A walker’s guide to Weston

An artist’s concept of the Weston Hub showing the outdoor program space.
Beginning early next year, hundreds of people will be moving to Weston as part of the new Weston Hub. A few dozen will move into the 26 artist live / work residences while the vast majority, will rent in the 30 storey, 370 unit tower and podium currently being built by Rockport Group. At the moment, rental prices are unknown but they should be a lot cheaper than renting a condo. Here is a guide for those considering a move to our community and a possible reminder to those already here. Your new address at 22 John Street has a walk score of 90 which, according to the experts qualifies as “a walker’s paradise; daily errands do not require a car”. Walking is a great exercise and has dramatic effects on longevity. Here are a few of the places that are within a short stroll of your new address.

Cultural Hangouts:

The Artscape Weston Hub: as mentioned, 26 artists will be living and working in your immediate neighbourhood along with 8200 square feet of indoor program space, 12,400 feet of outdoor program space; UrbanArts and Shakespeare in Action will provide programs for young and old.  Read all about it here.
Weston’s beautiful Art Nouveau library built in 1913.
Housed in a beautiful century building, Weston’s public library was built in 1913 and is one of the libraries originally funded by the Carnegie foundation. This branch has a good variety of activities and opportunities to become involved with the community.
Weston’s outdoor theatre.
A few steps from Weston Road towards the river, there is an outdoor theatre in a beautiful setting on Little Avenue that may see more use now that Shakespeare In Action are relocating here. Weston Historical Society is active, holds regular historical walks and talks and has a base of operations at 1901 Weston Road. Weston has its own Santa Claus Parade. and Buskerfest organized by the BIA.

Restaurants:

Restaurants abound in Weston: a highly recommended burger joint, fish and chips, pizza, Chinese, Jamaican, Phillipine and Somali food, a chicken chain, family and a breakfast specialty chain. There are several independent coffee shops and even a Timmies. A superb Mexican restaurant is within a fifteen-minute walk but don’t tell anyone; it’s a secret. Weston Farmers Market, will be outside your front door every Saturday from May to October.

Retail:

We have few major chains in the heart of Weston; Shoppers Drug Mart being a notable exception, but there are lots of small family owned stores selling a variety of items. Squibbs Stationers has been in Weston since 1927 and is a great place to get school supplies and textbooks. Incidentally, Weston Village has one the the oldest of Toronto’s business improvement areas. There is a large Asian supermarket nearby but it may be closing soon as the site has been purchased by a developer. Shoppers Drug Mart has quite a large grocery section but you’ll need to go elsewhere for produce when the farmers market is not operating.
Greenland Farms produce section.
If you’d like a haircut / style / manicure, there is plenty of choice, including the ‘world famous’ Peter’s Barber Shop on your doorstep. In spite of recent trends to close branches, we still have banks, BMO and RBC with branches close by and Luminus Financial credit union is a 10 minutes walk.

Medical:

There are several family doctors, walk in clinics, testing facilities, opticians and pharmacies, all within easy reach.

Sports and Nature:

Family and friends watch as children from across the GTA take part in a soccer tournament on Weston’s artificial turf soccer pitch.
Dog owners, fisher folk and photographers will be in their element in Weston as the Humber runs to the west.
The Humber river is a few minutes’ walk away.
A cycle / walking trail along the Humber leads through Cruickshank and Lions parks, the latter having lots of sporting facilities – an open air pool in summer, baseball diamonds, a FIFA standard artificial turf soccer pitch, tennis courts, a skateboard park and one of Toronto’s oldest hockey arenas with outstanding french fries.
Weston’s outdoor pool.

Commuting:

The UP Express and GO stations are 5 minutes away and will whisk you downtown in 14 minutes while airport workers will get to Terminal 1 even quicker. Weston is the city’s second biggest bus hub so there are many routes to pick from. So there it is; you truly will be living in a walkers’ paradise. Readers, did I miss anything? Please comment in the section below.

Juno award winner at Farmers’ Market

It’s not every day a Juno award winner graces us at the Weston Farmers’ Market, but Tich Maredza did just that last week.

