Letter of the week – Farmers Market

This week’s letter comes from ‘Anonymous’ and comes up with an excellent idea about the Weston Farmers Market that is obvious in hindsight.

As the new Weston Hub moves closer to opening day and its new facilities are taking shape on the ground rather than on paper, it’s becoming harder to imagine the Weston Farmers Market shoehorned into its future designated space.

The planned 2019 home of the Farmers Market.
The space that traders have enjoyed at the UP Express location. (file)

There are plans to have landscaping in front of the rental tower building and along the walkway to the footbridge that will eat away precious available space and although there has been a suggestion that the market be allowed to spill over onto adjacent John Street, it is clear that traders will have to scale back their stall space. This may make Weston’s market not worth the bother.

It has been proposed that the market spill over onto John Street.

Another factor is the noise. Traders begin setting up the market from 5 am. This is a noisy process and may disturb homes overlooking the site.

What’s the solution – well, that’s proposed in the letter of the week.

“I wonder if the folks at Weston Lions Arena were asked to share their lot for the neighbourhood market?

Way back in the olden days, was it not known as the Fair Grounds?

Wouldn’t that be a nice venue – right in the river valley, away from the very tired looking Main Street area.” – Anonymous

The Weston Lions Arena parking lot.

The idea is worthy of consideration. The space is huge,  further away from residences and as the arena is closed from April until October, it is a natural fit with the market. Adjacent to the parking lot is nature in all its glory, a splash pad, playground, tennis courts, soccer field and during July and August, the open air pool is open, there adding to the festive atmosphere. As an added bonus there is plenty of parking.

Discuss.

Happy Birthday

It’s Shakespeare’s 454th birthday today, Shakespeare was born on April 23rd, 1564.

Weston will have a special connection to Shakespeare beginning in the fall. Youth education theatre company, Shakespeare in Action will be moving to Weston when the new Weston Common community hub opens. Check out their activities and summer programs here.

Artscape still seeking tenants

If you’re an artist with a proven track record of artistic creativity and your household income is below $46, 176, you may be eligible to apply for one of 26 brand new live / work spaces in  Artscape’s Weston Common project that’s scheduled to open at the end of this year. Applications are being accepted until April 11. Artists must not own a home already

A total of 14 one-bedroom and 12 two-bedroom units are available; all have ‘high ceilings, large windows and industrial style finishes’. Rents are affordable; $877 for a one-bedroom and $1022 for a two. Units face south or east.

Facilities in the adjacent Cultural Hub.

For lots more information and application forms click here.

Shakespeare In Action needs help

Shakespeare In Action will be moving to Weston and into their first permanent studio home when Artscape Weston Common opens later this year. This will involve expenses for moving as well as furnishing the space in their new home.

SIA is asking the public for financial help with their move and has donation levels based on Shakespeare’s own Friends, Romans, Countrymen and a couple of higher categories.

Let’s hope Westonians can welcome this dynamic group to our community with some generous support. For more information about donation levels and how to donate, click here.

The latest take on the Weston Hub

The Farmers Market with lots of room on its old site back in July 2004. (File).

Churchill once said that, “History is written by the victors”. An article in  UrbanToronto.ca, (basically a public relations organ for the local real estate and development industries) tells a sanitized version of the background story of the soon to be opened Weston Hub.

The article’s author, Dean Macaskill, has been involved in Toronto real estate since 1980 and was with the company given the GO Station parking lot listing back in 2012. The land was put on the market by the Toronto Parking Authority and according to Macaskill, the 5 offers received on the 1.42 acre site were, ‘at rather depressed pricing levels’.

What’s not mentioned in the article are thoughts at the time that the land belonged to the old town of Weston and that it should not be sold. Also, unlike the wealthy Wychwood Barns neighbourhood which received close to $20 million from the City for their Artscape project, poor old Weston received essentially nothing.

The message seems to be that no one wanted to invest in Weston until this development came along and since that time, developers have been falling all over themselves to buy into our community. He neglects to mention that his listing stated, “Area Is Undergoing Significant Change With Other High Rise Condominiums Planned In The Immediate Area.” Also missing in action is any mention of the 370 rental apartments and 40,000 square feet of storage units that came as part of the deal.  The 8000 square foot space devoted to the cultural hub seems rather ungenerous by comparison. Another unmentioned issue of contention is the tight space given to the Farmers Market .

Now that the Hub is nearing completion, we’ll all have to make the best of it and hope it’s a success – but it could have been so much better no matter what shine is put on it.

Just to cheer you up, here’s a Metro Morning  interview with Artscape’s Tim Jones talking to CBC’s Matt Galloway recently on the same topic.

Hub News: Weston Common partners announced

UrbanArts and Shakespeare in Action were announced this week as being program partners for the Weston Common  community cultural hub coming on John Street.  UrbanArts develops the creative assets of artists and residents and has worked locally for years from its two locations on the other side of John Street and in Mount Dennis.

Shakespeare in Action is a non-profit professional theatre company dedicated to spreading knowledge of the characters, language, and the stories of Shakespeare’s works through a variety of one-off school workshops or longer term internships.

Both groups will bring a positive and youth oriented vibe to the Hub while promising benefits for the whole community.

The two organizations hope to be installed in their new location this fall.

Artists interested in the Live / Work studios may add their name to a waitlist here.