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Construction killing businesses at Queen & Broadview

Posted by Natalia Manzocco / July 16, 2014

construction queen broadviewSummer and road closures go hand in hand in Toronto, but this year has been particularly harsh with a string of shutdowns stretching along Queen St. as the TTC repairs aging infrastructure. The latest neighbourhood to feel the squeeze? Riverside, which has spent the past month cut off from traffic - and TTC service via the King and Queen streetcars - by a major closure at Queen and Broadview. The road has been torn up since June 30, and with nine days to go in the project, local restaurants and shops are struggling.

Michael Summerfield, of Prohibition, estimates a 30% to 35% drop in business this month. "I know we're probably one of the least impacted," he adds. "There are some places that are just completely dead - they probably have a 60, 70, 80% drop in sales."

They mulled shutting down the restaurant for the month, but instead opted to drum up extra business by giving away a $50 gift card at lunch and dinner each day, as well as offering a $500 "VIP party" to their most frequent customer in July, a promotion that he says has softened the blow slightly. Summerfield adds Dimensions Custom Framing also began offering a $50 discount on $200 purchases to coincide with the shutdown.

"The city and the TTC really don't care about the businesses in the area - 'cause if they did, they'd do more to try to help us," Summerfield says. "Do we get a break in our taxes? Are we compensated for the lost revenue? I understand this stuff has to be done, but considering the area that this is in, and the fact that we cater mostly to locals, you'd think they'd try to work with the businesses more."

It's not just businesses taking notice of the lull: Food blogger Joel MacCharles, of, visited three restaurants in one night this week and found a grand total of eight diners between them. He's hosting an event tonight at Hi-Lo Bar to drum up business for some of those local spots, with proceeds going to charity.

Organizers will raffle off more than 40 prizes from area businesses, including Left Field Brewery, Rock Lobster, Boots and Bourbon, Aft and - of course - Dangerous Dan's.



same old song and dance. / July 16, 2014 at 01:31 pm
I live in the neighborhood, love the bars/restaurants and can understand their complaints.

But...if a business cant survive 3-4 weeks of construction, then perhaps you weren't long for this world to begin with.

Mapquest replying to a comment from Ryan / July 16, 2014 at 01:49 pm
Not so good with your local geography are ya.
Potrzebie / July 16, 2014 at 01:52 pm
I'm beginning to believe that these articles about construction causing business stress are veiled admissions that street parking is actually critical for healthy business areas.
steve / July 16, 2014 at 01:52 pm
Irks me that business what a free ride from the city. I am sure they will not give more back if business gets better due to improved city infrastructure.
Coxwell Queen / July 16, 2014 at 01:56 pm
These businesses will never survive without Jilly's.
tommy / July 16, 2014 at 01:57 pm
The area is pretty kickin' when the roads are open. Maybe this is just the price to pay to have such a lucrative location.
spot on. replying to a comment from Potrzebie / July 16, 2014 at 02:00 pm
Would tend to agree with you.

You hear all the time from neighborhoods like this that their greatest contribution is how they are such a tight knit area, where families can walk to and enjoy the community, blah blah blah.

Yet a couple weeks of MUCH NEEDED construction comes along and all of a sudden these same families and people cannot access their community anymore and it becomes a ghost town???

All these stores, restaurants and bars are still VERY ACCESSIBLE to anyone with feet. I got very happily drunk at Boots n' Bourbon last weekend and the fact i had to walk around a barrier didn't stop me from contributing my well earned money into the local economy.

preach! replying to a comment from tommy / July 16, 2014 at 02:03 pm
Well said Tommy.

This area will survive just fine. Next week when the roads re-open everyone will come back and no one will give a damn they were slightly inconvenienced for a few weeks.

This area is terrific.
Proper Headline / July 16, 2014 at 02:07 pm
Can we rename this article:

"Construction MILDLY INCONVENIENCING businesses at Queen & Broadview".

shucks replying to a comment from Ryan / July 16, 2014 at 02:11 pm
At least you're pretty.
AL / July 16, 2014 at 02:12 pm
The City and the TTC DO care about business in the area. These track improvements are happening all over the city to accomodate the new larger street cars.

