Urban Toronto has a Weston Common update.

The colourful exterior of the updated parking garage that will serve the adjacent  building under construction at 22 John Street. The Weston Farmers Market will occupy the open space behind the blue hoarding. Photo taken on September 19, 2018.

The people at Urban Toronto, operate a website dedicated to ‘condos, architecture, urban development and real estate’. They are in general, cheerleaders for the construction industry and have published an article detailing some of the latest construction milestones at the Weston Common site at 22 John Street opening early next year. While U.T. has glossed over some details of the project, of interest is the way that the existing above-ground parking garage on King Street will be connecting to the new building (the parkade was originally intended to largely serve the retail complex that never got off the ground).

What will the sudden influx of 396 new households do to Weston’s traffic, retail strip and culture? It won’t be long before we have the long anticipated answer.

Incidentally, October 27th is the last day of the 2018 Weston Farmers Market season and the last using the UP Express parking location. Next May, the market will return to John Street behind the new building.

Read the Urban Toronto article here.

22 John Street rentals – more details emerging

Artist concept of the West22 apartments at 22 John Street. (from west22.ca)

The new 30-storey rental apartments being built by Rockport are at the pre-registration stage and Rockport and their property management company, Rhapsody Living are looking for people to express an interest. The building at 22 John Street will open next year and units are being advertised as ‘West22 Resort-Style Rentals’. On the Rhapsody site, some of the building amenities are revealed, including features such as, keyless entry, central air, in-suite laundry and in the common areas, a pet wash station, toddler playroom and a coffee shop. This should allay some residents’ fears that the building will be ‘low end’. Prices have not been made public but available suites range from bachelors to two-bedrooms.

Read more at the Rockport site here and the Rhapsody Site here.

Shakespeare in Action now hiring

Shakespeare in Action’s performance of the Lorde song, ‘Royals’ as applied to Lady Macbeth.

Shakespeare in Action is looking for new talent to assist in providing programs for young people. They’re looking for people with skills in teaching/education, music, spoken word, hip hop dance, rap, classical text, clown, and more. Those hired will join a roster of talent working in four capacities:

  • Running experiential workshops in schools (with commitments on a day-by-day basis)
  • Leading groups in the TD Shakespeare for Kids Library Club (commitment of 6 Saturdays required)
  • Performing in touring and mainstage productions (commitment of 4 to 6 weeks)
  • Being part of an exciting new program “Shakespeare Hip Hop Fusion” in association with the Toronto Public Library. Participants will serve as instructors and mentors to youth aged 13-17, helping to teach Shakespearean text, rap, hip hop dance, and/or spoken word.

Applicants will be asked to perform two of the following (of your choice):

  • a classical monologue
  • a song or rap
  • an original piece of text
  • a piece of spoken word or poem
  • a contemporary monologue

Auditions will be held on Thursday October 11th, 2018. Successful applicants will be trained on October 23rd and 24th.

For more information, click here.

A walker’s guide to Weston

An artist’s concept of the Weston Hub showing the outdoor program space.

Beginning early next year, hundreds of people will be moving to Weston as part of the new Weston Hub. A few dozen will move into the 26 artist live / work residences while the vast majority, will rent in the 30 storey, 370 unit tower and podium currently being built by Rockport Group. At the moment, rental prices are unknown but they should be a lot cheaper than renting a condo. Here is a guide for those considering a move to our community and a possible reminder to those already here.

Your new address at 22 John Street has a walk score of 90 which, according to the experts qualifies as “a walker’s paradise; daily errands do not require a car”. Walking is a great exercise and has dramatic effects on longevity. Here are a few of the places that are within a short stroll of your new address.

Cultural Hangouts:

The Artscape Weston Hub: as mentioned, 26 artists will be living and working in your immediate neighbourhood along with 8200 square feet of indoor program space, 12,400 feet of outdoor program space; UrbanArts and Shakespeare in Action will provide programs for young and old.  Read all about it here.

Weston’s beautiful Art Nouveau library built in 1913.

Housed in a beautiful century building, Weston’s public library was built in 1913 and is one of the libraries originally funded by the Carnegie foundation. This branch has a good variety of activities and opportunities to become involved with the community.

Weston’s outdoor theatre.

A few steps from Weston Road towards the river, there is an outdoor theatre in a beautiful setting on Little Avenue that may see more use now that Shakespeare In Action are relocating here.

Weston Historical Society is active, holds regular historical walks and talks and has a base of operations at 1901 Weston Road.

Weston has its own Santa Claus Parade. and Buskerfest organized by the BIA.

