Help Shakespeare In Action win $10,000

Shakespeare In Action is a theatre group that will be moving to Weston later this year. Here’s their latest fundraising promotion that will help them raise more funds for programs in Weston.

Help Us Win $10,000
with CanadaHelps

As the school year wraps up, we are turning our attention to building our new home in Weston. We’ve already raised over $17,000 with your support.

At the end of 2018, Shakespeare in Action is moving to a permanent studio theatre home in the Artscape Weston Common where we can make a difference by providing professional theatre to the community and theatre-training for youth.

Every dollar donated until June 30th enters us in for a chance to win $10,000 with CanadaHelps. 

Making a charitable donation to Shakespeare in Action will go towards creating an exciting and engaging season of theatre for the Weston community. Your gift will fund the School for Creativity and Storytelling for youth who may otherwise not have access to performance training. Finally, we hope to present summer Shakespeare in Little Avenue Memorial Park and bring Northwest Toronto’s families together in the heart of the community.

We need your support to ensure the success of our first year in our new neighbourhood. 

Donating $25 = 25 chances to win
Donating $100 = 100 chances to win
Donating $200 = 200 chances to win!
Click here to donate.

nowtoronto.com calls Weston Farmers Market one of the best.

Weston’s market in its old John Street location back in July 2004 (file).

Weston’s 39 year old farmers market gets a mention in nowtoronto.com as one of the city’s best weekend markets. Five markets compete for attention in Toronto on Saturdays and Weston’s is called one of the oldest and best known. We have some great traders with produce, plants and goods that make it a worthwhile stop between May and October.

Interestingly the curiously named, “The Stop Farmers’ Market” at Artscape Wychwood Barns is year round – unlike Weston’s, which was to have been year-round but rental storage units in the soon to be opened Weston Hub were deemed more important than allocating public indoor space.

Letter of the week – Farmers Market

This week’s letter comes from ‘Anonymous’ and comes up with an excellent idea about the Weston Farmers Market that is obvious in hindsight.

As the new Weston Hub moves closer to opening day and its new facilities are taking shape on the ground rather than on paper, it’s becoming harder to imagine the Weston Farmers Market shoehorned into its future designated space.

The planned 2019 home of the Farmers Market.
The space that traders have enjoyed at the UP Express location. (file)

There are plans to have landscaping in front of the rental tower building and along the walkway to the footbridge that will eat away precious available space and although there has been a suggestion that the market be allowed to spill over onto adjacent John Street, it is clear that traders will have to scale back their stall space. This may make Weston’s market not worth the bother.

It has been proposed that the market spill over onto John Street.

Another factor is the noise. Traders begin setting up the market from 5 am. This is a noisy process and may disturb homes overlooking the site.

What’s the solution – well, that’s proposed in the letter of the week.

“I wonder if the folks at Weston Lions Arena were asked to share their lot for the neighbourhood market?

Way back in the olden days, was it not known as the Fair Grounds?

Wouldn’t that be a nice venue – right in the river valley, away from the very tired looking Main Street area.” – Anonymous

The Weston Lions Arena parking lot.

The idea is worthy of consideration. The space is huge,  further away from residences and as the arena is closed from April until October, it is a natural fit with the market. Adjacent to the parking lot is nature in all its glory, a splash pad, playground, tennis courts, soccer field and during July and August, the open air pool is open, there adding to the festive atmosphere. As an added bonus there is plenty of parking.

Discuss.

TD Canada Trust closing Weston branch.

TD Canada Trust bids farewell to Weston and hundreds of potential new customers.

TD Canada Trust has officially announced the upcoming closure of its Weston branch at 1979 Weston Road. Adam broke the story last year. The bean counters at TD Canada Trust have decided that closing the Weston branch will save them more money than the potential loss of clients. According to the bank handout regarding the closure,

Prior to making a decision to close a particular branch and move customer accounts to another branch, TD Canada Trust always undertakes a thorough review of the customer impact of the move. If our review indicates that the move may result in some particular concerns for all or a certain group of the affected customers, TD Canada Trust will hold an information session to discuss our plans and how we propose to deal with those concerns.

From September 21, Weston customers who stay with TD will be expected to schlep along to 2547 Weston Road at the 401. It’s another example of the banking industry reaping huge profits while abandoning their customers. This also makes room for payday loan companies to fill the void; unconscionable in a community with a fair number of vulnerable residents.

There is a ray of hope via a federal government agency called ‘The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada‘ (FCAC).  According to the blurb that came with news of the closure,

“You should know, however, that under the regulations, the Commissioners of the FCAC may require TD Canada Trust representatives to hold and attend a meeting with FCAC representatives and interested parties, in order to exchange views about the closure of a branch IF:

  1. An individual from the area affected by the closure of the branch submits a written request to the FCAC for the meeting; and

2. TD Canada Trust has not adequately consulted the community about the branch closure; and

3. The request is not frivolous or vexatious.”

I’d like to know who the bank consulted with before deciding it was ok to close the branch. My wife has an account at the branch and this is the first she’d heard about the closing.

