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.

Today in Weston June 30, 2018

View looking north-east from Lawrence Avenue West. The Rockport apartment building has risen to its full height and is partially glazed. It should be ready for occupancy later this year.

What’s new at the YWALC/Canada Day Lunch

Have you ever wanted to try clogging?  How about belly dancing or even tap dancing?  At the York West Active Living Centre, you can try these and so much more!

The York West Active Living Centre offers a variety of classes and social outings for people 55 years old and up.  The fully accessible, air-conditioned facility is located at the corner of Weston Road and Lawrence Avenue.

In addition to dance classes, the centre provides fitness and educational classes including Zumba, Pilates, computer courses, Spanish and Italian language courses and a watercolour painting class.                               

I spoke to Suzanne Teixeira, Executive Director of the York West Active Living Centre about the centres’ commitment to promote, encourage and support healthy, independent living. “Some members are very involved at the center; participating in different fitness classes and trips.  For others, knowing they belong to the Centre is enough,” she said.

Dancing with Parkinson’s is easily one of the most inspiring programs offered at the centre.  Instructors guide individuals with Parkinson’s and other neurological ailments through a specialized dance that empowers them and encourages them to explore movement and music in ways that are stimulating and creative.

A non-profit organization, the centre uses money it receives from the small membership fee it charges and grants to fund the programs and pay for equipment including its two vans which play a vital role in bringing people to the centre.  “A lot of our members are no longer driving, so we have two minivans that are used to bring members to and from the Centre.  We also use these vans for social outings,” said Ms. Teixeira.

This Friday, June 29th, the York West Active Living Centre will be holding a Canada Day Lunch from 12 PM to 1:30 PM.

The event is open to both members and non-members who are 55 years young and older.  Both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options will be available along with coffee, tea, and dessert.  The cost is $10.00.

Ujima House – A Safe Place for Young and Potential Fathers

Ujima House at the corner of Weston Rd. and Lawrence Ave. holds a treasure-trove of resources for young and potential fathers.  Ujima is a Kwanzaa principle that means Collective Work & Responsibility (To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems, and to solve them together).

Officially opened on June 21, 2011, Ujima House is a non-profit organization that focuses on meeting the needs of African-Canadian men.  However, the centre warmly welcomes men of all ethnic backgrounds.

The only father-focused centre in Canada, services include one-on-one mentorship, parenting courses, supervised visitation areas, cooking lessons and help with legal matters.

I spoke to Ed Gough Jr., Program Coordinator at the centre about why the centre was created and the impact it has had on members of the community. “A lot of fathers feel like they are not being listened to or heard,” he said. “Many of the men who come here did not have stable, supportive father figures in their lives.  Ujima House provides a safe environment for men to talk, share experiences, and learn from one another on how to become a better father for their children.  When men feel safe, they are bound to open up.”

As social stereotypes surrounding the roles men and women play in raising children continue to erode, it is encouraging to know that a place like Ujima House exists.

Quickly approaching their 10 year anniversary, the centre is focused on expanding the services it provides to men beyond the Weston community. One initiative the centre hopes to have up and running by September 2018 is a series of free webinars and talks.  Not only will this help to young and potential fathers outside the Weston community, it will also allow people who are not able to visit the centre access resources anytime they need it.

This Sunday, June 17th, 2018, Ujima House is hosting a Fathers’ Day Celebration.  The event will take place from 11 AM-5 PM.  Activities include an Annual General Meeting (11 AM-12 PM), drumming, and a Daddy Olympics which include a diaper changing competition. All are welcome!

Ujima House is located at 1901 Weston Road #18, York, ON, M9N 3P5.

For more information please see the flyer below.

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.

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.

Happy Birthday

It’s Shakespeare’s 454th birthday today, Shakespeare was born on April 23rd, 1564.

Weston will have a special connection to Shakespeare beginning in the fall. Youth education theatre company, Shakespeare in Action will be moving to Weston when the new Weston Common community hub opens. Check out their activities and summer programs here.