Bits and bobs

Frances Nunziata’s most recent email circular was particularly full of Weston news. If you haven’t signed up, you should.¹ A few things of note:

  • The construction at Swanek Park is underway after a long, wet spring.
  • Swimming at the Lion’s park will be free again this year.
  • The Pelmo Rec Centre is offering Zumba and yoga classes starting next week. It’s not too late to sign up.
  • Toronto Hydro will be doing much work on Weston Road over the next six months. Since no local would ever drive on Weston Road now with all the construction already underway, there will be no additional inconvenience.
  • Mount Dennis defeats Weston at the only well being index that matters to your humble correspondent: community caffeination concentration. Mount Dennis now has an independent coffee shop, Super Coffee, giving them a c³ index of 1. Weston’s remains at 0.


¹ 99% sure this is the ever-excellent Jennifer Cicchelli’s work. Nunziata said a few years ago that she doesn’t know what a computer mouse is and that her staff print out all her emails.

John Street lot expropriated

The city has expropriated the overgrown lot at 14 John Street near Peter the Barber’s shop. Interestingly, the lot was not expropriated because it was an eyesore; it was taken to make space for a “Cultural Hub”.

John Street will soon be permanently closed to traffic, and Metrolinx is building a pedestrian bridge over the tracks. The bridge, though, needs to take up some space in the parking lot on John.

That space, though, was supposed to be used for an expanded Farmers’ Market and as space for cultural activities. The lot beside was expropriated by the city to ensure that the hub would still be viable.

The city does not say how much they paid for the lot.

End-of-year crime update

I was at a New Year’s party this week. Though it’s hazy now, I think I remember my neighbour talking about the things she likes, and dislikes, about Weston. I think she said crime was the thing she hated most.

I told her—loudly, I’m sure—that crime was down. DOWN. Crime all around the city is down too, and you live in the safest city in North America.

Murder rates are a terrible measure of crime, but dead bodies are easy to keep track of, so every statistician uses them. According to the police, there were three murders in 12 Division, an area of about 100,000 people, last year (I counted 4). That makes our neighbourhood safer than every major city in the US. Only Montreal, Vancouver, and, of course, Toronto are our peers in North America.

There was one murder in Weston last year.  If Weston were a city, it would be as bloody and crime-ridden as Wichita. Or Charlotte. Or Denver—i.e. it wouldn’t be bloody at all.

Since you are extremely unlikely to be murdered, you should care much more about other kinds of crime. 12 Division had about 200 burglaries last year. No American city comes close to our low rate of crime and almost every city has more than twice as many burglaries.  A nice town like Portland has three times as many. Cleveland has 10 times as many.

There were about 150 robberies in 12 Division in 2013. Unsurprisingly, a lot of Texan towns have fewer robberies than we do. (Perhaps if we were better armed, the thugs would let us be.) Still, our robbery rates would put us in the best fifth of American cities, and we don’t have to have shootouts at noon.

D12 crime indicators
D12 crime indicators

It was, all in all, a very good year for law-abiding people in Toronto and in Weston. Get the word out.

Your chance to weigh in on culture in Weston

The City of Toronto is surveying residents about the cultural events and spaces in their communities (hint: there are few in Weston).

This kind of survey drives me up the wall:

  1. If it’s taken seriously, the rich get more cultural money. After all, the rich work in offices and have computers at their desks all day. The rich have newspapers and groups to direct people to the English-only survey.
  2. If these surveys are not taken seriously, they give the appearance of accountability where none exists.

So, go Westonians. Tell the city what you think about the arts, culture, and historical spaces in our fair village.

1a. Honest, to Christ. Who asks these questions? Here: “Do you feel that arts, culture and heritage offerings are physically, financially and geographically accessible to you?  Arts, culture and heritage offerings are defined as films, live music, theatre, dance, literary events, art galleries/displays, museums or heritage displays.”

Tell me now, is that an easy-to-answer question for someone with English as a second language? Could the navel-gazing ‘community facilitator’ behind this not have said: “Do you go to movies, concerts, or other performances? Do you go to museums?”

So help me god, I’ll bet 10:1 this is some PhD candidate doing “action research”. Any takers?

This is the sort of crap that ensures that the Wychwood Barns and the Evergreen Brickworks go to the richy-rich hoods, while we get, what? A train station? I could murder someone.

Spaces still available for March Break camps

If, like me, you forgot to plan anything for your kids for March Break, you can take a deep breath. All is not lost. The City of Toronto would like you to know that there are spaces still available in many of the day camps.

Nearby camps with spaces available include at Weston CI, The Elms, Thistledown and Amesbury. You can register online. The camps cost about $80 for the week—quite a steal.

Urban Arts Gallery Opening A Big Hit.

Marlene McKintosh – UrbanArts Executive Director
Marlene McKintosh – UrbanArts Executive Director

A large and respectful crowd was on hand at Urban Arts on John Street Thursday evening for the inauguration of the Youth Gallery Project. Excellent artworks were on display featuring the talents of students from Weston Collegiate and Archbishop Romero High School. While the poetry slam had few entries the audience was appreciative. A guest appearance by talented Mississauga performer John River ended the evening.

Ify Chiwetelu- Program Coordinator managing the Poetry Slam.
Ify Chiwetelu- Program Coordinator consults judges during the poetry slam in the gallery.
Lashawn Arrindell - event photographer.
Lashawn Arrindell – event photographer.
Joan Wilson organized the photo and painting exhibit
Joan Wilson organized the gallery exhibit
John River performing.
John River performing.
Poetry slam competitors.
Two poetry slam competitors perform together.

While the poetry slam entries were low in number, organizer Ify Chiwetelu was confident of more participation in the next event.