Weston Historical Society seeks artist.

Talented mural artist Mario Noviello’s work can be seen in Weston by Ward’s parking lot and in Lions Park on the old bridge abutment. Weston Historical Society Treasurer Cherri Hurst tells me that they are seeking his assistance in renovating the Lions Park location which serves as a memorial to the victims of Hurricane Hazel.

The main mural as it first appeared.
Part of Mario Noviello’s work on the old bridge abutment when it first appeared.
The same work in 2011. Sadly, the work deteriorated rapidly, due in part to anti-graffitti paint.
Mario Noviello (centre) assisted by Alan Tonks, Julian Fantino and Frances Nunziata.
Mario Noviello (centre) at the official unveiling of the mural in 2004, assisted by Alan Tonks, Julian Fantino and Frances Nunziata.

Unfortunately Mr. Noviello’s contact information has been lost in the intervening years and Ms Hurst was wondering if any of our readers know where he could be located.

Please contact Adam or myself if you know his contact details and we will forward the information.

Postscript: Cherri Hurst tells me they have located Mr. Noviello. WestonWeb will keep readers posted regarding further work on the memorial.

Hurricane Hazel Walk this Saturday

Have you ever wondered about the people who lived in Weston during the time of Hurricane Hazel? Weston’s Historical Society is leading a walk, ‘Hurricane Hazel Revisited‘ that focuses on the storm’s devastating impact on the people and surrounding area. Participants will walk along the Pan Am Path following the river, past some of the most significant locations and look at traces of what remains and the changes forced by Hazel that have occurred since 1954. The tour begins on Little Avenue this Saturday at 1:30 follows the river down to Raymore Drive and ends at the former Matthias church at Scarlett and Kingdom.

Little Avenue Memorial Park looking beautiful this week.
Little Avenue Memorial Park looking beautiful this week.

Meet in Little Avenue Memorial Park at 1:30

Carrying Place plaque unveiled.

Alongside the busy traffic on Weston Road, a ceremony was held by the Weston Historical Society (WHS) Saturday to dedicate a plaque commemorating the European discovery of the Carrying Place Trail. The plaque, a brainchild of WHS, was partly funded by a grant of $1000 from Metrolinx.

The trail was a route that followed the eastern banks of the Humber River used by Aboriginal people between Toronto and Lake Simcoe. The plaque, on the corner of Weston Road and Little Avenue is right on the original trail and commemorates Weston’s place on the trail as well as the countless generations of Aboriginal people who lived here before being displaced by European settlement. Elder Garry Sault of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nations along with Carolyn King, co-chair of the New Credit First Nations Cultural Committee led a traditional Aboriginal blessing with smudging and drumming and later spoke about the history of the natives who lived in the area.

Elder Garry Sault of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nations leads a traditional Aboriginal blessing with smudging and drumming.
Elder Garry Sault of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nations.

Mary Louise Ashborne spoke of the vast amounts of wildlife that populated the area until made extinct (e.g. passenger pigeon) or decimated by hunting or pollution (e.g. Atlantic salmon). Several Weston VIPs were in attendance – almost outnumbering the public who chose to attend.

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L to R, facing camera, Councillor Frances Nunziata, BIA Chair Masum Hossain, Suri Weinberg-Linsky, Weston Historical Society President, Mary Louise Ashborne, MPP Laura Albanese, MP Mike Sullivan.
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L to R, Humber River Guardian Madeleine McDowell, Cherri Hurst (WHS), Carolyn King, Elder Garry Sault.

Mike Sullivan spoke about his private-members bill to restore protection to the Humber, designated a Heritage River in 1999. He is concerned that oil pipelines that cross the Humber may more easily spill their contents into the river thanks to recent federal legislation that loosened environmental protection for the river.

The unveiling was followed by a Jane’s Walk hosted by the WHS, south along the Humber pointing out places of historical interest along the way.

Urban Arts adds more Weston murals

Murals taking shape at Lawrence and Weston.

If you drive along Lawrence at Weston Road, you might notice some murals being added to the large one completed last year outside the York West Seniors Centre. This latest set of three are based on historical photos of Weston over the years. They will be taking shape quickly over the next day or two so if you’re passing by on foot, be sure to talk to the talented group of university students working under the capable guidance of Urban Arts Youth Mentor Jim Bravo. Urban Arts completes murals every year as a way of providing summer employment and to discourage the tagging of blank wall space.