If you feel you haven’t been consulted enough about the move, submit your non-frivolous written request to:

Financial Consumer Agency of Canada
427 Laurier Avenue West, 6th Floor
Ottawa ON K1R 1B9

Phone contact for TD Canada Trust: 1-866-222-3456

Phone contact for FCAC: 1-866-461-3222

Perhaps this is where York South-Weston’s non-resident MP, Honourable Ahmed Hussen could get involved. Scotiabank’s closing was seemingly ignored by Mr. Hussen – a self-described social activist. I contacted his office and a staff member said they would pass my concerns about the latest bank closing to the minister.

Ahmed Hussen MP: 416-656-2526

 

Weston Farmers Market nearly didn’t happen this year.

The Weston Farmers Market was promised that its brand new location in the Weston Community Hub would be ready for the 2018 season. Unfortunately, owing to construction delays, the site is not ready.

As a result, Weston Village BIA Chair, Masum Hossain requested the use of the UP Express parking lot for one more year. Metrolinx gave a firm no, stating that lower fares, have boosted passenger numbers and greatly increased the demand for parking. Compounding the problem, the Weston Park Baptist Church which leases its parking lot to Metrolinx on weekdays, closes its own lot to the general public on weekends.

Until three weeks ago, there was a standoff. Masum then asked local MPP Laura Albanese to see what she could do. Ms Albanese was somehow able to appeal to the better nature of Metrolinx and as a result, the market will occupy the UP Express lot for one more year. Without this intervention, Masum assures me that the Weston Farmers Market could not have operated in 2018.

The BIA has hired a new market manager. She is experienced and dynamic corporate event manager, Jennifer Forde who also happens to perform the same duties for Nathan Phillips Square Farmers Market. Jennifer is hoping to expand the customer and vendor base of our market so keep coming back to check out the new stalls in the weeks to come.

Brand new market manager Jennifer Forde with BIA chair Masum Hossain at the first Weston Farmers Market of 2018.

One familiar face was missing this week, that of Joe Gaeta of Gaeta Farms. Joe comes up from Beamsville every week but mechanical issues caused him to miss opening day.

Market stalwart, Joe Gaeta stands beside his favourite bougainvillea. (file)

Correction: In the article, I spelled Masum Hossain’s name incorrectly. This has been corrected and apologies to Mr. Hossain for the error.

Artscape still seeking tenants

If you’re an artist with a proven track record of artistic creativity and your household income is below $46, 176, you may be eligible to apply for one of 26 brand new live / work spaces in  Artscape’s Weston Common project that’s scheduled to open at the end of this year. Applications are being accepted until April 11. Artists must not own a home already

A total of 14 one-bedroom and 12 two-bedroom units are available; all have ‘high ceilings, large windows and industrial style finishes’. Rents are affordable; $877 for a one-bedroom and $1022 for a two. Units face south or east.

Facilities in the adjacent Cultural Hub.

For lots more information and application forms click here.

The latest take on the Weston Hub

The Farmers Market with lots of room on its old site back in July 2004. (File).

Churchill once said that, “History is written by the victors”. An article in  UrbanToronto.ca, (basically a public relations organ for the local real estate and development industries) tells a sanitized version of the background story of the soon to be opened Weston Hub.

The article’s author, Dean Macaskill, has been involved in Toronto real estate since 1980 and was with the company given the GO Station parking lot listing back in 2012. The land was put on the market by the Toronto Parking Authority and according to Macaskill, the 5 offers received on the 1.42 acre site were, ‘at rather depressed pricing levels’.

What’s not mentioned in the article are thoughts at the time that the land belonged to the old town of Weston and that it should not be sold. Also, unlike the wealthy Wychwood Barns neighbourhood which received close to $20 million from the City for their Artscape project, poor old Weston received essentially nothing.

The message seems to be that no one wanted to invest in Weston until this development came along and since that time, developers have been falling all over themselves to buy into our community. He neglects to mention that his listing stated, “Area Is Undergoing Significant Change With Other High Rise Condominiums Planned In The Immediate Area.” Also missing in action is any mention of the 370 rental apartments and 40,000 square feet of storage units that came as part of the deal.  The 8000 square foot space devoted to the cultural hub seems rather ungenerous by comparison. Another unmentioned issue of contention is the tight space given to the Farmers Market .

Now that the Hub is nearing completion, we’ll all have to make the best of it and hope it’s a success – but it could have been so much better no matter what shine is put on it.

Just to cheer you up, here’s a Metro Morning  interview with Artscape’s Tim Jones talking to CBC’s Matt Galloway recently on the same topic.