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This project was much more daunting than originally anticipated.
The way I began to tackle this comparative photo project was to print out all the photos from the Toronto Public Library site and various Weston-based groups on Facebook, find directions, map out my destination, and hop on the 89 bus.
The problem arose when I showed up to these spots and something else would completely be laid over in its wake. My assumption was that the many churches would remain untouched, or at least the structure’s skeletal remnants could be decipherable, as shown in the transformation of the old Fire Hall into what is now the Ward Funeral home.
But what threw me off completely was the Westminster Presbyterian (United) Church on Weston and Lawrence. The TPL seemed to have dozens of photos emphasizing on the busy lifestyle the church gave to the community; Sunday schools, picnics, and finding bones buried outside the church. I was excited to see this church of rich historical meaning that I thought I’d previously failed to notice.
When I walked down to Bellevue Crescent, just off Lawrence and Weston, my eyes were peeled for the colossal Georgian-styled building. I probably stayed at the intersection for a good five minutes wondering how come I never noticed this building before. Instead, I was met with the Weston Park Baptist Church.
The now current church is flanked by a empty lot of forlorn cement, and a TD bank to the left – ultimately dwarfing it. Of course my immediate question was, “What happened?”
Furthermore, I sat at Memorial Park on Little Avenue, scrutinizing the houses for something remotely looking like what was once the Weston Town Hall. Is the Weston Hotel still intact?
After spending countless hours walking around and trying to find the ghost of Weston’s buildings, my own personal wish is that the town could receive extended beautification jobs and the empty lots that pockmark the street could be used, or cleaned up. The houses nearing St. Phillips and Weston are particularly cute in style and historical novelty, yet are held in decrepit state.
Obviously, the change of demographics and town priorities would decide the fluctuation of infrastructure in any area. Towers begin to replace Victorian styled homes, large brand discount stores will show up at every corner major street corner. But these developments are essential in improving immediate living standards in the area. People begin to express their distaste in the lost of Weston’s historical uniqueness and charm because of the notorious crime rates and the grey-shabbiness that modern construction brings. Weston does have the potential to be a thriving hub of the GTA and reclaim any magic lost over the years, but only if we invest in establishing progressive community programs and buildings that successfully grab participation and honest concern from each demographic group.
I’d hate to express political favor because that’s totally not my realm of things to write about but these successful changes are so noticeable in programs like Urban Arts, and the active development that Councillor Frances Nunziata works towards. In another century past, would Urban Arts and other community developmental aspects be displayed the same way the now-gone Westminster Presbyterian Church was?
The town of Weston is leaving me further confused, yet intrigued at the possibility of change in the near future for Toronto.
This post is brought to you by:
Maureen Lennon, who is happy to encourage great writing by young Westonians!