And finally

It’s been a fun photographic evening on WestonWeb. One more to go, with an an idea almost as old as the bike.

The photo below just appeared on the Toronto Public Library’s excellent photo stream. It shows Mike Barry, the recently-deceased father of Canadian cycling, riding a penny farthing.

From the TPL

The caption is:

Home of the bicycle: “Mike Barry rides a penny farthing, built in the late 1800s. Some Weston residents are hoping Weston will one day have a national cycling museum and hall of fame.”

The photo, and the article it accompanied, are from 1988.

30 years ago, the Weston BIA hatched a plan, hosted the first (and probably last) Weston Criterium, and started working on a mobile museum. They christened Weston “the home of the bicycle” and hoped to have a permanent museum underway within four years.

Clearly, it didn’t work.

But you know, the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is today.

I think a cycling museum and hall of fame in Weston is a damned fine idea. Canada has a fine history of bike building and racing–and some of the best bikes in the world are still made here–but I don’t think there’s a proper museum anywhere in the country.

Norco, CCM, Rocky Mountain, Devinci, Mariposa and Cervélo are all Canadian brands, as are Cannondale, GT and Schwinn.

And bikes are beautiful. Sure, I’m a little biased, but I’d visit. Am I crazy?

Astonishing historical letters

The Weston Historical Society posted a link to The Canadian Letters and Images Project, which preserves letters from soldiers serving abroad.

One group of letters is from Bert Irwin, who was born in Weston. Irwin enlisted in 1915, and his brief letters are sad, occasionally charming, and completely terrifying. You must read them.

Irwin never seems to have believed in glory and honour of war. In a letter from what he calls “Hell” (his family looks to have added “Somme” to the top of the page letter, in pen) only four months into his time in Europe, he tells his parents, on small, pencilled pages, about a few of the things he has seen:

A big High explosive came near me and the flash and powder kind of got my goat and I thought I saw a big hole. I floundered into it on my head and it was only about a foot deep. I was like an ostrich then trying to bury my head in the mud. Just as I hit the bottom a big “dud” unexploded shell came over my shoulder half burying me. When I got back down the line to the old position it was all torn up but one dug out and two fellows were wounded and one shell shocked. I thought I was due for that but I didnt get it. I dont make any bones about saying Im darn scared of shells and anyone who says differently hasnt been there. Yesterday I was filling sand bags and I noticed a mule team on the cusp of the hill. The drivers were dismounted and seemed to be lost. I said to a fellow beside me, “They hadnt better stay there long” Just as said it a shell lit behind the waggon and scared them. They mounted and started off at the trot. I thought to myself “they’re getting out lucky” when a big fritz came shrieking down right into the centre of them. Five mules and two drivers were blown completely The other mule stood there and “hee hawd.” One leg was blown off. Somebody ran over and shot him.

These are the things he would share with his mother.

Irwin survived the Battle of the Somme–as well as Passchendaele and Vimy–and stayed at the front for two more years.


It wasn’t all horror. In June of 1918, Irwin wrestled another Canadian, and took joy in the licking he received:

I was in a wrestling bout for the Brigade yesterday. Went up against a fellow from B.C. who had one time been middleweight champion of Canada (I found this out after) Well I’m not ashamed to say he trimmed me up because he had the Science. All I’ve got is an imposing pose. I had him beat in that anyhow… I stuck it out for another round after that but he got me in the finish. So, bar having a lump on my forehead like an egg and a feeling all over like Id been skinned alive with a razor I dont feel too bad.

He was also arrested in Bologne for impersonating a sergeant so that he could ride in a better carriage.


In the last letters he wrote, he describes being hit.

He seems relieved–and seems to even wish his old friend, Cecil, who carried him to the dressing station–had been hit, too. ” I hope Cecil doesn’t get it”, he says. “I hated to see him go back.”

In the last sentence, of the last letter, he says, “I am in a fine hospital and am going to take my time getting better.”

Cool pictures

Speaking of pictures, Muller Zergaber, a photojournalist, was kind enough to post a guest photo to our Facebook group. It’s superb–and it really captures the brutal weather we’ve had this week.

By Muller Zergaber

Muller posts now and then to the Weston Village Neighbour’s group, and boy, is he good.

Muller Zergaber from Weston Neighbour’s group

If you have any photos or news, I hope you’ll feel inclined to post it over on Weston’s second-best Facebook news group.

Sorry about the slow posting

Very sorry about the slow posting. I was laid low with a cold that sapped me of my will to live, let alone my will to sit in front of a computer. I’m feeling better now, though, thanks for asking, and I’m ready to go!

In unrelated news, I bought a new (used) camera. Since it’s been a quiet week, here’s a photo I took–I liked it, but I couldn’t tell you why. Perhaps it’s because I felt like garbage?

Electioneering hotting up

It may be subzero outside, but the electioneering in York South–Weston is already hotting up a bit.

Yafet Tewelde released a campaign video this week. Tewelde is seeking the nomination for the NDP.

Stephen Lepone, who received a drubbing as the Libertarian candidate in 2015, has announced his candidacy for the Conservatives–and he’s started a Twitter account.

Latest from Metrolinx on Mount Dennis construction

Urban Toronto has an article outlining the latest progress on the old Kodak site. The construction work is slowly taking shape as more work is done on the site. Read all about it here.