includes just 7,500 spaces and stretches the plan over five years instead of three.

Read more:

Regent Park community reflects and regroups as final chapter of rebuild begins

In response to questions about proposed delay, Mayor John Tory’s spokesperson, Don Peat, noted Tory’s earlier push to increase the number of recreation spaces funded in 2018.

“This is just the beginning of the 2019 budget process,” he said in a statement. “The budget committee will be reviewing the staff recommendations in the coming weeks and will make further recommendations.”

In the case of Regent Park, nobody is abusing the system. The city has a policy that allows anyone to access any centre regardless of where they live or their income level. Someone who lives in a suburb but works downtown might prefer to use a centre en route. Across the city, there are just not enough recreation spaces for those who want them, creating a competitive environment during registration and the long waiting list.

Mary Ann Scott, a mom of three in the Church and Dundas Sts. area and member of the group Access to Recreation, which was created by Regent Park parents over these types of concerns, knows how it feels to be missing out.

Scott said she typically lines up overnight outside a local community centre at 8 p.m. ahead of registration that begins 7 a.m. the next morning in hopes of getting her children into the programs they helped pick out — swimming at the aquatic centre as well as gymnastics and other programs at the nearby Regent Park Community Centre.

That’s because she’s competing with other parents, some who are using multiple devices and high-speed internet to get through the city’s often cumbersome online system in hopes of getting the spaces they want.

Hani Afrah, also mother of three who grew up and still lives in Regent Park, met Scott waiting in line to register. As a member of the Access to Recreation group since its inception, she said they have no issue with the aquatic centre attracting people from across the city. They just want priority to ensure local residents can use the space.

“We know that if youth know to swim, how to skate they’d rather be doing those things than getting into trouble,” she said, adding she feels sad to see that her children’s friends miss out on programs.

“They feel disadvantaged and the community centre is right there.”

The gleaming aquatic centre, with windows overlooking the park under a cedar-panelled roof, has been celebrated for its sleek and welcoming design. On a recent weekday, moms pushing strollers traded recipes in the warm, chlorine-scented lobby. A meeting was being held in a nearby multi-purpose room that’s sometimes used for kid’s birthday parties.

The Regent Park Community Centre was also rebuilt as part of the revitalization, featuring a gym, indoor track, dance studio, weights room and more.

Both centres in Regent Park — which the city still officially designates as a priority neighbourhood based on low income and other factors — offer free programs for children and adults, and they are both “at or near capacity with extensive wait lists,” according to recently-posted city budget documents.

Scott said their community has also been squeezed every time there are local emergencies. Recent cold-weather alerts and a fire at the 650 Parliament St. apartment building have seen the community centre taken over for shelter, cancelling programs for residents.

On one such day in September of last year, Mackai Bishop Jackson, who had just turned 15, was shot and killed up the street from the centre while outside an apartment building with his friends. He often attended the after-school programs at the community centre, which was closed at the time because of the 650 Parliament fire. His death has left friends and neighbours wondering if his fate would have been different had the centre been open that day.

“What’s the logic in closing down a recreation centre in a community that needs places for children to be?” Scott asked. “It should have never been closed in the first place.”

The aquatic centre replaced an existing recreation centre and outdoor pool in what was once an insular Toronto Community Housing complex of interlocking lowrise apartments and highrise towers. The long-term revitalization of Regent Park, still underway, has seen TCH units demolished and rebuilt alongside market condos and townhomes surrounding a park and the new aquatic centre.

The site is one of 38 city-designated free centres, which are selected based on their proximity — within 1.5 kilometres — of census areas where at least 30 per cent of families are classified as low-income.

However, the city has a policy that allows anyone to access any centre regardless of where they live or their income. City staff say participants “typically travel within 3.5 (kilometres) of a recreation centre” for registered programs.

The city also has what is called a “welcome” policy that provides a limited amount of funding to low-income families to access programs at paid-for centres.

The city provided data for all fall/winter registrations in Regent Park by “forward sortation area” — the first three digits of a postal code. The area for Regent Park also includes neighbourhoods including Cabbagetown and St. Lawrence.

That means it is likely that of the 326 sign-ups in that immediate area captured in the data provided to the Star, not all were made by Regent Park residents, meaning even fewer than 25 per cent of all registrations came from Regent Park.

