160th Anniversary Celebrations

This past weekend, Weston Collegiate Institute celebrated 160 years in operation. The school hosted events beginning with a monumental football game on Friday and concluding with an Alumni hockey game on Sunday. Community members, staff, present and past students
alike all came out to celebrate the success of this amazing school.
The events kicked off on Friday the 13th when Weston’s varsity football team played a home game against East York CI. The boys fought hard but unfortunately suffered a loss. However, they kept their heads held high and went into the weekend excited for all the events to come.

Saturday, was when the party really started. The festivities began at 11 am, in the school staff lounge with a breakfast for staff new and old. Facility members who graced Weston’s halls as early as the 1970’s were in attendance, and enjoyed catching up with their old co-workers (and meeting new ones).

As the day drew on, the Alumni foundation continued to pull out all the stops, hosting a ‘pub night’ in the school’s cafeteria. This event was for all past students and staff and was the highlight of the weekend! Memorabilia from the schools past was on display around the café,
as old students reminisced about days past.

Old yearbooks, pictures and even a pair of old skates were all out for everyone to see and read, as they remembered the days they called
Weston home. Current students at the school even took alumni on tours to look at how the school had changed over the years, and to marvel at historic pictures that grace our walls. (Some of which,
included them!) As the night progressed the party grew, and there wasn’t a single person in the room without a smile on their face! Grads from nearly every decade (including a lady who graduated in 1944),
were enjoying catching up and remembering just how much of an impact the school had left on them!

As Sunday approached the final event did as well. Students and staff who had been involved in hockey during their time at Weston ventured over to the Weston Lions Arena to participate in a
friendly hockey match. This was an opportunity for the once students, to play against the people who taught them so many years ago. (Don’t worry no math teachers were mysteriously injured during the tournament.) Weston CI is truly a monumental and amazing school. Despite a rocky reputation, the school is full of some of the most loving and amazing people in the city. For 160 years Weston has never failed to produce outstanding grads who have nothing but amazing things to say about their time in the halls of 100 Pine Street. Here’s to 160 years of Iron Man memories. And many more to come!


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Electrification inching along

If transit electrification were a train, you’d be better off taking the ankle express.

The province took some more small steps toward electrifying the UP Express and GO trains. It announced this week that it “will assess the environmental impacts of converting core segments of the GO rail network, including the UP Express, from diesel to electric.”

It also announced that hydrogen fuel cells, the fuel of the forever-future, will be considered.

In 2012, Laura Albanese said the UPX would be electrified by 2017. In 2013, Glen Murray, then Transportation Minister, said the same.

 

 

 

Farmers Market Official Opening

Today, the Weston Farmers Market officially began its 39th year and a trio of local politicians was there to celebrate. Local folklore as recorded by Councillor Nunziata claims that there’s never rain on opening day and this year was no exception. The Market is in its second of three years at the UP Express parking lot.

L to R: York South-Weston  MPP Laura Albanese, York South-Weston Councillor Frances Nunziata, BIA Chair Massum Hossein and York South-Weston MP Ahmed Hussen declare the 2017 Market officially open.
Long time market trader Grampa Ken checks on a couple of customers.
Acoustic pop cover band The Turnups play for visitors.
Sunshine Natural Beauty products on display.
Lots of bedding and container plants to choose from.
Local bakers, World of Cake serve coffee and delicious baked goods.
Market stalwart, Joe Gaeta stands beside his favourite bougainvillea.
Cheri Hurst of Weston’s Historical Society (far left) hard sells membership benefits to a potential new member.
The Egg Man has returned for another season.
Home made jams and juices from the Niagara Region.
Albion Hills Farm is back.
Sunshine Natural Beauty has a selection of their products on display.

 

A shockingly bad train idea, terrible for Weston

David Collenette, the ‘brains’ behind the under-used, over-priced, executive-class UP Express service, has announced another of his plans: a $19 billion, twice-hourly, high-speed train between Toronto and Windsor. The provincial government made much of it today.Choo choo!