So don't cry "Why us", "Why here" track improvements are happening all over the city friends, all over. Dundas at Spadina is closed right now for the same thing. Cheerio.
CityPainter replying to a comment from Potrzebie / July 16, 2014 at 02:19 pm
Or, perhaps it's a thinly veiled admission that being on an active TTC streetcar line is critical for business. All the streetcars are diverting north of Queen from Parliament east.
eastender replying to a comment from same old song and dance. / July 16, 2014 at 02:40 pm
I live a few mins from the intersection, and it's been really quiet on the business make a truly ignorant and idiotic statement...this is a very busy time for these places and it's almost a month of's not like they're an LCBO or a Shoppers and can withstand the pain due to big pockets...these guys are local, independent and they work really hard to keep their businesses going. Yes it's much needed TTC work and yes it'll pay off down the road ( no pun intended) but don't piss on the local businesses, they need the support and that's why the HI-LO event is not only important but it shows solidarity among the locals who care about the community !
eastender replying to a comment from same old song and dance. / July 16, 2014 at 02:41 pm
Sorry for the didn't do a proper "reply to"

I live a few mins from the intersection, and it's been really quiet on the business from..."same old song and dance" > you make a truly ignorant and idiotic statement...this is a very busy time for these places and it's almost a month of's not like they're an LCBO or a Shoppers and can withstand the pain due to big pockets...these guys are local, independent and they work really hard to keep their businesses going. Yes it's much needed TTC work and yes it'll pay off down the road ( no pun intended) but don't piss on the local businesses, they need the support and that's why the HI-LO event is not only important but it shows solidarity among the locals who care about the community !
Beacher / July 16, 2014 at 02:49 pm
If Kingston Rd can survive 3 years of construction then 3/4 weeks shouldn't be an issue for businesses with a solid plan. In the meantime there's certainly a couple of establishments that might want to work on their service and menus. The good ones will come out of this just fine.
Jesus replying to a comment from eastender / July 16, 2014 at 02:55 pm
These constructions aren't coming out the blue.
All these businesses know well in advance.

What's the use in rehashing the same spiel to people?

We get it, it sucks for business, but in no way do they deserve any sort of compensation from the City.
When do they expect them to do the track work? How fast do they expect it can be done?

They are done when needed. You simply deal with it. We know your company will be inconvenienced, but that's not something you need to cry about.

As others have pointed out, if you have a strong business and plan, you will survive a few weeks.

Problem being replying to a comment from Ryan / July 16, 2014 at 03:00 pm
And you'd still be wrong.

We understand your attempt at a joke was comparing The Eastend to Baltimore.

It simply failed horrendously.
Anthony / July 16, 2014 at 03:05 pm
I think business is clearly affected because fewer people can and/or want to go to an area of heavy construction. It's just not pleasant. Even foot traffic is affected, you have to walk all the way around the fences just to get to do what used to be a 10 second street cross. With competition all over the city, people will go where it's more pleasant and less noisy, and less dirty.

@steve - have you ever run a business? revenue is not guaranteed. It's not like the city which can raise taxes and seize your assets when it doesn't get paid. Business don't have that guaranteed revenue stream and having revenue hit hard for even one month is hard on their P&L, also it won't just bounce back right away. Their marketing dollars invested are getting hurt. They took risk and this is genuinely unfair to them. Additionally, they do pay taxes (which are not discounted during construction), which in my view gives them the right to clear traffic access to their business - so they do have the right to feel short changed - I can guarantee you the city could have help them much more.

The unfortunate reality is the city and TTC don't answer to anyone. They claim to (elections/boards) but this is never real incentive to be more proactive as they are monopolies and hence they will continue to do large constructions projects and spend monthly less efficiently than a business where there is competition. I saw (not kidding) 3 TTC guys sleeping in a truck Saturday around noon on Queen just west of Broadview. Very bad for perception, but again with no competition they have no one to perform better than, and hence no incentive not to have sleeping workers.
FNO replying to a comment from Anthony / July 16, 2014 at 03:11 pm
How is it unfair to them?

This work Needs to be done. They knew it was coming.

Just because they chose to open a shop or bar somewhere heavy construction is always going to be a concern, is no ones fault but their own.

There is no other way for this work to be done. It takes time and you live with it.
Jay / July 16, 2014 at 03:16 pm
I live right by the construction and I think its actually made me support local businesses more because i'm too lazy to walk up to dundas to grab the streetcar to go downtown haha. We've been going to An Sibin, Hilo, and all of those bars much more!
But I can absolutely see how it would deter people from shopping/eating at the businesses if they usually drive there and don't want to find parking
Graham / July 16, 2014 at 03:17 pm
Who cares. If you live east of the Don Valley you don't live in Toronto.
TeeHee replying to a comment from Graham / July 16, 2014 at 03:28 pm
Cause the eastside is so far!!

