If, like me, you haven’t had the chance to go on a knowledge-sharing bike tour with Sofija Theodoru, you’re running out of time. Sofija, Weston’s Climate Action Champion, is hosting tours every other Saturday, and the remaining two are on October 23 and November 6. The group meets at Lions Park from 11–3.
The city is also hiring new climate champions. If you’d like to be one, you can apply online.
The Weston Mount Dennis Community Hub has many programs coming up in October—more than I can list here. Happily, they are listed on their Twitter feed.
There will be a community clean up on Sunday, October 24 at 10 a.m. in Weston Lions Park.
There is an ongoing outdoor art exhibit at Artscape Weston Common: Jill Downen’s “I Spoke Truth and Someone Listened”. According to the artist, “The dangerous rise in disinformation alongside a global pandemic inspired the project that is an ongoing endeavor where I invite participants to generate audio recordings of themselves speaking truth. Encoded in each audio file is a sound wave pattern that I translate into a painting called a ‘truth line.’”
LOFT Community Services announced that it will be using five homes on Church Street near the hospital for “supportive housing for outgoing patients facing mental health challenges starting October 2021”.
While the comments on the Weston Village Neighbours Facebook page were generally supportive, some noted that there had been little notification or consultation. I haven’t received a response from LOFT to my email asking for more details.
Weston is celebrating Halloween early, and it will be the first ever for many children and families with special needs. 400,000 children in Canada identify with having a disability that may prevent them from trick-or-treating with their siblings and other kids because of something as simple as stairs. So on Saturday afternoon, thirty households along a portion of Queens Drive decorated their homes, donned costumes, and created an accessible trick-or-treat experience. Simple lessons in accommodation were incorporated, like handing out candy curbside instead of atop the stairs.
The whole thing was filmed and promoted to neighbourhoods across Canada, just in time for Halloween.
How did this happen?
The Padulo Family created the Accessible Trick or Treat movement in 2017. With the help of their event sponsors, they approached the Weston Village Residents’ Association looking for a willing group of neighbours. “Finding neighbours was super easy in Weston, Queens Drive residents were enthusiastic from the start,” says Dave Bennett of the WVRA. Then, Councillor Nunziata helped arrange a street permit in just five days, record time! And Toronto Police Service was quick to lend a hand.
“It’s more like a street party this way, and it’s so obvious, we’ll always be curbside now,” said Jen and Dani – with Max ready for the SWAT team. Another couple, Margaret and Pauline, recounted how an 18-year-old boy had just come by with his family; it was his first-ever Halloween. He was thrilled! And new neighbours Elliott and Emily (who moved in 1 month ago) are thrilled to see what Weston neighbours are all about. They are excited to participate.
How to get involved this Halloween? Visit www.treataccessibly.com There you can order signs to promote a group of neighbours committed to a more accessible Hallowe’en. The site outlines various simple measures any homeowner can take to create a more inclusive and fun Halloween for all. Way to go, Weston!
On October 1, City Council will consider whether the city should send lawyers to fight the developments on Locust Street in Mount Dennis and at 1821 Weston Road.
Both developments are being appealed at the Ontario Land Tribunal.
According to staff, the buildings violate provincial policy, the Growth Plan, and local planning guidelines. They are also too tall, too large, and out of context with the surroundings, among many other complaints.
Council will also consider whether to allow demolition of 975 Weston Road, which would allow it to be merged with two neighbouring vacant parcels and developed.
The owners of 1821 Weston are proposing a 38-storey, 446-unit building that would, according to city staff, violate:
The Provincial policy statement
The Growth Plan
Toronto’s official plan
“Area specific and city wide guidelines”
City planners say it does not fit the local built form, is too close to property lines, and is “out of scale to its surroundings”, and will “negatively impact adjacent lands—among many other complaints.
Development on this site could be supported, if it provides appropriate setbacks, separation distances, massing, building height and density, as directed in the Official Plan, the Weston Urban Design Guidelines, and the City-Wide Tall Building Design Guidelines in cooperation with adjacent property owners.
City staff also oppose the 35-storey, 372-unit proposed building on Locust Street.
