A walker’s guide to Weston

An artist’s concept of the Weston Hub showing the outdoor program space.

Beginning early next year, hundreds of people will be moving to Weston as part of the new Weston Hub. A few dozen will move into the 26 artist live / work residences while the vast majority, will rent in the 30 storey, 370 unit tower and podium currently being built by Rockport Group. At the moment, rental prices are unknown but they should be a lot cheaper than renting a condo. Here is a guide for those considering a move to our community and a possible reminder to those already here.

Your new address at 22 John Street has a walk score of 90 which, according to the experts qualifies as “a walker’s paradise; daily errands do not require a car”. Walking is a great exercise and has dramatic effects on longevity. Here are a few of the places that are within a short stroll of your new address.

Cultural Hangouts:

The Artscape Weston Hub: as mentioned, 26 artists will be living and working in your immediate neighbourhood along with 8200 square feet of indoor program space, 12,400 feet of outdoor program space; UrbanArts and Shakespeare in Action will provide programs for young and old.  Read all about it here.

Weston’s beautiful Art Nouveau library built in 1913.

Housed in a beautiful century building, Weston’s public library was built in 1913 and is one of the libraries originally funded by the Carnegie foundation. This branch has a good variety of activities and opportunities to become involved with the community.

Weston’s outdoor theatre.

A few steps from Weston Road towards the river, there is an outdoor theatre in a beautiful setting on Little Avenue that may see more use now that Shakespeare In Action are relocating here.

Weston Historical Society is active, holds regular historical walks and talks and has a base of operations at 1901 Weston Road.

Weston has its own Santa Claus Parade. and Buskerfest organized by the BIA.

Restaurants:

Restaurants abound in Weston: a highly recommended burger joint, fish and chips, pizza, Chinese, Jamaican, Phillipine and Somali food, a chicken chain, family and a breakfast specialty chain. There are several independent coffee shops and even a Timmies. A superb Mexican restaurant is within a fifteen-minute walk but don’t tell anyone; it’s a secret.

Weston Farmers Market, will be outside your front door every Saturday from May to October.

Retail:

We have few major chains in the heart of Weston; Shoppers Drug Mart being a notable exception, but there are lots of small family owned stores selling a variety of items. Squibbs Stationers has been in Weston since 1927 and is a great place to get school supplies and textbooks. Incidentally, Weston Village has one the the oldest of Toronto’s business improvement areas.

There is a large Asian supermarket nearby but it may be closing soon as the site has been purchased by a developer. Shoppers Drug Mart has quite a large grocery section but you’ll need to go elsewhere for produce when the farmers market is not operating.

Greenland Farms produce section.

If you’d like a haircut / style / manicure, there is plenty of choice, including the ‘world famous’ Peter’s Barber Shop on your doorstep.

In spite of recent trends to close branches, we still have banks, BMO and RBC with branches close by and Luminus Financial credit union is a 10 minutes walk.

Medical:

There are several family doctors, walk in clinics, testing facilities, opticians and pharmacies, all within easy reach.

Sports and Nature:

Family and friends watch as children from across the GTA take part in a soccer tournament on Weston’s artificial turf soccer pitch.

Dog owners, fisher folk and photographers will be in their element in Weston as the Humber runs to the west.

The Humber river is a few minutes’ walk away.

A cycle / walking trail along the Humber leads through Cruickshank and Lions parks, the latter having lots of sporting facilities – an open air pool in summer, baseball diamonds, a FIFA standard artificial turf soccer pitch, tennis courts, a skateboard park and one of Toronto’s oldest hockey arenas with outstanding french fries.

Weston’s outdoor pool.

Commuting:

The UP Express and GO stations are 5 minutes away and will whisk you downtown in 14 minutes while airport workers will get to Terminal 1 even quicker. Weston is the city’s second biggest bus hub so there are many routes to pick from.

So there it is; you truly will be living in a walkers’ paradise.

Readers, did I miss anything? Please comment in the section below.

Some reflections

We’re officially in the summer doldrums – at least I am. Adam’s still incredibly productive.

In spite of having a new premier with his early announcements and the delicious prospect of October’s civic election, my side of Weston Web’s virtual office is eerily quiet with ceiling fans gently moving stale air over the desks, typewriters and silent telephones.

WestonWeb’s imaginary virtual office in busier times. From Early Office Museum.