Graham, you so funny.
Dale Sonier / July 16, 2014 at 03:32 pm
I would like to respond to the work of the TTC and the City during the Queen/Broadview intersection closure.

Eighteen years ago, when macFAB was at 952 Queen W, this type of repair work went on at Queen & Shaw. It was literally a nightmare, and lasted 3 months – almost 100 days. As I understand, it will take 19 days for the intersection to become open. This is tremendous. The effort by TTC and City has been consistently at a high standard. Staff has been responsive, and for the most part, our pedestrian traffic has continued during construction.
Right before our eyes, in less than 3 weeks, we have seen the street broken up, old tracks lifted and removed – new tracks laid, concrete poured and sidewalks repaired. For this type of work to happen one the longest street car route in North America, at one of Toronto’s key intersections will be an inconvenience to businesses and residents alike. I would like to remind everyone that we have had time to prepare for this. All the Businesses have known about this for almost a year, and we were able to plan our business accordingly – and to my surprise, this street closure – has not significantly hurt my business.
I also have tenants above my building – they said that there has been no negative impact whatsoever to them. I have spoken to many of the businesses owners and employees on the street, and they also share my feelings on the speed and quality of work done by the City and the TTC.
Overall, everyone should be very happy – can you imagine if we had to watch them lay the track out one, by one, as they did 18 years ago......AND ON TOP OF IT WERE ARE GETTING NEW STREETCARS THAT LOOK AMAZING....

Dale Sonier
President/Owner , macFAB Home, macFAB Sews, macFAB Workroom; BIA Planning Committee Chair
eastender replying to a comment from Graham / July 16, 2014 at 03:35 pm
Why do we even bother with geographically (and humour ) challenged idiots like you ?

I know it's not hipsterville, and that's why our part of "Toronto" suits us just fine
Local Resident replying to a comment from Dale Sonier / July 16, 2014 at 04:23 pm
Thank you Dale!

A voice of reason from someone in the area who has been directly affected.

I live around the corner from your store and i agree with you with how fast they have been working.

The TTC nor the City want this to drag on and are working to their best of their abilities. The fact it is getting done so fast should be commended. 3 weeks is, like you said, nothing in comparison to how long it used to take, or could take were they not interested in doing so.

This time next week, it will be a distant memory and Riverside will continue to flourish as well if not better than before.
Bite Mark / July 16, 2014 at 04:25 pm
Before construction started at Spadina and Dundas, the Chinatown BIA sent out flyers saying they were "Open for Business!" during construction. Does anyone in the Queen and Broadview area know if the same thing was done there? Seems like a smart thing to do.
Talentscout / July 16, 2014 at 04:40 pm
Nobody cares about the businesses including the city of Toronto...Toronto retail businesses and restaurants pay the highest property taxes in Ontario....Why? To support lazy, crazy, unqualified overpaid Toronto city and Ontario government workers.....Toronto has a hugh bankruptcy rate...I don't understand some of the comments....Maybe its time that we get rid of some of these government workers and make the city of Toronto affordable for everyone...
Local Resident replying to a comment from Bite Mark / July 16, 2014 at 04:55 pm
Yes Bite Mark, this was done and the BIA has had many fun events and incentives throughout the past couple weeks to help entice people to continue to come to the area.

I have received flyers in the mail, twitter updates, plus all the signage around the neighborhood telling us they were open for business.

The Riverside BIA has done a highly commendable job outlining their involvement the entire time.
lol_no replying to a comment from Potrzebie / July 16, 2014 at 05:00 pm
There isn't street parking in this area anyways. WAY more people get here on transit (which is also diverting from the area due to this closure) than they do by car.
someone doesnt get out much replying to a comment from MRRRRRR / July 16, 2014 at 05:00 pm
Obviously you have never been to them.

Lets see here.

AFT...One of, if not the best BBQ joint in the city.

Prohibition...great high end pub fare, with great drinks deals twice a night.

Coyote Willys...Terrific under the radar Tex-Mex food thats been there for 20+ years.

BQM...well established hamburgers.

An Sibin...Typically decent irish pub fare.

To are an idiot.

not quite replying to a comment from lol_no / July 16, 2014 at 05:12 pm
Well thats not true.

There is loads of street parking in the area. Its simply all used very fast.

After 6pm you cant find a spot on Queen east of the Don River Bridge, down to Jimmy Simpson Park.

