Jane-Finch races to reinvent itself as University Heights

For years, politicians and residents have tried to rebrand, rehabilitate and reposition Jane-Finch as a normal community – notwithstanding that a few bad things happen, thanks to a too-high concentration of poorly designed social housing, wrote columnist Royson James in the Toronto Star Sept. 28.

Toronto Councillor Anthony Perruzza, and city staff and police have latched onto a positive, healthy, community-focused event Saturday that they hope will propel the rebranding of Jane-Finch into – get ready – University Heights. In fact, the city’s planning maps list a good portion of the area as University Heights, and appropriately so. Toronto’s second-largest post-secondary institution, York University, is right there – the most vibrant and potentially positive institutional asset.

Saturday’s event is being billed as Toronto’s first official bicycle road race in 20 years – the Tour de University Heights. Perruzza, police and city officials have secured 110 bikes and helmets from donors like Canadian Tire and given them to children from the city’s priority neighbourhoods.

Perruzza waxes on about the area’s future. The year after next is York University’s 50th anniversary. The subway is slated to cut through the community, with stops at Keele-Finch and on York’s Keele campus. Things are looking up for Jane-Finch, er, University Heights.

Westerns are a useful vehicle to probe modern-day issues

The Western lives on in movies and on TV, fading away only to reappear whenever we need a hero, a bad guy, and some big themes explored against the backdrop of a gorgeous landscape, wrote The Leader-Post (Regina) Sept. 28.

"The Western is so flexible," says York University film studies lecturer Gillian Helfield, who teaches a course on the genre. "It can adapt itself to any social or political concept." It tends to come back in times of war and when US national security is threatened, says Helfield, which might explain the recent Western mini-renaissance.

Flight to the suburbs

Boris and Natasa Bajin bought a condo in the second tower of Bellaria, Maple’s first luxury condo development, wrote the National Post Sept. 28, then upsized to a larger unit and are now considering buying another for their children. The empty nesters are giving up their home on a plot of land in King City and will move next spring. "At this stage in our lives, I think we needed to move to an apartment," said Natasa, a 62-year-old lecturer in York’s School of Kinesiology & Health Sciences, Faculty of Health, which is seven minutes away from the development.

She and her husband, 74 and only semi-retired from his job as a professional tennis trainer, were eager to focus on sports, not tending their one-and-half hectare plot. A nearby Longos and close proximity to Hwy. 400 appealed as well. Asked why she and her husband didn’t buy in Toronto, Natasa says simply, "We’ve never really lived downtown."

Schulich-Kellogg EMBA featured in the Globe

The joint Executive Master of Business Administration degree program at York’s Schulich School of Business was featured as one of 16 places people can get an EMBA, in The Globe and Mail Sept. 28.

An increasingly global focus is the key at this joint EMBA program with the Kellogg School of Management; students attend Schulich on alternating weekends, and can complete their two-week residency at the Kellogg campus in Chicago, said the Globe. As well, a 10-day international study seminar takes advantage of partner schools in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Beyond the core business areas, advanced studies include Wall Street, hedge funds and business strategies for sustainability.

The Globe noted that alumni of the program can take elective courses at Kellogg or Schulich tuition-free, and added that Dennis Fotinos, president and CEO, Enwave Energy Corp., is a noted alumnus.

$5,800-bill for stats shocks researcher

When Don Weitz filed a request to the Ontario Ministry of Health in April 2005 for statistics on electroshock therapy, he had no idea it would trigger a two-year battle to win access to the records and a bill of nearly $6,000, wrote the Toronto Star Sept. 28. And the fight isn’t over. Weitz, a 76-year-old researcher in Toronto, had been collecting the statistics on electroshock therapy for decades without a problem. When the senior citizen on a fixed income appealed to the ministry, arguing the fee was "excessive, unreasonable and unjustified," the province reduced the bill to $2,175.

Weitz then took his appeal to the province’s Information and Privacy Commissioner for arbitration. Supported by academics at York University and the University of Toronto, who wrote letters on his behalf arguing the public interest merit in the records, Weitz won a ruling from the commission that granted him access to the records without cost. "The ministry is prohibited from charging any fee for the processing of this access request," the decision reads.

On air

  • Fred Fletcher, University Professor emeritus in political science in York’s Faculty of Arts and director of the York-Ryerson Joint Graduate Program in Communication & Culture, spoke about provincial election campaign advertising, on CBC Radio’s “Great Northwest Hour” Sept. 27.
  • Saeed Rahnema, a professor in York’s Atkinson School of Public Policy & Administration and the Atkinson Faculty’s Department of Social Sciences, spoke about funding for faith-based schools, which he opposes, on OMNI-TV Sept. 27.