The data shows residents living as far away as the Kingsway and Malvern are accessing the centre for programs. And there are more sign-ups from East York, The Danforth, Riverdale, Leslieville and the Beach combined than from the Regent Park area.

At the Regent Park Community Centre, which is also a free centre, registrations from the immediate area made up 40 per cent of all sign-ups.

Both recreation facilities also offer free drop-in hours.

Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, who represents the Regent Park area, said the data confirms what those in the community already knew — that the majority of those signed up for swimming programs live outside the community.

After advocates recently organized to demand Regent Park residents be given priority access, Wong-Tam moved a motion at committee earlier this month to have staff explore a pilot project to increase recreation availability at local schools. Staff say a pilot could be launched in the fall of 2019 but the $160,000 cost is currently unfunded.

“They had already said quite eloquently and with a lot of urgency that we needed to reform the system so that people who had championed these facilities, who had borne the brunt of construction impacts, who had waited patiently, could have access to their own swimming pool,” Wong-Tam said. “It reconfirms what communities are feeling, is that they’re struggling to get their children and themselves and families into recreation programs.”

The city has 123 community recreation centres, 119 splash pads, 61 indoor pools, 59 outdoor pools, 68 outdoor artificial ice rinks from Etobicoke to Scarborough, serving 10.7 million programmed visits each year, according to the most recent budget documents.

But not all neighbourhoods are treated equally. While there are a number of recreation centres, not all have the same amenities. For example, there are large areas that are not served by an indoor pool, such as most of Etobicoke North and large pockets of Scarborough. There are only four indoor pools in all of northern Scarborough, where staff have had to scramble to find temporary program spaces after one centre in Agincourt caught fire Thursday.

There is a concentration of free centres in or near the eastern part of downtown, including the aquatic centre, Regent Park Community Centre, Wellesley Community Centre, John Innes Community Recreation Centre and the Jimmie Simpson Recreation Centre. Another free centre, Secord Community Centre, is near Danforth Ave. and Main St.

Of those, three have pools. The Pam McConnell Aquatic Centre provides more than twice the number of time slots for swim programs than both the Jimmie Simpson and John Innes pools, offering a total 208 options for swim classes during the fall and winter registration.

Across the entire city there are 11 free centres that have pools, two in the Etobicoke and York district, two in North York, one in Scarborough and six in the Toronto and East York district.

The Pam McConnell Aquatic Centre has features including a lap pool, hot tub and water slides.
The Pam McConnell Aquatic Centre has features including a lap pool, hot tub and water slides.  (Tom Arban)

According to a staff briefing note provided to council during the 2018 budget process, there were more than 600,000 recreation spaces across the city and more than 198,000 wait-listed spaces representing more than 62,000 people on the waiting list. Those are 2016 numbers, but said to be the most recent, verified data.

To try to address the waiting list, city staff proposed a growth plan in 2017 to add 60,000 new spaces over three years. During the 2018 budget process, council increased the number added in that first year, bringing the total new spaces planned to 70,000 at a net cost of $2.4 million.

City staff say both Regent Park recreation centres directly benefited from that growth plan, with the total number of registered recreation spaces increasing 22 per cent in 2018, creating more than 1,500 new openings.

But after staff were asked to bring forward budgets this year that froze spending at last year’s levels, the 2019 recommended budget from staff only plans for 7,500 new spaces to be added in the second year of the growth plan — 17,500 fewer than the 25,000 council approved. It will now take five years, staff say, to reach the goal of 70,000 new spaces. The budget process continues for the next month and will be finalized by council in March.

Responding to the Star late Friday evening, city staff said they “misrepresented” council direction in their budget notes, saying council had decided to “fast-track” the plan and that council never intended to actually expand the plan from 60,000 to 70,000 spaces.

“There is nothing we can find in council’s decisions and direction that indicates council’s intention to expand the plan from 60,000 to 70,000, but rather that they wanted staff to implement more spaces in the first year,” a city spokesperson said, adding they would be correcting a budget note.

A 2018 budget briefing note from staff outlined how adding an additional 10,000 spaces in the first year of the plan would increase the total number of spaces to 70,000. Council later voted to “further increase” the number of spaces funded in 2018 to 20,000.