Collenette has two proposals, the cheaper (and slower) of which would put a 250 km/h train on the corridor that runs through Weston. It would run from Union to Pearson, then on to Kitchener, Guelph, London and Windsor. Collenette says the train would be profitable and could be built speedily.

He’s said that before. He was so utterly wrong that he should never be allowed near a cocktail napkin again.

  • The UPX was supposed to be $200 million.  It cost three times that.
  • It was supposed to be running by 2008. It took until 2015.
  • It was supposed to be profitable. It has never been profitable.

 

Moreover, there is already train service to every destination the government has in mind. GO Trains run to Kitchener and Guelph. VIA trains go to London and Windsor. The competition is brutal, too: flights to Windsor are about $150 and take an hour, and the Ontario government has also already announced all-day service to Kitchener and other improvements to regional rail service.

In the unlikely event that this high-speed line ever gets built, it will require undoing much of the work already done on the corridor: “a number of infrastructure upgrades”, in Collenette’s words.

 

 

 

UrbanArts gets a huge grant

UrbanArts, a local community arts group, received nearly $750,000 from the provincial Trillium Foundation last week. They’ll use the money to expand their arts programming over three years into five more neighbourhoods.

Laura Albanese announced the funding at UrbanArts’ AGM on May 4. The grant will allow UrbanArts to grow into each of the Neighbourhood Improvement areas in the riding.

Map of the new areas
From UA

The Ontario Trillium Foundation gives grants to community groups across the province with money raised from lotteries.

Presto Cards at Downtown Weston Shoppers Drug Mart

It’s not a huge announcement (on Twitter) from local MPP, and Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Laura Albanese but it’s one that makes sense for Weston. Many transit organizations including the TTC, GO and UP Express are moving to join the rest of the world in using electronic fare payments. This is done through an electronic card that can be loaded online, by phone or at a retail location. The card adopted for use in the GTA is the Presto Card and while it’s had some teething troubles, it’s supposed to be more convenient for customers and less subject to fraud than paper transfers or easily counterfeited tokens.

Minister Albanese announced today that our local Shoppers Drug Mart will be one of only 10 Toronto outlets selected to sell and service Presto Cards.

Weston has several modes of transit in one location and this is the reason no doubt that our branch of Shoppers will be one of the first locations in the city to roll out the service.

Trump’s vile policies reach Weston

Protestor in Washington, DC. Photo by Laurie Shaull.
Protestor in Washington, DC. Photo by Laurie Shaull.

Donald Trump’s repugnant policies reached right into Weston this week. Our MP, Ahmed Hussen, who is the Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, had to deal with the prospect of dual citizens, permanent residents, and in-transit travellers unable to go to the US after Donald Trump signed a travel ban.

Bizarrely, Hussen even had to consider whether he, the Minister of Immigration, might be unable to travel there.

Asked about his own situation and whether he worried that he might be blocked from travelling to the U.S. because of his birthplace:

“Yes, I was born in Somalia, but I took my oath of citizenship to this country 15 years ago. And I’m a Canadian. I’ve spent most of my life here and I continue to be proud of our country our ability to be generous and to view those who seek protection.”

Hussen, though a Canadian citizen, fled to Canada as a refugee when he was a teen. Somalia is one of the seven predominantly-Muslim countries whose citizens are now disallowed entry into America.

Though Hussen did not “bluntly denounce” Trump’s policy, he did say “Canada is a country of immigrants…. We have always welcomed people in need and will continue to do so.”

Laura Albanese, Ontario’s Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, reiterated that commitment today in a news release. She said:

I spoke to the federal Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, and reiterated Ontario’s open door stance with respect to receiving immigrants and refugees from all countries, irrespective of race, ethnicity or faith.

We will proudly continue to welcome people from all parts of the world as we continue to create economic security and opportunity and develop the diverse and inclusive communities where all people thrive.