July 01, 2019
The kickoff for the Canada Day long weekend could not be any better for the DUKE Heights community. With more than two thousand community members, families, students, and people from the surrounding areas, we celebrated our very own DUKE Eats festival on June 29, 2019 at the corner of Keele St and Finch Avenue W. The festival was a smashing success; it brought in over a dozen local BIA food vendors, craft vendors, local organizations and businesses, and some of Toronto’s best food trucks to the DUKE Heights community.
The festival featured Toronto’s DJ Budz, free family circus performances by Illuminair Entertainment, a kids’ entertainment zone completed with bouncy castles and countless free activities and treats, such as face painting, caricature sketches, Lego blocks, and cotton candy, all thanks to our sponsors for the festival.
In addition to delicious food options, we promoted DUKE eats as a green festival with Metrolinx, Live Green, Regenesis and Cultural Link bike clinics promoting sustainable living and transportation methods. Thanks to the help of these organizations, we were able to provide the public with access to information on sustainable methods of waste disposal, a free bike clinic for minor repairs and tune-ups and information on the construction of the future Finch West LRT.
Last year DUKE Heights BIA organized its first outdoor food festival to provide a platform for our growing and successful food manufacturer and vendors. This year we brought back DUKE eats festival with a promise to provide a wider platform for the food manufacturers and retailers to showcase our rich and thriving food sector and to promote diversity and cultural inclusion in our BIA.
DUKE eats festival is sure to return next year bigger and better, with more food, fun and excitement for all your friends and family to enjoy in the DUKE Heights BIA!
July 01, 2019
Over the last four years, businesses in the Duke Heights BIA have partnered with the University to provide York students with extraordinary experiential learning opportunities, while receiving innovative marketing expertise at no cost to their organizations.
Recent experiential education projects by York University showed that even small investments into the community by students have a substantive and positive effect on local businesses. Combining academic and community networks has increasingly become a pillar of the university.
“It’s clear that our long-term partnership with Duke Height BIA has been extremely beneficial to our marketing students and the businesses they engage with,” said Karlene Case, Senior Experiential Educational Program Coordinator with the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies.
“Our marketing students provide real, tangible benefits to organizations. They bring the skills needed to tackle marketing challenges and develop strategies to improve everything from client retention to brand awareness,” she added. “The Faculty continues to partner with the Duke Heights BIA and invites local businesses to tap into bright marketing minds for the upcoming Fall 2019 semester. The relationship forged between York and the BIA is truly symbiotic and represents a real “Height of Opportunities.”
July 01, 2019
The City of Toronto must do everything possible to help businesses thrive. In most cases this is done by eliminating red tape, reducing corporate taxes and creating a positive environment.
But helping business is much more. The City of Toronto, must also build, improve and maintain infrastructure to ensure that businesses can succeed, and employees can arrive and depart safely. Over the years we have made sure that the City of Toronto does its part for DUKE Heights. For example, Toronto Hydro has made major investments to upgrade the power grid to make sure power disruptions are minimized or eliminated. Through Toronto Water, we have also invested heavily in old storm water and sewage systems to make sure that businesses can prevent flooding. Our transportation division has been working to ensure that road conditions are improved. Recently, Finch Avenue was resurfaced to allow for easier commutes and the better flow of goods. Additionally, we have been working with Transportation staff on signal-timing changes and enhanced signage to reduce traffic congestion. We also removed restrictive diamond lanes on Dufferin Street, allowing all vehicles to use the lane. The opening of the University-Spadina subway extension has helped thousands of workers get to the DUKE Heights catchment area and the Finch West Light Rail Transit line, is expected to do the same.
The city is also working with businesses to improve employee safety by introducing sidewalks in employment areas and investing in our Vision Zero safety plan. One example is building a sidewalk on Flint Road. My office will continue to support city investments in DUKE Heights so that businesses can focus on their clients and Toronto remains a great place to invest.
