Squibb’s is 90!

Squibb’s Stationers will celebrate its 90th birthday on May 6! Squibb’s is “the oldest textbook and general bookstore in the GTA”, and was founded in 1927.

To celebrate, Antanas Sileika will be speaking and reading from his new book. Sileika, the author of five books, worked at Squibb’s years ago. The celebrations start at 11:30 am.

First Jane’s walk in Weston

The Weston Heritage Conservation District is organizing what your correspondent believes is the first-ever Weston Jane’s Walk.

Jane’s Walks are neighbourhood tours in honour of Jane Jacobs, urban planning critic and theorist.

The Welcome to Weston Walk will show how deep roots can enrich the present while still leaving room for the future. The stops involve a youth drop in, the Weston Heritage Conservation District, a modern Doctor’s clinic in a former Post Office, a multifaceted Artscape project, the evolution of Grand Trunk train station to one for the GO train and UP Express and the Historical Society Archives!

The Weston walk will be May 6 at 10 am, and will start in the GO Station parking lot. It should last about an hour.

Upcoming events

A new group called YSW@The Table will launch on Saturday, April 29, at the Mount Dennis Neighbourhood Centre,  1269 Weston Road.

10 am – Garden and Spring Planting project workshops

11am – “Making Healthier Meals” demo w/Author and George Brown Professor Sobia Khan 

12-1pm Community Food Fare! – Meet Local Community Food Entrepreneurs sharing their newest creations – Yum!

1-2pm  “Making the Next Connection” w/Artist Facilitator Tanya Gerber

1-2pm   Celebrity “Cook Off” Competition

Includes  –   Raffles, Giveaways and Prizes.

4-5pm   Dinner and Social 

(Dinner provided by The Nutmeg Spot – RSVP suggested)


Mount Dennis one of the best-value neighbourhoods

MoneySense magazine released a survey of Canada’s neighbourhoods called “Where to buy now”, and Mount Dennis ranks near the very top, coming in 13th of 142 of Toronto’s communities.

The rankings were determined by value relative to nearby areas, price momentum, and real-estate agent juju. Mount Dennis did very well on almost all measures, and it remains a steal, despite the huge improvements in transit coming to the neighbourhood: homes are only 60% the price of the average in Toronto.

Weston also did well: 59 out of 142. Home prices are similarly good, only 65% of the average across Toronto. Weston, like Mount Dennis, got only three stars out of five, however, from the real-estate agents.

A word about methods:

Your correspondent has little good to say about the idea of momentum—it could signal that a neighbourhood is on the way up, or it could indicate that the smart money won and the deals are gone.

Because the agents’ methods were not explained, it’s hard to criticize or endorse them. They seem to be based on, ahem, patrician values: walkability, commutes, and transit not among them; Richmond Hill and Markham received the realtors’ top grades.

The idea, though, of value compared to neighbouring communities is very intriguing! All other things being equal, a cheap house a stone’s throw from a swish hood seems likely to do well.


Crime diving in 12 Division

Crime is diving in 12 Division, according to the most recent batch of police statistics, even though crime across the city is, on the whole, unchanged on a year-to-year basis.

In Toronto, robberies and thefts over $5000 are up about 10%, while assaults and sexual assaults are down very slightly (murders, which are so rare as to be of very dubious statistical use, are down 44%).

In Weston, Mount Dennis, and the rest of 12 Division, the numbers are down almost across the board. Auto thefts are up 7%, but B&Es and robberies are down by about 25%. Sexual assaults have been reduced by 10%. Thefts over $5000 and murders, being very rare, have no value as indicators of a trend, but they are down substantially, too.

The statistics were released at the end of March, and measure crime on a year-to-date basis. Obviously, things good change, but the first quarter of 2017 was certainly very good indeed.


UPX bells quieter

InsideToronto reports that the UP Express now has quieter bells.

The provincial transit planning agency relocated the ringing bells, described by residents as a constant dinging, to the middle of all UP trains, approximately 17 in total, and partially concealed them in sound-proof material. They also clarified to train operators when the bells should be triggered.

The bells have caused anger for years, but it is not clear to your correspondent why, apart from legislation, the UPX even has them; as far as I know, there are no level crossings nor easy way to get to the tracks.

Profile of Marc Porlier, alleged arsonist

The Sun profiled Marc Porlier, the man allegedly behind the arson at St John the Evangelist Church. Porlier, the article says, was once an altar boy at the very church he tried to set fire to.

While the defence lawyer wouldn’t comment on any animosity her client may have had toward the church, she acknowledged bizarre videos Porlier posted online in recent years — all entitled “The Gospel according to Marc” — provide insight into his feelings on Catholicism.

In one video, Porlier explains he was “raised in a cult.”

“I’d like to say that I didn’t like being brainwashed, but as a kid I actually wanted to be a priest,” he says.