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HVRA files Freedom of information requests to TDSB on the contaminated Central Tech field and proposed dome project.

HVRA protests unelected Ward 10 TDSB Trustee Briony Glassco's efforts to get a contract with Razor Management signed at the special TDSB board meeting Sept. 12.

We call for a halt to the TDSB's Central Tech dome offensive. No decisions should be made until the new TDSB board sits after the fall election. This matter should be left to an elected Ward 10 trustee and the new TDSB board.

HVRA challenges the accuracy of Trustee Glassco's newsletter promoting the Central Tech dome proposal.

HVRA requests the immediate public release of all documents related to the Central Tech field and grounds contamination and the dome proposal.

Briony Glassco, the Toronto District School Board's interim Ward 10 Trustee, has distributed a "Trustee Newsletter" which appears to seek community buy-in to the Central Tech dome proposal immediately — just weeks before the October 27 election which will give us a new elected trustee and a new school board.

This document is astonishing. It mis-states the facts. It omits salient information. It purports to set the record straight, yet multiplies the confusion.

Why the rush to push this now?

Ms. Glassco's newsletter promotes the Razor Management dome proposal as the only realistic solution for the remediation of the contaminated Central Tech field. At the same time, she provides no evidence to support this proposition. Instead, she has asserted a right to secrecy regarding the TDSB contract with the dome operator. And she will not share the most recent contamination reports and expert recommendations.

When her newsletter first surfaced on Friday, Ms. Glassco was just 18 days into her TDSB appointment as replacement trustee — (in place of resigned trustee Chris Bolton — for Ward 10 (TRINITY-SPADINA). Her newsletter promotes a much disputed version of events, credited by her to TDSB staff in her cover email.

On August 20, 2014, three HVRA representatives met with Ms. Glassco and Ward TDSB Superintendent Louie Papathanasakis to discuss the Central Tech matter. HVRA requested copies of relevant school board documents, including the dome contract with Razor Management and the soil contamination reports from 2014. Ms. Glassco and Mr. Papathanasakis refused access and asserted confidentiality.

HVRA requests the release all documents to the public.

For copies of the Trustee's Newsletter and OUR DETAILED RESPONSE, please see our Central Tech webpage.

TDSB continues its information blackout around Central Tech. HVRA calls again for a City summit to establish the facts.

(Monday, September 8, 2014)

Download this announcement here (pdf). 

On Thursday (September 4, 2014) the Harbord Village Residents' Association filed with the Toronto District School Board three requests under Ontario’s Freedom of Information Act, seeking disclosure of documents and correspondence related to:

  1. ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENTS of contamination of the Central Technical School playing field and grounds;
  2. CONTRACTS and any memoranda of understanding with dome operator Razor Management Inc.; and
  3. TENDER REQUESTS for reports and contracts related to the TDSB's "championship" field program and "improvements" to the  Central Tech site (including contamination amelioration), and information on how requests were advertised and proposals evaluated.

We take this step in the face of the TDSB's continuing secrecy around a matter of deep concern to residents of Harbord Village and surrounding downtown neighbourhoods.

We once again challenge the TDSB to sit down with the City and open full, frank and transparent discussions.

One week ago HVRA requested that the TDSB release reports and consultants' recommendations concerning soil contamination in the playing field and grounds at Central Technical School.

We have received no reply.

This silence is not new. Since this past June, HVRA has pressed the school board to give full disclosure regarding contamination of lands that lie immediately next to households in our community. In direct conversation, the appointed interim trustee, Briony Glassco, refused disclosure, on the grounds of confidentiality.

Yet she has selectively released snippets from unseen reports, and uses them to support the TDSB position that the Razor dome project is the only real solution to the Central Tech crisis.

This strategy is completely unacceptable to HVRA. We need the full story.

No movement toward a resolution is possible without all of the facts.
This continues a pattern of TDSB silence around the dome proposal itself. While TDSB has released the contract with Razor Management for a dome at Monarch Park, it has refused to release the contract or any memorandum of understanding with the same developer with regards to the Central Tech playing field proposal. For this reason we have extended our Freedom of Information request to include agreements with Razor Management.

