160th Anniversary Celebrations

This past weekend, Weston Collegiate Institute celebrated 160 years in operation. The school hosted events beginning with a monumental football game on Friday and concluding with an Alumni hockey game on Sunday. Community members, staff, present and past students
alike all came out to celebrate the success of this amazing school.
The events kicked off on Friday the 13th when Weston’s varsity football team played a home game against East York CI. The boys fought hard but unfortunately suffered a loss. However, they kept their heads held high and went into the weekend excited for all the events to come.

Saturday, was when the party really started. The festivities began at 11 am, in the school staff lounge with a breakfast for staff new and old. Facility members who graced Weston’s halls as early as the 1970’s were in attendance, and enjoyed catching up with their old co-workers (and meeting new ones).

As the day drew on, the Alumni foundation continued to pull out all the stops, hosting a ‘pub night’ in the school’s cafeteria. This event was for all past students and staff and was the highlight of the weekend! Memorabilia from the schools past was on display around the café,
as old students reminisced about days past.

Old yearbooks, pictures and even a pair of old skates were all out for everyone to see and read, as they remembered the days they called
Weston home. Current students at the school even took alumni on tours to look at how the school had changed over the years, and to marvel at historic pictures that grace our walls. (Some of which,
included them!) As the night progressed the party grew, and there wasn’t a single person in the room without a smile on their face! Grads from nearly every decade (including a lady who graduated in 1944),
were enjoying catching up and remembering just how much of an impact the school had left on them!

As Sunday approached the final event did as well. Students and staff who had been involved in hockey during their time at Weston ventured over to the Weston Lions Arena to participate in a
friendly hockey match. This was an opportunity for the once students, to play against the people who taught them so many years ago. (Don’t worry no math teachers were mysteriously injured during the tournament.) Weston CI is truly a monumental and amazing school. Despite a rocky reputation, the school is full of some of the most loving and amazing people in the city. For 160 years Weston has never failed to produce outstanding grads who have nothing but amazing things to say about their time in the halls of 100 Pine Street. Here’s to 160 years of Iron Man memories. And many more to come!


This post was brought to you by the generous sponsorship of Angie Gorenc at Serenity Path Psychotherapy. Start your journey today with a free 15-minute consultation: (647) 478-9607

160 Years of Weston CI

Since its opening in 1857, Weston Collegiate Institute has been home to some exceptional graduates. As October approaches, the school prepares to celebrate this momentous occasion. But, before we get into all the amazing things Weston’s Alumni Foundation have in store this year, we must reminisce on all the outstanding milestones Weston has had over the years.

Weston wasn’t always 4 floors of lockers, classrooms with hidden doors and a swimming pool that has all the other schools jealous. Weston was originally called The Weston County Grammar School and was built due to the signatures of 18 local citizens who endorsed its establishment.

Unfortunately, the original school would only be used up until 1875 due to a fire, and while no images are known to exist of the original school, the second one was based on the designs of the first and still holds the heart of the great students who attended it.

Eventually, the school was rebuilt and continued to be a home for all young people in the area to study. As years went by, the school continued to be prosperous and was celebrated throughout the community. However, with an increase in neighborhood population, in 1912 the cornerstone was laid for the expansion of the school. By 1913, the original one-room school had expanded to one with six classrooms, an office, a laboratory, gymnasium, and auditorium.

In 1949, possibly the most iconic changed happened to the school. Weston, whose mascot was previously called “The Knights”, was changed to “The Ironmen”; due to a newspaper article written about Weston’s exceptional and perseverant senior football team. To this day, Weston is known across the city and constantly defies odds with outstanding success. From our SHSM Tech genius’ to our Olympic worthy athletes, the Ironmen are without a doubt some of the most amazing students in the city.

However, the school wasn’t filled with joy and prosperity all the time. In January of 1979, the community and school was faced with a great tragedy. On an outdoor activity ski trip, the bus taking students up north crashed; causing the deaths of four students, and many others faced severe life-changing injuries. Later that year three other students died, from other causes, showing the community how fragile our lives are.

As years progressed, the school and community slowly recovered from these tragic losses and began to prosper once more. The alumni began creating awards and started projects including the ‘Weston Hall of Fame’ which is still one of the most iconic parts of the school. It is made up of pictures and documents of students throughout the years and celebrates their success.

To celebrate 160 years of memories, The Weston Alumni Foundation will be hosting a reunion party, as well as various other events for all grads, community members, and current students.

