G&M on Weston Park development

The Globe and Mail has an article on the development at the Weston Park Baptist Church.

While many church congregations are shrinking or struggling financially, Weston Park Baptist Church is placing its faith in development plans that aim to revitalize its property in the west-end Toronto neighbourhood.

“Our vision formulated [in] 2005,” says church deacon John Frogley-Rawson. “It’s a nice piece of land, and we have developed [a plan] for the property and the community.”

It’s worth reading, because it shows how a development should be done: with community consultation and assent. It also includes much on the fate of churches, and how they will be reused and redeveloped in a secular age.

Crime this year: down

Weston has long had a reputation as a bad neighbourhood. (I’ve long disagreed, but numbers only get you so far.)

As the year ends, we can compare crime rates to 2019. And they are good.

Crime rates, which were already low, fell considerably in 12 Division. Robberies, assaults, thefts, break-ins, sexual assaults and murders were less frequent. Only auto thefts were up.

Crime rates in 12 Division, image from the city

There could be many reasons for this, but it’s noteworthy that rime rates were down across the city. Doubtless, the pandemic paid a role.

Clearance in 12 Division, image from the city

The police also solved more crimes this year. The clearance rate jumped quite dramatically, to 78%.

Stream Messiah starring Weston’s Elliot Madore

Weston’s own Elliot Madore will be performing in an online Messiah, which is streamable until January 7.

The show is produced by Against The Grain Theatre, and it looks great. The producers say it is a “truly cross-Canada performance — in Arabic, Dene, English, French, Inuktitut, and Southern Tutchone, and accompanied by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra”.

Tickets are pay-what-you can (including free).

And I could be mistaken, but I think I see the Weston Lions Arena in the trailer.

Thanks to L for the tip!

Zayde Wisdom gives $5,000 to the Salvation Army

Zayde Wisdom has a lot of class. He grew up in poverty in Weston, and his family struggled to get by. You could celebrate him, then, spending his first big cheques from the Philadelphia Flyers on something that would be a hell of a lot of fun.

Instead, Zayde Wisdom gave $5,000 to the local Salvation Army.

What a guy.

Wisdom told the OHL, “I have a lot of tough memories, so my goal one day is to just help as many kids as possible from struggling growing up,” he said, “ I just want to give back to the community that gave so much to me.”

Ring Christmas bells on Christmas Eve.

People around the world are planning on ringing bells on their balconies and doorsteps at 6 pm Christmas Eve.

The ‘Worldwide Christmas Eve Jingle’ was started in North Yorkshire, England by a woman who thought the world could use a bit of joy this year. She said it’s for kids, so they can look back on 2020 with some fondness.

Your correspondent may have to download a bell app for his phone to make this happen—but perhaps a reader might, ahem, pull some strings at a local church? I have to plead complete ignorance: do churches ring bells any more? Are they allowed to do it just for fun?

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.