HVRA repeats its requests to TDSB:

  1. stop pushing the TDSB/Razor dome project through the courts and the Ontario Municipal Board;
  2.  provide COMPLETE disclosure of ALL of the facts around the Central Tech matter;
  3. meet with independent experts from the Toronto public health department and provincial department of the environment, and with City councillors, to begin to determine the facts of the field and site contamination, remediation alternatives, and related costs; and
  4. explore with the city possible funding options for remediation and the restoration of a natural grass playing field to Central Tech students and the community.

With this information on hand, the ground would be laid for productive discussions between the new trustees and councillors after the October election.

For more information and background documents, please visit our Central Tech webpage. Click here.

Update on CENTRAL TECH Dome/Artificial Turf Project


TDSB appeals the Superior Court decision at DIVISIONAL COURT


On August 22, Divisional Court heard the TDSB appeal against the Superior Court decision (June 13, 2014) which ruled in favour of the City of Toronto on the Central Tech dome matter. (Justice D.L. Corbett ruled that the city's Chief Building Official did have the authority to identify the commercial development of the Central Tech field as requiring a zoning variance.)

The three Divisional Court justices who heard the appeal have reserved their decision.

The School Board maintains the City has no jurisdiction on the Central Tech field, on the grounds it should be excluded from planning and zoning because of the TDSB's "educational" exemption from city controls on school lands.

However, because the dome is a commercial venture, the Superior Court ruled against the TDSB — the decision the TDSB has appealed to Divisional Court.

HVRA granted intervener status at Divisional Court hearing

At a subsequent hearing (August 5, 2014) the Divisional Court ruled, over the objections of the TDSB, that the Harbord Village Residents Association should have standing at the August 22 appeal of the Superior Court ruling.

Divisional Court Justice Ian Nordheimer ruled that the local impact of the dome project should be part of the information laid before the court. In his decision (August 5, 2014), Justice Nordheimer stated: "In my view, this court would be assisted, in its determination of the issue that is before it, by having some understanding of the possible impacts of the proposal on the community in which it would exist."

The appeal was heard Friday August 22 at 10 a.m. in Courtroom #3 at Osgoode Hall. HVRA was represented by Tim Gleason and Sean Dewart, from the Dewart Gleason law firm.

For more details, and to read several court briefs and other government reports, please see our Central Tech webpage.


Honest Ed's Development

Community survey finds green space, a civic plaza, and a community cultural centre the three top priorities of neighboring residents in the redevelopment of the Mirivish Village site


Westbank Projects Corp., a Vancouver development firm, has acquired the Honest Ed’s site in the block bounded by Lennox, Markham, Bathurst and Bloor. It has undertaken a series of public consultations and will be presenting plans to the City as early as later in the Fall.

In response the Mirvish Village Task Group, led by the Palmerston Residents Association, with the participation of the Seaton Village, Annex, and Harbord Village residents' associations, has surveyed residents to determine community desires for whatever building development take place on this critical site. This will be one of the largest developments in our part of town.

Asked to rank the importance of the inclusion of various kinds of public amenities in the development, 276 respondants ranked GREEN SPACE first (215 very important, 48 somewhat important); a CIVIC PLAZA second (109/75); and a  COMMUNITY CULTURAL CENTRE third (111/89).

The survey also found that residents favoured a building height similar to that of the B-Street Condos across Bathurst Street, and wanted to see only small-size retail operations in the building.

A further public process will take place in the future.

You can see the study results here.

Forestry scientists will be updating our 2007-2008 tree inventory this spring and summer

James Steenberg
PhD Candidate
Ryerson University






Did you know you can see an interactive map of the Harbord Village tree inventory on Google Earth?

Learn more on our Harbord Village Tree Inventory webpage.



Left: James Steenberg with his research assistants Claire Stevenson-Blythe (L) and Amber Grant (R).  The two women are undergraduates in Ryerson University's Environment and Urban Sustainability program.