All Details are listed below

October 13th – Weston CI VS East York CI football game with an Alumni Run BBQ at 2pm

October 14th– Past & current staff Brunch 11am in Weston’s Cafeteria

Alumni Tea Room- 1pm 3pm Weston’s Staff Lounge

Alumni Pub Reunion 1-5pm Weston’s Cafeteria

Westons Current Address– 100 Pine Street

October 15th – Hockey Game at Weston Lions Arena at 12:45

A final thank you goes out to Jane Ross from the Alumni Foundation and the Weston Historical Society, for providing me with all the historical information mentioned in this article!


This article was sponsored by: Luisa Bada: Living in Weston and loving it. 

Melodies under the mistletoe

While the snow fell down in buckets, Weston Colligate institute held their annual winter concert. The frightful weather didn’t hold any of the talents back, however. With performances from the school’s concert band, jazz band, choir, strings orchestra and countless solo acts; everyone in the audience had the time of their lives seeing the students perform. Parents, friends, students and community members braved the frigid temperatures to come see the show.

The choir kicked the night off, singing songs from hit musicals, and the classic Can’t Help Falling in Love by Elvis. As the night drew on the strings orchestra, Jazz and concert band played amazing instrumentals, that left the crowd speechless. The solo acts included piano duets, guitar ensembles, and even a beautiful singing solo. Every student involved in music at Weston brings their own unique sound and life to the school and music at Weston would not be the same if even just one of them was not there.

“I’ve been in the band for three years, and the winter concert is my favourite event. It really shows you how hard we’ve worked and really gets you in the holiday mood”, was what Italia Santoyo, a grade 11 student at Weston, had to say about the annual event.

The music department at Weston is run by Mr. Nadalin and is one of Weston’s most popular groups. He works tirelessly year-round to make sure that all the students involved in the music program are able to nurture their talents and showcase them to the world. Whether it be through encouraging them, teaching them and putting together two yearly concerts, Mr. Nadalin never fails to do an amazing job with his musicians. In a time where careers in the arts and music are looked down upon, Mr. Nadalin always makes sure his students know that they are extremely talented and never fails to make sure their talent is being appreciated.

“I’m really excited to perform but I don’t want to mess up. I’ve never played in front of a big crowd so I’m nervous and excited” –Isabella Truong, grade 9.

The bands and music council have been putting this concert together since the beginning of the school year, and their hard work was truly shown that night. Although the turnout was not as large as years previous, due to extreme weather; the enthusiasm of the musicians never faltered as they played and sang their hearts out. From heartwarming songs to classic holiday favourites, the band’s passion seemed to radiate off them and warmed the hearts of the guests.

While the weather outside was very frightful, the show was oh so delightful!


This article was sponsored by:Luisa Bada: Living in Weston, and Loving it!

A worthy celebration

On Sunday November 13th, the Weston Lions Club and many dedicated volunteers gathered together to celebrate the end of an amazing baseball season. Every year the Lions volunteer throughout the Blue Jays baseball season at the Rogers Center, to giveaway some amazing free Blue Jays merchandise. The 13th was the day everyone who participated gathered together to celebrate the fantastic season, and the amazing things their efforts achieved. A grand total of 1,500 people helped the Lions this year, and many of them came out to the banquet; which was held at the top floor of the Weston Lions Arena.

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All the proceeds from their amazing yearly efforts went towards the community, and the outside world. This year, funds from the Blue Jays and some of the proceeds from the Weston Lions Arena Snack Bar added up to a grand total of $75,000! Some of this money went towards Syrian Refugees, Fort MacMurry, post-secondary scholarships, the Weston food bank and a dog for a child with autism! The Lions pride themselves on giving to those in need and this event was a celebration of some of the spectacular things they have done this year. If this wasn’t amazing enough, the Weston Lions still have a full hockey season this year at the Lions Arena Snack Bar to raise even more proceeds for other great causes! Without a doubt, this amazing local club goes above and beyond to make sure the community and the world are being helped when they need it.

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The Weston Lions Club is a not-for-profit organization that is the silent hero of the community. They are dedicated to helping the community, and the world through donating, volunteering and fundraising. Their work is done in conjunction with other Lions around the world, helping for the greater good. The Weston Lions give to countless local, international and national organizations, give deserving students scholarships and aid people in need. Without them, the community would not be doing as well as it is. They provide a beacon of hope to an endless amount of people, whether they realize it or not. Their hard work is all done from the goodness of their hearts and always is more than necessary. They give wherever, whenever and to whoever needs it; and never stop giving.

