Upcoming events

Shakespeare in Action and the Weston Silver Band are hosting what sounds like a fantastic event: a dramatic reading of A Christmas Carol with live music. It will be in Artscape Weston Common’s Rockport Performance Hall from December 10th-12that 7:00pm.

Four professional actors and one special (and surprise!) community guest each night will take the stage, and what will follow is the holiday classic told in five sections interspersed with delightful music from the Weston Silver Band Quintet.

Tickets are pay-what-you-can at the door with cash or credit card, and you can reserve them  by calling Shakespeare in Action at (416)-703-4881.

You are encouraged to donate a non-perishable food item to WAES.


The Mount Dennis Community Association will be hosting a holiday pop-up every weekend before Christmas and a Winter Solstice Celebration under the lights of Nyctophilia on December 20 and 21. Sounds like fun!

Shakespeare in Action announcement delayed again

Shakespeare in Action is a ‘culturally-diverse professional theatre company’ that moved to the Artscape Weston Hub at the beginning of this year. On November 9, founder and Artistic Director Michael Kelly was accused of, ‘making a racist remark’ during a rehearsal of a production (Sound and Fury) that was then cancelled.

Mr. Kelly, has been suspended since November 9th pending the results of an investigation by SIA’s board of directors. The directors said they would disclose the results quickly, promising to report by November 25th. That date passed and the board announced a delay in order to not act, ‘hastily and rashly while it considers the results of its investigations’.

The results were then promised by the 29th but as of December 1, three weeks after the alleged incident, there is still no word on the SIA site.

Look for an update here once the results have been announced.

Update: SIA issued this announcement on Sunday December 1.

“Statement from Board of Directors, Shakespeare in Action 

December 1 2019

The Board of Directors (Board) of Shakespeare in Action (SIA) has conducted a thorough investigation of the incidents which occurred on November 9th and 11th, 2019 during rehearsals for the SIA production of “Sound and Fury”.

Firstly, on behalf of SIA, the Board would like to apologize to the artists, partners, and community members affected. The Board also regrets the impact the subsequent cancellation of two productions in our first season has had on students, schools, artists, partners and the community.

SIA is dedicated to growing the performing arts in Weston and surrounding communities, and understands that we cannot do this in a meaningful way without acknowledging the harm felt by those affected. The Board hopes that the recommendations outlined below can provide the beginning of a path forward to rebuild trust with our stakeholders so that we can continue to create fun, inclusive, and accessible performing arts experiences that reflect, engage, and celebrate this community.

Board Recommendations

Regarding Michael Kelly

While the Board believes there was no deliberate intention on Michael Kelly’s part to cause harm, his actions on November 9th and 11th did cause significant harm to the actors, the playwright, Marcel Stewart, and the broader community. Furthermore, his actions are not consistent with the philosophy and mandate of SIA, as well as SIA’s internal anti-harassment policy and the Canadian Actors’ Equity Association’s “Not In Our Space Policy”.

Given this, we find the only way to be consistent with SIA’s values and to honour the experience of those affected, is to have Michael Kelly immediately step aside from his role as Artistic Director.

However, Michael Kelly will remain with SIA over the next three months (until February 29, 2020) to assist with the transition of the organization to David di Giovanni, as interim Artistic Director, with the following stipulations:

  1. That Michael will undergo sensitivity training;
  2. That Michael will not engage directly with any artistic personnel;
  3. That a member of the Board will assume the position of Officer to conduct those administrative duties previously managed by Michael Kelly.

During these three months the Board would like to have continued and meaningful dialogue with those involved.

At the end of the three months, Michael Kelly’s position with SIA will be reevaluated.

Regarding The Position of Artistic Director

The Board is appointing David di Giovanni as interim Artistic Director

Regarding SIA and the Board The Board acknowledges that:
  1. SIA needs policies and practices to prevent and address personal and group oppression, discrimination and bullying;
  2. These policies and practices are necessary to ensure a safe space for all in both SIA’s operations and programming;
  3. SIA needs diversity on its management team and Board of Directors, as presently we do not adequately reflect the Weston community, our home.

