Businesses gone bust

It’s been a tough go for some local fixtures in Weston. The Dairy Queen on Weston across from the Super Centre closed just before the money-making season began. My children were a bit bummed.

Weston’s Bakery Outlet will close later this month. Though I was an infrequent shopper there, I did love their panegyrics to the food-sciences.

I’m sure fewer tears were shed when Cash Inn closed. Your correspondent confesses to not paying much attention to usurers, but feels that this might be the first to close in a crowded market.

 

In other business news, nothing is up at the Crossroads Centre–nothing at all. It’s spooky. I counted 14 empty storefronts, among them several large spaces, including the former Home Outfitters and the Asian market, which are both very large spaces. Readers, do you have any ideas what might be going on up there?

 

Comal y Canela: The restaurant I don’t want you to know about

Journalistic integrity forces me to write about Comal y Canela at 1692 Jane St. I desperately want to keep it secret from you, because it is a hip, gourmet Mexican restaurant right here in Weston. It’s a tiny space, with 15 seats, a cute decor, and gorgeous, delicious, authentic Mexican food. I don’t want you to know, because I fear I’ll never get a seat there again.

But it’s marvellous. And you have to go.

Tacos Dorados
Tacos Dorados
Birria
Birria
Tacos Gobernador
Tacos Gobernador

 

Comal y Canela has only been open for about 4 months, but word seems to be out. It was busy there tonight—a Tuesday—with a few families jumbled  on benches and chairs around the polished, rough-edged wood tables. The place is close, familiar, friendly, and inexpensive enough to frequent. (We spent $62 for a family of four.)

The menu is only in Spanish, in keeping with the authentic food. Our server, who was wonderful, helped us through it, as there was lots of stuff we’d never heard of. The guy next to me, emerging from a rapture, tried to explain pozole. He said it’s like chilli, but he said ‘chilli’ with a sneer. No Tex Mex hard tacos here, friend.

I wanted to try it all. The sausage is made in house, as are the tamales (they didn’t serve them today, because the recipe they started last night didn’t work. The corn meal in Canada is different, our server explained.)  The pork is ‘tip to tail’, and some of the food takes hours, or days, to make.

But oh, is it worth the wait.

I got goat birria: a rich stew, served with tortillas, chopped onion, sliced radishes, and cilantro. It was fabulous. When it was hot, it was warm hangover food. The braised meat fell apart, and little delectable droplets of red oil surfaced on the brown broth. While it cooled, it got better and better, as the spicy blackened-pepper flavours came forward. I love goat, and this was perfect; just a teensie bit fatty, with two knuckles of bone in. I joined my neighbour in the heavenly choir.

My wife had tacos gobernador (shrimp tacos). No amateur alimentarian, she loved them, and she denied me all but a bite—and that was begrudgingly granted for science. My kids had chicken tacos dorados (taquitos) from the childrens’ menu, topped with lettuce, sour cream, and queso fresco. Unfussy and unspicy, they were total kid wins.

There are only two shortcomings. The first is vanishing: I would have killed for a beer (even a Mexican one) to go with my meat, but, at least for now, Comal y Canela is unlicensed. Instead, I had a made-in-house hibiscus iced tea. It was great. The second means everything or nothing: the menu is meaty, with little for vegetarians, and nothing (as far as I can tell with my Spanish) for vegans.

But ignore those quibbles. Comal y Canela is superb.

 

 

 

Bike Workshop on Saturday

This Saturday, Cycle Toronto will host a one-hour workshop on basic bike maintenance at Weston’s treasure of a library on King Street. Rain or shine – meet in the library parking lot if the weather is fine and if not, the basement will be used. All ages welcome.

Numbers are limited so registration is required and can be done in person before Saturday or by phone at 416-394-1016. As of Tuesday, there was still room for a few more people.

Now if only we had some actual bike lanes in Weston / Mount Dennis! Over to you Councillor Nunziata.