At the event, the group feasted on some great food and bonded over the amazing deeds they achieved this year. While they ate, they also had a draw so every volunteer could receive a prize. They gave away blue jays merchandise, gift cards and assorted chocolates to everyone who gave them a hand during the year. Everyone involved agreed the party was the highlight of their hard work; aside from knowing that many people around the world were prospering from it as well.

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The lions never fail to make impacts in the community. For 75 the Weston Lions have been giving back and changing lives. Their huge hearts have never stopped helping and never will stop helping. This celebration happens every year and is the Lion’s way of letting the volunteers know they are appreciated and congratulates them for everything they do. The volunteers always take time out of their busy lives to help the Lions, because they know their efforts are for the better of the world.

As Winston Churchill once said, “we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” If his words are true, then the lions have made enough life to make themselves immortal.


This article was sponsored by : An anonymous donor

Zeal burgers; real burgers

When people think of Weston Road, they usually think of the UP Express, traffic and a plethora of different places to shop and eat. But now people of Weston will have to think of mouth-watering juicy burgers with a side of crisp fries; thanks to Zeal Burger, located at 1926 Weston Road.

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The month-old restaurant is cooking up some of the best burgers I have ever had, using triple A steak and other fresh ingredients to whip up some seriously mind blowing creations. The family-run business is dedicated to making fresh food inspired by places all over the world.

With burgers topped with everything from guacamole to a fried egg to tzatziki sauce, there’s something on Zeal Burger’s menu for everyone! They’ve even got their own take on poutine that’s topped with a cheeseburger, and their signature Z Sauce! In the words of Mark Ghopros, the owner, “My favourite thing on the menu is the Chef’s Poutine. It’s like a meal on its own, the flavours on it are insane.” Even if you do not eat meat, Zeal serves up fries in many different ways, including Greek style. So no matter what you like, you’ll be able to find a meal at Zeal.

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Ghopros has dreamed of owning his own restaurant since he was a teenager. After having worked at places like the Keg and the Granite Club, Ghopros was waiting for the right moment to open a place of his own. When he saw the location he thought it was the perfect spot to open shop. “When I first came to the area I thought it was perfect. Everyone was so nice and I loved the community” he stated. Mark went on to tell me all about how he wanted to create an experience for his customers. Using an open-concept kitchen to create handmade burgers, he wanted to ‘throw it back’ to the 50s and 60s, when burger shops like his, where you can get killer food and milkshakes, were everywhere. From one conversation with Mr.Ghopros, I could tell he was extremely passionate about food and his business.

 

“I’m not trying to re-invent the burger; I’m trying to perfect the burger”

On my visit, I feasted on “The Heat”, a burger with pico de gallo, guacamole, lettuce, cheddar and jalapeno mayo, and their classic fries. It was honestly one of the best meals I’ve ever had. Every bite had more flavour than the last, and the hand cut fries were perfectly hot and crisp. I dipped mine in the restaurants homemade Z sauce, which just added to the great taste of the fried potatoes. Usually I’m not the biggest fan of burgers, however, Zeal has won me over. I know for a fact that I will be back on multiple occasions, to try everything on the menu.

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On top of all of this, Zeal offers a 15% off student special, with a valid student ID, and is planning on creating a senior discount as well! But even if you are not a senior or student, Zeal Burgers prices are already incredible!

Zeal Burger is a new gem to the Weston Community that I highly recommend everyone to visit. Everything on the menu is made with love and great ingredients. Zeal is the real deal when it comes to burgers, and I know that soon it will become a landmark of the area.


This article was sponsored by:Luisa Bada: Living in Weston and Loving it

 

An artistic takeover

Rainy afternoons in October usually call for hot chocolate and Halloween movies; however, this October 1st, the Falstaff Community centre, and Urban Arts hosted a spectacular event. For almost a year, thirty dedicated youth from the York South-Weston area gathered together to create a phenomenal mural that is now covering the outer walls of the Falstaff Community Centre, located at 50 Falstaff Avenue. October 1st, 2016, was the official unveiling.

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Over the course of over eight months, thirty students from the  area worked with Adobe Photoshop, photography, silk screening, and even got trained to use a scissor lift, all to create a masterpiece that would soon become a landmark in the area.