Environmental scientist James Steenberg and team will be visiting Harbord Village yards over the next few months to update our 2007-2008 neighbourhood tree inventory. James, interested in forest ecology and sustainable management, is currently undertaking his PhD at Ryerson University, studying urban forest ecosystem vulnerability in Toronto.

James sends this message:

The urban forest provides a diversity of benefits to the residents of Harbord Village, from improving air quality and local biodiversity to the simple enjoyment of its beauty during a neighbourhood stroll.

But the urban forest is vulnerable, precisely because it is located in the city. Pollution, construction, and invasive species are just a few of the things that threaten urban trees. For my PhD research at Ryerson University, I’m hoping to discover how, why, and where the urban forest is most vulnerable.

Harbord Village residents have made tremendous strides in the stewardship of their trees by undertaking a NeighbourWoods assessment in 2007 and 2008, among other initiatives. In my research, I hope to update, expand, and analyze that assessment. In doing so, we will be able to understand where in the neighbourhood trees are dying, where they are growing strong, and the reasons why.

I will be in the neighbourhood in the spring and summer of 2014, measuring and re-assessing the urban forest. Please come over and say hi if you see me, and feel free to contact me anytime if you have questions about the project.


Eleanor Levine honoured
at MPP's 2nd Annual Community Appreciation Event

Eleanor Levine honoured at Rosario Marchese's 2nd annual community appreciation event 2013

photo: Rainer Soegtrop Photography
See event photos on Flicker

On November 14, Rosario Marchese recognized 58 Trinity-Spadina volunteers at his second annual Community Appreciation Event. These volunteers were nominated by the riding’s many community organizations, neighbourhood associations, BIAs and schools. Eleanor Levine (above left) was nominated by the Harbord Village Residents' Association.

Harbord Village's Eleanor Levine was recognized for her outstanding volunteer contributions to our community during an award ceremony on November 14, 2013.

The award was presented to Eleanor by Trinity-Spadina MPP Rosario Marchese during his second annual Community Appreciation Event.

Eleanor was an HVRA board member, representing the South Central area, from 2010 to 2013, and an active volunteer for the Bloor-Borden Farmers' Market, which she served as treasurer for three years.

During the past two years Eleanor took a lead role in the Harbord Village Oral History project, recording memories of those who lived in the neighbourhood before 1975. Eleanor conducted more than 100 hour-long interviews, and has captured an amazing amount of information and insight into local history. These interviews provide the material for the Harbord Village History website and a public exhibit that was mounted in November/December 2013.

Eleanor's diligence, patience, and skill have enriched the local community and Harbord Village is much richer for it.

Our congratulations and deepest thanks to Eleanor.

Join the Neighbourhood Dragon Boat Team

It’s very cold outside today.
Warm thoughts keep me hopeful that the seasons will indeed change.
To hold back the cold I think: warm evenings; late sunsets; dipping a paddle into the lake; and camaraderie with our HVRA neighbours. I think of joining the HVRA Dragon Boat Racing Team for the 2014 summer season. It’s fun. I look forward to it.
Leslie Thompson,  member of the 2013 Harbord Village Dragon Boat Racing Team,
January 2014

2013 Harbord Village gold-medal-winning Dragon Boat Racing Team,
paddling in sync with coach Tim MacFarlane at the helm.

Read more about the HVRA Dragon Boat Racing Team on our new Dragon Boat webpage.

Harbord Village ORAL HISTORY Project launched

See our Oral History Project website here.


The Harbord Village Oral History Project was launched in November, 2013 with an exhibition at the Miles Nadal JCC titled Mapping Harbord Village: Stories of a Neighbourhood. The exhibit, created in partnership with the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto, closed on December 15.

Our permanent exhibition, which includes audio recordings of all 100 interviews, can be visited online at:

Videos now online: see Alf Kwinter tell the tale of The Carp and the Tub.


