Weston Public Library is still open

Though the doors are closed, the Weston Public Library remains open—digitally, at least—to borrowers.  All Toronto Public Libraries are now issuing instant digital borrowing cards, which will give readers access to Overdrive, the library’s ebook program.

To register, you’ll need only an internet connection (to borrow books) and a cellphone (to receive a registration text).

The signup process is easy:

  1. Visit toronto.overdrive.com
  2. Enter your phone number and the campaign code TPL2020
  3. Download Libby for iOS or Android
  4. Enter your local library and phone number.

Libby has about a zillion ebooks and audiobooks that you can borrow on your tablet or phone. (If you need a tablet, the Amazon Fire tablets are good, and doubly so if you get one during one of their frequent sales.)

Two youth hubs for Weston and Mount Dennis

Frances Nunziata announced some very good news: both the Weston and Mount Dennis libraries will be receiving youth hubs.

DJing
From the TPL

Youth hubs are

a welcoming place for teens after school and in the summer, where snacks, fun activities and helpful staff are always available. Drop in to connect with friends in a supportive environment and get help with your homework.

The hubs include gaming systems, iPads, computers, and specialized equipment. Tutors are  available to help with homework.

Nunziata also announced that Pelmo Park will be getting a splash pad.

 

 

Funding for youth spaces proposed for 2020 budget

Frances Nunziata , John Tory, and Councillor Michael Thompson announced yesterday that the proposed budget will include $6 million to curb gun violence by, among other things, “creating new youth hubs [and] opening new youth spaces”—one of which seems likely to be on Falstaff Avenue and one of which may be in Mount Dennis.

Toronto is an extremely safe city, but there was quite a lot of gun violence last year, including in York South–Weston. There were 9 murders in 12 Division in 2019, triple the number in 2018. (12 Division includes many other neighbourhoods)  There were 490 shootings in Toronto last year—and shootings have increased dramatically since 2014.

From The Globe and Mail

The locations for the youth hubs have not been announced, and the funding must be approved by City Council, but that Nunziata and Tory made the announcement at Falstaff is encouraging.

In 2018, library staff also proposed opening a youth hub in Mount Dennis. In 2018, the TPL’s manager of youth services, Lisa Heggum, told The Star

The library has always been a space for youth…. Especially in more disadvantaged neighbourhoods, youth rely on access to computers, WiFi, books and other resources. The hub adds another space to connect with teens, she said.

She stressed their role is facilitation not supervision in a space where teens are encouraged to be loud and librarians aren’t shushing anyone.

 

 

Is Weston Public Library built with “blood money”?

The Toronto Star has a piece on the history of the Carnegie libraries, including the Weston Public Library, which were built with funds from a robber baron.

“That’s why you don’t really see Carnegie’s name on a lot of the libraries. The agreement was, ‘We’ll take his money but we won’t put his name up,’” said Woodstock Public Library chief executive officer David Harvie, whose library is one of the most architecturally stunning examples of the genre.

Weston’s Carnegie Library that was saved from demolition.

A Former Westonite (Westonian) Remembers

Don Brown is a retired elementary school principal currently residing in Grimsby, Ontario. He has considerable roots in the Weston area and has spent some time researching the genealogy of his family and sends this brief summary of his findings that may be of interest to local residents and history buffs.

My great great grandfather, John Porter (b. 1797 d. 1874) was adopted by Benjamin Davis (a blacksmith, who was Weston village’s first resident) and his wife, Elizabeth, following the death of his father George Porter while working as a carpenter in York (Toronto) in the early 19th C.

Benjamin Davis had moved his wife and three children from Newark (now Niagara-on-the-Lake) where he started working on the building of Fort George in 1794. His adopted son became known as John Davis Porter.

