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.

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.

Farmers Market Twitter Account Hacked?

Weston Web would like to sincerely apologize for the apparently false information we gave stating that the Farmers Market will make a permanent move to the new GO Station. Apparently it’s a temporary move for two years until the new space is ready for them at the HUB. But that’s a whole other story.

According to Weston B.I.A. which runs the Farmers Market, a hacker has taken over the Farmers Market accounts and is spreading this false information. Looking at the @Weston_farmers Twitter account it seems the hacker or hackers have carefully and systematically created entries giving helpful information and photographs of the market since last October. Check for yourself – it’s a very convincing account.

Here at Weston Web we can sympathize. Many a time we must have been hacked – in fact every single story you read with an error in it is possibly the result of an evil hacker inserting false statements into our otherwise pristine and truthful copy. Adam’s story on the Farmers Market could well have been one of those occasions.

From now on, please understand that whenever you see an error in Weston Web – even a typo or missing comma, it could be the result of a hack and not our fault at all.

Incidentally, when Weston Web contacted the @weston_farmers Twitter account to ask if they were real, the response came back, “we rep the farmers and vendors of the market. We promote the vendors of the market. From farm to table and local produce.”.

Damn you hackers.

All day GO Train surprise.

According to the Toronto Star’s Tess Kalinowski, Weston will enjoy off-peak GO Train service at hourly intervals after Labour Day. Readers may be aware of the commuter-oriented GO Train schedule (which operates on weekdays only).

Screen Shot 2015-08-08 at 11.29.48 PM

There are eight morning trains between Weston and Union beginning at 6:12 and ending at 9:57.

Screen Shot 2015-08-08 at 11.30.27 PM

In the evening, seven trains offer the return service between 3:30 and 6:50. Metrolinx will soon make an announcement regarding hourly train service in both directions between Union and Mount Pleasant which is one stop east of Georgetown.

This upgrade in service may be of comfort to people who would like to travel in the middle of the day outside of the traditional commute times and it will be interesting to see if there are changes to the existing train times.

The article states that the Stouffville line will see a similar upgrade later on in the year.

This upgrade to service will take some of the sting out of watching an unaffordable (and nearly empty) UP Express train service passing through Weston every fifteen minutes between Union and the airport.

That service is seven days a week, nineteen hours a day.

Metrolinx is expected to make an official announcement mid-month.

Cherri Hurst Takes Toronto Star on a Weston Tour

Local Business owner and Weston Heritage Conservation District President Cherri Hurst invited Lauren Pelley of the Toronto Star to take a tour of Weston recently and the result is a lovely article extolling many of the lovely features of Weston. Ms. Pelley asked readers to submit their favourite features of where they live – WestonWeb suggests that readers add theirs in the comments section the article.

Read the article here in today’s Star.

Happy Canada Day

A happy Canada Day to all our readers! We truly are lucky to live in Canada.

5:25 pm:

Bouncy castles galore.

Bouncy castles galore; July 1, 2015.

Don’t forget that tonight at 10:00, Weston’s own annual fireworks display gets under way at Lions Park. The weather promises to be fine but cool by 10:00 so dress warmly for the evening. If you’ve attended in the past, you know what a treat is in store. Come and listen to Elvis and other talented musicians, meet your favourite politicians, gorge on some french fries and onion rings and try out a slide or bouncy castle – perhaps not in that order!

A word to the wise – if you can walk to the celebrations all the better as parking tends to be filled early and after the fireworks, there may be a bit of a wait while everybody queues up to leave.

Fireworks at the ready.

Fireworks at the ready; July 1 2015.