July 01, 2019
On Friday, June 7, 2019 I attended the ground-breaking ceremony for the TRCA’s new administrative building. The event took place at 5 Shoreham Drive, next to the Aviva Centre and York University. As a board member of the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) I am proud that this office block will be situated in our Ward because of the agency’s long history in our community.
Back in June 2016, the TRCA approved the construction of a new head office and delegated tasks to staff for them to move ahead with plans for the project. In early 2017, all six of the TRCA’s municipalities approved the plans and the allocation of new and existing capital funding towards its construction.
The 8,100 square feet facility will open in the summer of 2021. It will incorporate low carbon timbre and a concrete hybrid system. The design team aims to achieve the Leadership and Energy in Environmental Design (LEED) platinum certification and the WELL Silver Building certification. The team is also taking part in the Canadian Green Building Council’s Zero Carbon Building Pilot Program. Sustainable measures reduce costs and create efficiencies. This eco-friendly facility will set the standard for future commercial designs in North America.
This building will back onto part of the Black Creek area, representing the connection between Toronto’s expanding urban framework and the ravine network that we continue to preserve, protect and appreciate.
For more information about the TRCA, including the new site and local conservation initiatives, please visit: https://trca.ca
June 04, 2019
The DUKE Heights BIA has undertaken a study of the current zoning By-law regime across the area, seeking to assist the City of Toronto identify and reduce obstacles to businesses operating in the area. This Zoning By-law review aims to:
- eliminate the overlap of two zoning By-laws — the City-wide By-law and the old North York By-law;
- address the onerous and confusing parking requirements;
- support a range of uses that facilitate business growth in the area;
- eliminate the holding By-law that applies to certain properties.
We hosted an Open House on June 04, 2019 to introduce the proposed changes to collect feedback from the members of the BIA. There will be more opportunities to view and respond to proposed changes during the Zoning By-law amendment process including future community open houses and public meetings as the City process unfolds.
The complete set of display boards presented at the first Open House held on June 04, 2019 are accessible with the link below:
DHBIA Open House Display Boards June 04, 2019
At the end of the review, our Draft Zoning By-law and report will be submitted to Community Planning with the City of Toronto, beginning the City’s public process to amend the zoning By-law. You can get involved now by speaking with one of our staff to provide your feedback. You can also fill-in a comment sheet or get in touch with us online. Please provide all responses by June 14, 2019.
June 01, 2019
DUKE eats festival is coming back to Toronto this summer, the tastiest time of the year! Get ready to eat, shop and have some fun on June 29, 2019!
Last year the BIA organized its first outdoor food festival to provide a platform for our growing and successful food manufacturer and vendors. This year we are bringing back DUKE eats festival with a promise to provide a wider platform for the food manufacturers and retailers to showcase our rich and thriving food sector and to promote diversity and cultural inclusion in our BIA.
The event will be held at 1300 Finch Avenue West on the North-East corner of Keele and Finch, right across from Finch West Subway Station providing easy access for food lovers in the city. The festival highlights the most sought-after Toronto food trucks, neighborhood eateries, a craft market, live music and entertainment for kids, raffle prizes, giveaways & more! The festival is sponsored by Upper Crust.
In line with our mandates for social consciousness and environmentally sound practices, the event will also feature Finch West LRT car mock-up, free bike clinics for minor repairs and tune ups, and more.
When: Saturday, June 29, 2019, 5 PM to 9 PM
Where: Keele & Finch Commercial Centre parking lot (1300 Finch Avenue West)
We are currently recruiting volunteers for DUKE eats festival. Contact us at email@example.com for more information.
June 01, 2019
Written by: Kristen Steele, DUKE Law Intern
Customer satisfaction plays a key role in the success of any business. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, dissatisfied customers whose complaints go unaddressed have as low as a 9% chance of returning as a customer. This is in stark contrast to the 82% of dissatisfied customers who returned to the businesses who addressed their complaints on the spot.
