While the whipsawing stock market might make Westonians weep, the real estate market should provide some comfort. It seems like the rest of the GTA is starting to appreciate Weston as much as we do. In the most recent figures from the Toronto Real Estate Board, houses in Weston’s area, ‘W4’, appreciated dramatically.
The typical home in Weston’s area sold for $356,000, a whopping 14.5% increase over last year’s price. In Toronto, homes are typically more expensive ($475,717), but prices increased only half as much last year—though still at a breathtaking 7.4%.
The average price of a detached home in W4 was $449,856, and the median house was $425,000 (the prices differ because a few expensive houses bring the average price up.) Detached houses in the Weston area, then, are still among the least expensive in Toronto. The typical detached house in Toronto was $550,000.
The Weston Heritage Conservation District group won a large grant from the Trillium Foundation earlier this year. The grant is for $50,000, and will allow the WHCD to do more research about the architecture and heritage of Weston and to progress with the second phase of their heritage plan.
The group was able to get the westernmost part of Weston declared a conservation district in 2007, a designation that protects the properties and character of the area. It means, among other things, that new buildings should look similar to older ones and blend in according to architectural recommendations laid out in a series of public documents.
The Trillium money will be spent “researching all of the houses within the phase 2 boundaries, creating files for each house regarding their style, age and other attributes, like who has owned it over its life span—that can be interesting if it is found that it was someone special or of particular note”, according to Suri Weinberg-Linsky. The new area is much larger than phase 1 and will take years to research. Phase two will be between MacDonald and Church and between Rosemount and Pine.
Weinberg-Linsky was grateful for the money; she said, “We are very lucky in that people believe in the District and have participated in our efforts!”
A conference planning the future of Weston was held last month, and the report summarizing community feedback has now been released. It discusses 10 messages from the community, none of will surprise residents, but any of which, if acted upon, would make Weston a better place to live.
In short, the recommendations were:
Weston Road could be nicer if it had better design and more varied retail
The tracks and Lawrence are physical barriers that separate us
Weston is a culturally and economically diverse village, with few ties between communities
Don’t touch the Farmers’ Market, but make the surrounding area better; make the GO Station area better, too
Convince developers to pay for everything—don’t make taxpayers
Tall buildings are generally undesirable; rental high rises are especially undesirable
Community arts and spaces are good. A movie theatre would be good too.
Weston is not an intersection. It is a village with history.
The schools could use some help—especially St John, which is crowded and threatened by the train
Two streets in Weston will be made a little slower over the next few months.
Residents of King St voted to approve speed humps along their road. A survey was taken last month by city staff and, unusually, enough residents voted, and voted in favour, to have the humps built between the tracks and Jane St. Traffic along the easternmost section of King sometimes goes quite fast; a speed survey caught some cars going faster than 65 km.h.
Cross St, just north of Church near Weston Rd, will also have its traffic better controlled. Residents had complained that cars sometimes go the wrong way down the one-way street. The street, which is the width of a two-way street, will have a planter installed at its northern-most end to deter cars from turning south off Coulter Ave. Community Council voted to approve the planter on Cross St yesterday.
Almost 150 buildings around Toronto will open to the public next weekend as part of the Doors Open festival. Some are spectacular, like the Architects’ Headquarters. Some are quiet, like the Fischer Rare Book Library. Some are holy, like St James Cathedral; and some appear pretty banal—like the potting shed at Casa Loma.
But none are in Weston. Not even one.
By way of contrast: the Junction has three sites, Parkdale has five. Four sites are within walking distance of High Park.
This, in your humble correspondent’s opinion, is a let down. Weston has many interesting buildings worth a look-see, and which are not normally open to the public. I would love to see what goes on in the Masonic Lodge and post office on Weston Road. I’m sure I’m only one of a dozen people to have been in the Plank Road building in the past 50 years. There are many old, beautiful churches I wouldn’t normally go into, given my faith (or lack thereof). I’m sure I’m not the only one.
More importantly, not having Doors Open means we miss a chance to build a bridge between the two Westons. I’ve never been in the public and low-rent housing around town, even though I write about it. I’ve never been to the Weston King Neighbourhood Drop In, to my shame. And even if I don’t always physically stay on my side of the tracks, I emotionally do. I would have welcomed an open door—and opened mine as well, of course.
And you, dear reader, what would you like to see, if the doors were open to you? Leave a comment.
The architect and property manager of the high-rise buildings at 1765 and 1775 Weston Rd say that they are planning more towers on the site.
The towers have had a troubled history. In 2006, Now Magazine declared the owner one of “Toronto’s Worst Landlords“. The state of repair in the apartment buildings was so bad that the few remaining tenants sued for and won a rent rebate. Since then, the owner, who lives in Montreal, has hired new property managers, and things are much improved, according to Frances Nunziata. She says that the new property manager has led to “a 100% improvement”.
The towers will now be renovated as part of former mayor David Miller’s “Tower Renewal Project”, which will improve the environmental and social features of the buildings. City staff will provide advice, but the city will not contribute money to the renovation.
There were several different designs being proposed at the conference, at least one of which included another tall building on the site. There could also be a pair of low-rise wings.