The original three-year plan would have seen 35,000 spaces approved by the end of 2019. The current budget plan would see just 27,500 approved even with the increased number of spaces council added in 2018 — still 7,500 short on the original growth plan.

Asked about stretching the original plan over five years, the city spokesperson said: “Given our experience in the accelerated implementation of the first 20,000 new spaces in the first phase of the program, we have recommended a more gradual implementation of the remaining 40,000 spaces.”

Wong-Tam said the city should be able to set a target and then allocate the resources needed to make it happen.

“Clearly there’s a disconnect there,” she said.

Jennifer Pagliaro is a Toronto-based reporter covering city politics. Follow her on Twitter: @jpags


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Afternoon double shooting shakes east-end Toronto neighbourhood


Two men are injured and two other men are in custody after a double shooting in the Beach Triangle near Woodbine and Queen on Sunday afternoon, according to Toronto police.

Officers were called to the area at about 2:30 p.m. for reports of gunfire. 

Police said that two men, reportedly armed with guns, were seen fleeing from a vehicle in the area after shots were heard. They were apprehended minutes later and are now in police custody, said Katrina Arrogante, spokesperson for Toronto police. 

Officers recovered three firearms that are believed to be connected to the shooting. Multiple shell casings were also found. 

Police set up perimeters in several locations, including around a vehicle hit by gunfire. (John Hanley/CBC)

No charges had been laid as of late Sunday afternoon, Arrogante said. 

The two victims, who police believe to be in their 20s, were conscious and breathing when officers found them, Arrogante said. One had multiple bullet wounds throughout his body, she added, while the other sustained lower body injuries. 

Paramedics transported both victims to hospital for treatment. They are both expected to survive. 

Police recovered three firearms in the area around Queen Street E. and Woodbine Avenue. This particular gun was found in a laneway. (John Hanley/CBC)

Investigators have reason to believe there may a third victim who has not been located, according to Arrogante.

Police set up perimeters in at least two different locations. One scene was centred around an Audi SUV that had several bullets lodged in it. Another was around a crashed Mercedes sedan. Investigators said later Sunday that evidence suggests the initial shooting occurred near the corner of Woodbine Avenue and Kingston Road. 

The eastbound lanes of Queen Street E. and the northbound lanes of Woodbine Avenue between Queen and Dundas streets were closed for six hours as police investigated. The roadway reopened at 8:30 p.m.

Two people were taken into custody shortly after the shooting, police said. (Michael Prestia/CBC)


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Fire damages popular Portuguese restaurant in Montreal’s Plateau neighbourhood – Montreal


Ma Poule Mouillée, a popular Portuguese rotisserie on Rachel Street in Montreal’s Plateau-Mont-Royal borough, sustained significant damage after a fire Friday night.

Ian Ritchie, chief of operations with the Montreal Fire Department, said the one-alarm blaze started inside a kitchen hood.

READ MORE: NDG restaurant destroyed by fire, arson squad investigating

Ritchie said the fire spread to the chimney and then the roof, forcing firefighters to open up the walls on the second floor in order to tackle the blaze.

There were people eating inside the restaurant at the time, but the building was safely evacuated.

WATCH: What’s the plan for burned down Ristorante Linguini?

A family living on the second floor of the two-storey building has been relocated.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Major police presence in Edmonton’s Gold Bar neighbourhood Wednesday night – Edmonton


A major police presence could be seen at an alley in the Edmonton community of Gold Bar late Wednesday night.

A Global News crew at the scene said eight police cruisers and an ambulance were seen by the alley, which was taped off as of 10:45 p.m.

A vehicle in the alley was also taped off as well as a nearby apartment building.

Police have not released details about what prompted the large emergency response in the area of 48 Street and 101A Avenue.

More to come…

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Controversial tiny, tall home in Toronto’s Riverdale neighbourhood on market for $3M – Toronto


From their back deck, a couple of homeowners in south Riverdale discuss the “big white square” that has become their rear view.

“We knew by the height of it that it would just be grotesque,” said Linda Bourgeois.

“It’s just been a mar on a community.”