If a situation arises in which a customer is dissatisfied with a service or product, there are numerous ways a business can deal with this matter. For example, should a customer file a complaint against a business, this is what they should know:
Under the Consumer Protection Act, 2002, S.O. 2002, c. 30, Sched. A, customer rights are protected for most common transactions. If a customer has a complaint against a business or feels that the business has violated their rights under the Act, there are various avenues that they can take. One avenue a customer can take is to file a complaint with the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services who will notify the business against whom the complaint has been made to give them the opportunity to respond. If the issue is not sufficiently addressed or the notifications are ignored, the Ministry may add the business’ name to the Consumer Beware List and/or take legal action. In this scenario, the following is a list of steps that can be taken by a business to remove their name from the Consumer Beware List:
1. Showing that they did not receive notice of the complaint from the Ministry,
2. resolving the situation to the satisfaction of the person who filed the complaint, or
3. by responding directly to the issue in the complaint.
In the case of a breach of contract, customers have access to additional legal remedies that may be solved in the judicial system. If faced with legal action, a business should obtain advice from a lawyer regarding how best to proceed.
May 01, 2019
In the four years since DUKE Heights BIA started, we have played a role in helping most of the 2,500 businesses that reside in our community. During that time businesses have asked us questions ranging from ‘how do I find and keep local talent’ to ‘how can I make an effective business logo’. To help answer these questions, we partnered with York University’s Experiential Education branch to get the help of a team (or should I say a village) of students trained to help improve local economic outcomes in the community. The DUKE Heights member businesses, charities, not-for-profits, community collectives and startups can ask a general business question by sending our team an email to- firstname.lastname@example.org.
DUKE Heights is offering this new service free of charge in order to help businesses in the area grow and succeed in our BIA. So, when an Internet search just isn’t enough, DUKE ask is here to make the process of finding the information businesses are looking for as seamless as possible. Go ahead and ask your business question at email@example.com.
Toronto City Councillor, Ward 6 – York Centre
May 01, 2019
One of the biggest issues that comes up repeatedly in my conversations with residents, businesses and community stakeholders is the need to invest in infrastructure across York Centre and Toronto. As Chair of the City’s Infrastructure and Environment Committee, I am making this a priority.
One area of major focus over the past winter and into the spring has been the state of the roads in our city. While the City of Toronto has a comprehensive road maintenance program that budgets approximately $182 million for road repairs, rehabilitation and maintenance work each year, there is more work to be done.
This is especially true of the unacceptable number of potholes on our roads. The city spends $5 million to fix potholes each year and we are working to fill potholes as quickly and efficiently as possible. At the same time, we need to look at better ways, new technologies, new systems of asphalt and concrete as well as what other cities are doing to see if there is a better solution available.
Another major focus of my committee will be to prevent basement flooding. I have visited homes and businesses that have suffered from flooding and the damage that can be caused by flooding. The good news is that work is under way on an over $262 million capital project across York Centre to make improvements to the sewer system and overland drainage routes.
As always, I am happy to speak anytime. Please do not hesitate to contact me at 416-392-1371 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Community updates are available at www.jamespasternak.ca.
Toronto City Councillor, Ward 7 – Humber River-Black Creek
May 01, 2019
Standing with Students: No Cuts to Education
On Thursday, April 4 I met with students at both C.W. Jefferys Collegiate Institute and Emery Collegiate Institute while they walked-out in protest of the Conservative government’s cuts to education.
Pioneer of American public schools, Horace Mann, famously called education the “great equalizer of the conditions of men.” He was correct, education is the great equalizer that provides opportunities for all. Our youth should not be facing cuts to their education system while they are trying to build a future for themselves.
Inflated classroom sizes will be a huge disadvantage for both students and teachers alike. Teachers will face more challenges in terms of how they connect with a larger group of students, and in turn, students will have a difficult time getting the attention and support that they deserve. Grade school is a critical time in adolescent development.
I am proud of our Ward 7 high school students for taking the initiative to mobilize and for making their voices heard. I will continue to stand in solidarity with them and advocate for key investments in local education and programming.
As always, please contact my office if you have any questions or concerns about city-related issues. My staff and I are here to help you.
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