BIA planning multicultural festival

The Weston BIA is looking for your help with their annual multicultural festival. The BIA would like community groups and organizations to show their support for the festival with a letter they can use to apply for grants.

“We’re doing this because it’s Canada 150th,” O’Sullivan said. “Right now there’s been so much said about divisiveness in our society because of all the stuff that Trump is saying and doing. We’re a very united community here and we want people to know that we welcome everyone.”

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The shrinking Farmers Market

There only seems room for about 11 traders in this image from Artscape.

I know it’s just an artist’s drawing but the image posted on Artscape Weston’s site does not give the impression of a big enough space available for the market. Will it be possible to shoehorn the traders from the 2016 market into the 2018 one in the new Hub location?

The Market in its UP Express location off Weston Road in August 2016.

My suspicion is that the space will not be sufficient leading to either a loss of traders or the market simply moving to another location.

Here’s an overhead look at the old market.

An overhead look at the market a couple of years ago before moving to the UP Express lot. More than 40 stalls were being rented. (Apple Maps)

The market was to have been an important component of the Hub. Traders cannot be forced to use the space if they believe that it won’t be worth the effort, or if there is no room to set up an adequate space. Additionally, in the past, stall holders were able to overflow their pitches without penalty. If space is tight, such flexibility will be impossible.

Mural unveiling at Perfect Blend

The Weston BIA and Perfect Blend today unveiled “Windows of Time”, a mural in the laneway between the coffee shop and Popeye’s.

The painting shows shop windows from the early 20th century to the present day; viewers feel like they are looking into stores through history. It’s quite clever, and it’s already won an award from the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas.


Weston Station Restaurant up for sale


Being of a cautious nature with a strong preservation instinct I have always resisted the temptation to wander into the Weston Station Restaurant for a meal or even a story. The building, at 1935 Weston Road in downtown Weston has had a checkered history but is now for sale and with that, the prospect of new ownership. Apparently there is 6600 square feet of floor space with 14 tenants upstairs (who knew?) and a restaurant and licensed bar downstairs.

The listing is on and can be yours for a dollar shy of $2 million.

A piece of history is going

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The building was a backdrop to the Farmers Market opening day ceremonies in 2013.

The tiny building that was home to the Weston Farmers Market is to be demolished. The building stored essentials, housed a washroom and provided power and water to the old Farmers Market.

The application to demolish is from Kathryn Randle of 22 John Street Developments. Oddly, the building (and presumably the land where the Weston Hub will be built) still belongs to the Toronto Parking Authority. According to Council briefing notes, “transfer of the ownership is still outstanding at this time”.

Image from Artscape
Image from Artscape

Why the transfer delay? It could be a formality or perhaps a more serious problem but does explain why the site is so quiet in spite of a cast of thousands shovelling mightily at the June 2016 groundbreaking ceremony.

Farmers Market – my 2 cents.

I made my first visit of the year to the Weston Farmers Market on Saturday in its new location. It’s not for lack of trying but a family vacation, a sick relative and Saturday morning forgetfulness have kept me away until now.

It was re-assuring to see many familiar traders there such as Grandpa Ken and the Egg Man.

Other traders I spoke to seemed to feel that business is slow but has been picking up recently. This makes sense as at this time of year, there is more legitimate produce from actual farmers.

Just a couple of observations from the point of view of a ‘naive’ visitor looking at the location for the first time.

Seen from Weston Road, there is little to indicate that a farmers market is happening.
Seen from Weston Road, there is little to indicate that a farmers market is happening.

One of the big advantages of this new temporary site is that the market has a much higher visibility, being situated in full view on Weston Road. There seemed to be interest from passing vehicles; cars were slowing but moved on, possibly because they couldn’t figure out what was happening.

The best view of the market is from the station side rather than the road.
The best view of the market is from the station side rather than the road. There is no mistaking from this angle what is happening here.

Strangely, the best view of the market is from the station end of the stalls rather than the Weston Road side. Cars and end stalls block the view from the street.

Even from this close, it's not that obvious what is happening.
Even from this close, it’s not that obvious what is happening and it looks a mess. The gold and red SUVs hide the market from the street. Photo taken at 10:15am.

It would seem that a couple of simple adjustments would make a big difference and attract more passing traffic. It might also remind people who haven’t been this year that the market still exists.

  1. There is a need for a large banner outside the market to indicate what is going on and entice people to stop.
  2. Traders’ vehicles should not be blocking views of the market from the road.
  3. All traders should be arranged in rows perpendicular to Weston Road for maximum attractiveness, accessibility and visibility.


The Farmers’ Market is wilting

IMG_2790Many vendors at the new location of the Farmers’ Market say that their businesses are suffering. Several people told me that their business is down 1/3 or more, even while the rents have gone up. One vendor said he will be closing; another said he is considering it.

Almost everyone I spoke to was cautious about upsetting the market administrators, so I’m going to quote them all as a group.

  • The market was the heart and soul of Weston. They destroyed it.
  • Sales are down 50%
  • It has slowed down. Sales are down.
  • I’m done.
  • More people gotta come out.
  • This year, they don’t know where we are. [They need] more advertising.
  • It sucks.

Some vendors, however, were more positive.

  • We’ve been doing better here.
  • The area is bigger.
  • It’s better than last year. For the couple of weeks, it’s been good.

Several vendors have come and gone already this year: the hip pie people seem to have left, as did the popcorn company.

There is a lot of blame to go around. Some vendors said it’s too far to walk for those who have limited mobility. Others blamed the administration. And, dear reader, you and I share some responsibility.

Your correspondent, however, believes that the BIA could do more. Certainly, it is hard to see why rents went up; given the disruption, they should have gone down. There should be much more advertising, including along the 401¹. We could have beer tastings², or bring back the live music.

Masum Hossain, the Chair of the BIA, refused to be quoted for this article.

View the responses.

¹ Peter the Barber’s idea.

² Also his idea.