UPX reaches target ridership

The UP Express reached its early ridership targets, according to Metrolinx, and is now carrying about 3250 riders a day (about 23 riders per trip).

CP24 says that internal surveys found 3 in 4 riders were very satisfied with the trip, but that many got lost trying to find the station.

Not all were pleased, however. The Huffington Post has a long article criticizing the retro ride and the poor connections with transit:

My UP ride started as a curious marketing inspection after I smelled blood from all the wasteful promo blunders of the past year, but it culminated in a much broader indictment and plenty of citizen rage. This is my town, my trains, my money. This was supposed to reflect my brand, as a Torontonian. Instead, we got yet another product of small minds, narrow agendas, parochial bureaucrats and classically low expectations. We should all feel a little bit embarrassed by those empty seats, the angry diesel engines, the misaligned stations and the giant billboards. All brought to us by our town’s multiple, unrelated, disconnected transport authorities.

 

And we’re back

Sorry about the hiatus. It’s been a tough couple of weeks around here.

In the news: the Clean Train Coalition keeps chugging along. They’ve joined a climate justice campaign in advance of the “Climate Summit of the Americas“, an international conference hosted by the Government of Ontario.

The CTC is also counting the pounds of greenhouse gases released by the UPX. In the first three weeks of operation, they say it has released about a million kilograms of carbon dioxide.

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Upcoming Events

The Weston Public Library has announced a bunch of new kids’ programs for the summer and the next few weeks. On Monday, July 6, they will having a Pan Am craft workshop in advance of the…

Pan Am Torch Relay, on Tuesday, July 7. The torch will pass through Weston at around 1:45. Bring the crafts and cheer on the runners.

The library will also be having a kids’ Documentary Filmmaking workshop with TIFF. on Wednesday, July 29 between 1:00 p.m.3:00 p.m. Kids must be between 9 and 12. 

The TD Summer Reading club is also getting underway, as are several other programs.


 

UrbanArts is launching a zillion programs, including an arts camp, Friday night movies, and an art show.


The Weston Lions pool is open for the summer. If you haven’t been, it’s a blast–and always free.


 

On Saturday, July 11, the Mount Dennis Community Association has organized free fishing (equipment provided) at Topham Pond in Eglinton Flats. You don’t need a license, and there will be experienced anglers on hand to teach. The fishing starts at 10. If you don’t catch anything, there will be hotdogs and corn on the cob to nibble.

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Happy Canada Day

A happy Canada Day to all our readers! We truly are lucky to live in Canada.

5:25 pm:

Bouncy castles galore.

Bouncy castles galore; July 1, 2015.

Don’t forget that tonight at 10:00, Weston’s own annual fireworks display gets under way at Lions Park. The weather promises to be fine but cool by 10:00 so dress warmly for the evening. If you’ve attended in the past, you know what a treat is in store. Come and listen to Elvis and other talented musicians, meet your favourite politicians, gorge on some french fries and onion rings and try out a slide or bouncy castle – perhaps not in that order!

A word to the wise – if you can walk to the celebrations all the better as parking tends to be filled early and after the fireworks, there may be a bit of a wait while everybody queues up to leave.

Fireworks at the ready.

Fireworks at the ready; July 1 2015.

Marking by day, monologues by night

(Left to right) Olivia Jon (Ophelia) and Rob Glen (Polonius) in Hamlet at Kew Gardens.

(Left to right) Olivia Jon (Ophelia) and Rob Glen (Polonius) in Hamlet at Kew Gardens.

It isn’t often that the english teacher who helps you analyze Shakespeare’s soliloquies in class is also reciting them to an audience the same night.

Weston Collegiate’s IB english and philosophy teacher, Rob Glen plays Polonius, a chief counsellor to the Danish royalty of Elsinore, in Shakespeare’s well known tragedy Hamlet. While delivering philosophical spiels about tabula rasa at the chalkboard, he can undoubtedly deliver powerful soliloquies at center stage.

Glen is a member of two theatre companies; Stage Centre Productions and Bard in the Park, a volunteer-based company whose Shakespeare adaptations are performed every summer along the Toronto Beaches.

