Kodak Building 9 interior photographed.

The Kodak recreation building, (officially known as Kodak Building 9) was moved from its foundations last summer. The idea was to create new foundations that the building will return to and become part of the new Mount Dennis Station.

Kodak Building 9 interior. From Crosstown LRT  Twitter. Click for larger image.

It was recently photographed and the worker inside illustrates the awesome size of the building while graffiti still festoons the interior walls.

Read more about last summer’s move here.

Readers, who do you patronize?

Weston / Mount Dennis are communities that are on the upswing after going through some rough times in the past couple of decades. New businesses like Supercoffee and Perfect Blend have opened up while a few of the old ones like Wards and P&Ms have survived and are thriving. We’re wondering if you, dear readers, know of a local business that is worthy of a mention. It could be a store, restaurant or a service but one that makes you glad you live here.

Please mention that local business you patronize in the comments section. If we haven’t already, we’ll try and write a feature story on them.

 

It’s a Battery

Koh Samui Thailand, March 29, 2017

The Kodak Building on the Kodak Lands. (File)

Sometimes here at Weston Web we feel that we’re a voice in the wilderness as we battle the forces of darkness. Now and again though something happens to give us hope.

Ever since it was announced, we at Weston Web have been advocating against the gas powered generator planned for the old Kodak lands in Mount Dennis. The generator would have provided emergency power in the rare event of an outage for trains on the Eglinton Crosstown Line opening in 2021.

While most in our community knew that a polluting generator was a terrible idea, few knew that the generator was planned for routine use and not just for emergencies (it would require several minutes to fire up so operating all the time would eliminate the start-up delay).

Residents came out to meetings and demanded a green solution. Solar energy, while clean would not have provided nearly enough power to do the job; especially in winter (paving every square inch of the Kodak lands would not have been enough even at solar noon in summer). Gas proponents knew this and the generator looked like a done deal.

Then an idea took off.

Weston Web proposed battery power more than a year ago to Metrolinx’s Jamie Robinson as an alternative to a polluting generator. At the time, a battery solution was not on the table and hopelessly inadequate solar panels were seen as the only alternative. Instead of polluting the neighbourhood, a large scale battery can store power when it’s cheap overnight and use it during the day when needed. Battery technology is now up to the job and is set to transform the way electricity is delivered. For some time now, Mount Dennis has proposed that it become a net zero community. Battery technology fits right into this proposal.

Yesterday, Metrolinx announced that battery technology will provide emergency power to the Crosstown Line when needed.

What are the lessons to be learned from this political success story?

First it helps if a good idea is given a fair hearing (kudos to Metrolinx for being open to suggestions from the community).

Second, a strong political lobby group in the Mount Dennis Residents Association was able to bend politicians’ ears.

Third, an overall and compelling community theme that fits the agenda – in this case a net-zero community that all parties could buy into.

Lastly, and to blow our own trumpet just a little, community reporting can play a meaningful role in political decision making.

With this stunning success, Mount Dennis is well on its way to achieving the goal of being a net zero community.

Timeline:

February 2016: Battery technology suggested by Weston Web at community information meeting organized by Councillors Nunziata and DiGiorgio.

February 2016: MP Ahmed Hussen expresses concern at emission levels from a gas generator.

March 2016, Laura Albanese comes out in favour of a green technology solution.

May 2016: City staff call battery technology too expensive.

July 2016: Jason Rioux, Vice President of NRSTOR, confirmed at a Mount Dennis Community Association meeting that battery storage is capable of providing large scale emergency power.

March 2017: Metrolinx announces battery storage technology as an emergency power solution.

Steps to nowhere?

Tantalizingly near completion after being out of service since last June.

Work on the steps from Hickory Tree Road and Bellevue to the Lions Park soccer field has once again ground to a halt. A call to 311 uncovered that citizens can call directly, and the name to call was temporary supervisor Nick Ovington. After two unreturned calls to Mr Ovington, it emerged that he no longer works in this area. According to Councillor Mike Ford’s Constituency Advisor, Jennifer Couto, there is a new temporary supervisor, Phil Jarow. Bottom line; the stairway “is in place waiting for the final testing procedures and final finish grading. A timeline for completion will be forwarded early next week.”

