York Recreation Centre over-subscribed.

The state-of-the-art York Recreation Centre is suffering from overcrowding according to an excellent article by Megan Delaire in Toronto.com. Because the centre is located in a ‘Priority Neighbourhood’, there are no fees and this may be attracting people from outside the community. Mount Dennis and Weston residents looking for a reliable gym routine are having to drive even further to another rec centre or private gym.

Read Megan’s article here.

Mount Dennis in the news: invest!

Mount Dennis was in the news this week, with a flattering portrait by David Nickle.

Robert Caplan is optimistic about the future of Mount Dennis — and has been for a long time now, even as he admits that right now, the sparse business district at Weston Rd. and Eglinton Ave. W. is not much to look at.

That may soon change. In 2021, the Mount Dennis station on the Eglinton Crosstown LRT is slated to open and the owners of the rundown storefronts along Weston will almost certainly make some modifications.

But for now?

“The whole street is waiting for the development to happen — to see what’s going to happen,” said Caplan, who owns Caplan Appliances and is chair of the Mount Dennis Business Improvement Area (BIA).

Only a month ago, The Star published an article that said Mount Dennis is the “most affordable area of the city”.

Ah, to have an extra down-payment lying around!

First LRT arrives at Crosstown Storage Facility

As 2021 draws near, the components of the Eglinton Crosstown Line are falling into place. CBC has a video of the train actually on a track (in Kingston last year).

The train will no doubt be a feature of the storage facility’s upcoming open house (part of the Doors Open event) on Saturday May 25.

From the Doors Open Site:

Building Description

For the first time ever, public are invited to take a peek behind the doors of the Eglinton Maintenance and Storage Facility (EMSF). It houses the Crosstown Light Rail Vehicles (LRVs) where they are inspected, cleaned and maintained. Construction on the facility began in 2016, and was completed in October 2018. Light rail vehicles began to arrive in January 2019. The facility will initially be home to 76 light rail vehicles, with capacity to store 135 as service levels increase to meet future demand. The main building is built to LEED Silver certification, and includes high energy and water efficiency, green roofs, solar reflective paving, and vehicle charging stations for electric vehicles.

 

Visitor Experience

Join Eglinton Maintenance and Storage Facility on Saturday, May 25th for Doors Open, presented by Metrolinx and Crosslinx Transit Solutions. Come by for a tour of this world class facility, step into a brand new light rail vehicle and check out the evolution of the Crosstown project through an interactive display! UrbanArts has partnered with Crosslinx Transit Solutions to provide interactive programming and entertainment in the main parking lot of the facility. There will be free children’s activities, live music and refreshments for purchase.

 

Photography / Filming

Interior photography permitted, without tripod
Interior filming permitted, without tripod

 

Accessibility Notes

Some uneven ground due to rails.

 

Date: Saturday May 25. 10:00 am – 5:00 pm.

Address: 85 Industry St., Toronto ON, M6M 4L5

Foodshare loses 20 student positions; funding for school summer programs in question

The PC government has eliminated a program that gave 20 vulnerable students work and free-time programming at FoodShare Toronto. Summer jobs at Toronto schools are also on hold because the province cut $25 million from education programming.

Foodshare is located just outside of Mount Dennis. It “ prioritizes students who are behind in credits, newcomers, students from low-income families, racialized students and students with learning disabilities”, according to Faisal Hassan, who criticized the decision to cut funding at Queen’s Park this week. The students are “employed, supported and mentored”. FoodShare  provides “them with the opportunity to earn money, job skills and up to two co-op credits.”

Hassan asked the Minister of Education, Lisa Thompson, why the government is “turning its back on organizations like FoodShare, which arm students with the skills to allow them to succeed in today’s workplace”.

Thompson repeatedly dodged the question. Instead of answering with details about FoodShare or the Focus on Youth program, she spoke rather nonsensically about McDonald’s accepting applications over Snapchat—apparently not noticing the irony of putting screens and grease over Foodshare’s focus on healthy fruits and veg.

Nunziata votes against youth hubs

Frances Nunziata voted against building 18 youth hubs, including one in Mount Dennis, at City Council this week.

Library
Image from torontopubliclibrary.ca

The hubs already run at 10 libraries across the city. Each costs about $130,000 a year. Included are a dedicated staff member, and “laptops, iPads, MacBooks, digital cameras, DJ equipment, Virtual Reality (VR) headsets, gaming equipment (PlayStation, Xbox and Wii), board games, and more!”

They offer homework and employment help, workshops, and a place to de-stress.

According to The Star:

“The youth spaces that exist now have proven to be wildly popular.

A briefing note released by library staff earlier this year showed the number of visits to its youth hubs nearly doubled from 2016. That bump, staff said, is because new hubs became available — meaning the more youth hubs the city built, the more youth showed up.

A 2016 survey of participants found more than 70 per cent felt the program increased their feeling of safety and that they felt comfortable asking staff for help, the briefing note says.”

City Staff developed the plan for 20 new spaces in 2018, a year of record shootings.

The annual Toronto Police budget, by way of comparison, is about $1 billion. The cost of repairing the Gardiner will be about $2.3 billion.

Torontonians pay the second-lowest taxes in the GTA. The average residential tax bill in Toronto was $3906 in 2018; across the GTA it was $4773.

Weston is *not* the second-poorest

A couple of posts ago, I asked if anyone had data on the poverty in Weston. You can all put your calculating machines away. I think I’ve done it.

I’d heard for ages that Weston is the second-poorest postal code in Ontario. I confess, I was sceptical, since I heard this very same second-poorest thing when I lived in a bad part of Vancouver. That struck me as too odd a coincidence. I know I like neighbourhoods that are a little rough around the edges, but really.

And, it turns out, I was right. We don’t live in the second poorest. We live in the 40th poorest.

Don’t get smug, though. That’s still really bad. Weston is poorer than 92% of the rest of Ontario. The average Westonian makes $33,422, while the average Ontarian makes $54,000.

To make the comparison, I downloaded 2015 tax data (the most recent year available) from Revenue Canada. Obviously, we don’t all live in a single postal code, but we live in a single FSA—a Forward Sortation Area: M9N. (Mount Dennis shares M6M with a few other communities.) I eliminated all the FSAs that didn’t start with L, M, N, K, or P, the postal codes for Ontario.

With a bit of Excelling, I came up with the following:

  • Mount Dennis is in the 21st-poorest region in Ontario, poorer than 95% of all postal codes.
  • Weston is the 40th poorest region, poorer than 92%.
  • The poorest area is Thorncliffe Park, Toronto, and part of Jane and Finch is the second-poorest. Residents there make less than $25,000 per person per year.
  •  Lawrence Park has the highest-income residents. They make $212,000 a year, per person.

Volunteers needed

Two local groups are looking for volunteers. The MDCA is “VERY short of volunteers” at the Pearen Park skating rink. They are looking for some good people to work in the skate shop, some talented folks to coach skating after school and on the weekends. If you are interested, you can contact Simon.

From the BCA

The Black Creek Alliance is also hoping you’ll stop up to help them with their pollinator’s festival. While all hands are welcome, they are extra interested in hearing volunteer coordinators and entertainers. They’ll be hosting their first meeting at Access Alliance at 761 Jane St on Feb 11th from 6-7:30. They would be grateful if you would RSVP.