Nor can you find a spot on Broadview north or south of Queen.
Confused Tax Payer / July 16, 2014 at 05:25 pm
Don't care. Fuck Queen and Broadview.
GelatoLover / July 16, 2014 at 05:30 pm
I think it all depends on the business's along this stretch. As pointed out, if you have a great product/service customers are still going to come during on inconvenience of construction. Case in point, went to Eds at Logan on Friday night and it was still lined up out the door and the patio at AFT was also busy.......mmmmm ribs and gelato!

Anyway it will be all over soon and then we'll be complaining that the area is too busy and too many strippers looking for work without Jilly's.
Leslieville. Not Riverside. replying to a comment from GelatoLover / July 16, 2014 at 05:36 pm
Eds is way down the street from the construction.

Still extremely accessible by car, foot and transit.
Talentscout / July 16, 2014 at 05:38 pm
I personally stay away from construction..I don't want damage to my car...Without parking...I simply, will ignore the area and shop elsewhere..That is reality...Nobody in the city of Toronto cares...with the highest property taxes for businesses and restaurants in Toronto...Some of the comments I am reading are just plain stupid...You try running a business or running a restaurant....I doubt you could or would and probably work for the city of Toronto...or the Ontario Government...
dumb replying to a comment from Talentscout / July 16, 2014 at 05:52 pm
You are a piss poor driver if you think your car will get damaged.
Spike replying to a comment from Rick / July 16, 2014 at 05:57 pm
Where would you build these subways, Rick? And how much money are you willing to spend building them? Plus, are you willing to raise property taxes/have high sales taxes just to build them?

As well, you forget that subways are disruptive to streets as well ( you goint to be praising the TTC then when they have to 'cut and cover' to build subways?

Talentscout / July 16, 2014 at 06:01 pm
We pay the highest insurance for cars in Canada...You are a a low life stupid ignorant man...SPIKE>>>Got anything else to say? Go back to school or learn to read a newspaper. Educate yourself ignorant moron..
Talentscout / July 16, 2014 at 06:03 pm
Thanks for telling me LOW LIFE SPIKE that my business is not welcome...You must be a a lazy, crazy government worker either working for Toronto or the province of Ontario..Get a real job you lazy, overpaid bum.
Talentscout / July 16, 2014 at 06:34 pm
You Dumb truly live up to your name...Highest car insurance in Canada......You have nothing better to say? Grow UP...
Talentscout / July 16, 2014 at 06:43 pm
You trying operating a business DUMB DUMB>.....BET YOU CAN"T
Dom / July 16, 2014 at 06:47 pm
We need dedicated bike lanes along this stretch to help cyclists and stop the congestion causing street parking.
BM replying to a comment from Graham / July 16, 2014 at 06:51 pm
Ha ha. Loser.
Yardl / July 16, 2014 at 07:14 pm
But why would road closures and road construction affect businesses? We want an all bicycle and pedestrian city, don't we? Certainly pedal power and feet can get to these places around and beside work? Bikes and people are the only thing that a city needs to be prosperous and dynamic. They solve all problems and are without fault or flaw. Hah, foolish peasants - see how any diversion of cars and other motorized smog machines actually damages the economy and crushes poor storefront businesses? Wider streets and less LRTs for all.
Who needs a smack? replying to a comment from not quite / July 16, 2014 at 07:35 pm
I wish I could reply to all the dumbasses on here but can't....

All you fucktards just stay west of Bay Street please. Thank you. We don't want you here Ryan, Graham, talentscunt, confused tax payer and all you other cunts...nobody cares about your commentary here. Or anywhere. No one.

Quit trying to peddle smack on here replying to a comment from Who needs a smack? / July 16, 2014 at 09:04 pm
Beaches Jazz fest ya'll. Bringing us all right through your hood. Show some love!
CW replying to a comment from Rick / July 16, 2014 at 09:13 pm
> And this my friends is why Toronto needs more Subways like every other major city in the world.

Subways won't guarantee that you won't have construction destroying your business. Just take a look at Bloor. Construction started on sidewalks last fall and went into December. I have no idea how those businesses survived with people having to walk wooden planks to get into stores in the Christmas season.

And here we are in July and its still going on. They are replacing sidewalks, trees, and paving the street. This job should have been done last year. On most days I swear there are less than 20 people working the stretch between Christie and Lansdowne.

