Weston ten years ago: November 2010

The new steps at Mallaby Park as they appeared in November 2010.

Here’s a taste of what was happening in Weston back in November 2010.

Some new steps had replaced the wooden ones at Mallaby Park, near St Phillips and Weston Road.

The Weston Farmers Market had wrapped up for another year.

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford nominated Councillor Frances Nunziata as Toronto Council Speaker; a powerful position she has held since then. She was being sued by a disgruntled ex-employee and Adam looked at her expenses.

Artscape was investigating the possibility of an arts hub in Weston and where it might be located.

The In Touch Retirement Home was under scrutiny after two residents and later, a third resident died.

A brand new soccer facility in Lions Park was almost complete.

Adam reported on what our local politicians had been up to.

The Clean Train Coalition was battling Metrolinx and rallying over electrification.

Farmers Market Opens for 2020

The 2020 Weston Farmers Market season got under way today in beautiful weather. As is normal for such season openers (usually in May), attendance seemed sparse and there was an added inconvenience for patrons to wait patiently until they were admitted into the market space.  The market, second oldest in the city, is in almost exactly the same place it occupied five years ago although narrower and today had fewer stalls.

For years, traders have insisted that the specially designed market area at the end of John Street was too small and wouldn’t withstand the weight of delivery vehicles. The B.I.A. saved the day with the solution to use the Toronto Parking Authority lot on the other side of the building.

For the last few years the market has used the highly visible UP Express and Weston Baptist Church parking lots. That option is off the table. Unfortunately, the location at the end of John Street is invisible to traffic passing along Weston Road and so it will be a challenge to lure fresh customers to the site. In addition, former anchor tenant and actual farmer, Joe Gaeta has moved elsewhere.

The entrance to the market on John street featuring new signs.

Patrons wait in line to be admitted.

The market cordoned off to allow for physical distancing.

Looking towards John Street, a panorama of the farmers market in almost the same location back in August 2015. Click to enlarge.

The much vaunted and intended home of the farmers market sits empty.

Because the market now occupies the parking spaces intended for use by people visiting the er, market, John Street was in effect one-way thanks to parked vehicles occupying the inbound lane. As patron numbers increase, parking will become a greater issue. Let’s hope that some of the kinks can be worked out quickly. Incidentally, Grandpa Ken’s was there today.

Extra credit: How the Weston Hub was financed here.

No; look over here.

There’s a couple of news items that have surfaced lately. One is a notorious chair throwing incident and another is a Metrolinx promise to a community.

Which is garnering the most attention?

Which is of greater consequence?

In February 2019, aspiring media celebrity Marcella Zoia, a teenager at the time, threw a folding chair from a downtown high rise. For some reason, the video of the incident was posted to social media and all hell broke loose. The press has given huge amounts of attention to the feckless Ms. Zoia’s case, hounding her during several court appearances where she eventually coughed up a guilty plea. After her sentencing (a hefty fine and community service), hanging judge John Tory has chimed in to  to say that Ms. Zoia (AKA Chair Girl) should have gone to jail. Apparently the mayor believes that without the deterrence of a jail term, others will be inspired to fling furniture from tall buildings – where will it all end? Mayor Tory had no hesitation in criticizing the work of Justice Mara Greene who wisely ignored the Crown’s recommendation of a 6-month jail term. Let’s not get into the purposes of jail but suffice to say that it should be reserved for violent offenders rather than idiotic teens. This isn’t Georgia or Alabama.

Let’s take a moment to be grateful that the mayor is in a position where he is relatively inconsequential and move on to another news item.

In this story, Councillor Anthony Peruzza is complaining that Metrolinx is breaking a promise to donate a chunk of land in the Finch Avenue West and Yorkgate Boulevard area for the purpose of building a community hub. Here, you’ll not find hordes of reporters breathlessly pursuing Metrolinx executives for an answer. Lazy members of the press and Mayor Tory find items like this tedious. There are no dramatic foot chases no videos and no public outrage. Metrolinx spokesperson Anne-Marie Aikins says that Metrolinx cannot donate land to the City but indicated that there’s lots of time. to work something out. Translation: there’s time for the public to lose interest and for the story to be buried.

