The Toronto Star has an article about the mystery of the homeless man killed by police in Weston last year. It was the second time he had been shot by police in Weston, both times after threatening them with a butcher knife.
The police have little idea who he was.
No one knew John Doe.
Not his real name, not his birthday, not where he came from. More than a year after Doe ambushed Toronto police officers with a kitchen knife in a dusty rail corridor in North York, leading one of them to fatally shoot him, all investigators can say is that he was a sex offender with a violent past.
Weston has some old structures. Not that old compared to those in Europe, Africa or Asia but for North America, we have quite a few of historical interest.
Strictly speaking, Weston’s oldest structure is the Carrying Place Trail. This was used by First Nations people and explorers between 1615 and 1793. A plaque was dedicated by the Weston Historical Society in 2013.
Weston’s next oldest structure is the 1856 CNR (formerly Grand Trunk) bridge that crosses the Humber to the west of Weston and St Phillips. It was recently widened to accommodate the UP Express but the original structure still stands.
The next oldest structure is the long neglected Plank Road Building at Weston and St Phillips. This structure at 2371 Weston was built in 1841 and in recent years has stood abandoned. Someone obviously owns it and is paying (no doubt reduced) taxes on it.
Weston Presbyterian Church on Cross Street in Weston has an interesting history dating from 1847. The current version dates from 1880.
St John the Evangelist Catholic Church was established in 1853.
Weston Collegiate Institute has been going since before Canada was a country (not in the same building!) and is Toronto’s second oldest high school.
Weston Village is filled with fine homes and mansions, many dating from around the turn of the 20th Century. Generations of families have enjoyed these homes and their history once revealed can be fascinating.
The City of Toronto has a web page outlining some useful areas of investigation if you are researching the history of your older home. Weston Historical Society may also be useful in this regard.
The Star has the sad story of a cyclist killed in the Mount Dennis area last week. A motorist struck 70-year-old Gary Sim while he rode near Alliance and Jane. He later died in hospital.
The police recently released a 10-year data set on cyclist and pedestrian deaths and serious injuries, which your correspondent has mapped for Ward 11. The results are telling.
Four pedestrians and one cyclist have been struck at Weston and Lawrence.
19 pedestrians and four cyclists have been struck on Weston Road.
Ten more pedestrians and four cyclists have been hit along Jane.
These data are certainly very conservative, and only report deaths and serious injuries.
Many of these accidents—I use the word loosely—happen because we have very poor cycling and pedestrian infrastructure.
There is no way, for instance, to get to the Junction, and the bike paths from there to downtown, without riding on the hilly, fast, four-lane Jane expressway. Riding on Weston terrifies even me, a gigantic, fast, fit and ferocious cyclist.
The West Toronto Railpath is exceptional. It’s fast and safe, and good enough for downtown. Why isn’t it good enough for Weston?
Metrolinx could make this happen. They’re working on electrification, which will entail widening and moving tracks (again). Instead of wasting billions on hydrogen powered trains, they could build paths for potato-powered people.
Metrolinx recently announced a 3% fare increase for GO and UP Express fares. Happily for Weston, fares for other than the full Union to Pearson trip will remain unchanged after the anticipated increase in September. Only fares higher than $5.65 will be increased.
Ontario Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Glen Murray was the star attraction at a meeting held in Mount Dennis Library tonight. The meeting was hosted by Councillor Frances Nunziata and Ontario Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Laura Albanese. Jim Baxter, director of Toronto’s Environment and Energy Division was along to add support. Over 40 people came out on a 34° evening to hear some details about Ontario’s five year Climate Change Action Plan and how it can be applied in Mount Dennis.
Highlights of the meeting:
Minister Murray promised to coax Metrolinx into approving the rail path northward expansion through Mount Dennis and possibly Weston. He applauded the net zero initiative being undertaken in Mount Dennis.
There will be energy retrofits available for social and rental housing.
Home energy saving upgrades will be subsidized.
The Ontario Government is very supportive of more bike lanes and better cycling infrastructure.
He thinks that bike paths along hydro corridors should be encouraged.
The province will be offering an incentive of up to $14,000 towards the lease or purchase of an electric vehicle and up to $1000 to install a home charging station.
Four years of free overnight charging for electric vehicles.
Rebates to help trade to an electric vehicle.
Before selling a home, owners will be required to perform an energy audit so that potential purchasers will know the home’s energy costs.
Minister Murray was keen to return to meet with residents for a hike / cycle along the Humber to look at the weirs along the river.
Elliot Strashin owns and is renovating the old Cooper Canada sporting goods factory on Alliance and presciently enough has been renovating it, placing a solar farm on the roof, geothermal energy systems and better insulation. One of his tenants is a company called Dynacert which designs computerized on demand water electrolysis systems that feed the product (hydrogen and oxygen) into existing fossil fuel engines instead of using diesel or gasoline. This process reduces carbon emissions and increases efficiency. Container ship engines generate huge amounts of emissions are being considered for application of this technology. He was wondering about what support there would be for expanding the factory. Minister Murray promised to meet up with Mr. Strashin to see what can be done.
Mr Murray seems quite taken with Mount Dennis and mentioned that what people are looking for is a community with a history and unique businesses, restaurants and cafes. They don’t want to find chain businesses in their locale. Ideally the neighbourhood should be walkable and have good public transportation and cycling options. In 2021, once the Eglinton Crosstown is opened, and cycling infrastructure is improved, Mount Dennis will be well on its way to being such a community. The formal motion to declare Mount Dennis a net zero community will be presented to Council in July.
The meeting ended with an individual question and answer session.