FYI launches scholarship drive

For Youth Initiative is trying to raise $50,000 to give as scholarships to 25 young people from York South–Weston.

The FYI Scholarship program, now in its 15th year, is in commemoration of Jamal Hemmings and Amon Beckles, Toronto youth who were lost to gun violence in November 2005. Jamal and Amon were participants in FYI’s daily programs and will be remembered for their positive, vibrant personalities and dance skills. The FYI Scholarship Program supports our community’s youth towards a brighter future through funding support for various forms of education including: college, university, training, trades, and certificate programs.

The scholarship drive has raised almost $20,000 of its $50,000 target.

You can donate or apply for the scholarship online.

 

Farmers Market Opens for 2020

The 2020 Weston Farmers Market season got under way today in beautiful weather. As is normal for such season openers (usually in May), attendance seemed sparse and there was an added inconvenience for patrons to wait patiently until they were admitted into the market space.  The market, second oldest in the city, is in almost exactly the same place it occupied five years ago although narrower and today had fewer stalls.

For years, traders have insisted that the specially designed market area at the end of John Street was too small and wouldn’t withstand the weight of delivery vehicles. The B.I.A. saved the day with the solution to use the Toronto Parking Authority lot on the other side of the building.

For the last few years the market has used the highly visible UP Express and Weston Baptist Church parking lots. That option is off the table. Unfortunately, the location at the end of John Street is invisible to traffic passing along Weston Road and so it will be a challenge to lure fresh customers to the site. In addition, former anchor tenant and actual farmer, Joe Gaeta has moved elsewhere.

The entrance to the market on John street featuring new signs.
Patrons wait in line to be admitted.
The market cordoned off to allow for physical distancing.
Looking towards John Street, a panorama of the farmers market in almost the same location back in August 2015. Click to enlarge.
The much vaunted and intended home of the farmers market sits empty.

Because the market now occupies the parking spaces intended for use by people visiting the er, market, John Street was in effect one-way thanks to parked vehicles occupying the inbound lane. As patron numbers increase, parking will become a greater issue. Let’s hope that some of the kinks can be worked out quickly. Incidentally, Grandpa Ken’s was there today.

Extra credit: How the Weston Hub was financed here.

Upcoming events

The last episode of “Run it Black” will be tomorrow, July 30 at 6 PM. It will feature Tafari Anthony, a “Toronto based artist whose music blends R&B, pop, and soul…. Known for his sleek vocal tones, sultry melodies and music which oozes with personality, Tafari leaves listeners in awe.”

You can watch this, or past shows, on Facebook.


On Friday, Frontlines will host “Beats in the Streets”, with free games, workouts, and movies for youth.


And, of course, the Weston Farmers’ Market opens this Saturday, at its new (old) location at the 16 John Street lot.

Fight against Bill 184 has a strong local base

Local groups are a large part of the push against the Conservative government’s bill that will allow landlords to evict tenants who don’t meet the terms of rent repayment plans. The bill “would allow for landlords to cut the [Landlord Tenant Board] out of the equation and offer tenants their own repayment plan”.

The bill does not resume evictions, which have paused since the start of the COVID epidemic. It does, however, allow landlords to strike deals with tenants and could evict tenants who do either do not agree to a deal, or do not meet the terms of the deal. It also punishes landlords who act in bad faith by renovicting or forcing tenants out under the auspices of personal use.

The York South–Weston Tenant Union fought the bill before it was passed, and was part of protests downtown, along with Faisal Hassan, our MPP. They have also been organizing Weston apartment buildings at 245o–2460, and 2220-2222 Weston Rd. Chiara Padovani, a local organizer, tweeted that Starlight‘s property taxes went way down, but they still haven’t given the tenants of 2450/2460 Weston Rd their automatic rent reduction even though they’re required by law to do so.”

Marcia Stone, co-chair of the  Weston branch of ACORN, was also scheduled to speak to Toronto City Council today about the bill.

 

An intriguing idea for Weston

The city is studying an intriguing idea that could change the character of Toronto neighbourhoods: gently increasing density in low-density areas.

I think it’s great idea—certainly better than gigantic high-rises on residential streets. City Hall could “loosen up rules on triplexes, allow ‘garden suites’ behind houses, allow development on major streets where it’s not currently allowed and more.”

This works for me. Because of COVID, I recently moved my office into my garage, and that got me thinking about my ex-girlfriend. (Please note that my move to the garage came first! I’m not in the doghouse any more than usual.)

She lived long-term in a coach house on her parent’s medium-sized property. It was great. She had privacy, and her parents had her nearby. I got to thinking that my garage was just about the right footprint for a little place for my growing kids.¹

I’m not the only one to think so: the NY Times, among many others, has been reporting on backyard spaces, doubtless because COVID has focused the minds of white-collar workers on making the most of their living space.

Of course, that has long been a concern of people priced out of home- and yard-ownership in this wildly-expensive city.

From Summerwood
From the NY Times

 Toronto’s  planners suggest looking into allowing more:

  • Duplexes
  • Triplexes
  • Townhouses
  • Small apartment buildings
  • Laneway houses, and
  • Garden suites

Doing so would, they hope, increase housing supply and affordability. The changes would not likely come quickly, though. The planners’ report lays out a two-year warm-up period. It will considered by City Council this week.


¹ My daughter’s response to a free house for her twenties was “No way. I’m moving as far away as possible.” My son’s was more positive, presumably because I wouldn’t be able to monitor his PS6 time.

WAES seeking supplies

The Weston food bank (Weston Area Emergency Support) is looking for some supplies that are in high remand. They say

Currently Superstore at Crossroads has a couple items on sale that are in high demand. PC Family Pack Jumbo Rolls of Toilet Paper and large cases of Pampers size #5 & #6 diapers.

Donation drop off can be Monday, Wednesday and Thursdays from 9am to 12pm or call Chris at 647-444-0418 to arrange pickup or alternative drop off times.

Visit us at www.waes.ca for more information, location and donation details.

Upcoming events

 There will be yoga in Swanek Park every Tuesday morning and Thursday afternoon. The cost is $10, and it is will be socially distanced. Sounds great to me.

UrbanArts will he having its annual CultureShock festival online this year, from August 5–7.