As soon as word comes from Mr. Jarow, readers will be updated.

Today in Weston – March 23, 2017

The menu at Zeal Burger offers a wide selection for burger lovers. Click for larger image.

Today I tried Zeal Burgers on a whim as I was passing. I won’t attempt to duplicate the excellent review our Lieselotte Noort wrote on this local restaurant last fall but I have to say owner Mark Ghopros makes one of the best cheeseburger and fries I have tasted in a long time. His walk-in special of cheeseburger fries and a drink is $10.00 all in.

Mark tells me that he’s planning an update of the menu soon to include some exciting new items.

Zeal Burgers: 1926 Weston Road. Phone: (647) 352-3933

Weston Silver Band wins big in U.S.

On March 11, the Weston Silver Band competed in the annual North American Brass Band Championships and were judged to be best of ten bands in the First Section (think divisions) winning a gold medal. WSB was the only Canadian entry out of 33 other bands. In 2013 the band placed top in the Second Section; the first Canadian band to do so.

The Band celebrates its win.
Weston Silver Band at the North American Brass Band Championships, held in Fort Wayne, Indiana on March 11, 2017.

The Weston Silver Band has an interesting history. Before immigrating to Canada, George Sainsbury, started a band in the U.K which survives to this day. Once he arrived in our neck of the woods, he formed what began as the Weston Boy’s Band in 1921 and has flourished ever since, keeping its Weston links by performing annually in the Weston Santa Claus Parade. Although at the present time there are no members who live in Weston, the band is very proud of its roots in the Weston community and keeps extensive archives of its history. Practices are still held locally every week at the Salvation Army’s York Community Church on 1100 Weston Road in Mount Dennis. The band began to draw musicians from further and further afield from Weston beginning in the late 1970s.

For their upcoming performances, click here.

Band Manager Theresa MacDonald kindly sent me some archival photos of WSB that illustrate its proud Weston heritage.

George Sainsbury and his wife.
The original Weston Boys Band in 1921 at the C.N.E.
Weston Boys Band 1924- Music Director George Sainsbury, Taken at Dr. Irwin’s Estate on Little Ave, in Weston.

Theresa tells me that when the band played in Gravenhurst last year, George Sainsbury’s grandson approached them with a music case belonging to the founder. This treasured item is now stored with the many trophies and other memorabilia gathered over the years.

The original music case belonging to George Sainsbury.
Weston Silver Band 1951 – Music Director Horace Sainsbury, Little Park, Weston.
Weston Silver Band 1960 – Music Director Wallace Mason -C.N.E Winners Class I All Brass, Best Performance, Highest Marks of All Bands, Gold Medal Cornet Solo – Jim Alexander, Gold Medal Euphonium – Ken Martin
** The band has all these shields and trophies in their archives, as well as uniforms etc.

Foreign money pushing up house prices.

The logic-defying and alarming increases in Toronto’s housing prices have affected us in Weston to some extent. The boom is largely taking place outside our borders. While we still live in an affordable area, interestingly the net effect of the current market is lower property taxes for us. This is because higher assessments in other parts of the city mean that those residents are taking a larger share of the total assessment. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that housing prices (and rents) are rising at an unsustainable rate. What are we being told about the rise in housing prices? The big lie is that it’s simply a lack of supply and that more housing is needed. Based on this lie, there are proposals to eat into Toronto’s Green Belt and put more housing there.

A new report issued this week from the Ryerson’s City Building Institute tackles the housing shortage theory and disproves it. While there is enough housing for residents, the seeming shortage is likely caused by money looking for a safe haven in Canada. According to the report, it’s hard to trace foreign money that’s causing the boom but unless we do something about money flooding our city (such as a foreign buyers’ tax or a progressive property surtax), a lot of (especially) young people will be putting themselves at risk, saddled with an impossible debt. This could trigger a financial crisis, once the bubble inevitably bursts causing even more turmoil.

Over to you Province of Ontario.