UP Express ridership zooms 20%

Anyone who has travelled on the UP Express recently will know that since fares were reduced, the train has been wildly popular; not only with airline passengers but also with commuters and people moving between the stations of Pearson, Weston, Bloor and Union.

Fares dropped to their current levels in March 2016 and by July of that year, monthly ridership had increased from a low of 60,000 in February 2016 to about 250,000. Metrolinx spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins tweeted today that in July 2017, ridership was over 300,000 for that month. While this might be a reflection of tourist numbers, it’s still a good sign and a great perk of living in Weston.

 

Weston students streamed into dead end pathways

York South–Weston students are being streamed into high-school programs that limit their life opportunities, according to Social Planning Toronto.

The province formally did away with streamed high-school programming many years ago, but much of the old system persists, SPT says.  The results are profound: students choose “academic” or “applied” courses in grade 8 that will affect their careers, and earnings, for decades—and they do so without knowing the difference.

Further, “low-income and marginalized students [are] over-represented in lower level courses”.

Map of applied courses
A single map in the report tells a sad and scary story: students in the poorer horseshoe around wealthy old-Toronto take more applied courses.

Applied courses are an academic lobster trap: easy to get into, but hard to get out of. Students are asked to take make-up courses in the summer or after school to make the transition into the academic program.

The report recommends:

  • Delaying choices about education pathways for as long as possible
  • Improving de-streaming
  • Providing better support for students who want to move into the academic stream
  • Improving communication about pathways to parents and students
  • Providing better one-on-one support, especially from teachers

 

 

 

“It” to be released this weekend

It, the Stephen King movie shot in part in Weston, will be released this weekend.

While a child-killing subterranean clown might not be the best advertisement for our sweet little town, the film gets good reviews.

Your correspondent thinks that’s King Street at 0:26. Any ideas, spotters?

Prehistoria Museum is so cool

Mount Dennis has the coolest museum in Toronto. InsideToronto profiled them this week.

Prehistoria is a museum devoted to weird and wonderful artifacts from around the world, and its sister store sells many of them, including  cave bear molars, beaver teeth, and human bones and brains. If you’ve ever wanted to own an “overmodelled human skull from the Iatmul peoples of the Sepik River, Papua New Guinea”, you may only get one chance.

Prehistoria is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, from noon until 6 at 1193 Weston Road.

 

Quick news updates

InsideToronto has the cool story of Mellina Orr, a young woman helping her community and bootstrapping her own non-profit.

Mellina Orr has always had a passion for helping youth and other residents in her neighbourhood: Weston.

“Even when I was younger, my friends used to come to me for help and advice and I used to help them,” she told The York Guardian.  “I find joy in doing so.”


The UPX struck a pedestrian in Weston on Thursday—though quite how this could be possible is a mystery given the fences and walls surrounding the tracks. The man was struck just east of the station.

It’s the second time someone has been struck in Weston.


There were two shootings in the Weston area last week. Two boys were

Firearm violence in WMD
Firearm violence in WMD

shot near Jane Lawrence at a pool. Another young man was shot at Sheridan Mall. Weston and Mount Dennis have had little firearm violence so far this year.


The Alia N Tanjay at the Crossroads Plaza has closed, joining HomeSense Home Outfitters, the Asian Market, and some smaller retailers.

Ginger Pho—you should go

The family and I finally had a chance to get to Ginger Pho, on Weston Road across from the Super Store, which opened about three weeks ago. (We’ve been travelling a lot, and boy are we glad to be back!)

In short—it’s great! You should go. We stuffed ourselves for $42, before the tip, including pop and appetizers. And it was good. We had leftovers and left-behinds, too.

The highlight, for me, was my wife’s vegetarian vermicelli with fried tofu and a spring roll on top. I loved it. The tofu was perfect (neither wet nor greasy, and marinated in something good), and the spring roll was great. The veggies were fresh and crispy, and the whole thing was a balance of healthy and sinful—and a steal at about $8. There are other vegetarian options, too, including a veggie pho, made without a meat broth.

We started with cold rolls ($5) which in the future, I’d skip in favour of the superb fried rolls. The kids’ chicken phos ($6 or so) came with some, for which they handily defeated me in chop-stick battle. What little I could prise from them was really great—not at all like your typical mass-produced rolls cooked from frozen; these had shredded chicken and a crunchy, blistered skin. Superb.

I had beef pho ($9), the server’s recommendation. The slightly-sweet, cardamom and cinnamonny broth was the same as the kids’, but I got bean sprouts, which would have been wasted on the little ones. The beef slices were nice, and the basil was pretty: flowering and purple. A little lime and a single chili added some colour. I got the large, which was a mistake. Even I couldn’t finish it.

The restaurant is lovely, and modestly busy. The service is great (though they did bring my wife’s meal a minutes before the rest of ours), and the menu is extensive and interesting, with lots of room for regulars to explore. There is draft lager and a few more adventurous options, including a cider and a Belgian.

 

Wasted Weston part 1

This is the first in a hopefully-short series on waste in Weston: wasted opportunities, wasted money, and wasted space.

Today, a wasted opportunity. The 85-year-old and very pretty Satin Finish office was torn down this week, in exchange for a ‘beautification agreement’¹ with the builders.

Former Satin Finish buildingYour correspondent had other, better plans. It could have been a small rec or youth centre, with after-school programming for the many kids in the new development. Imagine a sunlit space with oak beams and hardwood floors—a nod to its history—with an AV lab, a homework space and a videogame room, where kids could go and play LAN games.

We could have had an institutional daycare—there hasn’t been one since the Weston Village Childcare closed up more than 4 years ago. Or perhaps it could have had a meeting space or a job centre, where we could go, network, and post and find work.

Instead, it will be townhomes.

 

 


¹ Nobody knows quite what that means.