Bourgeois is referring to a house that is up for sale on Hamilton Street, near Broadview Avenue and Dundas Street East, and it about a block away from her own home.

The asking price is $3 million for the tiny but tall, 1300-square-foot, modern-style home. It sits on a 15-by-86-foot lot.

According to the MLS listing for 154 Hamilton St., it is a “unique home in central Toronto” and a “modern marvel with four levels of functional minimalism naturally lit via full-height Juliette balcony windows, beautiful terraces, and a central skylight.”

Seller Cyril Borovsky, who bought and built the existing home, calls it a “piece of art.”

“Really the most important thing was the fact that I wanted to make it extremely efficient with the environment in mind,” he said.

“The entire building works on natural gas with very little electronic components. The heating is completely radiant throughout the house… These are completely new ways to build a house.”

But the look of the tall and skinny look of the home has raised eyebrows in the south Riverdale neighbourhood.

“The only thing you could use it for would probably be to show movies on the side because it’s just a big white … It would be a great drive-in movie theatre but unfortunately it’s not, it’s a house,” said Linda Clowes while giggling.

Clowes, Linda Bourgeois, and a group of other area residents, fought the home’s construction several years ag, when they first caught a glimpse of the design plan.

“People weren’t happy with that design and the height … it doesn’t really fit,” noted Councillor Paula Fletcher, who has been to the home before.

“I was a little surprised that the planning department didn’t suggest that it was out of character and shouldn’t be approved.”

The listing has been active since September, but remains for sale.

Borovsky, who initially started building it for himself now, said he is looking for someone who would appreciate it.

He acknowledged the home has led to a lot of discussion within the neighbourhood, and some people expressed their distaste for the style of the home.

“I really hope that this will be landmark after I’m long and gone,” he said.

“I hope they treat it like it’s the Eiffel Tower. It’s something that is new and beautiful part of the neighbourhood.”

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


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Is this the noisiest neighbourhood in Toronto?


In a new occasional series, the Star delves into 311 data to see what our concerns say about the city. In the second instalment, we look at one of the biggest reasons why people pick up the phone to dial 311: the noise that’s keeping us up at night.

Lined by small lots with neat hedges, the tiny residential street of East Haven Drive in southwest Scarborough is almost deserted on a recent chilly Wednesday.

Recent immigrant Thomas Kyrgios waits for a bus on Kingston road. He says he finds the whole city much louder than his village back in Greece.
Recent immigrant Thomas Kyrgios waits for a bus on Kingston road. He says he finds the whole city much louder than his village back in Greece.  (Richard Lautens / Toronto Star file photo)

Other than the sound of children playing at a nearby school and the odd rev of a car engine on Kingston Road, the most noise comes from the steady beeping of a truck backing up at a nearby condo under construction.

This is the heart of the noisiest neighbourhood in Toronto . . . at least it is according to noise complaints filed with 311, the city’s hotline for non-emergency matters.

The western chunk of the old Scarborough Southwest ward, home to East Haven Dr., has the most 311 noise service requests so far this year of any area of the city at 360. And there have been 13 noise complaints on the street since 2016, according to the city’s website.

The Star went in search of the incredible racket that must be coming from this ordinary residential area, and found … not that much.

Read more: Toronto is known for dead raccoons and potholes. The city’s 311 nerve centre knows this reputation is well-earned

Construction has been “the big one” when it comes to noise issues for the past nine months or so, says Duncan MacDonald, who has lived in the neighbourhood for 21 years.

But noise from trucks and other equipment “wasn’t overpowering or anything,” he said.

“It’s not quite the end of the world.”

An unscientific snapshot of the noise levels there found it was about as loud as High Park.

Some residents in the same postal code area of Southwest Scarborough found the sound of children laughing intolerable in 2016. City staff were “inundated” with complaints about a toddler soccer team practising in Lynndale Parkette, the Star reported at the time. The program was eventually moved to a nearby public school.

“It kind of made our neighbourhood look a little bad that we would complain about little four- and five-year-olds kicking around a soccer ball,” said Alan Burke, president of the East Beach Community Association.

He suspects the spike in complaints has to do with new midrise condos in the last couple of years along Kingston Rd. as residents are not as used to construction as downtowners. But he said there have also been some issues with “boisterous” youths drinking in parks during the summer.

