Is Weston Public Library built with “blood money”?

The Toronto Star has a piece on the history of the Carnegie libraries, including the Weston Public Library, which were built with funds from a robber baron.

“That’s why you don’t really see Carnegie’s name on a lot of the libraries. The agreement was, ‘We’ll take his money but we won’t put his name up,’” said Woodstock Public Library chief executive officer David Harvie, whose library is one of the most architecturally stunning examples of the genre.

Weston’s Carnegie Library that was saved from demolition.

Bike Workshop on Saturday

This Saturday, Cycle Toronto will host a one-hour workshop on basic bike maintenance at Weston’s treasure of a library on King Street. Rain or shine – meet in the library parking lot if the weather is fine and if not, the basement will be used. All ages welcome.

Numbers are limited so registration is required and can be done in person before Saturday or by phone at 416-394-1016. As of Tuesday, there was still room for a few more people.

Now if only we had some actual bike lanes in Weston / Mount Dennis! Over to you Councillor Nunziata.

You’ve got kids: we’ve got solutions

If, like me, you forgot that your kids have the summer off, it’s not too late to keep them busy with something other than nightcrawler harvesting and Amazon warehousing.

The city has a few spots available in CR Marchant’s day camps. Grab them while you can!

UrbanArts also has limited spots in their summer arts camp.


If, on the other hand, your kids are more into STEM, Frontlines has that, and several other other camps, available this summer.

 


The Weston Library has a lot of programming this summer, including game programming, bike maintenance, environmental science, movies, and magic.

 

Five things that need to change in Weston / Mount Dennis: Part 3.

3. The Public Domain.

Yesterday’s article covered the state of retail in Weston / Mount Dennis.

One of the factors that makes a big difference to an area is the public domain. Anyone who has been to Europe will know how well the public domain is looked after.

A car free street in Cartagena Spain. Note the lack of high-rise buildings and overhead wiring.

Far less public domain money is spent here in Toronto and especially in Weston / Mount Dennis where spending is further suppressed as our BIAs have smaller budgets, our Section 37 money is scarce and our politicians have an unfortunate obsession with keeping property taxes (the lowest in the GTA) at or below the rate of inflation. Spending initiatives that could improve public facilities are often voted down.

From Jennifer Pagliaro via Twitter. Click to enlarge.

As a result, the things that can help iron out differences between rich and poor are suppressed. The homeless are treated with contempt. Public housing is in disrepair; cycling and walking are dangerous, our library, recreation and and parks system are underfunded and garbage and leaf litter, is allowed to accumulate. Cars dominate our streets while the TTC receives the lowest subsidy of any major city in North America. Climbing the social ladder is harder than ever because politicians worry that they’ll be voted out of office if they support tax increases. A recent study by the World Bank has discovered that when inequality goes up, there is a corresponding increase in the murder rate.

What has to change? Our political system is a shambles – more on that tomorrow. We need leaders at all levels of government who understand the connection between adequate public domain funding and helping people move out of poverty. Gentrification is often seen as a solution to our problems in WMD. It’s not. It simply forces poor people to relocate instead of helping them climb the ladder out of poverty.

The answer is more money spent on helping the poor help themselves. More money, for example,  to fix the appalling repair backlog at Toronto Public Housing, more money to properly fund our public institutions and spaces. We also need to beautify our streets here in WMD and reduce the enormous amounts of real estate given over to the car. Will it be Weston or Mount Dennis that gets the first traffic free street in Toronto? (Toronto is one of the few cities in the world without a public pedestrian / bike only street.) We also need to find ways to improve access to the beautiful Humber River that meanders through WMD.

In summary, we need to tell our elected representatives that our priority is improving the public domain and not keeping taxes low. Poverty sucks and feeds on itself. It won’t go away without heroic efforts.

From Twitter.

The constant, artificial shortage of tax dollars puts the squeeze on the most vulnerable among us; people who traditionally don’t apply political pressure and can’t make generous campaign contributions. Even more insidiously, the constant trimming of budgets is designed to make public institutions fail and the private sector look good by comparison.

Make no mistake, underfunding the public domain impoverishes us all and lowers our quality of life.

Two more murals about to be painted

Artist Jason Baerg. Source: jasonbaerg.com

Urban Arts will be completing two new local murals this month. One will be under the Lawrence Avenue bridge and the other under the Scarlett Road bridge. These will be viewable by pedestrians and cyclists and will have an indigenous people theme. Cree Métis artist Jason Baerg, and his team of mural painters presented ideas for comments last night at the Weston Library. Both murals will be painted on long and narrow bridge abutments that run under the respective roads with a stylized thunderbird theme for the Lawrence bridge and a sweetgrass theme for the Scarlett location.

The indigenous people theme is particularly appropriate since the Carrying Place Trail ran alongside the Humber for thousands of years before European settlement of the Weston area.

The Carrying Place Trail Plaque at Little Avenue and Weston Road at its unveiling in 2013.

Progress reports will be forthcoming.

Today in Weston May 13, 2017

Today was a busy one in Weston. The Weston Farmers Market was open with a few stalls. Next week will be bigger and better. According to vendors, business was brisk. Everyone I spoke to was pleased with their sales.

Weston Farmers Market begins the second of three seasons at its UP Express location.
Sebastian Capatina from menos.ca with some artisanal olive oil and bread samples.
Emi Burnham from Pinkyz Bath Bombs with some actual bath bombs.

The Farmers Market wasn’t the only activity happening today.

At the Weston Library, Ameer Shaikh (L) and Laurent Ho from ADL Process Electronic Recycling collect old electronics for, well, recycling.
At 2125 Weston Road, (the former St. John’s Anglican) Pastor Felix Ayomike helps out at the barbecue during Victory Assembly’s open house.

Down in the Humber Valley, exercise was on the minds of many.

At the Weston Sports Complex, soccer, tennis and baseball players do their thing.