Urban Arts Youth Mentor Jim Bravo
Guelph at Humber Media Studies student Rowena Kizito

The process of transferring an old photograph to a wall involves some digital simplification in Photoshop and the basic outline is transferred at night using a projector. From that point the skills of the team are put to good use in bringing the images to life and interpreting which colours to use.

Ryerson Engineering student Niel Yee (L) and OCAD drawing and painting student Bryan Bermudez.

As a postscript, If you’re not already on Facebook, there’s a very good reason to join. Weston Historical Society has a page and is constantly publishing large numbers of photographs showing Weston and its people over the past century and a half.

 

Weston Historical Society on Facebook and looking good

The Weston Historical Society would like you to know that they’re not at all stuck in the past—they’re going gangbusters on Facebook!

They have a lots of material to peruse, (unfortunately, it seems that you have to be a Facebook member to view it), and they would love your submissions and memories.

A sampling of the photos on the WHS Facebook site.

Weston Treasures: Weston Public Library


The original library entrance; not enhanced by Toronto Hydro, Bell and Rogers!

Just a little to the north of Shoppers Drug Mart at Weston and King is a gem of a building that sits quietly in its own regal splendour. This Arts and Crafts, Art Nouveau style building is almost 100 years old.

In 1911, the Weston Library Board applied to the Carnegie Foundation in New York for a $10,000 grant for construction costs. The Board had changed from a subscription library to a public one in preparation for the grant. The Foundation approved the board’s plans and the village of Weston purchased a 140 x 60 foot site for $1950, agreeing to pay for books and library staff from tax revenues to the tune of $1000 annually (quite a burden for taxpayers). The librarian’s annual salary was $300 while the custodian was paid $60.

Original hours of operation: Daily 3 – 5 pm, evenings 7 – 9 pm except Wednesdays.

The Arts and Crafts, Art Nouveau style was popular at the time and Toronto architects, Lindsay and Brydon were selected to design the building. Their previous collaboration in designing small churches seems to have carried over to the library design as it has a chapel-like appearance with stained glass windows. The design was approved by the community and, common to all Ontario Carnegie libraries, incorporates mosaic lettering over the doorway.

Detail of the original entrance showing the porch archway and mosaic.

Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) was a Scottish-American steel baron who became a philanthropist in his later years (think rich like Bill Gates). His story is a true rags to riches one and he credited some of his success to the availability of a library when he was a young man working twelve-hour days, six days a week as a telegraph clerk. He donated money through one of his foundations for 125 libraries in Canada, and about 2400 in the U.S. the U.K. and other English-speaking countries. The Weston Library is testament to his belief that libraries are a benefit to all of society and are a great tool to help people better themselves. He is famous for stating that the first third of a person’s life should be spent acquiring an education, the next third acquiring wealth and the last third giving away that wealth.

Carnegie Libraries pioneered the idea of browsing and selection of books directly by patrons rather than by requesting a book from the librarian. Remember when the LCBO was like that?

Weston Public Library is one of seven remaining Carnegie libraries still functioning in Toronto. It was declared a heritage building in 1979 after an attempt to have it replaced in 1975 (sound familiar?) and an addition, which tripled the floor space, was completed in 1982. Incidentally the attempt to demolish the library sparked the founding of the Weston Historical Society.

Other (now in) Toronto Carnegie Libraries:

  • Yorkville – 22 Yorkville Avenue – still in use; opened in 1907
  • Queen and Lisgar – now used by Toronto Public Health opened in 1909
  • Central Library – 214 College – now used by U of T., opened in 1909
  • Riverdale Branch – 370 Broadview; opened in 1910
  • Birge-Carnegie Library 73 Queens Park Crescent East; 1910 – 1961 now used by United Church of Canada
  • Wychwood Branch – 1431 Bathurst Street; opened in1916
  • High Park Branch – 228 Roncesvalles Avenue; opened in1916
  • Beaches Branch – 2161 Queen Street East; opened in1916
  • Mimico Public Library 1915 – 1966 (demolished)

Next time you go to the Weston branch, be sure to check out the original stained glass windows. They are beautiful.

Do you have a suggestion for coverage of another Weston treasure? Let us know through the comments section.