“I know also, in the Beach, people complain more than average,” he added with a laugh.

Whether the sliver of southwest Scarborough deserves the title of loudest neighbourhood, or people there just like to grumble, it’s clear that urban noise is a problem with high stakes for our health.

It’s even been linked to heart issues and is something experts and concerned citizens are sounding the alarm, as the city conducts a review into the noise bylaw.

Noise complaints are one of the biggest categories of city 311 service requests, taking the sixth spot in 2018 so far, just behind property standards, out of almost 650 categories.

Service requests related to noise in the city as a whole are on the rise, as are total 311 requests, from 5,079 in 2013 to 8,515 so far in 2018, according to data provided to the Star by 311 Toronto and open data on the city’s website.

The current noise bylaw limits construction to Monday to Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. But construction projects can apply for noise exemptions to do work outside those periods.

A 2015 city staff report on the noise bylaw noted that the number of those requests granted is growing, from 334 in 2011 to 567 in 2015. The largest numbers of noise complaints in 2015 were about construction (3,611), followed by loud music (2,535), animal noise (2,267) and mechanical noise (819).

Cathie Macdonald, a former city planner who’s part of the Toronto Noise Coalition advocating for a stricter city noise complaints bylaw, understands the city is growing and becoming a 24-hour global destination.

“You also have to respect that people want to sleep,” she said.

Residents “are getting very frustrated” with noise coming from clubs in the entertainment district, the near constant sounds of construction and even the sound of leaf — blowers.

“There are some neighbourhoods where there seems to be a fleet of leaf-blowers about, when you can’t have a conversation in your house because it’s so loud,” she said.

City staff are expected to come back with proposed recommendations on the noise bylaw in the second quarter of 2019.

The report identified several criticisms of the current bylaw from a round of public consultation, including that too many noise exemptions are being granted, and penalties are not deterring noise offenders.

While noise is “happening in big cities everywhere,” other places, such as New York City, are making quiet more of a priority, said the noise coalition’s Macdonald.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg tightened that city’s noise code in 2007, regulating the noise of everything from ice-cream trucks to nightclubs, the New York Times reported that year. Despite this new regime, noise complaints are still the biggest category of 311 service (New York uses the same phone number requests since 2010, according to the city’s open data.

But contractors are required to make and post “noise-mitigation plans” at construction sites in the city that never sleeps to let neighbours know how the contractors will reduce the noise from pounding jackhammers and screeching saws.

Back on East Haven Dr., where the city says the most common type of 311 noise complaints are about construction, that’s something that might help, said MacDonald.

The new condo has caused some tensions in the neighbourhood, he said, as the area gets denser along the major thoroughfare of Kingston Rd.

“Certainly, if you’re doing construction or intensification, you should be conscious of that and maybe work with the councillor, things like that,” he said.

“There’s always going to be a certain amount of construction noise, OK, well, how do you mitigate that?”

Robert Freedman, general counsel for VHL Developments, the builder of Haven on the Bluffs, said in an email that the company has had “no issues” with noise, other than a bylaw notice about 16 months ago it “immediately complied with” to do with when it started work.

He added any noise from the project is no different from that of “countless condo and other development and public works projects spanning all across the city.”

The noise from those countless condos, as well as from traffic, music and other urban sources, can have serious health effects, says Tor Oiamo, an assistant professor in the department of geography and environmental studies at Ryerson University.

Oiamo co-wrote a report with Toronto Public Health on noise in the city in 2017 that notes that it is louder in the city than the level the World Health Organization recommends.

The public agency conducted a noise-monitoring study in Toronto in 2016 and found the average 24-hour equivalent noise levels were 62.9 dBA (measured in units of ‘A-weighted’ decibels, an expression of the relative loudness of sounds in air as perceived by the human ear), well above the WHO guidelines of 55 dBA outdoors in daytime and 40 dBA during the night.

All that racket is not just a threat to hearing; Oiamo said chronic exposure to high noise levels has been linked to cardiovascular health effects, ranging from high blood pressure to heart attacks, particularly in people who are already vulnerable.

“The way we do the science isn’t really like loud noise gives you a heart attack … it increases the risk,” he said.

