Options for giving

The best time to give is after you feel like hell for being such a crass and grasping consumer and before your credit card bill comes due. That should be in about two weeks, if your experience (and postal service) is like mine.

Here, accordingly, are some options for giving during the holiday season:

This Sunday, the Weston Park Baptist Church starts its annual Christmas Food Drive. All the proceeds go to the Weston food bank (WAES) and help more than 330 local families. “One week prior to the drive, 4000 bags will be distributed into the Weston community and then on the day of the drive, more than 100 volunteers will go door-to-door to collect the food, sort it at the church, box it and prepare it”

Me, I like to give money. It’s less trouble, and nobody ends up with peanut butter but no jam. You can donate directly to WAES.

Frontlines is a popular youth after-school drop-in centre. They’d be glad for a little of your dough.

The WKNC does great work, too, I know. They are a drop-in and outreach centre. They’re always busy. A little cash would go far in their hands.

Add your favourite charity in the comments. I’ll link to them.


Lovely humps

Frances Nunziata reports that Joseph Street will soon get speed humps between Church and Rosemount. In my opinion, the humps on King are the best money the city has ever spent.

maps of humps

AG report blasts Metrolinx

Ontario’s Auditor General released a huge report yesterday that, among other things, tore Metrolinx to shreds. It’s impossible to tell whether the report was referring to what Weston went through–but it sure could be.

Weston was railroaded by Metrolinx for years, but even recently they

  • Messed up the concrete walls of the tunnel so that it couldn’t hold the sound barriers they were supposed to
  • Agreed to spend $62,000 on a fashion show for their Soviet-style uniforms
  • Delayed the opening of the John St bridge for no discernible reason
  • And continued to publish an in-ride magazine, of all the goddamned things, in the smartphone age, perhaps part of a $4,500,000 branding buy

The AG focused on construction and purchasing, not the smaller matters of litter-box magazines,  but she did expose a culture of unaccountability and money-wasting that jibes with what we’ve seen around here.

The AG said that “Metrolinx rarely takes action against contractors for not delivering on time”–vis the bridge, which opened years late.

Metrolinx also continues to work with incompetent contractors. The same dimwit who installed a bridge truss upside down in Pickering was given the contract for the Dundas UPX station.

Metrolinx also bought tracks from CN to build the GO line that runs through Weston. Yet Metrolinx does not:

know that it is getting what it pays for: it does not verify charged costs; it does not ensure that charged costs are reasonable… [and] it has also been paying excessively high mark-up rates charged by CN.

This isn’t the first time that Metrolinx has been in the Auditor General’s bad books. They wildly mispriced the UPX in the face of the AG’s withering criticism.

Choose your own ending at the Tarragon

A new play launches this week based on the stories of Weston and Mount Dennis residents. The play, called Shelf Life, is at the Tarragon Theatre and runs only from Wednesday, November 30 to Sunday, December 4.

There’s a twist: the audience can write the play. After the play is performed, the audience will rewind it, replay it, and intervene to create a positive ending. They can even replace the characters on stage. The goal, the producers say, is to increase intergenerational understanding.

With teenage Ashley not speaking to mom, Devon obsessed with saving up for his first car, and grandma Cora feeling stifled by her daughter’s overprotectiveness, how can the Muncie family learn to communicate again and find mobility when both generations feel caged and powerless within their circumstances?

Tickets are $15–$25.

Upcoming events

I haven’t made as big a deal of this as I should: this weekend is the Santa Claus Parade! It’s always awesome. Sunday at 2, rain or shine.

Parade float

In other, slightly less Santa-y news, UrbanArts will be having their annual winter expo on Friday, December 9. Finally, have a look at our new feature: a calendar of upcoming events. I think you can even add your local event yourself by inviting us to it using Google Calendar (and maybe Outlook).

Police looking for help in two recent crimes

The Toronto Police are looking for help solving two local crimes.

Mug shotOn Wednesday, November 2, they allege a woman was abducted from her home near West Oak Cr and Gary Dr. She was “held captive, beaten, and drugged”. Andrew Mitchell, 24, of Toronto, has been arrested and charged, and the police are now looking for an accomplice, Alana Leigh St. Lewis, 23.

St Lewis is also wanted. The Toronto Sun says the women were known to each other and that there was a “dispute over something” preceding the crime.

The police are also looking for help in the attempted murder at Weston and Lawrence last week. A 21-year-old man was involved in an argument with a group of men at around 6:20 last Thursday before being shot by one of the members of the group.