Farmers Market at Crossroads

There is much discontent at the Farmers Market with some traders threatening to pull out as mentioned in Adam’s recent article.

I paid a visit to the Market last week and yesterday trying to see the place with fresh eyes. Thanks to delays in constructing the John Street pedestrian bridge, the main approach is from Weston and John. Looking along John from Weston Road, there is nothing to indicate to pedestrians that there is a market. Incidentally, when will BMO fix their clock?

Yes, the Market is in full swing!

Yes, the Market is in full swing! Click to enlarge.

It’s not just the lack of visibility that’s causing the problem. People on the Weston Village side of John Street face a long trek to the market via King Street or Lawrence Avenue. Those using the car face a fight for a parking space and once in the car, there’s the temptation to just head off to the supermarket.

Communication with traders also seems to be a problem. I was chatting to one of the Farmers Market’s largest stall operators a week last Saturday and according to him, he had heard only rumours about next year’s move. “They tell us nothing”, he lamented. The trader, who has been coming to Weston for more than 30 years, was under the impression that the temporary move was to a Lawrence Avenue location.

He claimed that some of his fellow stall operators are still considering calling it quits as they are discouraged by the prospect of being squeezed into a smaller space in the much vaunted Weston Hub, with long walks to set up stalls and then for supplies as the day goes on. He told me that he has to return to his truck several times each day to bring out fresh produce – if the truck was some distance away (as it will be once the Hub is complete), he would consider moving elsewhere.

A panoramic shot from the 'Hub' boundary fence. The Vos Farms Egg Man is on the left.

A panoramic shot from the ‘Hub’ boundary fence. The Vos Farms Egg Man is on the left. Click to enlarge.

Looking at a panoramic view of the Market it is clear that it’s a bit of a mess with trucks parked alongside rows of stalls. Markets in more upscale areas such as Wychwood Barns don’t have supply trucks as part of the mix. While Weston’s Market can be considered charmingly old-fashioned or just messy, it does make life easier for many traders. They don’t sell much in the way of produce at Wychwood – perhaps because of the difficulties caused by the separation of trucks and stalls. Incidentally, all is not sweetness at Artscape’s Wychwood Artist Studios either.

Wychwood Barns.

Wychwood Barns. Click to enlarge.

Had we been able to turn the clock back (not the one at BMO), the City’s selling the Market’s current location to a property developer now seems like a move that should have been foreseen and stopped. The land could have become Weston’s civic square and a park as well as contain the Farmers Market, Hub and a community centre. That potential has been lost forever and much of the outdoor space will now be occupied by a 30-storey rental apartment building and podium. All accomplished with the enthusiastic support of Councillor Frances Nunziata and the 106-member Weston Village Residents’ Association. As they say, those who fail to learn from mistakes of the past…

Weston's BMO branch - where time stands still.

Weston’s BMO branch – where time stands still.

There does seem to be optimism among traders that the new (but temporary) location in the GO Station parking lot south of Lawrence will allow for a bigger space with more parking and better visibility from Weston Road. If that is a success, getting them back to John Street in two or three years might prove difficult if not impossible. In the meantime, Weston BIA Chair, Masum Hossein is looking for ideas that would improve the current year’s Market and thus encourage more people to attend (the Market is operated through the Weston Business Improvement Area).

Debbie Gibson from the B.I.A. sells Farmers Market fundraising T-shirts

Debbie Gibson from the B.I.A. sells Farmers Market fundraising T-shirts

Readers are invited to give suggestions through the comments section of this article or contact Mr Hossein directly.

Suspicious fires on Weston Rd

There were three fires along Weston Road this week, at least two of them suspicious.

Police are investigating two vehicle fires on Weston Road north of Wilson. A van and a car were destroyed early Friday morning, possibly by an arsonist.

Yesterday, the fire department was called to another car on fire in an underground garage, this time at Weston and Church.

 

 

Dirty, dirty Mount Dennis

Westonians are a bunch of clean-living, family-loving faithful types, at least according to the Toronto Star’s data on the Ashley Madison breach.

Westonians spent an average of $0.32 on the website for wandering spouses. Mount Dennisons spent a shocking 34% more—fully 43¢ per person. Junctionites, however, were completely filthy. They spent more than a dollar each looking for a good time.¹

Should you, too, be perusing the database, your humble correspondent would like you to know that his email address is not [email protected], though he has had much misdirected email sent there. Mr Norman, you devil!²


¹ This is not science.

² Neither is this.

Upcoming events

Today and tomorrow, UrbanArts is hosting Cultureshock, their end-of-summer celebration.

Cultureshock

On October 7, Artscape will be hosting a can’t-miss ‘visioning‘ workshop. (Am I the only one terrified of people with ‘visions’?) They promise that this will be a chance to

discuss and develop ideas for the potential role of Weston’s new Community Cultural Hub, and the types of things that might happen there. This is an opportunity to help shape a community-based vision for the Hub, developed from the ground up. We hope that you will be able to join us, and lend your voice to the conversation.

 

French group to pay homage to brothers killed in WW2

Mount Dennis had its own version of Saving Private Ryan. In the movie, a heroic group of men try to save the last survivor of four brothers serving in World War Two.

Nobody saved any of the Westlake brothers. All three of the boys from Mount Dennis died fighting in Europe in 1945. 

Now, though, a group of 34 young people from France, part of the Westlake Brothers Souvenir Association, will be paying tribute to the brothers at a memorial in Mount Dennis. You are invited to attend the service, one of several the group has planned across the country.

Weston Hockey opening 2016 season

The Weston Minor Hockey League is taking applications for the 2015–6 season—it’s 70th. Kids 4–18 are welcome.

The WMHL is also looking for sponsors. For $500, you can have a team named after your organization or business. (I’m tempted to get a incorporate a company called “The Bloodsucking Crushers” just to sponsor a peewee team.) For $250, you can get a silver sponsorship with plenty of advertising (and good karma).

GO Train service upgrade – it’s official.

As mentioned previously in Weston Web, an upgraded schedule to the GO Train service between Weston and Union stations has been announced by GO Transit beginning September 8. The service upgrade covers the middle of the day during weekdays. Weston Station will continue to sit idle during weekends but that will be handy for the new (temporary) Farmers Market location next year.

Inbound schedule.

GO Train Weston to Union schedule.

The return journey also fills in the middle of the day times.

Return to Weston Schedule.

GO Train Union to Weston schedule.

We can speculate about the reason for this unexpected gift from GO Transit and Metrolinx. Uncharitable folk might suggest that this is a way to dull the clamour to add stops to or lower prices on the UP Express. Here at Weston Web we recognize this as a truly magnanimous gesture that comes purely from the heart. Let’s hope that the lovin’ feeling will soon extend to weekend service.

Read the official announcement here.