Bard in the Park is currently showing a condensed two-hour version of Hamlet, as the tragedy’s five acts typically runs for four hours. The company will be performing at the Kew Gardens with evening shows at 7 PM from Tuesday to Saturday (June 16 – 20), and matinée shows running during the weekends at 2 PM (June 20 – 21). All shows are pay what you can.

Polonius exposing Hamlet of his sappy love letters: the Shakespearean equivalent of your parents reading your texts.

Yet, our Polonius had only joined the company quite recently. His acting career began after receiving numerous comments on his animated and comical behavior (which certainly sneaks itself into our philosophy lectures). When he wasn’t marking essays on Al Purdy’s poetic techniques, Glen enrolled himself in a few professional acting classes and began auditioning around various Toronto theatre companies.

Five years ago, he scored his first role, and one of his favourites, with Stage Centre Productions as Freddy in George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion.

From then on, his thespian opportunities skyrocketed. Taking an immediate liking to his skill, Garth Allen, the artistic director at the time, offered Glen more roles despite him being novice. With Allen, he played Gerald in JB Priestley’s An Inspector Calls, and Father March in Little Women. 

With a new artistic director, Michael Burgess (to which he adds, “not the singer, the other guy,”), Glen continued with Stage Centre Productions to play Bo Dekker in Bus Stop, an ageing detective-wannabee in The Game’s Afoot, and a German violinist with Nazi affiliations in Ronald Harwood’s Taking Sides. The same year, Taking Sides was remounted at Al Green Theatre in honor of Holocaust Awareness Week. In Stage Centre Production’s most recent show, Glen played Jonathan Brewster in Arsenic and Lace. His next role will be in Ken Ludwig’s Leading Ladies, a comedy involving cross-dressing and conning for money, coming March 2016.

Joining Bard in the Park just two years ago, the company invited Glen back to embody Polonius after playing Lodovico in their previous production of Othello. Preparation for Hamlet began in January, where the cast of ten rehearsed two days a week for two and a half hours.

“It’s interesting how different Shakespeare is. It’s all about finding the character in the language,” says Glen on his role as Polonius. “With other types of more modern art, you kind of develop ideas on your own and bring that into the language. But the more I have a feel of the words I’m saying, the more I start doing the things that perhaps my character is supposed to do… Hopefully I’ll get a few laughs.”

(Left to right) Hom Bradwell (Claudius) and Rob Glen (Polonius) probably discussing how to figure out Hamlet’s level of sanity.

While playing the loving father of Ophelia and Laertes, there’s a weasel-esque essence to Polonius that, if exhibited appropriately, can provide a comic relief to the play’s dark overtones. To see their interpretation of Polonius and celebrate an end to exams, I attended one of the evening shows at Kew Gardens. Sprawled over the park’s lawn on burlap sacks, we watched as Mr. Glen read aloud Hamlet’s teenage-sap-ridden love letter and plotted his conniving plans. His portrayal of the fishmonger and worm-like Polonius did indeed invoke laughter.

“At first, I was excited about just seeing the play, but later I was excited that I got to see a different Mr. Glen,” says Heeho Ryu, a philosophy student. “Before we only knew him as the well-dressed, humorous teacher, but now I know that he can be Polonius.”

Another student, David de Vries, recalls, “It was really cool to see that he can put aside the philosophy and do a really great job at playing a Shakespeare character. It reminded me that all of our teachers are super talented individuals.”

One might assume that balancing teaching two separate subjects whilst acting in two separate companies is difficult. But Mr. Glen thinks otherwise: “It’s kind of like when you come back from a hard day at work, so you go out dancing. Then you discover you have this hidden reserve for special types of energy.

“Teaching is acting. There’s even an entrance – everyday you come through a door. And even though it’s very informal and a lot of the time you’re not the center of attention, there is something performance-y about it. I feel like [acting is] helping my teaching.”

Be sure to catch Rob Glen in Bard in the Park’s production of Hamlet this weekend, and Leading Ladies with Stage Centre Productions next March.

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Events this week

Frontlines will be having its first-ever Catering Careers program open-house next Thursday starting at 6.

Open House at Frontlines


 

The Weston Village Residents’ Association is hosting the 11th annual Neighbours’ Night Out next Friday, June 26.

The NNO is always a blast, with lots of kids running around, cheap food, and entertainment. This year, there will be a movie.

The party starts at 5:45 at Elm Park.

 

2015NNO poster