Anti-cellphone muggings project gathering steam

A local initiative to combat cellphone theft is gaining steam. Last week, the Toronto Police Services board told the feds to do something about cellphone muggings.

Police board members voted Thursday to ask the feds to introduce legislation that would force cellphone companies to provide technology that would allow the disabling of stolen cellphones and to work with the wireless providers to facilitate the creation of a cellular device registry.

Regular readers will know that cellphone muggings are the most common street crime in Weston and are very common in Toronto; victims, usually school-age, are forced to hand over their smart phones by groups of thugs.

The fight against this kind of crime is also home grown: Mike Sullivan, our MP, has introduced a bill in the House to do just the things that the TPSB wants. Frances Nunziata put a motion before City Hall to do the same. (Oddly, despite the obvious missing symmetry, Laura Albanese has been absent on this issue. Please see my correction, below. The students at Chaminade have been pushing for this after growing sick of being mugged.

Many other countries have a stolen-cell-phone registry. The USA will have one by the end of the year, and most of Europe and South America have one already.


Laura Albanese contacted me to correct my error. She wrote:

When cellphone theft began to rise in York South-Weston early this year, I began working with community leaders such as Chaminade College Principal Carmine Settino and Larry Colle, who have been instrumental in the formation of the Chaminade Safe Schools Action Team, in order to assist in mobilizing the community.


Along with the officers of 12 Division, Councillor Nunziata, and the Weston Community Police Partnership (WCPP), we began to have regular meetings to discuss what could be done to make our community safer and to conduct safety audits with officers in the surrounding areas.


At this time, I looked into whether I could introduce a Private Member’s Bill to help combat cellphone theft as an MPP. This idea was discussed at meetings with the Chaminade Safe Schools Action Team and the WCPP, but as cellphones are regulated by the CRTC, the issue was clearly Federal.


To this end, I wrote a letter of support for a national federal strategy to our MP, Mike Sullivan, on April 12, 2012, in order to bring the community concerns discussed in these meetings to his attention. I am heartened that this June, he introduced a motion that also speaks to this issue.


I am very supportive of a federal initiative, and that’s why I wrote the letter. While the motion has been introduced and MP Sullivan’s Private Member’s Bill may not be initiated until late next year, I am confident it will generate a great amount of local support and interest. Through the work of our local community leaders and advocates, we may even see change come from the CRTC sooner.


I recently referenced both the community work around this issue and my letter to our MP at Councillor Nunziata’s Crime Town Hall during my community update, which one of your writer’s, Roy Murray attended. I would like to thank him for writing about my Private Member’s Bill which is receiving a great deal of support in York South-Weston, and would really help with another issue faced by residents of York South-Weston.


Finally, as recently as last week, I was at the Toronto Police Services Board meeting you discuss in this article to give a deputation in support of Councillor Nunziata’s motion for the federal government to introduce legislation to combat cellphone theft which passed unanimously.

I apologize. I was not present at the TPSB meeting, and I did not know that Ms Albanese spoke in support, nor did I know that Ms Albanese was working behind the scenes to push this issue forward.


Weston a vacation destination?

I should go pro and start writing for money. How hard could it really be? There are only four kinds of story: tragedy, satire, comedy, and adventure, and Mayor Ford writes the first three genres for me.

The last is a bit tricky, but I’ve cottoned onto how the big players do it downtown: once a year they strap on their MEC messenger bags, straighten out their ironic thick-rimmed glasses, tighten up their Blundstones, and venture out to the burbs to marvel at how surprisingly-not-bad things are out here. We have restaurants! And immigrants! And it’s not that hard to get here! I mean Queens and Jane is no Queen and John, but, all in all, we are surprisingly civilized!

I figured it out after the latest piece in The Star. They had many kind, if slightly paternalistic, things to say about our fair village. Be prepared to show the crowds of lost tourists from downtown around–we are the newest and hottest staycation destination. Just be sure to talk slow–they may not understand your accent.

Thanks to Christian and the Twitterer I’ve lost track of for the tip.

Arrest made in YSW murder

The brother of Clayton Wright, the man murdered in Weston-Mount Dennis earlier this week, has surrendered to police and been charged with first degree murder. Winston Wright, 38, is from Toronto.

Clayton Wright was shot and killed after a soccer game at the Eglinton Flats.

Irving Tissue expanding

By Laurie Mace

Irving Tissue (1551 Weston Road, west of Jane) will be expanding their paper factory over the next year to accommodate a new plant making top-of-the-line facial tissues.  About 20 residents attended a public information session hosted by Coucillor Nunziata, in the Irving Tissue auditorium.  Also in attendance were Laura Albanese M.P.P. and city community planning staff.

Although referred to as an expansion, it will be a replacement of an existing production line elsewhere in the plant.  Consequently, Irving plant manager clarified that there would be no change in employment (400 jobs) or traffic levels (30 trucks a day).

Councillor Nunziata noted that Irving Tissue has been been working with City staff over the past two years to get their site plan approval application right the first time – everything proposed complies with existing zoning rules.   Lou Moretto, the city’s community planner for Toronto West, noted that more public right-of-way on Weston Road will likely be one of the requirements of an approval.