“It can happen while you’re sleeping; you don’t even need to, necessarily, wake up.”

Noise can also impact sleep, mental health, and has been linked to increased risk of diabetes.

Oiamo said he suspects “there’s probably a relationship between increase in construction activity” and the increase in 311 noise complaints.

While complaints about construction are common, on average, across Toronto, most of the noise (nearly 60 per cent according to the 2017 Toronto Public Health Report) comes from traffic.

For Thomas Kyrgios, even though Southwest Scarborough isn’t exactly Yonge and Dundas Square, that traffic is still much louder than what he’s used to.

He lives just north of Kingston Rd., near East Haven Dr. Arriving five months ago from the sun-spackled village of Zoodohos in North-West Greece, where the loudest thing is “the dogs,” he’s not used to it.

He blames “the cars and motorcycles” here. Making a revving engine motion with his hands, he said it’s worse in the summer with tourists heading to the nearby Scarborough Bluffs.

“The noise,” he said, waiting for the 12A Kingston Rd. bus as a truck rumbled by, is “too much.”

How loud is it?

The Star took a decibel meter to different spots across the city for an unscientific snapshot of noise levels, recording both maximum and minimum levels for one minute. The readings are taken in A-weighted decibels (dBA), an expression of the relative loudness of sounds in air as perceived by the human ear.

The scale is logarithmic, which means small jumps make a big difference in loudness. The level found in an average office is about 45-50 for example, but doubling that to 100 is extremely loud and would damage a person’s hearing depending on how long they were exposed to it.

For context, the sound of a jet plane from 100 ft. is about 135 dBA, according to the U.S. public health campaign Dangerous Decibels. Hearing damage can occur after less than a minute of exposure at 112 dBA, and at lower levels, if you’re exposed to the sound for longer.

While noise-monitoring studies are typically done over a 24-hour period, the readings offer a glimpse into some of the loudest and quietest places in Toronto.

Woodbine Beach:

Date: Tuesday Nov 13

Time: 1:25 p.m.

Sounds: It’s a calm day, so there’s no sound of crashing waves, but you can hear cars on Lake Shore Blvd., the occasional dog barking, and a distant airplane.

Max: 58 dBA

Min: 46.2 dBA

East Haven Drive near condo construction:

Date: Tuesday Nov 13

Time: 2:16 p.m.

Sounds: You can hear kids from a nearby school outside for recess laughing and shouting and some light construction noises, such as the beeping of equipment, as well as cars in the distance.

Max: 66.4 dBA

Min: 54.7 dBA

Under Gardiner overpass at Yonge St:

Date: Tuesday Nov 13

Time: 3:45 p.m.

Sounds: You can hear the rev of car engines and the squeal of brakes, and there’s so many cars lined up in traffic, the sound is almost overpowering.

Max: 81.1 dBA

Min: 70.2 dBA

High Park just inside the main entrance (off High Park Ave.):

Date: Tuesday Nov 13

Time: 4:32 p.m.

Sounds: Despite the peaceful setting, you can still hear cars from nearby High Park Ave., the revving of engines and the thump of a skateboarder on the pavement. There are also dogs barking and planes overhead in the distance.

Max: 66.1 dBA

Min: 51.8 dBA

Bloor Yonge Station platform for east and westbound Line 2 trains:

Date: Tuesday Nov 13

Time: 5 p.m.

Sounds: When the train rumbles in, you can hear the wheels screeching loudly and lots of people talking.

Max: 83.2 dBA

Min: 59 dBA

Rosedale residential neighbourhood:

Date: Tuesday Nov 13

Time: 5:18 p.m.

Sounds: You can hear subway trains on elevated tracks, and the footsteps of people walking by, as well as cars and planes in the far distance. But everything seems to be muffled and calm.

Max: 54.1 dBA

Min: 43.7 dBA

Yonge and Dundas:

Date: Tuesday Nov 13

Time: 5:35 p.m.

Max: 88.2 dBA

Min: 67.9 dBA

Sounds: Arguably one of the loudest places in Toronto. During a busy rush hour, the “walk sign is on” announcement blares and the signal beeps. The guy at the corner yells “Jesus is real and he wants to have a relationship with you,” as cyclists ring their bells, a bus brakes, and cars and motorcycles rev their engines. There’s also the sound of loud drumming from a busker in a yellow fleece duck suit.

