Mount Dennis rink-masters get a shout-out in the House

Simon Chamberlain and Guy Ruggieri, the coolest guys in Mount Dennis (they’re ice cold), got a nice mention in the House of Commons this week. Mike Sullivan said:

In York South—Weston, this cold, harsh season was made warmer and brighter by a dedicated group of volunteers who for the third year ran the Mount Dennis outdoor community skating rink in Pearen Park.

I was delighted to host a Family Day skating party there. Over four hundred individuals learned to skate at the rink this past season. Nearly nine hundred used the free skate loan program. The rink continued its fine tradition of making a positive difference in the community — one smile and one skating lesson at a time!

With a tip of my toque, I’d like to congratulate rink coordinator Simon Chamberlain, who received a Volunteer Toronto Award for his outstanding efforts, and ice master Guy Ruggieri and his over 40 volunteers who gave generously of their time to make this grassroots initiative a smashing success.

 

Upcoming events

Spring brings out the best in people and brings the best people out. To wit, many events in and around Weston:

Official Grand Opening of Perfect Blend, 12 noon
This Saturday, March 28 at 12, Perfect Blend will have its grand opening.

Weston Heritage Conservation District Annual General Meeting
Tuesday, March 31st
6:30 pm 1901 Weston Road, Unit F


 

Weston Library  Lip Sync Battle
Auditions: Thursday, April 2, 3:30 p.m
Battle: Thursday, April 9 at 3:30
Have you got mad lip syncing skills? Enter Weston branch’s first-ever Lip Sync Battle, for your chance to win prizes and be crowned Weston branch Champion! Too shy to perform? Come and cheer on your favourite routines, and help us choose the champions!
Costumes and dance routines encouraged!
You must audition on Thursday April 2nd beginning at 3:30 pm to be eligible to perform in the battle on Thursday April 9th.

  • Lip Sync Battle for children 6-10 years of age: April 9th 3:30-4:30pm
  • Lip Sync Battle for teens 11-16 years of age: April 9th 4:45-6:00pm

John Street Redevelopment Community Meeting
April 8 at 7 pm at the York West Active Living Centre (1901 Weston Road) where City staff, along with Rockport Group, will update the community on the plans for the John Street Redevelopment.

Community Cleanups
Join the Mount Dennis Community Association from 10am-noon to clean-up various areas around Mount Dennis on the following dates:

  • April 4: Hollis St – Eglinton & Weston Rd area (meet @ SuperCoffee)
  • April 11: Dora Spencer Ave. (meet @ Weston & Dora Spencer Ave)
  • April 18: Glenvalley-Somerville-Sunnybrae ravine edges (meet @ west end of Glenvalley)
  • April 26: Lambton Ave & Astoria Ave (meet @ Jane & Lambton)K

 

No humps for Dennis Ave?

City staff have recommended against installing humps on Dennis Avenue, in Mount Dennis. The staff say that there are too few cars and that they go too slowly to warrant the installation of humps.

That said, the street runs by Dennis Avenue Community School, an elementary school, and looks (from the maps) to be a great shortcut for drivers trying to skirt the intersection of Weston and Eglinton.

The Etobicoke-York Community Council will consider the decision on February 18. City staff can be overruled by the community council.

New family-made skating rink at Denison Park

The Denison Rink, Mount Dennis.

A new skating rink has recently opened at Denison Park and is accessible through Jane and Lippenscott, or Denison Road West. The rink is nestled behind the park’s playground, and a small corner is hugged by a metal fence, giving a perfect space for beginners. Being flanked by the Humber River and the sleepy, quiet Weston neighborhood creates the perfect mood to lace up and wind down.

Unlike most city rinks, the Denison rink does not provide skate or helmet rentals, cubby space, or staff supervision – but unlike most city rinks, this one is particularly special.

Homemade wooden benches in the foreground, Humber River in the background.

Instead of being constructed by the City of Toronto, this baby is homemade. Several families living in the Jane and Weston community manually paved, flooded, and sucessfully obtained permit to what is now the beautiful Denison rink.

With no zambonis insight, the maintence of this rink is truly a labour of love. As I hunkered down to the park, I spotted a few kids shoveling a layer of snow off the rink in quick, back-and-forth strokes while looking surprisingly agile for someone skating with a shovel. Completely unaware that I would be meeting the founding fathers, these young skaters turned out to be essential contributors to the rink’s very existence, and their families take tremendous care to upkeep it.

A few from the founding team and their personalized ‘zamboni’.

As described by one of the girls, Allison, the rink is regularly flooded at night and then finally smoothed over with their own personal ‘zamboni’. Whenever snow finds itself on the ice, it’s promptily cleared away. In fact, the rink’s facillities are all homemade, from the rustic wooden skating benches to the hand-drawn sign, beckoning community members to utilize the space. To the side of all this, a smaller section of the rink is seperated by a border of snow, hastily swept together by boots. When asked what this was for, one of the kids piped up that it’s reserved for slower, less skilled skaters. Young minds think of everything.

Through petitions, hard work, and great effort from the several families’, what was originally a dirty puddle evolved into a functional, communal gift for the Weston and Mount Dennis neighbourhoods to enjoy. Buildling a rink is not an everyday DIY project.

“We thought the rink would never come,” another skater says, “but it came.”

The community is definitely appreciating this new addition; curious dogwalkers came to inspect the rink and were overjoyed at the kids playing tag across the ice.

Karen Hirji, member of the community, enjoying the ice.

“I love the rink,” Karen Hirji, a neighbor and avid skater says. “Its a great way for the the neighbourhood to get together and learn more about the people you live around. It’s also great for the kids because they’re able to play with each other, and it’s a stress reliever to us students.”

The Denison rink is a perfect example of how improving the community’s public facilities can be achieved not by only the BIA or city officials, but by small neighbourhood families, standing together and taking initiative.


This post was brought to you by:

The Victory Community Credit Union, now at their new location at 2011 Lawrence Avenue West, Suite 11. Stop by and meet Weston’s best bankers!

Mount Dennis ‘On the rise’; Weston, not so much.

According to BlogTO, Mount Dennis is in the top 5 of Toronto ‘neighbourhoods on the rise’. The reason given for their optimism is the upcoming development of the Kodak lands, the new Crosstown LRT and the emergence of Supercoffee and the Nyctophilia art installation.

Here in Weston, things should also be on the rise – although on Boxing Day, a rather large oaf decided that a Weston Road shop doorway would be the perfect place to waddle from his SUV and vomit in a shop doorway. When the store owners protested, they received a foul tirade for their trouble. Perhaps it is the run-down air of Weston Road that makes people feel entitled to do this. We’re almost into January and there are still leaves and litter piled up under the benches at Weston and Lawrence. Perhaps Weston Village BIA could put some money towards a more regular street cleaning.

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On a more positive note, the long awaited Perfect Blend Bakery and coffee shop is now hiring.

 

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Mount Dennis stop on the UPX

Metrolinx has—I think for the first time—confirmed that there will be a Mount Dennis stop on the UP Express train. InsideToronto has a long article, well worth the read, that says, among other things, that

Anne Marie Aikins … confirmed plans for adding a Mount Dennis stop to UP which will require additional funding.

This is great news: the UPX will be that much closer to worthwhile public transit. The only problem: the fares, which will be announced next week, are expected to be more than $20.

The article contains few other details, but I think it’s safe to assume that the UPX would intersect with the new Eglinton LRT and/or the SmartTrack. Mount Dennis is shaping up to be a new transit hub.