Most questions from the audience related to water and air emissions from the site.   Irving staff gave assurances that they have “a good working relationship with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment.”

Irving’s site plan application is currently in circulation to all relevant agencies for review.   Construction on the new production line is planned for September, for production start-up April 2013.

An interesting side note:  maintenance of the small parkette and historic plaque at the south-east corner of Weston and Clouston has suffered from ongoing confusion about whether the property was owned by the City or Irving Tissue.  Since it has been clarified that it is indeed on Irving property, they has responded by planting a flower garden this spring, and have further plans to install other improvements such as a watering system and bench.

Interesting factoids:

  • The Irving site has operated as a paper tissue mill since 1929.
  • Over 400 employees; operating 24/7.
  • Irving Tissue is Toronto Hydro’s second largest electricity consumer.
  • Since 2001, when they took over from Proctor & Gamble, Irving Tissue has invested over $132 million into this facility.

Ontario Fresh Produce – what’s in season in July







Summertime and the living is … easy?  Sweaty most assuredly but easy is up for debate. What summertime does bring is amazing Ontario produce. The Weston Village Farmers’ Market is brimming with fresh fruit and vegetables that are not to be missed.

I know it’s mid-July and it’s a little late in the game to offer up a list of seasonal food for this month, but perhaps you can forgive me under the clause of, “it’s better late than never”?

I’m a huge fan of the Weston Village Farmer’s Market and think that it has the potential to be one of Toronto’s best. In the coming weeks I will be posting more about the market and about some of the folks who make it great.  I’ve spoken to numerous vendors already and it’s clear that farmers, chefs, butchers, bakers and even candlestick makers unanimously love being in Weston.  They are here rain or shine, every Saturday from May through to October and their produce and products are seriously top notch.

I also heard concern within the vendor community – there are seemingly fewer farmers and fewer patrons this year than in years past.  I have yet to talk to the BIA to discuss stats etc., but that’s one of my future stops.  For now, I will leave you with this long list of July-ready fruits and vegetables to whet your appetite in preparation for Saturday’s market.  To sweeten the pot, I’ll post about Local Basket farmer Danny Werner tomorrow and Grandpa Ken’s World Famous Peameal Sandwiches next week.

What’s your favourite produce this time of year?

  • Apricots (fresh)
  • Beans, green & wax (fresh), Beets (fresh, with or without greens), Blueberries (fresh), Broccoli (fresh)
  • Cabbage (fresh), Carrots (fresh), Cauliflower (fresh), Celery (fresh), Chard (fresh), Cherries, sweet (fresh), Cherries, sour (fresh, can also buy prep’d & frozen), Corn (fresh), Cucumber (fresh field), Currants (fresh)
  • Gooseberries (fresh)
  • Kohlrabi (fresh)
  • Lettuce (fresh)
  • Onions (fresh; often sold with the greens)
  • Peas (fresh), Plums-Yellow (fresh),Potatoes (fresh)
  • Radiccio (fresh), Rapini (fresh), Raspberries (fresh), Rutabaga (fresh)
  • Spinach (fresh; hard to find as really prefers cooler weather), Strawberries (fresh, traditional varieties)
  • Tomatoes (fresh field, but not until late in the month), Turnips (fresh)
  • Zucchini/Other summer squash (fresh)

This list was compiled through information provided by Foodland Ontario’s Availability Guide and other similar online resources.

Priority Neighbourhood funding facing cuts at worst possible time

The recent Scarborough shooting comes on the wake of announcements that millions of dollars of funding for community programs in Toronto will be cut. Weston, one of 13 priority neighbourhoods in Toronto, receives some of that funding, as does Malvern, a community near the recent horrific shooting.

The Star ran a long report about the drying funding, saying

Kids are picking up basketballs instead of guns and community hubs are built or planned in eight of the neighbourhoods….

But a large chunk of the strategy’s initial funding for programs and infrastructure — some $85 million — came in the form of one-time cash injections that will dry up over the next year. No new pots of money have come down the pipe.


Premier McGuinty has offered to extend the funding, but Rob Ford appeared to be not interested, telling CP24,  “The best social program is a job. Kids are going to be working until 10 or 11 at night, they’re not going be running around, shooting at each other…. Just handing out money, in these mentoring programs… I don’t really believe that handing out free money is the solution.” Last week, Ford voted against every single social program. He was the only person to vote against them.

Last night, a man was shot and killed at the Eglinton Flats recreation centre in Mount Dennis; Clayton Wright, 42, was murdered after playing in a weekly soccer game. He had no gang affiliations, according to police.

Mike Sullivan, MP, responded to the shooting in an email, saying “this latest shocking incident of gun violence in our city reminds us all that we must deepen our resolve and redouble our efforts to work together, at all levels of government, to bring an end to this kind of violence.”


Man murdered in Weston / Mount Dennis

A 42-year-old man was shot and killed last night on a soccer field in the Weston / Mount Dennis area. The man was murdered around 10 pm near Emmett Avenue, north-west of Eglinton and Jane.

According to CP24, police are “hunting for at least one suspect”, but “No one has been arrested and police have not released a description of the suspect or suspects.”