The Artscape Hub – one artist’s story.

The last 18 months have been a whirlwind for Juan Paulo Cunanan. He has been living in the Weston Artscape Hub since the beginning of May and is really liking his new home, having applied as a long shot to help further his musical goals. Juan Paulo is known as JP or Japs to family and friends. He interviewed for a placement and was delighted to be offered a one-year lease on one of the 26 subsidized live-work spaces.  At first he wasn’t sure he would be able to afford the first and last months’ rent of almost $2000 but came up with it at the last minute thanks to his mom, some music pupils and a timely tax refund.

Some of the instruments at JP’s disposal – many of which have been donated.

JP is a piano and keyboard artist, specializing in modern jazz but like many accomplished musicians, can perform in a variety of styles. He even does weddings! With a music education degree from the Philippines he is focussed on establishing himself as a professional musician and would dearly love to make a living as a jazz artist, but really enjoys teaching his music school students ages 7 and up. He operates the Weston New Music School at 2125 Weston Road behind the Victory Assembly Church (formerly St Johns Anglican) and is working hard to support himself and his wife. Two of his older pupils are seniors and have been delighted to discover that it’s never too late to learn and enjoy music. I met bass guitar pupil Albert who says he was floundering in his music until JP made things clearer for him. His school offers instruction in piano, bass, guitar and drums.

The apartment comes with a full sized kitchen and great views.

JP arrived in Canada 18 months ago as part of the federal government’s family re-unification program. He likes Canada, the friendly people he has met, the clean air and opportunity to achieve big dreams. His mother came to Canada a few years ago, working as a nanny and sponsored her family once she could do so.

In March, JP returned briefly to the Philippines and married his girlfriend of five years. His bride is still there but JP is working on bringing her over soon.

He pays a subsidized rent of about $900 a month plus utilities for his one-bedroom loft style apartment with an option of $100 a month for parking. The apartments are spacious with tall ceilings, lots of windows and everything you would expect in a modern design. His one-bedroom model has the bathroom and bedroom upstairs – the bedroom is loft style with a balcony open to the lower level. 

Lots of windows and tall ceilings in these modern, light-filled spaces.

What’s next for this young artist isn’t known but you can be sure you’ll be seeing him or hearing him around Weston in the next few months.

To contact JP, phone him at 416-804-9942.

YSW NDP holds fundraiser

Yafet Tewelde is the York South-Weston New Democratic Party candidate running to unseat Liberal MP and Immigration Minister, Ahmed Hussen in October’s federal election. In a short upbeat speech yesterday, the candidate outlined the major platform planks and stressed that the riding is hungry for change after Liberals’ broken promises and ambiguous messaging on green energy. The event was held in a beautiful back yard overlooking the Humber in glorious weather.

Campaign Manager Riley Peterson asking for volunteers and donations before introducing the candidate.
Yafet Tewelde addresses supporters in a beautiful backyard setting on Saturday.

There’s a lot of time between now and voting day on October 29 but the local party seems ready, organized and enthusiastic.

York Memo students moving to Scarlett Heights

After the devastating fire(s) at York Memorial C.I., students have been accommodated in empty space at nearby George Harvey C.I. Despite the convenience of the temporary accommodation being so close, Memo students apparently weren’t happy sharing and so beginning in September, they will be moving to the former Scarlett Heights Academy at 15 Trehorne Drive in Etobicoke. This will be an added commute for the thousand or so staff and students but the school was empty and apart from repairs for some water damage, should be ready in September.

The routes from York Memo to Scarlett Heights. From Google Maps. Click to enlarge.

Walking that distance takes over an hour and cycling is too dangerous given our lack of cycle lanes. What this will do to Weston’s traffic and transit remains to be seen but fast food outlets in the Royal York Plaza will no doubt be pleased.

Heads roll after Doug Ford’s audio opinion polls.

Apparently Doug Ford doesn’t like being booed. His reception at several public events has shown that he’s strongly disliked – even by once loyal supporters. His approval rating is now lower than Kathleen Wynne’s – at her absolute lowest point – quite an achievement in such a short time.

Instead of reflecting on this, the Premier is blaming the people to whom he gave impossible tasks.

Today’s cabinet shuffle demotes some of his most ardent (and obedient) followers who made the mistake of taking Mr. Ford at his word. Having issued no platform before last year’s election, the Premier issued directives only in superlatives and what’s a rookie cabinet minister to do except adopt the tone that has no doubt pervaded caucus and cabinet meetings i.e. cut taxes, eliminate waste, decimate bleeding heart projects and keep people happy with more accessible booze.

A steamroller approach was encouraged based seemingly on, ’What would Don Cherry do?’. Less than a year later, Ford Nation is in tatters and the Premier gets an audio opinion poll anytime he appears in public. His federal counterpart, Andrew Scheer wants no help from toxic Doug in the upcoming election and Ford has agreed to lie low, obligingly shuttering Queens Park until the end of October – after the federal election. That must hurt.

Over the past few months, Ford’s cabinet has dutifully picked fights with autistic children and their parents, public servants, safe injection sites, minimum wage earners, municipalities, the Beer Store and many others. In the meantime, Ford ended the Carbon Tax and halted tax increases thinking that this would endear him to the people. What this did was lower revenues and make things harder for Fedeli whose budget spending went higher than Kathleen Wynne’s the previous year.

The Premier promised that not one job would be lost as a result of his ‘efficiencies’. Now he says he meant, ‘Not one front line job’ (whatever those are). He apparently didn’t mean cabinet jobs.

Big names demoted today were Lisa Thompson (Education), Lisa Macleod (Community and Social Services) and Vic Fedeli (Finance), Even Caroline Mulroney wasn’t spared, being moved from the prestigious silks of the Attorney General position to the greasy overalls of Transportation. No doubt Mulroney Senior along with other Conservatives is furious.

Nobody claimed that everything was good in the Kathleen Wynne government. Lord knows we needed a change. Few would have predicted that Ford would fall on his face this early.

There are three years left in the P.C. government’s mandate; they won’t be dull and if perceptions don’t improve, the Ontario Conservative movement will be set back for decades. The question is, can the P.C. Party dump Ford and install a new leader before 2022?

That’s probably their only hope.

Sullivan documentary shines light on poverty.

Last night, former NDP MP Mike Sullivan presented a 45 minute documentary, created as part of his masters degree work at York University. The documentary, entitled, ‘Being poor makes you poorer’, focussed on the plight of the poor, with appearances by ACORN Canada activists, Ebony Menzies and Jeffrey Stern who are on the Ontario Disability Support Program. Also in the documentary were Toronto Danforth NDP MPP Peter Tabuns and poverty activist John Clarke.

Yafet Tewelde, York South-Weston’s federal NDP candidate in the upcoming election attended and took part in the question and answer sessions.

Mike Sullivan, Yafet Tewelde, Ebony Menzies and Jeffrey Stern take questions from the audience.

Sullivan said his focus was originally going to be the Carbon Tax and its effect on the poor but then it expanded to cover other areas of concern such as the banking industry, payday loans, food banks, car insurance and the rising cost of living.

The event was organized by Riley Peterson who is Yafet Tewelde’s campaign manager.