The last 18 months have been a whirlwind for Juan Paulo Cunanan. He has been living in the Weston Artscape Hub since the beginning of May and is really liking his new home, having applied as a long shot to help further his musical goals. Juan Paulo is known as JP or Japs to family and friends. He interviewed for a placement and was delighted to be offered a one-year lease on one of the 26 subsidized live-work spaces.At first he wasn’t sure he would be able to afford the first and last months’ rent of almost $2000 but came up with it at the last minute thanks to his mom, some music pupils and a timely tax refund.
JP is a piano and keyboard artist, specializing in modern jazz but like many accomplished musicians, can perform in a variety of styles. He even does weddings! With a music education degree from the Philippines he is focussed on establishing himself as a professional musician and would dearly love to make a living as a jazz artist, but really enjoys teaching his music school students ages 7 and up. He operates the Weston New Music School at 2125 Weston Road behind the Victory Assembly Church (formerly St Johns Anglican) and is working hard to support himself and his wife. Two of his older pupils are seniors and have been delighted to discover that it’s never too late to learn and enjoy music. I met bass guitar pupil Albert who says he was floundering in his music until JP made things clearer for him. His school offers instruction in piano, bass, guitar and drums.
JP arrived in Canada 18 months ago as part of the federal government’s family re-unification program. He likes Canada, the friendly people he has met, the clean air and opportunity to achieve big dreams. His mother came to Canada a few years ago, working as a nanny and sponsored her family once she could do so.
In March, JP returned briefly to the Philippines and married his girlfriend of five years. His bride is still there but JP is working on bringing her over soon.
He pays a subsidized rent of about $900 a month plus utilities for his one-bedroom loft style apartment with an option of $100 a month for parking. The apartments are spacious with tall ceilings, lots of windows and everything you would expect in a modern design. His one-bedroom model has the bathroom and bedroom upstairs – the bedroom is loft style with a balcony open to the lower level.
What’s next for this young artist isn’t known but you can be sure you’ll be seeing him or hearing him around Weston in the next few months.
After the devastating fire(s) at York Memorial C.I., students have been accommodated in empty space at nearby George Harvey C.I. Despite the convenience of the temporary accommodation being so close, Memo students apparently weren’t happy sharing and so beginning in September, they will be moving to the former Scarlett Heights Academy at 15 Trehorne Drive in Etobicoke. This will be an added commute for the thousand or so staff and students but the school was empty and apart from repairs for some water damage, should be ready in September.
Walking that distance takes over an hour and cycling is too dangerous given our lack of cycle lanes. What this will do to Weston’s traffic and transit remains to be seen but fast food outlets in the Royal York Plaza will no doubt be pleased.
The June Fair was a huge success. The weather was perfect, and hundreds of people turned out. There were bouncy castles, hamburgers from Zeal Burger, and great games and prizes. On a melancholy note, both Ms Madarasz and Ms Sestito announced their retirements.
The Queens’ Drive (and neighbourhood) annual garage sale was awesome, as usual, today.
Alan Tonks is raising money to help rebuild York Memorial, after the damaging fires of a few weeks ago. So far, the campaign has raised more than $18,000 of a $25,000 goal.
The school Motto has been “Macte Nova Virture” (Go Forth With New Strength). With the strength of our community, city, and our York Memorial Alumni we want to preserve the heritage of the school that was built in honour of the soldiers who lost their lives fighting for our country. Whatever the “new” York Memorial may look like we want to raise funds to persevere, restore or recreate the history in these significant works of art.
The PC government has promised that York Memorial Collegiate will be restored.
Faisal Hassan, our MPP, asked the PCs whether they would commit to rebuilding York Memorial. Lisa Thompson replied
Absolutely, we’re committed to working with the school board to make sure that that community hub, if you will, is absolutely restored.
Coming back from Skills Ontario last Tuesday or Wednesday morning, when it was on fire again, we actually drove by and it’s a heartbreak, what has happened to that community. I understand it’s under investigation. We certainly will be working with the school board, and I look forward to working with you to make sure we get it right.
Last week, City Council also committed to rebuilding the school after the fire.
There had been rumblings, here and elsewhere, that the fire would be a good reason to consolidate schools and develop the land.