Before the civic election campaigns begin in earnest, this might be a good time to take a breath and reflect on some of the almost 3000 articles that have appeared on Weston Web since Adam began publishing in 2010. Incidentally, every article written on Weston Web is still available and can be searched by topic or date.

WestonWeb uses WordPress which keeps statistics on the number of times each article is viewed. Interestingly, some articles have a life of their own and are constantly being read – even years after publication. Many of these most popular articles were written by student writers who are paid a small stipend for their efforts.

Grab a beverage and get comfortable; here’s a list with links to the 20 most popular Weston Web articles of all time – in reverse order. You’ll have to supply your own roll of the drums.

20. St John’s Anglican Church up for sale. February 2016. The mid-19th Century church at 2123 Weston Road was for sale at that time.

19. Weston Wins. February 2016. This is about former Premier Wynne’s (those were the days, remember?) decision to lower fares on the UP Express that resulted in dramatically increased ridership.

18. Drake general store pop up hits Mount Dennis. December 2016. Whenever you have an article with the words ‘Drake’ and ‘Weston’ in it, there’s bound to be lots of interest. Sadly for Drake fans, this was a Drake Hotel pop up.

17. Atlantic Salmon should hit Weston this weekend. September 2013. This one is popular when salmon are running in the fall.

16. 5 buildings to be ashamed of in Weston. May 2010. As a mark of Weston’s transformation over the past eight years, all of these buildings have disappeared entirely except for the Plank House which continues to sit empty and unloved.

15. TV show filming in Weston. March 2011. An interesting article on Weston’s film operations at the time. Scroll down to view an informative comment from Weston Historical Society’s Martin Proctor.

A prop NYPD car outside Weston Lions Arena in November 2012

14. Longtime York South-Weston resident and advocate to become NDP candidate. November 2017. This article about (now MPP) Faisal Hassan is from guest writer Riley Peterson.

13.  WCI home to the youngest recipient of Volunteer Toronto’s Legacy Award. June 2016. This was written by one of our student writers, Natalie while she was a student at Weston Collegiate Institute.

12. Weston youth flies to Sweden to represent Canada in Youth World Cup. July 2014. An earlier article from Natalie about a talented WCI soccer player.

11. Zeal Burgers; real burgers. October 2016. Yet another of our student writers, Lieselotte Noort writes about the best burger joint in town.

10. P&Ms – lots of history and a bright future. June 2012. Guest writer Melissa wrote this about the restaurant that has been serving Westonians for decades.

The old P&M location.

 

9. New vegetarian restaurant. March 2016. This is about Budda Chay, the vegetarian restaurant at 1784 Jane.

8. Wakame Sushi is the best sushi joint in Weston. March 2012. Another of Adam’s excellent restaurant reviews; Wakame Sushi is still going strong at 2625 Weston Road.

7. Book review: Safe as Houses. August 2012. Adam’s review of an excellent novel by Eric Walters, written for young adults based around the historical background of Hurricane Hazel.

6. Mark DeMontis is PC candidate. November 2017. This gentleman generated considerable interest during his campaign to become a PC MPP. Adam’s astute observations proved to be correct.

5. Lutong Pinoy: A new Filipino restaurant on Weston. June 2016. Guest writer Charlie Siddayao wrote this about Weston’s first Filipino restaurant, still in business at 1754 Weston Road.

4. P&M: Ready for the Move. January 2015. The story of P&M Restaurant in the weeks before moving to its spanking new location in May 2015.

3. Irving Tissue expanding. July 2012. Irving Tissue is the last of the big employers on Weston Road and guest writer Laurie Mace covered the proposed expansion of the plant.

2. Scarlett Heights Academy to close. October 2017. There has been intense interest around the closing of this school which is not strictly in Weston but obviously of interest to residents locally.

1. Ahmed Hussen wins YSW Liberal nomination. December 2014. The dramatic federal Liberal Party nomination of Ahmed Hussen astonished pundits who expected former councillor Bill Saundercook to win. This story has been accessed more than 2000 times.

Just a couple of observations: the restaurants reviewed in our top 20 are still in operation. If you want them to stick around, keep patronizing them. It’s easy to forget that Weston has undergone some quite remarkable changes in the past eight years with more still in the pipeline. With large numbers of people about to make Weston their new home, the next few years will be interesting.

