Ezra Levant praises Ahmed Hussen

Ezra Levant is a an abrasive right-wing commenter on all things political. He reports for Rebel Media and has a lot to say about the Liberal government – most of it sharply critical. On Friday, he had a few things to say about our MP Ahmed Hussen’s recent promotion. In Levant’s video piece from last Friday, January 13, he shows Hussen in extracts from CSPAN, testifying in 2011 to a U.S. Congress Homeland Security committee concerned with the radicalization of recent immigrants, particularly those from Somali communities south of the border. In the first clip, he states,

I’m a Canadian Muslim who is proud of his faith and heritage, and I truly believe that the Canadian and American values of liberty, democracy, rule of law, human rights and respect for minorities do complement and work neatly with the tenets of my faith.

Levant likes Hussen’s stance on immigrants and their need to adopt Canadian values. Levant thinks that this viewpoint is in sharp contrast to the one held by the the Liberal Party and in particular, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The video is posted below. Thanks to commenter ‘Westonarian’ for the tip.

 

Melodies under the mistletoe

While the snow fell down in buckets, Weston Colligate institute held their annual winter concert. The frightful weather didn’t hold any of the talents back, however. With performances from the school’s concert band, jazz band, choir, strings orchestra and countless solo acts; everyone in the audience had the time of their lives seeing the students perform. Parents, friends, students and community members braved the frigid temperatures to come see the show.

The choir kicked the night off, singing songs from hit musicals, and the classic Can’t Help Falling in Love by Elvis. As the night drew on the strings orchestra, Jazz and concert band played amazing instrumentals, that left the crowd speechless. The solo acts included piano duets, guitar ensembles, and even a beautiful singing solo. Every student involved in music at Weston brings their own unique sound and life to the school and music at Weston would not be the same if even just one of them was not there.

“I’ve been in the band for three years, and the winter concert is my favourite event. It really shows you how hard we’ve worked and really gets you in the holiday mood”, was what Italia Santoyo, a grade 11 student at Weston, had to say about the annual event.

The music department at Weston is run by Mr. Nadalin and is one of Weston’s most popular groups. He works tirelessly year-round to make sure that all the students involved in the music program are able to nurture their talents and showcase them to the world. Whether it be through encouraging them, teaching them and putting together two yearly concerts, Mr. Nadalin never fails to do an amazing job with his musicians. In a time where careers in the arts and music are looked down upon, Mr. Nadalin always makes sure his students know that they are extremely talented and never fails to make sure their talent is being appreciated.

“I’m really excited to perform but I don’t want to mess up. I’ve never played in front of a big crowd so I’m nervous and excited” –Isabella Truong, grade 9.

The bands and music council have been putting this concert together since the beginning of the school year, and their hard work was truly shown that night. Although the turnout was not as large as years previous, due to extreme weather; the enthusiasm of the musicians never faltered as they played and sang their hearts out. From heartwarming songs to classic holiday favourites, the band’s passion seemed to radiate off them and warmed the hearts of the guests.

While the weather outside was very frightful, the show was oh so delightful!


This article was sponsored by:Luisa Bada: Living in Weston, and Loving it!

Mount Dennizen gets Governor General’s nomination!

Now here’s a first: a local writer has been nominated for the Governor General’s Award.

41v1gpecbylDonna-Michelle St. Bernard’s play A Man, A Fish is one of a series she’s written inspired by the countries in Africa. In it, a fisherman named Prosper is duped by an eel salesman, whose wares wreak havoc on the town and ecology. (I’ll tell you more when I finish it!)

The GGs will be announced on October 25.

 

An artistic takeover

Rainy afternoons in October usually call for hot chocolate and Halloween movies; however, this October 1st, the Falstaff Community centre, and Urban Arts hosted a spectacular event. For almost a year, thirty dedicated youth from the York South-Weston area gathered together to create a phenomenal mural that is now covering the outer walls of the Falstaff Community Centre, located at 50 Falstaff Avenue. October 1st, 2016, was the official unveiling.

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Over the course of over eight months, thirty students from the  area worked with Adobe Photoshop, photography, silk screening, and even got trained to use a scissor lift, all to create a masterpiece that would soon become a landmark in the area.

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I was told by Shah Ashraf Mohamed, a program manager at UrbanArts (and one the people who ensured this program did so well) that “the best part of this whole project was watching the youth transform from knowing so little about art, to finding passions and loving the work they did.”

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All the students involved began their artistic journeys differently; Italia Santoyo and Dylan Kitchener, who were both involved in the mural’s creation, found out about the program from their art and photography teachers, whereas Jerlie Thorpe, who is extremely interested in the arts, was encouraged by the girl’s group club at her school. (which is also run by UrbanArts). Despite coming from different backgrounds, all the young artists were brought together by one thing: a love and passion for art.

“I’m so grateful for UrbanArts. I love art and all the time people tell you that art is so hard to get into and you’re never going to get a job if you want to study anything in the arts. But Urban Arts helped me see that it doesn’t matter if people don’t believe in you. If art makes you happy, make art” –Italia Santoyo.