Above photo: 110 Robert St. in 1917, welcoming home the son of John Lock (Rolly Lock), owner of Grimsby Dairy, who had lost an eye in World War I.
Photo provided by Dr. Arthur E. Zimmerman.

Heritage Directory15th Edition of the Harbord Village Directory for Conservators and Restorers of Heritage Properties just launched!

NEW! Our 15th edition of the Harbord Village Directory for Conservators and Restorers of Heritage Properties was released on November 27, 2013.

Recipient of the 32nd Heritage Toronto,
Community Heritage Award and Members’ Choice Award, 2006.

The Harbord Village Directory for Conservators and Restorers of Heritage Properties is a 72-page booklet that answers this question with respect to every one of a building's street visible elements, from the chimney top to the garden fence(with roofs, windows, doors, porches, railings and paint colours in between).

Download your copy here.

Graffiti Committee Seeks Donations

In late February, 30 people representing police, school, Harbord BIA, residents, the councillor and his staff met to discuss what to do about the continuing graffiti tagging that is going on in our lanes. Since this past Summer, almost all graffiti tags on Sussex Mews and Harbord Street have been removed or painted over. Two of the most prolific "taggers" have been arrested.   Now HVRA’s Graffiti Committee would like to extend the programme to other Harbord Village lanes.  If you would like your laneway to be next and are willing to help, contact HVRA Chair Tim Grant at chair@harbordvillage.com.

Up to now, the cost of paints and graffiti removal chemicals has been borne by a handful of individuals.  HVRA is now seeking financial donations that will create a superfund to pay for paint, etc that will be used in the coming months on other laneways.  

If you can help, please mail cheques payable to "HVRA" to:
HVRA, 360A Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON M5S 1X1. 
Please mark "graffiti removal" on your cheque.

Why is this necessary? Many of those whose garages or houses have been tagged, are on fixed incomes.  The Graffiti Committee wants to make graffiti eradication painless for them, and will find the volunteers to do the work. But they need funds to make this work.

245 College Still Needs Donations

Thanks to all that made donations to help HVRA, and neighbouring residents’ associations, participate in the current Ontario Municipal Board hearing on a private developers’ proposal for a 24 story student residence.  The case is now in mediation.  We’ve paid all our legal bills to date, but will need more to press on. 

If you can make a donation, please mail a cheque, payable to "Iler-Campbell" to:
Ralph Daley, 41 Soho Square, Toronto ON M5T 2Z2.

Harbord Village Pilot Project Gets Ahead of Emerald Ash Bore Killer

Cost to HVRA homeowners could be as little as $250 every 2 years

Harbord Village EAB Management Plan —
for more information, click here to visit our Treeing the Village web pages.

Cover of

Finally, some real hope in staving off the green beetle that is threatening one in ten trees in the City of Toronto and is further advanced on the University of Toronto campus than was thought. Some have been found in Harbord Village, but we need to act in the next four months to save half our trees.

“We need to be in a position to act by June,” said Prof. Sandy Smith, University of Toronto Forestry Department Entymologist. “Injections must be within June-August timeframe, or the trees will die.”

“This is way better than we thought,” said Tim Grant, Chair of HVRA, when we were given a quick preview of the plan. “We still have a chance to act.”

What is promising is that the cost of injecting affected trees is considerably less over time than cutting them down, because a major infestation is invariably fatal.
Read more here.

Get to know our Community Builder Award Winners.

Cyril Greenland and Jane Donald

Each year we recognize those who have made outstanding contributions in three categories: Community Builder, Front Yard Garden and Heritage Restoration.

Visit our Award Winners web page to see the amazing collection of individuals and homeowners who have made wonderful contributions to our neighbourhood. Harbord Village is a much better place for their efforts.


Find your tree!

Our Google Earth map will show you your street, your house, your tree — and the entire Harbord Village canopy.

Check it out on our Harbord Village Trees Inventory web page

Reading recommendation from the HV Tree Committee:
Here's a timely article about tree care from the Fine Gardening web site: What's Wrong with That Tree?

Google Earth