The Board recommends:

  1. That the necessary policies and practices including, but not limited to, anti-oppression, anti-discrimination and anti-bullying, be developed and put into place and practice;
  2. Engaging a third party to audit the implementation of the necessary policies and practices;
  3. Engaging a third party to facilitate anti-oppression training;
  4. That all SIA staff and Board members – including future new members – receive this training;
  5. That new Board members from the Weston community be actively recruited with the goal of achieving a minimum of 50% representation on the Board from members from the Weston community.

Conclusion

The Board, made up of only volunteers, believes it has exercised its duty to act in the best interest of SIA, by considering the myriad parties affected. Moving forward, we have a shared responsibility in this incident, and to ensure that this never happens again. We commit to learn and grow and do so in a way that promotes a safe and respectful space for all.

Sincerely,
The Board of Directors of Shakespeare in Action

The full-length report including “Facts and Findings” is available here. “

 

Kiowa Wind McComb mural at ROM

The ROM has named a mural after a young man killed in Weston.

Mural
From NOW Toronto

Kiowa Wind McComb was stabbed to death outside Gucci’s Bar and Grill on Jane Street in 2016. He was the Indigenous Youth Intern at the ROM at the time of his death.

“We did get a question about the wind in the hair of the horses, so we talked about Kiowa,” recalls McCue. “I got a little bit more emotional than I thought I would.”

Lauren Lavallee had been dating McComb for two years at the time of his death. She was at the unveiling and was gifted a shawl, a cultural tradition for a grieving person, and only realized the nod to McComb in the mural after McCue explained it.

NOW Toronto has more.

Some answers to community questions about Greenland Farms development

The developers of the Greenland Farms site held a  consultation this week at Weston CI, and their representatives answered some of the community’s questions.

The developer’s concept drawing of the finished product. Note the size of the storefronts at the base of the structure. Click to enlarge.

The development was repeatedly framed as “regentrification” and an opportunity to have more owners move to the neighbourhood. Adam Brown, the solicitor for the applicant, also suggested that the prices would be in $500–$800 per square foot range, much less than downtown.

I got little sense, however, that the developers had any interest in community development, except insofar as it was required by law. Brown said the building would conform to the city’s green standards  because it has to, and that the developers would contribute to development funding, because it is the law. It was, to my mind, a contrast to the 22 John development, which promised public benefits above those required by the city.

The audience applauded when Mike Sullivan, our former MP and a contributor to WestonWeb, asked why the site was so ugly. The audience was generally skeptical and critical of the projects size (two towers), height (29 storeys), and proximity to the property lines.

The developers’ representatives did answer questions posed by the audience, some of which Roy asked in an earlier post.


Why is this development not in keeping with the scale of the area.

Brown said that development required a “critical mass”. “You will not see regentrification or redevelopment of the area at 8 storeys”, he said—the height called for by the local planning guidelines. “There is an economic reality to it.”

If this project is approved, where will the considerable Section 37 monies be spent?

Brown said that there hasn’t yet been any discussion of section 37 benefits, because the development is at too early a stage.

  • Why are there so few parking spaces allocated?

“We are not anticipating a high demand for parking…. I know the city would like us to provide more parking on site”, he said. He suggested that most residents would be commuters to downtown and not want cars to get around the suburbs—a questionable assumption, I think.

He acknowledged, too, that if a grocery store were to be a tenant, that “they will ask for more parking”.

Where are the shadow studies for the winter months?

City rules do not require shadow studies for the winter. The city planner said “we have some concerns”.

Black Cat Espresso Bar gets BlogTO write-up.

One of these days I’m planning on walking over to Weston’s latest coffee shop, the new Black Cat Espresso Bar at 46 Rosemount Avenue. Amy Carlberg at blogTO has done a feature article on the place complete with interior shots and some mouth-watering photos.