Sadly, that sums up the news cycle these days. Councillor Peruzza represents one of the poorest wards in the city and instead of government agencies joining forces to build up an impoverished community, they conspire to work against it. The press largely doesn’t care.

This is reminiscent of the Toronto Parking Authority sale of the 16 John Street parking lot in Weston, a piece of land that once belonged to the old town of Weston (in another one of the poorest wards in the city) and which could have formed the heart of a stand-alone Weston Hub. It wasn’t to be. People were seduced by the promise of a glitzy new home for the Weston Farmers Market along with community space and live/work artist accommodations. Council was swayed by the next-to-zero cost and the only downside was to be a 30-storey tower and podium, something not envisioned by Toronto’s 2011 feasibility study.

The original spacious home of the Weston Farmers Market. (From Google Earth)

The intended home of the Weston Farmers Market. File.

When the Weston Farmers Market opens a week on Saturday (August 1), it won’t be convening in the space that was a big part of the selling job.

One of the concept drawings of the farmers market.

Apparently traders don’t want to use it because it’s too small and their trucks (which they need close by) would damage the paving.

The new home of the Weston Farmers Market (Google Earth).

No, the market’s going back to almost the exact location where it began on John Street. The ample parking promised for the farmers market turns out to be the new market space itself. The space is larger than the fancy concept one and the paving can withstand trucks. If instead of selling the parking lot, the Toronto Parking Authority (a branch of city council) had donated the land to the community, things could have turned out differently. Sadly the press was focussed on other things and the public was seduced by fancy drawings. That’s the nature of news these days.

Maybe we can invite Marcella Zoia to cut the ribbon on August 1st.

Thames River Melons sells in Toronto, not far away

If you can’t wait until the Weston Farmers’ Market opens August 1, you can get Thames River Melons produce at North of Brooklyn Pizza’s Sunday pop-up shop at 511 Rogers Road, Toronto from 12-5pm.

You’ll know Thames River Melons by their excellent asparagus, corn, and, yes, melons that they have sold at the Weston market for years.

And an apology. E told me about this ages ago, and I forgot to mention it until now. Sorry.

Weston returning to normal–slowly

The Farmers’ Market will open on August 1, according to the BIA. They are also looking to hire students to help with the market—but hurry; the deadline is tomorrow, July 20.

The Weston Library is also reopening a bit, for scheduled computer bookings.

Thames River Melons delivers

I don’t know how I missed it, but Thames River Melons, which for my money has the nicest produce at the Weston Farmers’ Market, now delivers.

They are offering  three sizes of produce boxes, with selections depending on harvest–but you can expect “a mix of strawberries, zucchini, new potatoes, green onions, carrots, beets, peas, beans, raspberries, blueberries, sweet corn, garlic, muskmelon, and watermelon.”

The small box is $25, the regular is $50, and the large is $75. You can order extra flats of Ontario strawberries too. And thanks to a friend, I had some today. None finer.

Raspberry, blueberry, and mixed-berry flats are coming in late July.

Gaeta Farms open for planting season.

Take a trip to Grimsby and on Mud Street West in a place called Grassie (really), you will find some familiar faces. Joe Gaeta who used to sell his produce at the Weston Farmers Market has a family run nursery and farm there and is now open for business with an excellent variety of vegetables, annuals and hanging baskets. Joe wasn’t there yesterday but his wife Olga and daughter Sabrina were.

Olga and Sabrina Gaeta at their family farm in Grimsby.

If the drive to Grimsby is a bit far, you’ll (hopefully soon) find Joe and his family on Saturdays at the Humber Bay Shores Farmers Market or on Sundays at the Eglinton Way BIA Farmers Market  – 125 Burnaby Boulevard (Eglinton near Bathurst).

Note that at the moment all Toronto’s farmers markets are closed – Weston’s until July 4th at the earliest.

Gaeta Farms and Greenhouses is at 174 Mud St. West, Grimsby, Ontario L0R 1M0.