Hussen announces summer jobs

Yesterday at Frontlines,  Ahmed Hussen announced 290 summer jobs for Toronto’s at-risk youth. These jobs are in addition to 5700 government-subsidized jobs across the city.

44 jobs are listed today within the riding on the government job bank, including at FoodShare, the LEF, the MDCA, and and the WKNC.

 

Fireworks this Sunday

Last year’s fireworks. From Toronto.com

Weston’s Canada Day fireworks display is one of our more spectacular annual events, little known outside our community. This Sunday, beginning at 10:00 pm sharp, Weston’s annual firework display will be launched from the southernmost baseball diamond in Lions Park as part of the July 1 activities.

The old fairgrounds at Lions Park (next to the arena) will see action from 5 pm with food trucks, bouncy castles and a bubble show involving the creation of gigantic bubbles up to 50 feet long.

Sunday’s forecast predicts a scorching high of 36° with a chance of showers in the evening so prepare to be warm and thirsty.

Documentary, ‘Some Sort of Judas’ explores hidden underworld.

Readers may remember that Scarborough-based thug and aspiring rapper Mark Moore killed two young men in Weston in late 2010 causing a great deal of anxiety. TVO is showing a powerful documentary first broadcast in 2017. Entitled, ‘Some Sort of Judas‘, it explores gun and gang culture while referencing the killing spree perpetrated by Mark Moore. The focus is also on Kevin Williams, the man whose testimony brought Moore to justice. It’s told largely from his point of view and judging by the scenery, Williams seems to be living a new life away from Toronto, fearing retribution after his role as an informant.

The documentary explores the cultural conditions that create violent psychopaths like Moore and equally grotesque hangers-on like Williams.

Williams, an allegedly talented rapper; rap name, ‘Mayhem Morearty’, hung around with the violent and unpredictable Moore (both were from the Lawrence Heights area, aka ‘The Jungle’). In an effort to get street cred for his rap efforts, he accompanied Moore on criminal ventures including a jewellery store heist and two killings. In the perverted world of Moore and Williams, killing someone enhances your reputation.

Event timeline:

August 9, 2010: Moore and Williams hold up Arax Jewellers and take $250,000 – $500,000 worth of items (estimates vary). A clerk was shot when hit by a ricocheting bullet. In the documentary, Williams claims that Moore stiffed him when the loot was divided and that’s why he became an informant. So much for honour amongst thieves.

September 10, 2010: Jahmeel Spence 27 shot in Scarborough. Mother Beverly Spence (this was the second of her sons to be murdered) calls Moore a vampire for spilling innocent blood and the excessive number of shots used. In one scene she is shown beside the grave of her two boys, the joint headstone missing Jahmeel’s inscription because of the $3500 cost.

After the Spence murder, Moore is unapologetic and texts Williams, ‘Watch CP24’ Williams does and replies, ‘LOL you’re funny ‘, but in the documentary, claims he was desensitized to violence thanks to his ‘lifestyle’.

September 29, 2010: Courthney Facey 18 and Mike James 23 (not known to police or Moore) are killed here in a Weston laneway on Sept. 29, 2010. Williams is present for the killings but claims he thought he and Moore were only going to the liquor store. He knew something bad was going to happen. The shooting occurs opposite the building where Moore was shot in the face in 2001. Facey’s mother working nearby, hears the commotion and sees her son placed in the ambulance. Ambulance workers tell her not to look at her son as he is disfigured by the shooting.

November 24, 2010: Carl Cole, 45 is standing in the parking lot at the rear of 65 Greenbrae Circuit, Scarborough. Moore and Cole are acquainted. Moore fires 22 shots at him. Cole dies of his injuries.

October 2011: Williams and Moore are arrested. Moore denies everything but Williams agrees to cooperate with police after 45 minutes of questioning.

April 30, 2013: Williams is inexplicably placed in a courthouse cell with Moore while waiting to give evidence against him. Williams leaves on a stretcher instead of testifying.