Following the death of Benjamin, John and his adoptive mother, Elizabeth donated land at the SE corner of the Weston Plank Road and King Street in 1821 to the Methodist Episcopal Church which is now Weston Central United Church. John built a home on the land across the street where the Weston Public Library now stands. He owned and operated a lumber mill on the nearby Humber River. He married Louisa Longstaff (b. 1897 d. 1882) in 1825

John and Louisa Porter’s 3rd daughter, Mary Emily (b. 1837 d. 1918), married Robert Spoor Brown (b. 1830 d. 1921), my great grandfather in 1856. They lived in a home they named “Elsmere” at what was then the north end of Elsmere Avenue.

Robert was one of the founding members of the Riverside Cemetery board. He carried on the family tradition of bookbinding started by his great grandfather in the late 18th C in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England as Vice President of the Brown Brothers Printing Company on Wellington Street in Toronto. Their son, my grandfather, Frederick William Brown (b. 1860 d. 1948) was their eldest son. Fred Brown started attending the original High School District #1, County of York in the year it burned, 1874. He worked locally as a bookkeeper and married Elizabeth Catherine Monkman (b.1865 d.1947) who had moved with her family from Albion Twp. to Rosemount Ave. in Weston.

His second eldest sister, Margaret Brown married Joseph Nason who, with Dr. F.D. Cruickshank authored the book “History of Weston”, first published in 1937. Joseph Nason was born in Weston in 1861 and died in 1944. He received a BA degree from the University of Toronto in 1881, and was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1886. He was the first chairman of the Weston Public Library Board in 1914.

My father, Victor Aubrey Brown (b. 1900 d. 1973) attended H.J Alexander Public School (originally King Street School) when the principal was Mr. H.J. Alexander. He was the manager of the Beaver Lumber (formerly Irvine Lumber) on Weston Road. My mother, Sadie Luverda Brown (b. 1902 d. 1970) moved with her family from a farm in Albion Twp. In the twenties, as had the family of her future mother-in-law, Lizzie Monkman. Sadie worked as secretary of Central United Church until her passing in 1970. Her sister Eveline McCort (b. 1899 d, 1982) and their mother Sarah McCort (b. 1864 d. 1959) who lived at #69 King Street were also members of the church following their move to Weston.

I lived at #93 King Street from the time of my birth in 1943 until my marriage to Sharon Ann Butler in 1966 in Central United Church. I attended Memorial P.S. from 1948 to 1955, Weston Senior P.S. (C.R. Marchant Middle School) from 1955 to 1957 and Weston Collegiate and Vocational School from 1957 to 1962). Those who were teens in the late 50s and early 60s may remember me as a founder of Club Central, a biweekly teen dance operating out of Central United. 

If anyone would like to get in touch with Don, please contact Weston Web with your details and they will be forwarded.

Nunziata votes against youth hubs

Frances Nunziata voted against building 18 youth hubs, including one in Mount Dennis, at City Council this week.

Library
Image from torontopubliclibrary.ca

The hubs already run at 10 libraries across the city. Each costs about $130,000 a year. Included are a dedicated staff member, and “laptops, iPads, MacBooks, digital cameras, DJ equipment, Virtual Reality (VR) headsets, gaming equipment (PlayStation, Xbox and Wii), board games, and more!”

They offer homework and employment help, workshops, and a place to de-stress.

According to The Star:

“The youth spaces that exist now have proven to be wildly popular.

A briefing note released by library staff earlier this year showed the number of visits to its youth hubs nearly doubled from 2016. That bump, staff said, is because new hubs became available — meaning the more youth hubs the city built, the more youth showed up.

A 2016 survey of participants found more than 70 per cent felt the program increased their feeling of safety and that they felt comfortable asking staff for help, the briefing note says.”

City Staff developed the plan for 20 new spaces in 2018, a year of record shootings.

The annual Toronto Police budget, by way of comparison, is about $1 billion. The cost of repairing the Gardiner will be about $2.3 billion.

Torontonians pay the second-lowest taxes in the GTA. The average residential tax bill in Toronto was $3906 in 2018; across the GTA it was $4773.