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I was told by Shah Ashraf Mohamed, a program manager at UrbanArts (and one the people who ensured this program did so well) that “the best part of this whole project was watching the youth transform from knowing so little about art, to finding passions and loving the work they did.”

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All the students involved began their artistic journeys differently; Italia Santoyo and Dylan Kitchener, who were both involved in the mural’s creation, found out about the program from their art and photography teachers, whereas Jerlie Thorpe, who is extremely interested in the arts, was encouraged by the girl’s group club at her school. (which is also run by UrbanArts). Despite coming from different backgrounds, all the young artists were brought together by one thing: a love and passion for art.

“I’m so grateful for UrbanArts. I love art and all the time people tell you that art is so hard to get into and you’re never going to get a job if you want to study anything in the arts. But Urban Arts helped me see that it doesn’t matter if people don’t believe in you. If art makes you happy, make art” –Italia Santoyo.

The mural is composed of visual art, photography, silk screen and Photoshop work, all comprised into the masterpiece that is now complete. Students worked with various groups including Gallery 44, a non-profit center committed to photography, who taught them skills about their passions, which they then used to create the artwork.

UrbanArts is a community group dedicated to bringing arts programs to communities in the city of Toronto. Every program run by the group involves professional artists and helps develop and engage culture into communities in need. With partners including the Ontario Arts Council, Microsoft, TELUS, UrbanArts has been making a difference in the lives of many kids since they started.

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With art being one of the most highly criticized and toughest paths anyone can take, many young people feel intimidated and scared about pursuing their passions. UrbanArts is changing that. From speaking to the young people involved, and seeing how passionate the program organizers were, I could tell that this project has made a difference. Being a creative person, I know how intimidating and worrisome perusing my passions can be. Seeing fellow creative people flourishing and doing something they are passionate about gave me hope. I am proud to say I live in a community that hosted such an amazing event, and I hope any aspiring artists that see all the amazing work that went into this project will be motivated to keep perusing their dreams.

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This post was brought to you by: Maureen Lennon, who loves Weston and great writing.

The blue jays and the lions

Fresh buttery popcorn, steamy hotdogs, and an amazing game; that’s what baseball is all about! With the Blue Jays immense victories, Weston has never been closer to the vast culture of the city than it is right now.

The Weston Lions Club has been working with the Jays for an amazing 39 years and are a huge part of why going to see the Jays is so spectacular.

Ashley and the Jose army!

If you have ever been to the dome, you know occasionally they give out some amazing merchandise. But you may ask, who are these friendly people giving me these Jays gems? The answer to that question is the Weston Lions Club!

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At the doors of the dome, members of the Lions give away everything from Blue Jays bobble-heads to Jerseys to bucket hats! Thousands of Torontonians, flood into the Rogers Center excited for the game and the giveaway. They are almost as ecstatic to get their presents as the Lions are to give them away!

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However, the Weston Lions Club wasn’t always down at the dome! 40 years ago, another Lions club was doing these giveaways! Unfortunately, they were unable to continue, but the Jays still wanted a community group to take over the deed. As soon as the Weston Lions heard about this, they jumped on board and took the place the previous lions left behind. Teaming up with the original Blue Jays fan club, and local teenagers looking to get their community hours; the Lions were down at the dome almost every weekend handing out Blue Jay’s goodies.

What the Lions are doing isn’t just for fun, however. The Blue Jays donate money to the Lions, for them to give back to the community. Over the years The Weston Lions club has raised over $600,000 for the Weston Community, by doing these Jay’s giveaways, and hosting many other fundraisers! They’ve managed to purchase 7 service dogs and have given countless scholarships to students perusing post-secondary education. The list goes on and on for the amazing work the local Lions do.

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“Working with the Jays is amazing. The best part about it all is seeing happy people at the dome all while helping the community and knowing what you’re doing is making a difference.” Enthusiastically exclaimed Jane Ross, past president of the Weston Lions Club, when I spoke to her about the work the Lions do.
She told me all about how people of all ages help out down at the dome. The oldest volunteers being in their late 80’s and the youngest in their early teens; the Jays and Lions alliance only ever does good for the community.
“we’re like the silent heroes of the community. Everyone knows about the money that gets put into the community, but no one knows where it comes from. This is where it comes from” She continued.
Interested in being part of this amazing team? You can contact Jane at: [email protected]

The Lions are always looking for more people to aid in their work with the mighty Jays, and getting to help Weston and see the jays in action? What could be better than that?


This post was brought to you by: Luisa Bada: Living in Weston and loving it