Prehistoria Museum is so cool

Mount Dennis has the coolest museum in Toronto. InsideToronto profiled them this week.

Prehistoria is a museum devoted to weird and wonderful artifacts from around the world, and its sister store sells many of them, including  cave bear molars, beaver teeth, and human bones and brains. If you’ve ever wanted to own an “overmodelled human skull from the Iatmul peoples of the Sepik River, Papua New Guinea”, you may only get one chance.

Prehistoria is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, from noon until 6 at 1193 Weston Road.

 

Quick news updates

InsideToronto has the cool story of Mellina Orr, a young woman helping her community and bootstrapping her own non-profit.

Mellina Orr has always had a passion for helping youth and other residents in her neighbourhood: Weston.

“Even when I was younger, my friends used to come to me for help and advice and I used to help them,” she told The York Guardian.  “I find joy in doing so.”


The UPX struck a pedestrian in Weston on Thursday—though quite how this could be possible is a mystery given the fences and walls surrounding the tracks. The man was struck just east of the station.

It’s the second time someone has been struck in Weston.


There were two shootings in the Weston area last week. Two boys were

Firearm violence in WMD
Firearm violence in WMD

shot near Jane Lawrence at a pool. Another young man was shot at Sheridan Mall. Weston and Mount Dennis have had little firearm violence so far this year.


The Alia N Tanjay at the Crossroads Plaza has closed, joining HomeSense Home Outfitters, the Asian Market, and some smaller retailers.

Greenland Farm Update.

Thanks to a lapse in memory, I wasn’t able to attend Tuesday’s meeting to hear plans by the owner of 1965 Weston Road. Marion at Weston’s BIA, helped out by getting me in touch with Grenville Dungey who was there and kindly shared his impressions. Here are some of Gren’s take-aways of the proposal.

The proposal is in its very earliest stages. There was a conceptual drawing but nothing else. The basic idea is for a 6-story podium building with 4 floors residential and 2 floors of retail. On top of the podium would be a residential tower that would have a smaller footprint taking the height up to 28 storeys. Residential units would be mainly one and two-bedroom with some bachelor apartments. The owner said that wind tunnel tests would be performed on models of the tower to make sure that the building didn’t create undue wind patterns.

Gren got the impression that the owner is very keen to have community input but the owner also said that if the numbers don’t work, it won’t get built. (I’m interpreting that to mean the height of the building). There would be underground parking for residents which would be accessed from the Lawrence Avenue entrance to the site.

The next meeting with more concrete ideas will be sometime next spring. If building starts it will possibly be around 2020 before anything gets started and the construction might take between 30 and 36 months.

My Comments:

What does the City of Toronto say about that part of Weston?

Back in 2004, the City put into place guidelines for Weston, designed (among many other things) to stop further deterioration of Weston Road into a high-rise corridor. It stipulated that new buildings along the Weston Road Corridor where the GF building now stands, should be limited to a maximum of 8 storeys. Reading the guidelines almost makes one despair at the lost opportunities as they have been totally ignored in the intervening years.

No doubt the current owner bought the site for the purpose of making money by developing to a height far beyond the guidelines. When people spend money on a property, they perform some due diligence to make sure that their plans are achievable. It seems there must be high confidence that 28 stories will pass muster at council.

Incidentally, the Greenland Farm people no longer own the building and have put the business up for sale.

The current listing for the business. From realtor.ca

 

Greenland Farm to develop old Loblaws site.

Greenland Farm Supermarket in January 2016 (File).

Greenland Farm at 1956-1966 Weston Road is a one-store supermarket that occupies a site once used for the same purpose by Loblaws many years ago. If you like fish, or a wide variety of products from all over the world, then GF is a great place to shop. It has for example, more types of hot sauce than you would find in a lifetime of searching through any chain supermarket.

It turns out that the owner would like to develop the site which is quite large as it includes the supermarket itself and a fairly substantial parking lot also fronting onto Weston Road. According to the latest newsletter from Councillor Frances Nunziata, there is interest in, “…redeveloping the site with commercial uses at grade level and residential above.”

Greenland Farms occupies a large site and parking lot in downtown Weston (from Google Maps). Click to enlarge.

In many ways, this is a vote of confidence in Weston but the quality of the proposal, the appropriate use of land and the height of the residential component will need to be carefully scrutinized.

A meeting will be held to discuss the owner’s thoughts and for residents to provide feedback so that a submission proposal can eventually be drawn up and presented to the City (which will be represented at the meeting).

In the formative stages of this idea it’s probably a huge opportunity for Weston residents to make their ideas and opinions count.

The meeting will be held at the York West Active Living Centre, located at 1901 Weston Road.

  • Date: Tuesday, August 29
  • Time 7:00 pm
  • Location: 1901 Weston Road

Buskerfest a Success.

Large crowds were on hand along Weston, north and south of Lawrence on Saturday to watch an entertaining set of buskers captivate audiences. This was Weston’s very first Buskerfest and by all accounts was a huge success.

Crowds fill the corner of Weston and Lawrence.
Lucy Loop and her hoops.
Fire entertainer David Ito ‘warms up’ the crowd.
A caricature artist gets to work.
Children were captivated by the Ostrich Guy and his bird.
The Ostrich Guy has been appearing in his current persona for about four years.
The Ostrich greets a young spectator.
The Ostrich Guy meets and greets.

The event was financed by Weston’s Business Improvement Area, and designed to draw people into Weston.

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that several businesses including the banks, Weston Hub builders, Rockport and Metrolinx had declined to contribute to Buskerfest. This was incorrect – they were not approached for a contribution. I apologize for the error.

 

City Council considers enlarging Weston BIA

Toronto City Council will consider expanding the Weston BIA up Weston Road to Church Street next week.
Weston BIA expansion
The city will conduct a poll of businesses and owners along the proposed area, which runs up Weston from King to Church. More than 30% of them must respond, and more than 50% must agree to join the BIA.

The BIA has been working on expanding since 2015, and hosted a meeting in September 2016, at which business owners and tenants voted unanimously to poll.

The BIA sees several advantages to growing: it will help raise money to unify the branding of the retail strip, take advantage of city money for façade and capital improvements to “address declining conditions of the area”.

 

Mount Dennis CIBC Banking Centre to close

The Mount Dennis CIBC Banking Centre

According to the CIBC website, the CIBC Banking Centre at 1174 Weston Road will close on Friday, October 20, 2017 at 1:00pm and merge with the Keele and Saint Clair Banking Centre 3 km away. Despite big banks’ record profits, there is an ongoing trend to close and consolidate branches. Weston’s Scotiabank branch closed last year.

Who will be affected most by this? People in the neighbourhood who walk to the branch or even worse, those who are uncomfortable with or cannot afford computers; namely the poor and the elderly.

One wonders, if payday loan companies can afford to have branches on every corner, why can’t the big banks?

CIBC would like you to move your banking to here.

Banks know that customers are loath to change from one bank to another and feel that cutting service (and jobs) is better for business than serving people where they live.

Mount Dennis CIBC customers may wish to move their business elsewhere. Credit unions are noted for their customer service and would be happy to welcome new clients. If you have to use the car anyway…