They say it violates:
The Provincial Policy Statement
The Growth Plan
Mount Dennis’ urban design guidelines
It is also, they say, too tall, too close to the property line, and out of context with the neighbouring buildings, again, among other complaints. “Given the existing and planned context for the subject property and the surrounding area, the proposed density, height and massing proposed in its current form cannot be supported by staff.”
In both cases, staff recommended “that City Council direct the City Solicitor, together with appropriate City staff, to oppose the current proposal at the OLT and continue discussions with the Applicant to resolve outstanding issues.”
The owners of the vacant property at 1681 Weston have asked for permission to build a 9-storey, midrise with “co-living units”—what we would normally call a dormitory, I think.
In the application, they say the building
will include a mix of ‘traditional’ residential units and ‘co-living units’. ‘Co-living units’ are comprised of individual private rooms, including bed sitting rooms and private bathrooms, which share communal space including kitchen, dining and living space. The proposed ‘co-living units’ are fully furnished including beds, linens sofas, dining tables and fully stocked kitchen with dished, pots, pans, etc. Wifi, cable Netflix and other utilities and programming. These units have an intended minimum lease duration of 3 months and weekly cleaning services are envisioned.
The “Co-living units” are envisioned as a modern form of shared living, where like minded individuals are focused on a sense of community, and through intelligently designed spaces and smart technology, are able to live a more convenient and fulfilling lifestyle. The private bedrooms and bathrooms along with rights to a portion of the shared living space within the ‘co-living units’ will be rented out to individuals. It is intended that this type of accommodation will be desirable to people looking for single-room rental accommodation which also comes with a sense of community. It will also be desirable to people who are more transient such as students, seniors, new immigrants and people moving nationally/ internationally for work and need to be close to transit. Although this is the target market, there will be no exclusions based on age
The applicants are asking for 26 co-living units with 97 private bedrooms, in addition to 16 traditional (not co-living) rental units. They also propose commercial uses at the street level.
A new and unique event has been announced for our community – ‘Weston Youth POPS!’ on Saturday, Aug 14th, 11 am to 4 pm (FREE).
What is a ‘POPS’?
It’s a privately owned public space configured for the community to create, celebrate, and play. And Weston now has two of them, located just south of Lawrence Ave at The Pink Alley (1804 Weston Rd) and the old Frontlines location (1844 Weston Rd). Weston Youth POPS is an event that introduces these locations to the community and celebrates what Weston is all about.
There are over a dozen food, artists, stage, and interactive activities within the two locations. Including games and programming for kids 6-12 yrs, a DJ for teens, a ‘Cook-Off’ and inspiring art installations.
This event is brought to us by Frontlines in partnership with a host of community organizations and Castlepoint Numa (the developer partner of the Weston Park Baptist project planned for Weston and Lawrence).
Highlights of the day include Frontlines’ new social enterprise catering facility, Culinary Creations, serving up FREE Caribbean/Jerk-inspired chicken skewers, beef patties, chicken tacos and samosas. They’ll host a ‘Cook-Off’ among Frontburners Youth Kitchen students to be judged by award-winning writer and Food Editor from the Toronto Sun, Rita DeMontis, Toronto Police Services Interim Chief of Police James Ramer, and Celebrity Chef and Frontlines Ambassador Roger Mooking.
The event entrance is at 1804 Weston (Pink Alley), which continues its transformation with a mural by acclaimed Jamaican-born and Weston resident artist Krystal Ball. Krystal will also be on hand as she works on the alley’s participatory mural called ‘Weston Now’ (working title). Ultimately, it will be a giant photo mural consisting of portraits of Westonians. Have your photo taken; it will be sorted/selected and screened onto canvas and configured into a huge photo mural on site later in the month. Partners in realizing Krystal’s vision are UrbanArts and Community Place Hub.
The other POPS location is at 1844 Weston and will feature Shakespeare in Action performers on stage with bite-size spotlight performances all afternoon. UrbanArts will also be at 1844 with an interactive painting workshop with another Weston artist, Star Nahwegahbo, a multi-media artist and a skilled art facilitator. You can paint and take your creation home. The walls of the former Frontlines building will be an outdoor gallery of Weston area murals and art panels, including the first time revealing art created for West Park Health Center.