The mural is composed of visual art, photography, silk screen and Photoshop work, all comprised into the masterpiece that is now complete. Students worked with various groups including Gallery 44, a non-profit center committed to photography, who taught them skills about their passions, which they then used to create the artwork.

UrbanArts is a community group dedicated to bringing arts programs to communities in the city of Toronto. Every program run by the group involves professional artists and helps develop and engage culture into communities in need. With partners including the Ontario Arts Council, Microsoft, TELUS, UrbanArts has been making a difference in the lives of many kids since they started.

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With art being one of the most highly criticized and toughest paths anyone can take, many young people feel intimidated and scared about pursuing their passions. UrbanArts is changing that. From speaking to the young people involved, and seeing how passionate the program organizers were, I could tell that this project has made a difference. Being a creative person, I know how intimidating and worrisome perusing my passions can be. Seeing fellow creative people flourishing and doing something they are passionate about gave me hope. I am proud to say I live in a community that hosted such an amazing event, and I hope any aspiring artists that see all the amazing work that went into this project will be motivated to keep perusing their dreams.

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This post was brought to you by: Maureen Lennon, who loves Weston and great writing.

Let’s re-think cars on our streets.

The winning photo from the recent Toronto Complete Streets photo competition.
The winning entry from the recent Toronto Complete Streets photo competition.

Adam’s article on bike licensing has hit the nail on the head.

Right wing councillors such as Junior Holyday™ and our own Ms. Nunziata are keen to have lower taxes and lower government intervention but only when it suits their own personal agendas. When it comes to protecting the status of cars and therefore their own personal travel times, bureaucratic expansion and government regulation are deemed to be essential tools, hence the suggestion to license bicycles, the most efficient mode of transportation ever invented. The only rationale offered seems to be that there are reckless cyclists who break the rules. As Adam has pointed out, scofflaw cyclists pose very little threat, unlike scofflaw drivers who check their messages, mascara, shave or have a meal while imposing their presence, air and noise pollution through the city.

Motor vehicles are a hideous, expensive and dangerous blight on society and unfortunately, we have built our communities to the point where they are a necessary evil. Public transportation has been denied priority and is starved of funding so that it is slow, overcrowded and uncomfortable. Mayor John Tory’s idiotic request to the TTC for a 2.6% budget reduction speaks to the pervasive ‘cart before the horse’ mentality at City Hall.
If Councillors Holyday, Nunziata and other like-minded representatives were forced to use public transportation in order to attend to their duties at City Hall, can you imagine how quickly the TTC would improve?

Amazingly, Toronto is the only major city in the world without a year-round pedestrian-only street. Think about it; that doesn’t happen accidentally. Similarly, in our own neck of the woods, Weston has no dedicated bike lanes on any of its streets. It’s largely thanks to our representatives who seem to be mentally stuck in an episode of Happy Days.

As the winning photo from the Complete Streets competition illustrates, cars spoil the environment in our cities. Unfortunately the photo was not taken in Toronto. It was taken in Porto San Giorgio, Italy. The second place photograph was taken in Toronto and looks pathetic in comparison. The other Toronto photographs are embarrassing in comparison to what is being achieved in major cities around the world. We have nothing remotely like the Italian example on any street in Toronto.

Toronto's example is from a temporary art project on John Street downtown.
The runner-up photograph, taken in Toronto is of a temporary art project on John Street downtown.

Perhaps it’s time to acknowledge that cars have jumped the shark and that walking, bicycles and public transit are our future.

The blue jays and the lions

Fresh buttery popcorn, steamy hotdogs, and an amazing game; that’s what baseball is all about! With the Blue Jays immense victories, Weston has never been closer to the vast culture of the city than it is right now.

The Weston Lions Club has been working with the Jays for an amazing 39 years and are a huge part of why going to see the Jays is so spectacular.

Ashley and the Jose army!

If you have ever been to the dome, you know occasionally they give out some amazing merchandise. But you may ask, who are these friendly people giving me these Jays gems? The answer to that question is the Weston Lions Club!

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At the doors of the dome, members of the Lions give away everything from Blue Jays bobble-heads to Jerseys to bucket hats! Thousands of Torontonians, flood into the Rogers Center excited for the game and the giveaway. They are almost as ecstatic to get their presents as the Lions are to give them away!

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However, the Weston Lions Club wasn’t always down at the dome! 40 years ago, another Lions club was doing these giveaways! Unfortunately, they were unable to continue, but the Jays still wanted a community group to take over the deed. As soon as the Weston Lions heard about this, they jumped on board and took the place the previous lions left behind. Teaming up with the original Blue Jays fan club, and local teenagers looking to get their community hours; the Lions were down at the dome almost every weekend handing out Blue Jay’s goodies.