Restaurants:

Restaurants abound in Weston: a highly recommended burger joint, fish and chips, pizza, Chinese, Jamaican, Phillipine and Somali food, a chicken chain, family and a breakfast specialty chain. There are several independent coffee shops and even a Timmies. A superb Mexican restaurant is within a fifteen-minute walk but don’t tell anyone; it’s a secret.

Weston Farmers Market, will be outside your front door every Saturday from May to October.

Retail:

We have few major chains in the heart of Weston; Shoppers Drug Mart being a notable exception, but there are lots of small family owned stores selling a variety of items. Squibbs Stationers has been in Weston since 1927 and is a great place to get school supplies and textbooks. Incidentally, Weston Village has one the the oldest of Toronto’s business improvement areas.

There is a large Asian supermarket nearby but it may be closing soon as the site has been purchased by a developer. Shoppers Drug Mart has quite a large grocery section but you’ll need to go elsewhere for produce when the farmers market is not operating.

Greenland Farms produce section.

If you’d like a haircut / style / manicure, there is plenty of choice, including the ‘world famous’ Peter’s Barber Shop on your doorstep.

In spite of recent trends to close branches, we still have banks, BMO and RBC with branches close by and Luminus Financial credit union is a 10 minutes walk.

Medical:

There are several family doctors, walk in clinics, testing facilities, opticians and pharmacies, all within easy reach.

Sports and Nature:

Family and friends watch as children from across the GTA take part in a soccer tournament on Weston’s artificial turf soccer pitch.

Dog owners, fisher folk and photographers will be in their element in Weston as the Humber runs to the west.

The Humber river is a few minutes’ walk away.

A cycle / walking trail along the Humber leads through Cruickshank and Lions parks, the latter having lots of sporting facilities – an open air pool in summer, baseball diamonds, a FIFA standard artificial turf soccer pitch, tennis courts, a skateboard park and one of Toronto’s oldest hockey arenas with outstanding french fries.

Weston’s outdoor pool.

Commuting:

The UP Express and GO stations are 5 minutes away and will whisk you downtown in 14 minutes while airport workers will get to Terminal 1 even quicker. Weston is the city’s second biggest bus hub so there are many routes to pick from.

So there it is; you truly will be living in a walkers’ paradise.

Readers, did I miss anything? Please comment in the section below.

Padovani: TD to keep ATM in Weston for now.

The TD Canada Trust branch at 1979 Weston Road. Note the Rockport rental apartment building in the background that will be home to hundreds of new residents when it opens in the coming months.

Toronto Council candidate Chiara Padovani has managed to wrestle a concession from TD Canada Trust, set to close its 1979 Weston Road branch on September 21. The building’s ATM will remain open for ‘the time being’ after the branch closes. The bank’s WiFi hotspot (who knew?) will not continue past the closing date.

Ms Padovani also wrote to the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada; the 120-employee independent agency that according to its own site,

“ensures federally regulated financial entities comply with consumer protection measures, promotes financial education and raises consumers’ awareness of their rights and responsibilities.”

These are the people who sit on their hands while predatory payday loan companies fill the void left by departing bank branches. Apparently they’ve educated the public about those things so it’s ok. In their reply to Ms Padovani’s letter, FCAC alleges that TD provided adequate consultation with the community before announcing the closure. As a result, FCAC won’t compel TD to hold a community meeting.

If a letter announcing the closure counts as adequate consultation, then yes, the community was consulted adequately.

Undaunted, Ms Padovani also tackled TD who have relented somewhat by agreeing to keep the ATM open past the closing date. In the meantime, she is working with TD Canada Trust to set up a permanent ATM in the vicinity.

So far I have received confirmation that the ATM will remain at the current location while they search for a permanent home in the vicinity. While TD is hosting sessions on digital banking and financial literacy in the community, they have not committed to installing a WiFi hub to facilitate the use of such services for people who don’t have access to the Internet.

I’m committed to continue to advocate for accommodations for the members of the community who will be negatively impacted by the bank’s imminent closure.

Access to fair banking and financial services is especially important in Weston, given the increase in predatory lending that has sever consequences on socioeconomic health of our neighbourhood. As a social worker in the community, I’ve seen far too many hardworking people get trapped in debt through pay day lenders.– Chiara Padovani

Read more from the candidate here.

Read Adam’s excellent take on the issues here.

Banking in Canada is regulated federally. Incidentally; crickets from MP Ahmed Hussen’s office on the branch’s closing.

Weston Hub and apartments taking shape.

The live-work artist apartments will occupy part of the lower level of the parking garage.

Weston’s much anticipated Hub seems to be approaching readiness.  Occupation is set for later this year and the artist residences are taking shape. In addition, the adjacent 30-storey apartment building is also approaching completion with glazing well under way.

Glazing almost complete and balconies ready for railings.

For more on the Weston Hub, use our search feature or begin here.

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.