A pile of bricks has been sitting across from Christie pits blocking a lane of traffic for the past 2 months.
Jules replying to a comment from CW / July 16, 2014 at 09:16 pm
Must have good solid business plans and actual demand for their products and services and not just building a business on a trend.
Jillysneighbor / July 16, 2014 at 09:41 pm
Ryan - STFU and go back to Baltimore.
LightenUp / July 17, 2014 at 12:17 am
I drove north on Broadview towards Queen, sat behind a pickup truck for a solid 5 minutes before I realized it was parked and the road was closed. Yea that's right, I exist and have my drivers license! Lol And side note... RIP Jillys.
Donna / July 17, 2014 at 07:44 am
Please change title to what the reality is,

New street cars effecting businesses at Queen & Broadview
iSkyscraper replying to a comment from Rick / July 17, 2014 at 08:38 am
Not even worth explaining to this dumbass how a number of cities now have streetcars and even more have street-median LRT. I'm tired of stupidity.

Once Ford is out, perhaps this reign of intellectual terror will end and intelligence will return to civic discussions.
Joel / July 17, 2014 at 09:51 am
Full disclosure: I'm the Joel in the article above. I don't own a restaurant or food business or a shop in the area. I'm a food blogger who knows many of the impacted businesses.

It's worth noting that the average profit margin in a restaurant in Canada from 2008 to 2012 was between 3.1-5.9% (Statistics Canada:

Most of the establishments on Queen East would be 'full service restaurants' (3.1-3.7%) or 'drinking places' (2.9-4.4%).

Hypothetical numbers:
A restaurant which typically makes $100,000 in a month and makes a 5% profit would have a profit of $5,000 before taxes and interest.

If that same restaurant lost 30% traffic for one month, that would represent a net loss of approx $25,000 (it would be slightly lower depending on savings on things like less staff and less food costs but many costs like rent, insurance, minimal staffing and more remain the same). For the sake of argument, let's discount and assume the place lost 'only' $20,000 that month.

That $20,000 loss wipes out 4 months of profit - just to cover expenses. So the loss compounds far beyond the 30 days of construction.

My math is overly simplified and prone to dissection; I almost didn't post this because I really don't want to get into name calling and debate on 'trying to win.' I just want to help our local businesses that are impacted by this. It's not the fault of the TTC or city workers or drivers or bikers or anything but the situation. But it is a struggle for some.

As someone who has personal contact with these businesses, none have been unreasonable or claimed it shouldn't be done or that this isn't needed or won't benefit them. They aren't questioning the effort, intent or impact this may have that could help them. But they are impacted and we're trying to rally together to support them further.

Joel MacCharles
ukuk replying to a comment from LightenUp / July 17, 2014 at 10:18 am
We can only assume you were high???
torts / July 17, 2014 at 11:25 am
I ordered from Coyote Willies last night and it was fuking delicious.

Prohibition was packed too.

The area is doing just fine. And this time next week, all will be forgotten.
whatever replying to a comment from ukuk / July 17, 2014 at 11:30 am
...or so incredibly stupid they missed the huge orange "Road Closed" signs ar Easter and Broadview...unless of course they were making an attempt at humour LOL

Congrats to Joel for providing much needed perspective on this, seems to be a disappointingly high number of dumbasses on here...
or replying to a comment from whatever / July 17, 2014 at 12:37 pm
Stupid/high. Tomato, Tomatoe.
Spike replying to a comment from Talentscout / July 17, 2014 at 12:40 pm
When did I say or infer that businesses aren't welcome or that I hate businesses? All that I said to Rick was that subways building down a main street or avenue wouldn't be any more disruptive than the replacement or building of a streetcar/LRT track.
crow / July 17, 2014 at 01:43 pm
Guess all these owners can quit their bitching, seeing as the tracks are re-opening a WEEK early this Saturday.
CW replying to a comment from Jules / July 17, 2014 at 10:32 pm
I totally agree with you. The businesses along that stretch tend not to be trendy and likely never had a business plan. A lot of them could go out of business and I would never know they even existed in the first place. Hopefully they will stick it out and it'll be a once in 20-30 year construction.
CW replying to a comment from Joel / July 17, 2014 at 10:38 pm
> It's worth noting that the average profit margin in a restaurant in Canada from 2008 to 2012 was between 3.1-5.9%

Interesting to note that that the profit you talk about is what the owner lives on and is not included in the line item "Salaries, wages and benefits":;id=3550005#F4
"Salaries and wages do not include working owners' dividends nor do they include the remuneration of owners of unincorporated business."
C-Ray / July 18, 2014 at 12:02 am
Somes people be passionate up in here...Gots to say dat
j-rock / July 20, 2014 at 01:32 pm
I live in midtown and was out for drinks at Queen and Broadview last week. If I can make it there, then so can your regulars, and local patrons.
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