March 26, 2014: Mark Moore is sentenced to 12 years for the robbery of Arax Jewellers. Williams testifies against Moore and receives a reduced sentence of 10 years.

May 30, 2015: Mark Moore found guilty of four counts of murder based on Williams’ testimony. He was later sentenced to life in prison.

Williams comes from a fatherless background and seems determined to continue the cycle. He participated in a bank robbery at 15 and bought a gun with his share of the proceeds, using it for solo robberies. He talks of leading a Jeckyl and Hyde lifestyle and needed street ‘cred’ for his music so he hung around with Moore. Williams claims he almost felt responsible for the murders and says if he’d known what was about to happen, he wouldn’t have been in the vehicle with Moore. Later in the documentary Williams’ sentence is reduced as a result of testimony against Moore. Williams is asked if he has killed anyone and declines to comment. He now says he regrets his role as an informant.

Some other characters featured during the documentary:

Detective Hank Idsinga talks about the police viewpoint. Williams didn’t want to be considered a snitch but after 45 minutes of questioning tells police it was ‘Sparky’ – Mark Moore.

Boogz is an 18 year-old orphan living a feral lifestyle in Lawrence Heights and says if he goes to jail, he’ll have nothing to worry about because he’s never snitched.

Phil Dixon, community coach in Lawrence Heights knew both Moore and Williams as children and found them to be good kids with talent. Disturbingly, Dixon admits to possessing a gun, ‘for protection’ in his younger years.

Mike James’ mother who after the verdict says, “Kevin Williams is just as guilty as Moore because he didn’t come forward after the first killing”.

Williams’ naive girlfriend is shown pregnant with his child but she neglected to perform the due diligence that would have uncovered Williams’ more salient criminal background details and also three children with three other women. She unsurprisingly finds herself abandoned by him.

Cindy Bonnick mother of Courthney Facey talks of the fear of having a male child in the black community and the worry of raising a son in such an environment, being harassed by police, other males or killed randomly.

Moore is now serving life in prison for the four counts of murder plus an additional six years for the jailhouse assault on Williams.

The documentary is a depressing, disturbing and compelling look at lives that many children and adults lead here in Toronto. Making connections with children who are abandoned by their parent(s) would be the urgent takeaway from this powerful documentary and one that should be a top priority. How those connections are made depends on the determination of our politicians and community leaders.

We need to remember that these violent and psychopathic criminals begin their lives as innocent children.

Everyone should see this compelling  documentary. It was first shown last year but there are two more chances to see it this month on TVO:

Sunday June 17, 11:00 pm and Monday June 18, 4:00 am

It’s also available online here.

Help Shakespeare In Action win $10,000

Shakespeare In Action is a theatre group that will be moving to Weston later this year. Here’s their latest fundraising promotion that will help them raise more funds for programs in Weston.

Help Us Win $10,000
with CanadaHelps

As the school year wraps up, we are turning our attention to building our new home in Weston. We’ve already raised over $17,000 with your support.

At the end of 2018, Shakespeare in Action is moving to a permanent studio theatre home in the Artscape Weston Common where we can make a difference by providing professional theatre to the community and theatre-training for youth.

Every dollar donated until June 30th enters us in for a chance to win $10,000 with CanadaHelps. 

Making a charitable donation to Shakespeare in Action will go towards creating an exciting and engaging season of theatre for the Weston community. Your gift will fund the School for Creativity and Storytelling for youth who may otherwise not have access to performance training. Finally, we hope to present summer Shakespeare in Little Avenue Memorial Park and bring Northwest Toronto’s families together in the heart of the community.

We need your support to ensure the success of our first year in our new neighbourhood. 

Donating $25 = 25 chances to win
Donating $100 = 100 chances to win
Donating $200 = 200 chances to win!
Click here to donate.

nowtoronto.com calls Weston Farmers Market one of the best.

Weston’s market in its old John Street location back in July 2004 (file).

