A TTC train heading to Kennedy station in Scarborough.
Scarborough

Scarborough transit plans derailed after Ontario’s TTC takeover, protesters say

“The province has the power to tell the City of Toronto whether it can or can’t build any transit,” TTC Riders’ Shelagh Pizey-Allen said about the Getting Ontario Moving Act.

Tomorrow afternoon, more than 40 Scarborough residents will join a march organized by TTC Riders, Scarborough Transit Action and Connect Sheppard East. Demonstrators plan to protest Ontario’s takeover of new TTC projects that’ll leave the Eglinton East LRT off the map, says Shelagh Pizey-Allen, executive director of transit advocacy group TTC Riders.

“The 2019 budget and the provincial transit plan in there does not include Eglinton East LRT…even though it was promised by Premier [Doug] Ford during the election campaign. We already knew that a month or so ago,” she told me in a phone call. But the introduction of Bill 107, or the Getting Ontario Moving Act, into the Legislative Assembly of Ontario on May 2 was the “final nail on the coffin,” she said.

“Bill 107 actually puts everything under the purview of the Minister of Transportation,” Pizey-Allen explained, adding that it could be voted on as early as next week. “It allows the province to literally prohibit the city from moving ahead with design work, planning work, building work on any new project. It’s not saying: We hereby cancel Eglinton East [LRT]. What it’s saying is: Now, the province has the power to tell the City of Toronto whether it can or can’t build any transit.”

Malvern native Ketheesakumaran Navaratnam, 29, found out about the march through his volunteer work with TTC Riders. He plans to participate to voice his frustrations.

“Malvern is a transit desert. We don’t have any rapid transit. There have been many undelivered promises. It’s important to push the government to deliver and build rapid transit,” Navratnam said.

Protesters on Saturday will march to Scarborough-Rouge Park MPP Vijay Thanigasalam’s office in the hopes that he’ll will spread their message to his colleagues. “The Eglinton East LRT would run to his riding,” Pizey-Allen said. “He has the power to stop [Bill] 107, and bring forward these concerns to the conservative government.”

What do you make of Ontario’s plans for transit in Toronto? How do you think they’ll affect your commute to and from your neighbourhood? Let me know via email; your feedback will inform our upcoming reporting on transit in Scarborough.

This type of community-powered reporting takes a lot of time and resources. If you want more stories that reflect the real Scarborough, we need you to contribute to our campaign — whether that’s a monthly, annual or one-time commitment. Help us define Scarborough on your terms.

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Scarborough Discourse kicked off our spring campaign on Tuesday, so from May 21 to June 15, we’re asking people who believe in what we do to pay for our work. So far, 186 people have already become monthly supporters! If you value community-driven journalism — which means stories that you and other Scarborough residents told us you care about — please help us by contributing any amount, whether that’s a monthly, annual or one-time commitment. I’d also love if you shared this page with your friends, and told them why you support Scarborough Discourse.

Spotlight

“I feel like we need to promote the things Scarborough has to offer on a day-to-day basis, and to really put it out there,” says visual artist Ashante Blackwood.

Ashante Blackwood, 23, specializes in Afrocentric portraits and abstract concept art. She recently presented a visual-art series, called “The Awakening,” at Scarborough Arts. The exhibit depicts the experiences of women of colour, as they find and come to love their true identity. Ashante says she wants to create art that inspires all women to feel beautiful and comfortable in their own skin.

Growing up in Malvern meant Ashante had access to different cultural experiences because of her diverse social circle. “It was very easy for me to understand different ways of living, and how people think and learn — because of that diversity in Scarborough,” she says.

With files from Cristela Tello Ruiz

#ScarbTransitTales

As part of Scarborough Discourse’s ongoing investigative series, we want to highlight your transit experiences. In my conversations with residents and attendees at our second Story Circle, you told us about some of the barriers you face while commuting, so my colleague Anita and I would like to reflect these challenges in our coverage.

Please send us your photos of delays, crowding, bus bunching and other frustrations from your daily commutes. If you want to showcase your love for Scarborough transit, that’s cool, too! Either way, share your stories on social media using the hashtag #ScarbTransitTales, and be sure to tag @TheDiscourse.

Let’s meet up

  • May 25. Community Speaks. Learn about community initiatives that aim to consult residents on transit and other issues. Free lunch and TTC tokens provided. Malvern library (Community Room). 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • May 25. Community Yard Sale. Spring-clean your home and meet your neighbours! MP Bill Blair, MPP Doly Begum and Counc. Gary Crawford are encouraging residents of Scarborough Southwest (Ward 20) to check out yard sales in their neighbourhood, as well as host their own. Various locations. 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • May 25 to 26. Doors Open Toronto. Now in its 20th year, this annual event gives locals the chance to enter the private spaces of more than 150 of Toronto’s most architecturally, culturally and socially significant buildings. Scarborough options include Fool’s Paradise (the former home of artist Doris McCarthy), Knox United Church and the Scarborough Fire Museum. Various locations. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.