As Toronto increases measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 by closing most of the city’s cultural happenings and civic centres, it can be difficult to have any positive perspective during these trying times.
But across the globe, we have seen citizens coming together, helping each other out whether that’s through financially assisting individuals or businesses in need, making more hand sanitizer for residents, or even playing some music for your neighbours during self-isolation.
Acts of kindness can be seen abroad and right here, at home, in Toronto.
Daily Hive has pulled together a list of various ways the community is coming together during the pandemic to alleviate some stress and lift some spirits.
UofT Med Students help frontline healthcare workers
Four students from UofT’s Faculty of Medicine wanted to find ways they could help healthcare workers and hospital support staff on the frontlines of the pandemic.
According to UofT, the students organized their peers to babysit, fetch groceries, and carry out other chores and tasks for the healthcare workers.
The students put a call to action on Twitter and received dozens of responses from students who wanted to help.
UofT says there are 240 volunteers to help more than 130 healthcare workers.
Florists to donate flowers for seniors and shelters
Florist Kalynn Crump, from ReBLOOM, will be donating flowers to seniors, long-term care facilities, and shelters in the city.
She put up a post on Instagram, asking if any florists and wholesalers have any flowers they’d like to donate, and reportedly received over 100 messages in 15 minutes.
Crump will be delivering the flowers in plastic bins, which will be sanitized, and seniors can arrange the flowers themselves in whatever fashion they desire.
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Sending you all love & we’re focusing on how we can help, especially to those who need it the most. Starting today we will aim our efforts towards all of the local flower shops and wholesalers across Canada. •💐 With all of the events and weddings being cancelled and retail stores closing, we know that you may have a lot of flowers looking for homes. • •🏘️ If you have flowers to donate, we are offering our floral donation collection service for free. We have the power to show those who are isolated/vulnerable that we are all still thinking of them even if we can’t visit and share smiles. • 😷 Please know that we are taking every precaution to ensure the health and safety of our delivery staff as well as the recipients. Here’s how we can do this together: DM, email or call us to schedule the immediate pick up across Canada. One ReBLOOM person will come collect from you outside of your shop in a plastic bin. No paper or cardboard please. You may do arrangements with the use of an elastic band only. The plastic bin will be sanitized and given the to the front desk of senior residences/long-term care facilities and shelters. From there seniors/recipients will be able to create their own arrangements inside, safely with the in-house staff. ❤️ Let’s not let the joy of flowers go to waste, and during this time who doesn’t need a little ray of sunshine. Cultivate joy & generosity. Kalynn + The ReBLOOM family xx
Supermarket will donate $100K of rice and lentils
Victoria Supermarket, located in North York, said they will support $100,000 worth of rice and lentils to those “less fortunate during the current coronavirus crisis.”
The supermarket said on Facebook that residents can contact the store if they cannot afford to buy rice and masoor daal — eight pounds of rice and four pounds of masoor daal per family.
“We are family-operated, family for families,” the business said.
Yoga studio offers a package and donates to employees
The Toronto-based Yoga studio, YYOGA, will be launching a five Class Pack sale, which will be valid for when the studio reopens and will donate 100% of the proceeds equally to their teaching staff and employees.
Additionally, 100% of subscription revenue generated will be put towards paying teachers in the next video shoot for YYOGA at Home.
There will also be a digital 30 Day Challenge offering a discounted annual subscription. Any income generated from that initiative will go straight into booking and paying teachers for additional filming with this spring.
Teacher offers kids lessons on YouTube
A teacher, who goes by the name Monsieur Steve, is providing language lessons for Grade 1 to 4 students in French immersion to help them with sentence structure and proper grammar.
Students right now will not be in school for at least two weeks after March Break and the lessons are done to keep kids’ learning up-to-speed.
Opera singer provides music from her balcony
Opera singer and CBC host, Julie Nesrallah, sang from her balcony to provide the streets of Toronto with a free music performance.
In a similar way to Italy’s recent balcony musical performances, Nesrallah offered a few minutes of operatic song for the city’s residents.
— Julie Nesrallah (@JulieNesrallah) March 18, 2020
Distillery’s are making hand sanitizer instead of booze
Two Toronto distilleries are temporarily ditching manufacturing booze and are instead making hand sanitizer for residents, given the current shortage of product.
Spirit of York said they will make a product that will meet the World Health Organization standards and all proceeds from these efforts will be redistributed to Local Food Banks.
The other distillery, Corby Spirit and Wine Limited and its Walkerville Hiram Walker & Sons Distillery in Windsor, announced that they will also be producing hand sanitizer to be donated to the TTC.
Rivoli will stream live music shows on Instagram
The music institution, Rivoli, is giving residents a new virtual concert series.
The Queen Street bar and concert space announced on Thursday that it will begin streaming live shows every night at 6 pm with artist taking over their Instagram.
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Hi folks. Hope everyone is doing alright during these unprecedented times. In an effort to keep the music alive in some capacity, we have partnered with a few artists who will be doing a Rivoli Instagram Artist Takeover from the safe confines of their homes. Over the next few days we’ll have different performers popping up to play a couple of tunes. Let’s support them, show love and appreciation by tuning in starting today at 6:30pm with Kate Boothman and Jimmy Bowskill. Visit @rivolitoronto
Community organizations donating food
The Liberty Village Residents Association (LVRA) has set up Food Drive boxes in Liberty Convenience to provide food for senior residents and other vulnerable groups in the city.
So far, two full boxes have been donated, around $100 worth of food. The goal is to reach $500 worth of extra food to give a total of 10 boxes to the community.
Choir! Choir! Choir! is hosting a virtual sing-a-long event
The community singing group, Choir!Choir!Choir! is hosting a live virtual sing-a-long event on March 21, at 3 pm.
On Facebook the event has almost 2,000 people attending and 4,500 people interested. The event is called an EPIC Love Song Social Distan-Sing-Along! and will have song lyrics available to download.
Cocktail bar transforms into pantry box project with delivery
While many Toronto restaurants have opted to offer takeout and delivery, one Queen West bar has opted to completely transform its operations during the pandemic.
Mother, located 874 Queen Street West, has collaborated with Ration Food Lab, alongside local chefs and farms to provide high-quality pantry boxes, available for delivery or pick-up.
Special store hours available for seniors
Big store chains like, Sobeys and Shoppers Drug Mart, will offer their first opening hour to those are the “most vulnerable and require extra attention, particularly seniors.”
Pusateri’s will be opening at 7 am daily, offering the first hour to shoppers who are elderly or have compromised immune systems.