No; look over here.

There’s a couple of news items that have surfaced lately. One is a notorious chair throwing incident and another is a Metrolinx promise to a community.

Which is garnering the most attention?

Which is of greater consequence?

In February 2019, aspiring media celebrity Marcella Zoia, a teenager at the time, threw a folding chair from a downtown high rise. For some reason, the video of the incident was posted to social media and all hell broke loose. The press has given huge amounts of attention to the feckless Ms. Zoia’s case, hounding her during several court appearances where she eventually coughed up a guilty plea. After her sentencing (a hefty fine and community service), hanging judge John Tory has chimed in to  to say that Ms. Zoia (AKA Chair Girl) should have gone to jail. Apparently the mayor believes that without the deterrence of a jail term, others will be inspired to fling furniture from tall buildings – where will it all end? Mayor Tory had no hesitation in criticizing the work of Justice Mara Greene who wisely ignored the Crown’s recommendation of a 6-month jail term. Let’s not get into the purposes of jail but suffice to say that it should be reserved for violent offenders rather than idiotic teens. This isn’t Georgia or Alabama.

Let’s take a moment to be grateful that the mayor is in a position where he is relatively inconsequential and move on to another news item.

In this story, Councillor Anthony Peruzza is complaining that Metrolinx is breaking a promise to donate a chunk of land in the Finch Avenue West and Yorkgate Boulevard area for the purpose of building a community hub. Here, you’ll not find hordes of reporters breathlessly pursuing Metrolinx executives for an answer. Lazy members of the press and Mayor Tory find items like this tedious. There are no dramatic foot chases no videos and no public outrage. Metrolinx spokesperson Anne-Marie Aikins says that Metrolinx cannot donate land to the City but indicated that there’s lots of time. to work something out. Translation: there’s time for the public to lose interest and for the story to be buried.

Sadly, that sums up the news cycle these days. Councillor Peruzza represents one of the poorest wards in the city and instead of government agencies joining forces to build up an impoverished community, they conspire to work against it. The press largely doesn’t care.

This is reminiscent of the Toronto Parking Authority sale of the 16 John Street parking lot in Weston, a piece of land that once belonged to the old town of Weston (in another one of the poorest wards in the city) and which could have formed the heart of a stand-alone Weston Hub. It wasn’t to be. People were seduced by the promise of a glitzy new home for the Weston Farmers Market along with community space and live/work artist accommodations. Council was swayed by the next-to-zero cost and the only downside was to be a 30-storey tower and podium, something not envisioned by Toronto’s 2011 feasibility study.

The original spacious home of the Weston Farmers Market. (From Google Earth)
The intended home of the Weston Farmers Market. File.

When the Weston Farmers Market opens a week on Saturday (August 1), it won’t be convening in the space that was a big part of the selling job.

One of the concept drawings of the farmers market.

Apparently traders don’t want to use it because it’s too small and their trucks (which they need close by) would damage the paving.

The new home of the Weston Farmers Market (Google Earth).

No, the market’s going back to almost the exact location where it began on John Street. The ample parking promised for the farmers market turns out to be the new market space itself. The space is larger than the fancy concept one and the paving can withstand trucks. If instead of selling the parking lot, the Toronto Parking Authority (a branch of city council) had donated the land to the community, things could have turned out differently. Sadly the press was focussed on other things and the public was seduced by fancy drawings. That’s the nature of news these days.

Maybe we can invite Marcella Zoia to cut the ribbon on August 1st.

UrbanArts news

Today is the last day to visit Weston Road Flows, the art and audio installation at UrbanArts’ 5 Bartonville location.

Juvon Taylor

In other news, UrbanArts will soon be reopening in Weston; they picked up the keys this week to their Weston Common Cultural Hub location.

 

 

West22 model suite open.

Landscaping work was taking place this morning in the space between the the Weston Hub live / work artist residences on the left and the West22 building on the right.

If you want to get an idea of what the rental suites will be like when the new apartment building on John Street opens early next year, head down to the model suite at the end of John Street just before the footbridge.

Property managers Rhapsody are positioning the apartments as, ‘Resort style rental living with access to everywhere’. Suites in the building range from ~400 sq ft studios at $1383 monthly to ~ 11oo square feet 2 bedrooms for $2463 monthly. The model suite shows very well and will be retained so that prospective residents can see the features without bothering existing occupants. All suites come with stainless kitchen appliances, quartz countertops and a stacked washer – dryer. Building amenities include a gym, urban cafe, media room / resident lounge and pet lounge. Another big selling point of the building is the 7-minute walk to the Go Train and UP Express.

The Leasing Centre is open from 10-6 weekdays and 10-5 on weekends.

Check out the various models and prices here.

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.

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.