Marezda is a “Zimbabwean singer, multi-instrumentalist, composer, and member of the Okavango African Orchestra, winner of the Juno World Music Album, 2017!”

Letters of the week – Weston Farmers Market

A quick promo of Saturday’s Weston Farmers Market official opening generated a flurry of correspondence. It seems that CBC Marketplace’s investigative piece on 11 Ontario farmers markets found that while produce re-selling takes place at most markets, misrepresentation about the source of produce was found at several. A clip from the show focussed on a Peterborough Farmers Market trader picking up produce from the Ontario Food Terminal and disguising it as farmed by himself or ‘someone across the road’.

Incidentally, Weston Farmers Market was not mentioned in the CBC article or the TV show that was broadcast last year. Here’s the letter of the week from ‘ANNON’ and the response.

Hi Adam,

I am a concerned customer… reaching out to you for the third time. Hoping someone with a bigger voice than me can help the market grow into a respected farmers market. Help the area Ive lived in for decades grow. Lets start change.

A “FARMERS MARKET” requires 51% farmers. Selling 65% of their own produce. Its more like a flea market. Do your research people deserve to know the truth. In Ontario FARMERS must state where the produce is grown in. If you are a farmer selling produce, honey, maple syrup or eggs even smoke meats and claim to be a farmer or your product comes from a farm… your product must have be displayed where the product is grown or harvested in.

Customers should know the truth. Lets talk about the truth behind the scam of farmers markets. Lets not let sonority of old vendors have the rights to sell fake local produce. Lets start a market where customers can truly buy local produce. The whole point of a farmers market is to support local business and farmers and support the Canadian economy. Give a chance to farmers from our GTA to sell their produce not for fake farmers to refill their trucks at the Ontario Food terminal and resell it to customers passing it off as fresh local produce. The market turns 39 years old and the longest running farmers market there is… Don’t you feel like its time for change, the customers deserve to know the truth.

The company I use to work for CBC has broken the ice. I would hate for my area to go down just like Peterborough is right now.

Here’s the reply from Suri Weinberg-Linsky who has close links to the market and is a Weston business owner (Squibbs).

Just a clarification: vendors like brothers Sam and Joe, who are considered ‘resellers’, also have contracts with actual farmers who they meet up with at the Terminal where the farmers are bringing their produce to sell. Not all their product is ‘stickered’ – I know because I asked Sam last year. Farmers cannot always go out to Markets and rely on vendors like Sam and Joe to sell the product for them. So it is from the farm, just not sold by the actual farmer. And the Gaetas don’t grow their own corn but buy from another farmer who cannot attend the market – a win-win for both Joe and his farmer friend.

And our Market never really gets into full gear until the local crops come in which is later in June and early July. We have vendors/farmers who will bring their produce once it’s available. Also remember the season is late this year because of the weather. Peaches, etc. won’t be available until that time. Our apple guy is the farmer and his kids work with him – very nice family. The bakers do their own product. Honey person has their own hives (as far as I am aware). Thames Valley Farms are farmers. Ted Vos with eggs from his hens. Asha from Wiff (across from the Market) makes all the samosas. Perfect Blend with their coffee.

So right now, other than the Tupperware and Grandpa Ken, most of the people there produce their product like the apples, eggs, flowers & plants, pastries, coffee, fresh strawberries today along with the onions, scapes and fresh jams, etc. Even the popcorn guy was making it fresh. And we have always had antique vendors, information booths, etc. So not sure why people are complaining. Other than the signs with the wrong spelling. We should be more concerned with why people aren’t coming to support the market. The busier it is, the more vendors will want to come… don’t you think?

Sadly, the CBC show may have caused more harm than good by making people suspicious of all traders. The bottom line seems to be that until legislators tighten up reselling rules (unlikely under President Ford™), market visitors should get to know vendors and talk about the origins of what they sell.

The bottom line: the vast majority of Weston’s farmers market traders are honest about what they sell. Supporting genuine producers will ensure that they stick around.