70 arrested in gang raids, including in Weston

The Five Point Generalz, a gang that operated in Weston, has been broken up by the Toronto Police in a series of raids across the GTA. 70 people were arrested, and “a significant number of firearms and large quantities of narcotics” were seized.

There have been several high-profile and public shootings in the Weston area—though no fatalities—this year, including a shootout last week near Jane and Eglinton.

Chief Saunders said that they had been responsible for violence across the city, “but specifically within that area of the city, the west end of the city”.
In Weston, the apartment building at 35 King was raided by the Emergency Task Force.

The ETF raiding 35 King St
Raid at 35 King in Weston: Photo from the Toronto Police

Police Chief Mark Saunders said, “We allege that the Five Point Generals are a dangerous street gang that, while having roots in the area surrounding Weston Rd. and Lawrence Ave. W., its criminal activities extended throughout Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area and into other parts of the country, the United States and even as far away as the Caribbean.”

The Five Point Generalz have operated in Weston for many years. A turf war between about 2005 and 2010 led to much violence, and as many as eight homicides, including the murder of 11-year-old Ephraim Brown, killed by crossfire in a gang shootout tied to the gang (the alleged killer was acquitted). Raids in 2010 seriously disrupted the gang, and by 2013, the gang was broke:

“None of them could afford a car,” [a defense lawyer] said. “They were on the wires a number of times talking about what bus they were on and what stop they were getting off. They were living in conditions of poverty.”

Chief Saunders refused to address the history of the Five Point Generalz, saying that he wouldn’t give them credibility. He did acknowledge that they had a long history in the city.

Somewhat iconic building to be replaced by gas bar

The unusual rounded building at Weston and Jane, home to Westwood Burger, will be turned into a four-pump gas bar if the city approves the permits.

Your correspondent understands that this is hardly the ravaging of Palmyra, but it is the replacement of a building with some charm by one with none at all.


You’ve got kids: we’ve got solutions

If, like me, you forgot that your kids have the summer off, it’s not too late to keep them busy with something other than nightcrawler harvesting and Amazon warehousing.

The city has a few spots available in CR Marchant’s day camps. Grab them while you can!

UrbanArts also has limited spots in their summer arts camp.


If, on the other hand, your kids are more into STEM, Frontlines has that, and several other other camps, available this summer.

 


The Weston Library has a lot of programming this summer, including game programming, bike maintenance, environmental science, movies, and magic.

 

Metrolinx Update

Here’s a couple of new videos from Metrolinx regarding the Crosstown Line that will speed up public transit along Eglinton and connect to GO and the UP Express lines at Mount Dennis. The first shows some nice drone footage of the new maintenance buildings as well as the Kodak #9 building that will serve as the station entrance.


The second video shows a station mock-up that apparently is a full-size example of a typical station on the Crosstown Line. I asked Metrolinx’s community relations people about the station, if visits could be arranged, where it is and so on. I began my inquiries last Friday but as yet, have yet to get an answer. I had to send their CR people a link to the video as they hadn’t heard of the station’s existence.

Look for an update once details are provided.

Fuel Cell Technology Turn Around?

Readers may remember a couple of  WestonWeb articles here and here  skewering the fuel-cell technology proposal championed by former Minister of Transportation, Steven Del Duca. Mr. Del Duca for some reason had fallen in love with fuel cell technology and wanted to see if it could be used instead of catenary (overhead) power lines when diesel trains such a GO and UP Express are replaced. A trial budget to check feasibility was originally set at $200,000, now it’s expanded to $3 million.

Now that the Liberal government has been given its marching orders, (precisely for stupidity like this) it will be interesting to see the reaction of Doug Ford to  spending millions on this complete waste of money. Already, one Metrolinx Board member and CEO Phil Verster are publicly distancing themselves from the boondoggle. Look for more people at Metrolinx to claim they always thought it was a very bad idea.

Here’s a flow chart comparison of the two technologies. (Click to enlarge)

It would be far better for Metrolinx to investigate battery technology for powering trains as Bombardier is doing in the U.K.. The cost savings could be considerable in the long run. It would also eliminate the need to build an extensive catenary wiring network which is expensive to build and maintain.

