Ekron Hamilton: Kitchen Master

The Star has a nice article on Ekron Hamilton, a local man who is a competitive chef and mentor:

At 30 years old, Ekron Hamilton manages the kitchen at Weston King Neighbourhood Centre, preparing meals for the area’s most vulnerable residents.

But leadership hasn’t always come naturally to him.

“I was really shy, I wasn’t talking to people and didn’t want to participate in anything,” he said, adding that in his late 20s he was underemployed and dependent on Ontario Works.

A year after graduating from the Kitchen Masters culinary training program offered at the Mount Dennis Neighbourhood Centre (MDNC), he is a leader who takes pride in his work and the financial independence it allows him. So when the CEE (Careers Education and Empowerment) Centre for Young Black Professionals, the organization that co-facilitates Kitchen Masters, called to ask him for a favour, he obliged wholeheartedly.

Options for giving

The best time to give is after you feel like hell for being such a crass and grasping consumer and before your credit card bill comes due. That should be in about two weeks, if your experience (and postal service) is like mine.

Here, accordingly, are some options for giving during the holiday season:

This Sunday, the Weston Park Baptist Church starts its annual Christmas Food Drive. All the proceeds go to the Weston food bank (WAES) and help more than 330 local families. “One week prior to the drive, 4000 bags will be distributed into the Weston community and then on the day of the drive, more than 100 volunteers will go door-to-door to collect the food, sort it at the church, box it and prepare it”

Me, I like to give money. It’s less trouble, and nobody ends up with peanut butter but no jam. You can donate directly to WAES.

Frontlines is a popular youth after-school drop-in centre. They’d be glad for a little of your dough.

The WKNC does great work, too, I know. They are a drop-in and outreach centre. They’re always busy. A little cash would go far in their hands.

Add your favourite charity in the comments. I’ll link to them.


U of T students blitz Weston

Some University of Toronto students spent their reading weeks in Weston and Mount Dennis pitching in on various community projects.

The students went to the  LEF, the WKNC, The Jane Street Hub, and Laura Albanese’s office. They were busy, too—painting, helping out with clients, and work that isn’t particularly glamourous, like organizing the clothing room at the WKNC and cleaning up.

photo of Michelle Hayano and other students painting a mural
Photo from the U of T
Photo from the U of T.

A local hero: Barbara Bisgrove


I had the pleasure of interviewing Barbara Bisgrove: a long time Westonian and cofounder of the Weston King Neighbourhood Centre, a drop-in and resource centre in the Central United Church.

Ms Bisgrove is the first-ever Weston Hero: a person who gives much to her community. Click on the little arrow to hear our chat.


I interviewed others at the WKNC, and I hope to weave the interviews together into a small documentary. More to come.

Your lottery money, well spent

I’m still mad that I didn’t get win the $56 million 6/49 draw—I just knew that it was my time—but at least I know that my eight bits were well spent. The Ontario Trillium Foundation has given all of my money, and another $490,000 besides, to Weston community groups.

UrbanArts picked up $224,000, The WKNC $110,000, and the LEF $156,000.


Weston covered in yellow cards

Four food establishments in Weston were given yellow cards by Toronto Public health in December: the Weston King Neighbourhood Centre, Sang Restaurant, Poon’s Express, and Bonita Family Restaurant.

The WKNC was carded for not ensuring that food was not contaminated, not maintaining the washer, not providing supplies at the sinks, not preventing pests, not having a thermometer, and not properly washing equipment.

Sang was dinged for not maintaining safe food temperatures, which is a very serious offense. They were also carded for not using proper utensils, not washing equipment, not washing up surfaces, and a couple of equipment transgressions.


Poon’s Express, across the street, was not keeping food preparation equipment in good repair. It, too, got a yellow card.


The Bonita Family Restaurant wasn’t properly maintaining its mechanical equipment and got a yellow card for its lack of effort.