Interesting house for sale

49 Church Street. From Zoocasa

We’ve all seen this house, uncomfortably close to the CP tracks with a fascinating Grand Trunk Railway, Weston Station mural on the side. The image by Michele Van Maurik, is now showing its age, having withstood the elements for over 20 years by the tracks at 49 Church Street. The house is advertised on various agents’ sites but the most complete set of images seems to be on Zoocasa.

Because of the lack of details on the house itself, I assume that the value is in the site. The 73 x 165-foot lot has its longer side along the tracks.

Looking north alongside the tracks. From Zoocasa.

It’s advertised at $499,000.

Update: Thanks to a reader who comments that the house next door at 51 Church Street is also for sale. It’s being offered at $599,000. This would combine to give a lot measuring 99 x 155 feet (approximately).

10 Wilby apartments: zoning amendment and Section 37.

Toronto City Council and its local equivalent, Etobicoke York Community Council is a strange beast. Its decisions often leave people scratching their heads. This time they’ve managed to do something right. You’d think it was an election year or something.

On July 4, the Community Council dealt with rezoning the land at 10 Wilby. Readers may remember that non-profit builder, Options for Homes has proposed a 22-story, 233-unit condo apartment building at that location. OFH prides itself on making home ownership affordable. What they do is supplement an owner’s down-payment by up to $75,000 so that the mortgage is reduced. When the owner eventually sells, OFH gets back their contribution along with a proportional increase if the apartment has appreciated in value. As a tradeoff, features like swimming pools and gyms are eliminated so that prices are held down.

The address of 10 Wilby is an interesting one as it is at the top of the Humber Valley with potential access to parkland and the Pan Am Path. Our longer term residents may remember it as the former site of the Ministry of Transportation licence office.

The 10 Wilby site as it appears today. Hickory Tree curves around the corner. Wilby Crescent is on the left. The Humber Valley lies beyond the trees and informal (but steep) trails lead down to beautiful parkland, the river, the Humber footbridge and the Pan Am Path.

10 Wilby is above a curve in the river so views from the new building’s upper floors will be spectacular.

As an added bonus, Weston GO and UP Express stations are a short walk away.

From Toronto.ca

In order to erect a building on the smallish Wilby site, a land swap was arranged with the business opposite so that there was enough room to meet code requirements.  In rare and sensible use of Section 37 money, the Community Council on Wednesday approved rezoning and a plan that would see OFH donate and spend $800,000 in order to:

  • Make a cul-de-sac at the end of Wilby
  • Build a sidewalk along Wilby and connect it to Weston Road
  • Plant 25 new trees on the property and adjacent city land
  • Convert the Hickory Tree Road lands abutting the subject property to parkland conditions
  • Improve local parkland and connectivity of local parkland to the Humber River valley; and
  • Provide streetscape improvements along Wilby Crescent, Weston Road and Hickory Tree Road which comply with the Streetscape Manual and are to the satisfaction of the Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning.
  • Perform an archeological study

The Community Council also thought it would be prudent to warn purchasers that local schools may not be able to accommodate pupils from the building.

The section of Hickory Tree Road that will be naturalized. The 10 Wilby site is on the right.
The proposed naturalization of the land opposite the site. From Toronto.ca

For readers who are puzzled by the site actually being on Hickory Tree Road yet having the 10 Wilby address; you’re not alone. The comments following this earlier article may help.

Incidentally, there was one dissenting vote opposing the rezoning amendment; that of Ward 7’s very own (and almost Brampton MPP), Giorgio Mammoliti.

Next stop, City Council on July 23.

Hussen announces summer jobs

Yesterday at Frontlines,  Ahmed Hussen announced 290 summer jobs for Toronto’s at-risk youth. These jobs are in addition to 5700 government-subsidized jobs across the city.

44 jobs are listed today within the riding on the government job bank, including at FoodShare, the LEF, the MDCA, and and the WKNC.