Welcome, Brinda!

I’m delighted to announce that we have a new writer, Brinda Kumar! Brinda’s first article, on Ujima House, is below.

Brinda is a lifelong Westonian with huge interests—from government policy to origami and from arts to animal welfare. We’re delighted, and lucky, to have her—not least because she knows infinitely more about sports than Roy or I do.

Welcome, Brinda!

 

Letters of the week – Weston Farmers Market

A quick promo of Saturday’s Weston Farmers Market official opening generated a flurry of correspondence. It seems that CBC Marketplace’s investigative piece on 11 Ontario farmers markets found that while produce re-selling takes place at most markets, misrepresentation about the source of produce was found at several. A clip from the show focussed on a Peterborough Farmers Market trader picking up produce from the Ontario Food Terminal and disguising it as farmed by himself or ‘someone across the road’.

Incidentally, Weston Farmers Market was not mentioned in the CBC article or the TV show that was broadcast last year. Here’s the letter of the week from ‘ANNON’ and the response.

Hi Adam,

I am a concerned customer… reaching out to you for the third time. Hoping someone with a bigger voice than me can help the market grow into a respected farmers market. Help the area Ive lived in for decades grow. Lets start change.

A “FARMERS MARKET” requires 51% farmers. Selling 65% of their own produce. Its more like a flea market. Do your research people deserve to know the truth. In Ontario FARMERS must state where the produce is grown in. If you are a farmer selling produce, honey, maple syrup or eggs even smoke meats and claim to be a farmer or your product comes from a farm… your product must have be displayed where the product is grown or harvested in.

Customers should know the truth. Lets talk about the truth behind the scam of farmers markets. Lets not let sonority of old vendors have the rights to sell fake local produce. Lets start a market where customers can truly buy local produce. The whole point of a farmers market is to support local business and farmers and support the Canadian economy. Give a chance to farmers from our GTA to sell their produce not for fake farmers to refill their trucks at the Ontario Food terminal and resell it to customers passing it off as fresh local produce. The market turns 39 years old and the longest running farmers market there is… Don’t you feel like its time for change, the customers deserve to know the truth.

The company I use to work for CBC has broken the ice. I would hate for my area to go down just like Peterborough is right now.

Here’s the reply from Suri Weinberg-Linsky who has close links to the market and is a Weston business owner (Squibbs).

Just a clarification: vendors like brothers Sam and Joe, who are considered ‘resellers’, also have contracts with actual farmers who they meet up with at the Terminal where the farmers are bringing their produce to sell. Not all their product is ‘stickered’ – I know because I asked Sam last year. Farmers cannot always go out to Markets and rely on vendors like Sam and Joe to sell the product for them. So it is from the farm, just not sold by the actual farmer. And the Gaetas don’t grow their own corn but buy from another farmer who cannot attend the market – a win-win for both Joe and his farmer friend.

And our Market never really gets into full gear until the local crops come in which is later in June and early July. We have vendors/farmers who will bring their produce once it’s available. Also remember the season is late this year because of the weather. Peaches, etc. won’t be available until that time. Our apple guy is the farmer and his kids work with him – very nice family. The bakers do their own product. Honey person has their own hives (as far as I am aware). Thames Valley Farms are farmers. Ted Vos with eggs from his hens. Asha from Wiff (across from the Market) makes all the samosas. Perfect Blend with their coffee.

So right now, other than the Tupperware and Grandpa Ken, most of the people there produce their product like the apples, eggs, flowers & plants, pastries, coffee, fresh strawberries today along with the onions, scapes and fresh jams, etc. Even the popcorn guy was making it fresh. And we have always had antique vendors, information booths, etc. So not sure why people are complaining. Other than the signs with the wrong spelling. We should be more concerned with why people aren’t coming to support the market. The busier it is, the more vendors will want to come… don’t you think?

Sadly, the CBC show may have caused more harm than good by making people suspicious of all traders. The bottom line seems to be that until legislators tighten up reselling rules (unlikely under President Ford™), market visitors should get to know vendors and talk about the origins of what they sell.

The bottom line: the vast majority of Weston’s farmers market traders are honest about what they sell. Supporting genuine producers will ensure that they stick around.