Read all about it here.

Weston Asset Management Development questions

On Thursday November 28, at Weston Collegiate Institute, a meeting will be held to assess public reaction to a huge development proposed for Weston’s old ‘Main Street’.

There’s no doubt development is needed in Weston. The question is what form should it take? Do we want the familiar streetscape of the current architecture (Bloor West Village style), something moderately larger or are people ok with the gargantuan development being proposed. Once a pattern of new development along Weston Road is established, it will set the trend. Until recently, the plan for Weston was for something moderate that would fit into the streetscape.

Now there is no mention of Weston in Toronto’s official Plan and it seems strange that this has happened without community input.

Here’s what the old guidelines said about development in the area.

GUIDELINES

The following general objectives have been established for the Weston area.

Weston will be recognized as a distinct and significant community within the City of Toronto,
as a community rooted in its history. Weston has experienced considerable change in land use, employment, retail activity and residential character and will continue to experience these changes in the future. The challenge is to recapture Weston’s unique character of the past within a greatly changed urban area and reality. These guidelines will help manage any future change within Weston in order to achieve the following goals:

  • The revitalization of retail and community activity along Weston Road as the strong and attractive heart of Weston
  • The maintenance of the quality of life in the neighbourhoods
  • The introduction of new residential development along the Weston Road corridor
  • The generation of new employment opportunities on former industrial lands
  • The enhancement of the Humber Valley as an environmental and recreational asset for the city.

All buildings located in Weston Village will be limited to a maximum height of 24 metres with the following exception:

– buildings fronting onto Weston Road and/or John Street will be limited to a maximum height of 3 storeys or 9 metres for all portions of the buildings located within 6 metres of the street line. Any additional height above the third storey will be set back a minimum of 3 metres from the face of the base building to a maximum height of 8 storeys (24 metres) 

Why is 8 stories no longer the limit? Surely Councillor Nunziata should have kept the community informed of this change, official or not. To go from 8 to 29 stories is a huge increase.

There seems to be an effort from supporters of this project to put their thumb on the scale – one person alone commented 9 times on the previous article. The attitude from some supporters seems to be, “Shut up and be grateful NIMBY”.

There’s nothing wrong with development provided it enriches the community – not just the developer. This project is way too large and will do nothing for the community except add traffic, shadow and sewage issues.

It’s not as if we haven’t learned this lesson before. When the Weston Hub was proposed, it was going to be a shining beacon and provide all things to all people, including an indoor / outdoor farmers market and community centre. Now it looks as if there won’t even be room for the Farmers Market when traders use the designated space next May.

Questions that should concern every Weston resident:

  • Do we want to place these huge high rises in the heart of Weston?
  • Why is this development not in keeping with the scale of the area.
  • Why has the project doubled in size since the last public consultation?
  • If this project is approved, where will the considerable Section 37 monies be spent? (Let’s hope no more Nychtophilias)
  • Why are there so few parking spaces allocated? (There are 7 above ground parking spaces (for visitors) and 174 below ground for a building that will house more than a thousand people. Weston is not downtown Toronto.)
  • If a supermarket opens on the second floor, where will people park and how will they carry groceries to their cars?
  • Where are the shadow studies for the winter months?
  • Who are the people behind Weston Asset Management?
  • Why does Weston Asset Management have no web presence?
  • What is Councillor Nunziata’s position on this development?

Read more about the project here. The developer’s application materials can be found here.

If you cannot attend the meeting, and would like to provide input, Rory McNeil at the City Planner’s Office would like to hear from you:

by email: [email protected]
by Phone: (416) 394-5683
by letter: City, Planner, Etobicoke York District, 2, Civic Centre Court, Floor 3, Toronto ON, M9C 5A3.

Planning Application Consultation:
Date: November 28, 2019
Time: 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Location: Weston Collegiate Institute; 100 Pine Street.