It’s dangerous to ride a bike in Weston. It’s even more dangerous to walk.
In the past three weeks, there have been at least six muggings, swarmings, robberies and assaults in the Weston area. There were three in just the past week. Most have happened on the periphery of Weston, but several have happened on major streets, and many have happened in the day or in early evening.
The most frightening incident happened on September 8 at about 10 pm. A 33-year-old man walking at the intersection of Weston Rd at St Phillips was approached from behind, blinded by a sweater thrown over his head, and stabbed and beaten. He was unable to give a description of the man who assaulted him, and police are giving no motive for the attack.
In all of the other cases, muggers attempted to steal property. On September 18, three men entered Seif Halal Food Market, also at the intersection of Weston and St Phillips. One brandished a handgun and struck one of the three victims with the butt of the pistol. They stole keys to the store and to a car, and fled.
There were also two swarmings. In the first, a young man was swarmed at Trimbee Park by a group of eight people who stole his cell phone. In the second, four men approached a young couple leaving Maple Leaf Park at 2:20 in the afternoon at intersection of Culford and Rustic Rds. The 16-year-old woman was grabbed, and the group stole her cell phone.
A 26-year-old employee of the Roger’s Store on Wilson Ave also had his phone taken. Two men entered the store and took his phone from the counter. There was a struggle, but both assailants were able to escape. The employee was not injured.
A 17-year-old was also mugged nearby the day after. On September 20th, two men approached him from behind and searched through his pockets. They fled empty-handed.
At the community gathering tonight, one Westonian expressed her concern with the speed of traffic along King St. She said that the recent daylight drive-by shooting would likely not have happened had the culprits not been able to make a quick getaway.
Frances Nunziata said that “speed humps will be coming.” King St is in rough condition with many potholes, and, according to Nunziata, when the city has finished reconstructing the road in 2011, speed humps will be put in.
Speed humps will also be coming to John St, although Nunziata did not give a timeline.
Dozens showed up tonight to rid the corner of King and Elm of bad vibes—and to show their support for both the proprietors of Olympic Variety and local residents, who have put up with a fair bit of violence of late. Suri Weinberg-Linsky, the organizer, called the event “a community hug”.
Weinberg-Linsky is a business owner herself; she runs Squibb’s Stationers on Weston Rd. She said that she was motivated to bring people together because “as a store owner, there’s always that fear, when you’re by yourself, that somebody’s going to come in and rob you.” Olympic Variety was robbed by three young men two weeks ago. One of the owners, Helen, was injured in the robbery.
About 80 people came to show they have also had enough of violence in the community. Sgt Jason Craft of 31 division and Councillor Nunziata attended and showed their concern.
Sgt Craft took some tough questions from the attendees, some of whom grilled him about insufficient police presence in the neighbourhood and the results of the investigations.
Craft was sympathetic, but couldn’t make promises. He said “I can’t speak in terms of specifics with those investigations because those are ongoing.”
The 7th annual Weekend to End Women’s Cancers walkathon brought thousands of pink-clad and boisterous women (and a few pink-clad and boisterous men!) through Weston.
Residents came out early in the morning to cheer walkers on. Most wore pink in support, but a few went all out. One young woman dressed up like an enormous baby and broke out her best dance moves to keep the walkers motivated.
The participants covered 60km over two days, going from the Princes Gates to Downsview Park and back to The Ex. This year, more than 4600 walkers raised nearly $11 million for Princess Margaret Hospital cancer research.