What the Lions are doing isn’t just for fun, however. The Blue Jays donate money to the Lions, for them to give back to the community. Over the years The Weston Lions club has raised over $600,000 for the Weston Community, by doing these Jay’s giveaways, and hosting many other fundraisers! They’ve managed to purchase 7 service dogs and have given countless scholarships to students perusing post-secondary education. The list goes on and on for the amazing work the local Lions do.

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“Working with the Jays is amazing. The best part about it all is seeing happy people at the dome all while helping the community and knowing what you’re doing is making a difference.” Enthusiastically exclaimed Jane Ross, past president of the Weston Lions Club, when I spoke to her about the work the Lions do.
She told me all about how people of all ages help out down at the dome. The oldest volunteers being in their late 80’s and the youngest in their early teens; the Jays and Lions alliance only ever does good for the community.
“we’re like the silent heroes of the community. Everyone knows about the money that gets put into the community, but no one knows where it comes from. This is where it comes from” She continued.
Interested in being part of this amazing team? You can contact Jane at: rosscjr@hotmail.com

The Lions are always looking for more people to aid in their work with the mighty Jays, and getting to help Weston and see the jays in action? What could be better than that?


This post was brought to you by: Luisa Bada: Living in Weston and loving it

Lutong Pinoy: A New Filipino Restaurant on Weston!

 

There’s a new Filipino restaurant in town and correct me if I’m wrong, but it’s the first in Weston!

Front store of Lutong Pinoy
Nora preparing our food.

Lutong Pinoy is a Filipino restaurant that opened its doors on May 22 at 1754 Weston Rd.  (south of Weston and Lawrence), just beside the 89 bus stop at Wilby Cres., heading south.

Just a quick Tagalog lesson (Philippines’ official language): “Lutong Pinoy” roughly means “Filipino cooking.” Lutong= “cooking from”. Pinoy=informal way of saying “Filipino” (like describing Canadians as Canucks).

I’ll be straight to the point: they’ve got some good dishes, fair prices and of course…karaoke! I’ll highlight dishes I recommend in just a bit. But let me just say, we’ve definitely got a restaurant here that’s stayed true to its roots. No bells and whistles, just straight up good cooking. The main cook, Chef Lito Garma has years of experience cooking at Filipino restaurants in the Sherbourne area (one of the first areas Filipinos settled in Canada). So this is definitely not a rookie restaurant.

I had a chat with Nora Transfiguracion, the restaurant’s main front server when I went in for lunch with my cousin last week. Her brother Zobel Garma, and his wife Joy Garma are the restaurant owners, so it truly is a family-run business. They had always wanted to open a restaurant and it was only recently that they’ve been able to give this venture a shot. I found out they’re actually from Scarborough and are getting to know the Weston area slowly. They scoped neighbourhoods in Toronto and found out Weston didn’t have any Filipino restaurants. There are a few on Eglinton West, plenty on Bathurst St. (dubbed little Manila), a good number to choose from in Scarborough, the modernized (and a bit expensive) restaurants slowly popping up downtown and there’s also one popular restaurant in Rexdale. But none in Weston.

Never tried Filipino food before? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered!

I recommend trying their BBQ pork skewers ($2.50/skewer but oh so so good), bistek (marinated, tenderized and sliced sirloin) or the very famous adobo chicken dish. If you’re more adventurous, they have a good number of dishes for you to try from oxtail with peanut-based sauce, to the popular pancit canton/bihon noodles. Since the food is laid out buffet style, you can pick and choose whichever dish catches your eyes.

BBQ Pork Skewer
BBQ Pork Skewer

 

Bistek on styrofoam
Bistek

For dessert, I would absolutely recommend turon, or simply, fried banana. For $1.25 a piece, you get a good size and they do not skimp on the sweet bananas!

2 pieces of turon (fried bananas)
Turon (fried banana)

Dishes and Special Combos

They currently have two regular combos: For $6, you can have any main dish like the ones above, with rice or noodles. For $8, you can get two main dishes with rice or noodles. But they also have a special deal on Tuesdays: fried chicken with rice or noodles for only $4. And finally on Wednesdays, you can have a rice and main dish for only $5. The portions are fair; one main dish was enough for me, and I almost couldn’t finish it—so you’ll be well fed if you have a couple of toonies to spare.

Combo #1 at Lutong Pinoy
Regular Combo #1- 1 dish + rice or noodles
Combo #2 at Lutong Pinoy
Regular Combo #2-2 dishes + 1 rice or noodle

In addition, Lutong Pinoy also does catering! They have a catering menu with detailed pricing and a long list of dishes to choose from. I know for my family, we won’t need to trek to Bathurst or even St. Clair when we make large orders of pancit or dinuguan.

There are plenty of restaurants to choose from on Weston Road, and this only adds to the many choices. The karaoke machine is running if you’re in the mood also, and maybe, just maybe, the chef will sing along with you ;).

Kareoke at Lutong Pinoy
Karaoke time!

Hours of operation:
Monday: Closed
Tuesday-Saturday: 10am-8pm
Sunday: 10am-6pm
(416) 264-6975
(647) 988-5494