Governor General Comes To Weston

Friday January 14.

This afternoon, Canada’s Governor General, David Johnston flew in from Ottawa to lend support to the Habitat for Humanity project at 1500 Weston Road. The complex of 20 energy efficient townhouses will provide safe, decent and affordable homes for 96 people currently living in sub-standard housing in Toronto.

Governor General David Johnston chats to a Habitat for Humanity volunteer.

The Governor General’s support came in the form of adding his presence to the Habitat For Humanity project thus providing moral support but he is no slouch when it comes to hammering a nail and laying down flooring. He worked on the second floor of a home that will be completed this spring.

His Excellency nails down a floor to the delight of assorted photographers.

The townhome complex is being built almost entirely by volunteers from the community as well as the eventual homeowners.

Governor General David Johnston talking with volunteers.

After putting in his work shift, his excellency moved to a marquee where he chatted informally with volunteers and community partners.  Later, he spoke about the contribution that Habitat For Humanity has made in many countries around the world and the dedication of volunteers who lend their muscle and expertise. Habitat For Humanity is an international non-profit organization dedicated to providing safe and decent housing at a reasonable cost.

His Excellency speaks to volunteers and Habitat staff.

The first residents will be moving in on Saturday and others will be moving in as the units are completed. A resident who will be among  the first to move in described her excitement and feeling of accomplishment and thankfulness at being able to move into a home of her own. The head of Habitat in Canada, Stewart Hardacre said that in his experience children raised in Habitat homes consistently graduate from university.

Santa brings the hype to Weston

Santa paid his 31st early visit to Weston yesterday, and the village threw a parade on his behalf.

Thousands of children lined Weston Rd in the afternoon to get stuffed on candy cane and catch a glimpse of the old man himself. And while nobody could hold a shiny nose to the man in red, the parade featured many of Weston’s illustrious cast of characters: the kids were thrilled by Indian Elvis, Miss Canada, the Screaming Shriners on their miniature motorbikes, and the city’s most spectacularly out-of-tune Air Cadet band. Even Rob Ford put in an appearance—the first mayor to ever do so, according to Frances Nunziata.

According to insiders, Santa will be back later this month, if the children of the city are generally nice. A very small, pointy-eared tipster who would not be named said “Looking good, so far. Tell Evie to lay off the late nights and Joshua to kiss his mom more. Just sayin’.”

Police announce traffic blitz

The police of 31 Division will be starting a safety campaign next week. From the 8th to the 14th, police will be nabbing motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians who pull bone-headed moves at crosswalks and stop signs.

In the blitzes, police often issue a disproportionate number of tickets to jaywalkers and bicyclists; readers may be forewarned.

Residents, though, certainly know that drivers generally treat Weston’s stop signs as merely cautionary, while parks and school zones are distractions for Bluetooth lobotomites.

Nightmare on Elm St

Hallowe’en night is always fun in Weston, but this year it was fantastic. Queens Dr was the place to be—there were kilos of candy, a mischief of monsters, and a zeal of zombies. They had come from all over the city; the street was almost impassable with parked cars and kids. Coming out of my house at the corner of King, I overheard a kid say “This street sucks compared to Queens.” And he was right.

While many of the houses on Queens brought gasps of horror, only one brought gasps of astonishment. It had a lawn full of pumpkins—a hundred or so, each lit and carved beautifully.

Weston King Neighbourhood Centre barbeque was a success

Even though it was a scorching day, dozens of people lined up for burgers at the Weston King Neighbourhood Centre community barbecue in Little Memorial Park on Saturday.

Many community groups were out to raise consciousness about the work they are doing in Weston. WKNC, Frontlines, the Hispanic Centre, the Active Living Centre, and others displayed their work in booths set up around the park.

With thanks to M. Lennon for reporting.

UrbanArts looking for artists

UrbanArts is looking for local artists who would like to be featured in their annual CultureShock Community Arts Festival. The festival is August 14th from 1–7 pm at Weston Collegiate Institute.

Auditions will be held on July 15 from 4–6 pm at UrbanArts on John St. Visual artists can submit their work directly by email.

Duelling meetings tonight

The Swanek Park Neighbour’s Night Out is tonight at 7:00. Residents will certainly be talking about the proposal to move St John the Evangelist school into the park and the accompanying demolitions, but city planners will also be presenting an alternative vision of the space.

The Catholic board has also called a meeting to discuss the issue—and while it’s the same issue, and at the same time, and on the same day, it’s in a different place. Their counter-meeting will be held at St John the Evangelist; the announcement says that board staff and the trustee will be answering questions about the new school site.

The Swanek Park meeting will be at 7:00 at the Queenslea St entrance. The city planners’ presentation will be at 7:30.

The TDCSB meeting also starts at 7 in St John the Evangelist Elementary School at 23 George St.