Comal y Canela: The restaurant I don’t want you to know about

Journalistic integrity forces me to write about Comal y Canela at 1692 Jane St. I desperately want to keep it secret from you, because it is a hip, gourmet Mexican restaurant right here in Weston. It’s a tiny space, with 15 seats, a cute decor, and gorgeous, delicious, authentic Mexican food. I don’t want you to know, because I fear I’ll never get a seat there again.

But it’s marvellous. And you have to go.

Tacos Dorados
Tacos Dorados
Birria
Birria
Tacos Gobernador
Tacos Gobernador

 

Comal y Canela has only been open for about 4 months, but word seems to be out. It was busy there tonight—a Tuesday—with a few families jumbled  on benches and chairs around the polished, rough-edged wood tables. The place is close, familiar, friendly, and inexpensive enough to frequent. (We spent $62 for a family of four.)

The menu is only in Spanish, in keeping with the authentic food. Our server, who was wonderful, helped us through it, as there was lots of stuff we’d never heard of. The guy next to me, emerging from a rapture, tried to explain pozole. He said it’s like chilli, but he said ‘chilli’ with a sneer. No Tex Mex hard tacos here, friend.

I wanted to try it all. The sausage is made in house, as are the tamales (they didn’t serve them today, because the recipe they started last night didn’t work. The corn meal in Canada is different, our server explained.)  The pork is ‘tip to tail’, and some of the food takes hours, or days, to make.

But oh, is it worth the wait.

I got goat birria: a rich stew, served with tortillas, chopped onion, sliced radishes, and cilantro. It was fabulous. When it was hot, it was warm hangover food. The braised meat fell apart, and little delectable droplets of red oil surfaced on the brown broth. While it cooled, it got better and better, as the spicy blackened-pepper flavours came forward. I love goat, and this was perfect; just a teensie bit fatty, with two knuckles of bone in. I joined my neighbour in the heavenly choir.

My wife had tacos gobernador (shrimp tacos). No amateur alimentarian, she loved them, and she denied me all but a bite—and that was begrudgingly granted for science. My kids had chicken tacos dorados (taquitos) from the childrens’ menu, topped with lettuce, sour cream, and queso fresco. Unfussy and unspicy, they were total kid wins.

There are only two shortcomings. The first is vanishing: I would have killed for a beer (even a Mexican one) to go with my meat, but, at least for now, Comal y Canela is unlicensed. Instead, I had a made-in-house hibiscus iced tea. It was great. The second means everything or nothing: the menu is meaty, with little for vegetarians, and nothing (as far as I can tell with my Spanish) for vegans.

But ignore those quibbles. Comal y Canela is superb.

 

 

 

Mati’s Coffee official opening

Konjet Tadewsa and her son receive a City of Toronto congratulatory diploma from Business Improvement Association Chair Masum Hossain on Saturday May, 26. Husband, Derrge and other family members were on hand to lend support.

Mati’s Coffee is the latest addition to Weston’s ‘Main Street’ and is situated at 1947 Weston Road; just north of John Street on the west east side. Originally from Ethiopia (the home of all coffee), owners Konjet and Derrge Tadewsa are a true Canadian success story. Konjet worked at Tim Hortons for many years learning the ins and outs of customer service. She and husband Derrge (who did the renovations) are now taking the plunge with this new Weston business.

Aside from coffee and other beverages, Mati’s serves a wide selection of food, from home baked muffins to donuts, delicious cake slices and meat patties.

The official opening was held on Saturday, showcasing the beautiful renovation that has transformed the site of the old Weston Bun Bakery. In attendance were some familiar faces from Weston including Masum Hossain, Marion O’Sullivan and Debbie Gibson from the BIA and Suri Weinberg-Linsky from Squibb’s bookstore across the road.

Let’s give a warm Weston Welcome to Mati‘s Coffee and make a point of supporting this new business. Did I mention they have free wifi?

Sneak peek inside Mati’s Coffee

Mati’s Coffee will be opening at the old address of Weston Bun Bakery at 1947 Weston Road. Yesterday as I was passing, workers were installing a new window and a clear view of the interior was visible.

The worker at the front wasn’t too happy at my presence but the interior looks quite spacious with a grey tiled floor, brick accent wall, some comfortable furniture visible at the front and standard tables and chairs towards the rear.

Still no web presence. Let’s hope for a quick opening.