This year’s closing of the Farmers’ Market was more melancholy than usual. One of the devoted vendors, Diane Lowe, passed this week. Ms Lowe was co-0wner of World of Cake Decorating with her daughter, Sheri.
The Weston Farmers Market closed for the season yesterday and there was a good turnout despite the rainy and cool weather. Next year the market will return to John Street after an absence of three years and will open its 40th season on Saturday, May 11 at the new Weston Hub location.
The results are in and the unfair effect of name recognition was once again an overwhelming factor in Toronto elections. The two incumbents in newly created Ward 5 topped the poll despite spirited campaigns, especially from Chiara Padovani and Lekan Olawoye. Even Frances Nunziata must have realized during her campaign that there was a yearning for change. Indeed, the vast majority of voters chose another candidate. About 68% of electors who bothered to vote, chose someone other than her.
Now for the more depressing part; voter participation was significantly down across the city and fewer than 38% of YSW eligible voters bothered to vote according to my calculations. The average for Toronto was about 41%. In effect, Ms. Nunziata retained her job thanks to about 12% of electors.
Given the march of time, Frances Nunziata only has a few years left at council before she retires or a more compelling candidate beats her in an upcoming election. What will be her legacy? Frances herself struggled to list her accomplishments when debating other candidates. Many pointed to the decline in Weston’s fortunes over the past several decades of her tenure. Weston and Mount Dennis are slowly beginning to emerge from years of neglect and disinterest, mainly thanks to the UP Express, all day GO Train service and the expansion of the city to the suburbs; none of which she can legitimately claim credit for.
It’s not all bad; there are some minor achievements – will she be remembered for the Weston Common / Hub / Storage Unit? Remember, the original concept was for an arts and cultural centre and year round (indoor outdoor) farmers market. What about the car-focussed community centre at Black Creek and Eglinton? There are critics of both of these projects while others have a legitimate claim to shared parentage.
There are some notable failures on her record. The persistent flooding in parts of the ward surely should have been fixed by now. The shabby public domain and the lack of progress on a bicycle network are two others that quickly come to mind.
Frances began her political career as a corruption fighter, exposing and taking on crooked politicians. That reputation is long behind her. Now she is best known for her role as Council Speaker. There are many critics of her voting record which was the closest of any councillor to that of Mayor Tory – over 90% of the time. This blog has long criticized some of her positions which often seem to work against residents who are struggling.
Speakers are chosen by a council vote. Given the dramatic changes to Council, it will be interesting to see if Ms Nunziata can win a third term in that prestigious yet challenging position. Now that Mammoliti has gone, the job may be a lot more attractive to others in the chamber. Losing the Speaker’s job would certainly give her more time to work on the larger ward she now governs.
Regardless; for this new term, Ms Nunziata needs to find bold projects that inspire and uplift our community if she is to be remembered for anything other than her long years in office. Whether she can do this over the next four years remains to be seen.
I for one hope she can.
The people at Urban Toronto, operate a website dedicated to ‘condos, architecture, urban development and real estate’. They are in general, cheerleaders for the construction industry and have published an article detailing some of the latest construction milestones at the Weston Common site at 22 John Street opening early next year. While U.T. has glossed over some details of the project, of interest is the way that the existing above-ground parking garage on King Street will be connecting to the new building (the parkade was originally intended to largely serve the retail complex that never got off the ground).
What will the sudden influx of 396 new households do to Weston’s traffic, retail strip and culture? It won’t be long before we have the long anticipated answer.
Incidentally, October 27th is the last day of the 2018 Weston Farmers Market season and the last using the UP Express parking location. Next May, the market will return to John Street behind the new building.
Read the Urban Toronto article here.
Jennifer Keesmat, mayoral candidate and Toronto’s former city planner, visited Weston this weekend, and hung out with our NDP MPP Faisal Hassan. She also met Chiara Padovani, who hopes to become our city councillor.
Is this the start of an allegiance? I’m tempted to enquire, but it’s one of those questions I don’t really want an answer to.
Your correspondent has heretofore not been a Keesmat supporter, because he has a long memory and will not forgive her for shoehorning a 29-storey tower into 22 John St, and (incorrectly) papering the decision with the tall building guidelines.
But this is an enchanting possibility: a sharp left turn, a unified front, and a clean break. I’m not yet in favour, but I could be.
What a fun way to kick off the long weekend in Toronto at the Weston Farmers’ Market! Had a great time talking with residents and local farmers this morning – an excellent event for the Weston community. @WestonBIA #Keesmaat4Mayor pic.twitter.com/qAbbanZAcL
— Jennifer Keesmaat (@jen_keesmaat) September 1, 2018