Inside the Toronto Star’s 1 Yonge St. office:

Date: Wednesday Nov. 14

Time: 10:19 a.m.

Max: 50.7 dBA

Min: 47.4 dBA

Sounds: Inside a busy office on a weekday morning, you can hear people talking and typing, doors opening, chairs squeaking and the humming of heating and air-conditioning vents.

May Warren is a breaking news reporter based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @maywarren11

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‘They’re not going to leave on their own:’ Penticton neighbourhood requests deer cull


Residents of a manufactured home park in Penticton, B.C., are calling on the City of Penticton to approve a deer cull in their neighbourhood.

Park residents Nick Iannone and Robert Cartwright are spearheading the campaign and will make their case before a committee-of-the-whole meeting on Tuesday.

Iannone said urban deer are wreaking havoc on Figueira’s Manufactured Home Park on Yorkton Avenue by damaging landscaping and littering yards with feces.

“They did close to $8,000 [in damage]. We did a survey with everybody in the park, just for plants, roses etc.,” he said.

BC fruit growers calling for deer cull

The park is located on the edge of the city and is home to seniors over 55 years of age.

Cartwright said the hungry ungulates chomp on his peach tree, rendering it useless.

“With the deer that are here, they are resident deer, they are urban deer and they’re not going to leave on their own. And deer-proofing, we’ve tried it all,” he said.

Residents say they’ve tried to solve the issue with deer repellents and landscaping alternatives, but to no avail.

WATCH MORE: In 2017, A group of Kelowna residents were gathering signatures on a petition to have the City cull deer that they say are damaging their neighbourhoods.

The pair argue the buck stops at city hall. They are calling for drastic action to eliminate the problem.

“We’re hoping we can get a permit, but it has to go through the city, and some type of cull,” Iannone said.

The City of Penticton has not been supportive of calls for deer culls over the past decade, but Iannone is optimistic the new mayor and council will champion the cause.

“They already know what’s going on and I think as a new council it would be a great opportunity to get something started,” he said.

The residents want the municipality to apply for provincial funding to implement the cull.

Kelowna residents fed up with deer propose cull

A factsheet on urban deer management in B.C., which is available on the B.C. government website, said the province launched an urban deer management program in 2016. The program provides $100,000 each year to help fund community-based deer management projects.

The factsheet said population reduction strategies include lethal removal by culls, but deer carcasses must be harvested and the meat donated to charitable groups.

Wildlife experts advise that capturing deer in a collapsible clover trap and euthanizing them with a bolt gun is the safest, most efficient and most humane method of deer control in urban areas.

Cartwight said whether it is translocation or euthanization, “they have to be removed from the park.”

The Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resources said it is aware of the resident deer concerns and “will continue to be in contact with local government and residents.”


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One dead after shooting in West Hill neighbourhood, police say


A man is dead following an incident near Lawrence Ave. and Kingston Rd. on Sunday afternoon, according to paramedics.

Emergency services responded to reports of gunshots around 1:30 p.m. Responding police officers found shell casings inside a buiding in Scarborough’s West Hill neighbourhood.

Paramedics say they located a man without vital signs suffering from apparent gunshot wounds. The man was pronounced dead at the scene.

Toronto police Const. David Hopkinson confirmed the Homicide Unit has taken carriage of the investigation.

If this death is ruled a homicide, it will mark Toronto’s 90th in 2018, breaking a record set in 1991.

Rhianna Jackson-Kelso is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star’s radio room in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @RhiannaJK


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Woman dead following collision with parked vehicle in Corso Italia neighbourhood


A woman has died after her car veered into a parked vehicle on Saturday morning.

Paramedics say they responded to a call just after 6 a.m. in the area of Greenlaw Ave. and Rosemount Ave in Toronto’s Corso Italia neighbourhood.

A woman had driven into a parked car and was found without vital signs, police say. She was later pronounced dead.

Nothing else is known about her identity at this time. There was no one else in the car with her or in the parked car, according to emergency services.

Paramedics say there may have been a medical emergency prior to the collision, and that it could be the real cause of the woman’s death. Police continue investigating.


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