Hazel Remembered

Madeleine McDowell remembers Hurricane Hazel by the old bridge abutment in Lions Park.

A forlorn bridge abutment wrenched out of place by Hurricane Hazel on the night of October 16, 1954 is the closest thing to a memorial to the three dozen or so people who died that night as the Humber River overwhelmed the little community that lived along Raymore Drive. Local historian Madeleine McDowell, talked today about the storm which carried away the homes of many people in what is now Raymore Park. Madeleine was 14 years old at the time and had personal memories of the event which she shared today. The storm led to the creation of the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. The Humber’s longest tributary measures only 100km but the vertical drop from source to mouth is several times the height of Niagara Falls. This was one of the reasons billions of litres of water were funnelled down the river that night. It’s also the reason the watershed is prone to flooding during not so dramatic events as Hazel.

Madeleine’s talk was organized by Sharon Glaves as part of the InTO The Ravines initiative.

The abutment as it looks today in its beautiful location by the Humber. All traces of the original treatment are gone.
The abutment as it looked during the official opening in 2004. Ward 5 Councillor Frances Nunziata is standing with Former MP Alan Tonks and former Toronto Police Chief Julian Fantino.(file)

The bridge abutment was once beautifully decorated by artist Mario Noviello but sadly the image faded over the years. 3 Tempests Playwright Peter Smith was in attendance and stated that the neglect of what is in effect the only memorial to the Raymore Drive victims is a disgrace. He would like to see something put in place as a permanent reminder to the people who lost their lives there. He suggested that local artists could combine their talents and design a memorial for the spectacular location. The 70th anniversary of the tragedy is coming in 2024 and now is the time to start work on the project.

The original work by Mario Noviello (file). Only the plaque remains.

Ms. McDowell wasn’t finished however. The indomitable advocate of nature had one last thing to say. She strongly opposes the proposed highway that will run across the delicate Humber watershed’s upper reaches and urged people to oppose plans for the Bradford Bypass (aka Highway 413) which will link Highways 400 and 404, slicing through the Oak Ridges Moraine and dozens of waterways.

Incidentally, Ms. McDowell is made of sterner stuff and seemed comfortable wearing sandals and no gloves. I was wrapped up with toque, winter coat and gloves and froze in the 5° temperatures.


A brief reminder: we have a commenting ‘policy‘ here on WestonWeb. I hope you’ll take the time to read it, but it goes like this: if you wouldn’t say it at my dinner party, don’t say it here.

I know that each and every one of you is a good person, full of love for your community. But love and passion are slightly different. Can we have more love and a little less passion? That would be super. My thanks in advance.

Upcoming events

The Mount Dennis Community Association will be holding its annual general meeting online on Wednesday, November 17. The MDCA is looking for new board members, too:

MDCA is distinct from most community groups in that we have representatives both at a resident level, but also from businesses, faith groups, and agencies.  If you live, work, or operate here, being part of the MDCA team is a great way to make connections and improve your local knowledge.  And it’s free.  MDCA has no fees, we fund raise by seeking grants and selling ads in our newsletters and programs

Frontlines will be hosting a Holiday Extravaganza on December 11.

Shakespeare in Action is presenting “The Snow Queen” in two public performances, on December 11th and 12th.

Community consultation on severing 64 King

The owners of 64 King, the historic Tyrrell House, are asking for permission to sever the property and build another house on the east side of the lot.

There will be an online community consultation on November 16 at 1 pm. If you have comments about the plan, you can email them to [email protected], but you must do so no later than tomorrow, November 8 at 4:30 p.m..

Hassan calls for fewer pot shops

Our MPP, Faisal Hassan, asked Queen’s Park to do something about the “proliferation of cannabis stores” in York South–Weston and the province. Ontarians are, he says, “losing the character of their neighbourhoods, with cannabis shops seemingly everywhere. At the municipal level, business improvement areas and residents have little influence on the location of these cannabis operations”.

Hassan said that the NDP’s plan was better: “well-regulated cannabis distribution, including control through the proven, responsible hands of the LCBO.”

The Attorney General, Doug Downey, took his question but dodged it with a non-answer.

Hassan said in his email circular that “There is a clear consensus throughout York South—Weston that things need to change”. He also said he supported Bill 235, which would give city halls the ability to veto retail applications.

My toke take: I don’t like pot, and I have no particular love for cannabis shops. I think I’ve been in one once—and you know what? It was really nice.

I’m also not really sure what the harm is. It seems to me that nearly all pot shops are responsible retailers, and are, in fact, extremely quiet. I’d certainly rather have a pot shop next to me than a muffler—or even coffee—shop.

Pot shops are making jobs, supporting a nascent national industry, and providing a service people pay for. They don’t work on large margins (they must buy from their largest competitor), and these are very early days yet. I say we let the market decide. If they’re truly not wanted, they’ll go out of business. Otherwise, let them bloom.


The Weston Village Residents’ Association would like to invite you, all Weston residents and community leaders, to join us for our online Annual General Meeting on November 8th, 2021. 

You may use the link below to learn more about the event and register. The AGM is an excellent way to find out what’s happened, what will happen, and how you can help shape our community! We look forward to seeing you.