The Star has a nice article on Ekron Hamilton, a local man who is a competitive chef and mentor:
At 30 years old, Ekron Hamilton manages the kitchen at Weston King Neighbourhood Centre, preparing meals for the area’s most vulnerable residents.
But leadership hasn’t always come naturally to him.
“I was really shy, I wasn’t talking to people and didn’t want to participate in anything,” he said, adding that in his late 20s he was underemployed and dependent on Ontario Works.
A year after graduating from the Kitchen Masters culinary training program offered at the Mount Dennis Neighbourhood Centre (MDNC), he is a leader who takes pride in his work and the financial independence it allows him. So when the CEE (Careers Education and Empowerment) Centre for Young Black Professionals, the organization that co-facilitates Kitchen Masters, called to ask him for a favour, he obliged wholeheartedly.
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.
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”.
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.
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
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.
Frances Nunziata voted against building 18 youth hubs, including one in Mount Dennis, at City Council this week.
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.”
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.