Weston’s 39 year old farmers market gets a mention in nowtoronto.com as one of the city’s best weekend markets. Five markets compete for attention in Toronto on Saturdays and Weston’s is called one of the oldest and best known. We have some great traders with produce, plants and goods that make it a worthwhile stop between May and October.

Interestingly the curiously named, “The Stop Farmers’ Market” at Artscape Wychwood Barns is year round – unlike Weston’s, which was to have been year-round but rental storage units in the soon to be opened Weston Hub were deemed more important than allocating public indoor space.

Some thoughts on skipping debates

Mark DeMontis did not attend tonight’s all-candidates debate; he spent it campaigning door-to-door instead.

It makes me very sad—and angry—that he wouldn’t attend, but it fits into into a broader pattern: PC candidates across the province are avoiding their electors. They’ve skipped debates in 25 ridings as of last weekend (and now 26).

Doug Ford denies muzzling candidates, saying “I’ve never told them not to go to a debate,” but a party spokesperson was more equivocal, and political scientists say that this is part of a plan to keep attention on the party leaders—and away from local politicians.

It’s the making of a monarchy: one person—Duke Doug—is to know all and fix all. His ‘ideas’ (they’re slogans) will not be tested in the public square. Objections won’t be heard, and experts (like other candidates) won’t be tolerated.  Doug Ford is so sure that he knows what you want that he won’t let you tell him. It’s omakase politics.

Mark DeMontis also denied us the chance to see Hassan and Albanese’s ideas lit up with a bright blue light. He missed his first chance for public service: showing us what is wrong with the Liberal, NDP, and Green platforms. We’re doubly worse off because he would have been an excellent debater (he has been a public speaker and broadcaster).

Mark DeMontis should have stood up for his party and presented his ideas to be debated. He also should have stood up to his party and attended in defiance, if he was told not to go.

TD Canada Trust closing Weston branch.

TD Canada Trust bids farewell to Weston and hundreds of potential new customers.

TD Canada Trust has officially announced the upcoming closure of its Weston branch at 1979 Weston Road. Adam broke the story last year. The bean counters at TD Canada Trust have decided that closing the Weston branch will save them more money than the potential loss of clients. According to the bank handout regarding the closure,

Prior to making a decision to close a particular branch and move customer accounts to another branch, TD Canada Trust always undertakes a thorough review of the customer impact of the move. If our review indicates that the move may result in some particular concerns for all or a certain group of the affected customers, TD Canada Trust will hold an information session to discuss our plans and how we propose to deal with those concerns.

From September 21, Weston customers who stay with TD will be expected to schlep along to 2547 Weston Road at the 401. It’s another example of the banking industry reaping huge profits while abandoning their customers. This also makes room for payday loan companies to fill the void; unconscionable in a community with a fair number of vulnerable residents.

There is a ray of hope via a federal government agency called ‘The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada‘ (FCAC).  According to the blurb that came with news of the closure,

“You should know, however, that under the regulations, the Commissioners of the FCAC may require TD Canada Trust representatives to hold and attend a meeting with FCAC representatives and interested parties, in order to exchange views about the closure of a branch IF:

  1. An individual from the area affected by the closure of the branch submits a written request to the FCAC for the meeting; and

2. TD Canada Trust has not adequately consulted the community about the branch closure; and

3. The request is not frivolous or vexatious.”

I’d like to know who the bank consulted with before deciding it was ok to close the branch. My wife has an account at the branch and this is the first she’d heard about the closing.

If you feel you haven’t been consulted enough about the move, submit your non-frivolous written request to:

Financial Consumer Agency of Canada
427 Laurier Avenue West, 6th Floor
Ottawa ON K1R 1B9

Phone contact for TD Canada Trust: 1-866-222-3456

Phone contact for FCAC: 1-866-461-3222

Perhaps this is where York South-Weston’s non-resident MP, Honourable Ahmed Hussen could get involved. Scotiabank’s closing was seemingly ignored by Mr. Hussen – a self-described social activist. I contacted his office and a staff member said they would pass my concerns about the latest bank closing to the minister.

Ahmed Hussen MP: 416-656-2526