Open house for Mount Dennis economic development strategy

You can provide feedback on the Mount Dennis economic development strategy at an open house on December 10. The study designers hope to improve Mount Dennis’s main street and the nearby industrial lands by “realizing economic growth opportunities within the local business community”.

The strategists identify many of Mount Dennis’s strengths, including an active community, transit, and relatively affordable housing, and lays out a framework for improvement:

  1. Building on the excellent transit
  2. Remediating the “someone deficient” reputation of Mount Dennis
  3. Increasing “Cluster Development and Investment” in areas in which Mount Dennis enterprises already excel
  4. Promoting creative and cultural enteprises
  5. Supporting local talent and skills development
  6. Supporting inclusive economic growth

 

Police arrest three in Mount Dennis-area shooting

The police have arrested two men and a youth for the recent shooting near Black Creek and Trethewey.

On October 30, five people were shot in the hallway of an apartment building and were taken to hospital. Nobody was killed in the shooting.

Over the past weeks, the police arrested Andre Cunningham, 20; Malik Mohamed, 21; and a young man under 18. They’ve each been charged with five counts of attempted murder and many firearms offenses.

Ekron Hamilton: Kitchen Master

The Star has a nice article on Ekron Hamilton, a local man who is a competitive chef and mentor:

At 30 years old, Ekron Hamilton manages the kitchen at Weston King Neighbourhood Centre, preparing meals for the area’s most vulnerable residents.

But leadership hasn’t always come naturally to him.

“I was really shy, I wasn’t talking to people and didn’t want to participate in anything,” he said, adding that in his late 20s he was underemployed and dependent on Ontario Works.

A year after graduating from the Kitchen Masters culinary training program offered at the Mount Dennis Neighbourhood Centre (MDNC), he is a leader who takes pride in his work and the financial independence it allows him. So when the CEE (Careers Education and Empowerment) Centre for Young Black Professionals, the organization that co-facilitates Kitchen Masters, called to ask him for a favour, he obliged wholeheartedly.

Mount Dennis in the news: invest!

Mount Dennis was in the news this week, with a flattering portrait by David Nickle.

Robert Caplan is optimistic about the future of Mount Dennis — and has been for a long time now, even as he admits that right now, the sparse business district at Weston Rd. and Eglinton Ave. W. is not much to look at.

That may soon change. In 2021, the Mount Dennis station on the Eglinton Crosstown LRT is slated to open and the owners of the rundown storefronts along Weston will almost certainly make some modifications.

But for now?

“The whole street is waiting for the development to happen — to see what’s going to happen,” said Caplan, who owns Caplan Appliances and is chair of the Mount Dennis Business Improvement Area (BIA).

Only a month ago, The Star published an article that said Mount Dennis is the “most affordable area of the city”.

Ah, to have an extra down-payment lying around!

Upcoming events

Hussen’s Community Barbecue

Our MP, Ahmed Hussen, will be hosting a barbecue this Sunday, the 21st of July, from 2 to 5 at 1765-1775 Weston Road


Faisal Hassan’s town hall on community safety

Hassan will be hosting a meeting on Monday, July 22nd to discuss community safety.

  • Doors Open @ 6:00 pm
  • Meeting Starts @ 6:30
  • Falstaff Community Centre, 50 Falstaff Avenue

Mount Dennis’ Coffee Culture events continue on Thursday, July 25th at 7 pm at supercoffee. This month, Leah Lane will be performing.


And, of course, Shakespeare in Action’s performance of A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream continues in Little Avenue Park.

Mount Dennis in the news

The Urban Land Institute (a non-profit planners’ group) has been working on ideas to revitalize Mount Dennis. Their results made the Globe and Mail  and the Toronto Star.

The short story: everybody is on board for a more prosperous, better-connected Mount Dennis. Alex Bozikovic wrote in the Globe:

Spread new growth across the neighbourhood. Focus on jobs and mix up jobs with some housing. Bring lots of people to live near transit. It sounds simple, but would require some changes to the city’s usual planning approach.

Interestingly, many locals are on board with this agenda. Mike Mattos, who heads the Mount Dennis Community Association, says the group largely welcomes the ULI proposals and, in places, development. “We need more people in the area,” he told me. “We don’t think the retail strip is going to survive with the current population. And we need more of the right kinds of jobs.” With all that, and some inventive policy, this could become a more prosperous place without becoming any less interesting.

 

GO expanding to Woodbine racetrack

The Kitchener GO line will soon have a new stop at the Woodbine racetrack. The stop will be paid for by the owners of Woodbine, and it will replace the Etobicoke North station.

Metrolinx has said that the UP Express eventually may stop at Woodbine station, though no plans were announced this week. This would be great for Weston; the more that commuters use the line, the less likely we are to lose our stop–and that’s a concern because the train will stop at the new Mount Dennis transit hub.