WPBC raises $10,000+ for food bank

The Weston Park Baptist Church has raised more than $10,000 for Weston Area Emergency Support, the local food bank.

Castlepoint Numa, who plan to build on some of the church’s property, donated more than $5,000 to help the church meet their goal.

The food bank has seen a huge increase in need since the beginning of the pandemic, with visits almost quadrupling.

Weston Park Baptist Church is raising money for food bank

Our local food bank has seen a huge increase in need this year—almost quadrupling from 650 visits a month to 2,500. For 31 years, the Weston Park Baptist Church has been a big supporter.

Image from the fundraiser

This year, the “food distribution will be very important to families but must be done in a very different way”, so the church is hoping to raise $10,000 to deliver hampers of food and personal-care products this holiday season.

The church will also be collecting non-perishables between November 30 and December 5 at the UPX station, and again at the church on December 7.

Donations can me made through GoFundMe.

Weston Park Development site opens

The Development lands at the corner of Weston and Lawrence – adapted from Google Maps.

The south-east corner of Weston and Lawrence will be the home of an interesting project. For the first time in a long time, there’s a proposed development that promises to bring a net benefit to Weston rather than a neutral or a negative. The proposed site includes the Weston Park Baptist Church, its parking lots and the old wedge-shaped Scotiabank building. The organizations behind the scheme are developers Castlepoint Numa and the Weston Park Baptist Church.

Many people who attended the first consultation meeting back in the pre-Covid days of last February 28 were encouraged by development plans for the site and the enthusiasm of the stakeholders.

The development group has opened a website to encourage suggestions and feedback from the community.

Find the community information and feedback site here.

Large crowd at WPBC development meeting.

The consolidated property. Adapted from Google Maps. Click to enlarge.

About two hundred people attended a veritable love-fest at Weston Park Baptist Church on Monday evening. The long anticipated meeting was arranged to get some feedback on the development of the iconic property that includes the old Scotiabank ‘wedge’ building, the church itself and its substantial parking lot next to the UP Express station.

Steve Rowley leads the meeting on behalf of the church. Click to enlarge.

The meeting started with a history of WPBC and its beginnings at the end of the 19th Century. WPBC stresses that it has chosen to stay in Weston during all these years and has helped the community during that time by setting up community support organizations such as the W.A.E.S. food bank and Frontlines youth centre to name but two. Watching the presentation of the church’s history gave me an impression of some compassionate yet canny real-estate horse traders with the long game in mind. To that end they did a considerable amount of homework before deciding on the developer, Castlepoint Numa – represented at the meeting by President Alfredo Romano and several staff from the company. Mr. Romano’s passion for the project came through loud and clear and it was apparent that this will be something special.

 

Some interesting information came to light during the presentation; in 2005, the church pitched purchasing and sharing the current UP Express station site (at the time a Chrysler dealership that was up for sale) to GO Transit, the predecessor of Metrolinx. GO turned them down but before a deal could be made with Chrysler, GO came back to the table and partnered with WPBC leading to the current property setup. Plans have been worked on for some time to develop the site and now the church is asking the community for input.

The point of the meeting was threefold: to introduce the community to the church and developer Castlepoint Numa (with whom they recently signed a memorandum of agreement) and lastly to get some ideas from local residents.

A few ideas were also proposed by the church, one of which was to extend an invitation to the YMCA to operate out of the new development. This has been an idea for many years now.

Some of the ideas for Weston from the charette held in 2011. File. Click to enlarge.

File. Click to enlarge.

File. Click to enlarge.

Developer Romano expressed his wish that there be a retention in some form of the two iconic buildings on the site.

Residents at the meeting were asked to ‘vote’ for their preferred options using supplied red dots.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

The church has promised many more consultations before anything is decided.

Another important development meeting.

This land will be developed at the corner of Weston and Lawrence. The old Scotiabank ‘wedge is on the corner and the church property extends to their parking lot currently used by UP Express commuters on weekdays. Adapted from Google Maps.

It has been a well-known ‘secret’ for some years that development is coming to the Scotiabank wedge site along with the Weston Park Baptist Church land at Weston and Lawrence. Rumours have abounded for years regarding this mega-site, painting all kinds of scenarios incorporating housing, a community / recreation centre as well as a replacement church. A new home for Frontlines was also mentioned in the rumours.

A ‘preliminary discussion’ meeting has been set up by Councillor Nunziata with the idea of ‘gathering input and ideas’.

WPBC entered into a joint venture with developer, Castlepoint Numa in June last year and according to their website the church was expecting to be shown proposals for the entire site by last fall. Based on that information,  I imagine that the ‘input and ideas’ stage has passed – but I then tend to be cynical.

Castlepoint Numa seems to be well regarded however, it was in the news a few years ago after one of their developments in Toronto’s Junction neighbourhood failed, disappointing about 150 people who had paid deposits. The building would have been a ten-storey condo. According to the Star, one of the people left high and dry was none other than a son of Mayor Tory. Although the deposits were refunded, buyers were left several years behind in the ever rising tide of Toronto home prices.

Castlepoint Numa’s failed project in the Junction area of Toronto. From lowerjct.com

The explanation given for cancelling the project was Castlepoint Numa’s inability to obtain financing thanks (they claimed) to the city’s slow approval process. Read more here and here. There is evidence that Castlepoint Numa may have done this more than once.

This will be another important community meeting that will help guide the development of our ‘downtown’. We all know that development is inevitable and probably a good thing if it results in a building that works to enhance Weston rather than detract from it (as so many have done in the recent past).

Date: Monday February 24
Time: 7:00 – 8:30 pm
Location: Weston Park Baptist Church; 1871 Weston Road.

Backpack Giveaway

SoundCheck Youth Arts, a youth-led non-profit based in Toronto’s Weston and Mount Dennis neighbourhoods, is having a back-to-school backpack drive Aug. 31.

It is the first time the non-profit is doing it.

The event will happen between 4 and 7 p.m. at Weston Park Baptist Church, which is located at 1781 Weston Rd. near Lawrence Avenue West in Weston.

The organizers are giving away fully-stocked backpacks. There will also be a community barbecue.

However, the goods are first come first served.

Local blogger ponders Weston bone discovery.

Hans Havermann has lived in Weston for more than half a century and writes a blog mainly about mathematics and puzzles. Occasionally Hans turns his powerful mind to local thoughts and happenings such as the Denison Road underpass, his neighbourhood,  and Raymore Park. Like Weston Web, his blog has been going since 2010 and helpfully, articles are accessible by date and title so that readers can comb through the archives. This is a great site if you’re a fan of math and puzzles; an added bonus is the content of local interest.

Once Hans gets his teeth into something, he’s relentless. Sparked by a WestonWeb article on the proposed Wilby Crescent apartments, he wondered why its address is on Wilby rather than Hickory Tree where maps clearly place it. While looking for older maps of the ever changing streets of Weston, he found an article on the above photograph of bones discovered near Weston Road, south of Lawrence and decided to do some digging of his own (yes, I know). As a result of his research, he believes that the site of the bones was not as commonly believed at Weston Park Baptist Church but on a now demolished church property across the street on Bellevue.

You might want to subscribe to Hans’ blog and if you can help in his quest for more information, he’d be very interested.