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Impending closure of Weston Bakery worries Leslieville

Posted by Sarah Ratchford / July 13, 2014

Weston bakeryWeston Bakery has known it would eventually have to leave Leslieville for a couple of years now. A proposal for a condo has overshadowed the discount bakery and dry goods shop, and now, some families in the area are wondering where they'll go to shop for the basics.

The bakery's demise appears imminent because of a development application for a seven storey mixed-use development. It would include 259 residential units and ground floor retail. The application is still under review, with a public meeting to come in the near future.

I wander in one afternoon to see what the bakery's neighbours have to say about the potential closure. During the week, Leslieville can be pretty quiet, especially given the construction along Queen St.

Patricia Olawuyi lives in the area with her husband and two children. I ask her what she thinks of the closure as she picks out a loaf of bread.

"Of course we'll be affected. This bakery is cheaper, more convenient than other places. It's a good place, we don't want them to close."

She says now she'll have to venture further from home, to Shoppers or No Frills. That means lugging the groceries for a greater distance, and more time spent running errands. It also means she'll have to get what she needs at a greater cost: almost everything in Weston Bakery costs about $1, from cans of beans and chickpeas to tea, soup stock, various condiments, and loaves of bread.

While Olawuyi is sad about the closure, another lady I speak with is flat-out disgusted. She has a condo at Church and Front, and comes here to shop from time to time.

"What are they going to do? Are they going to tear this down and build condos four inches wide?"

She says developers are corrupt, and will do as they please regardless of the city, or of the neighbours' needs.

"They're going to do what they're going to do. And if they get away with it, the next guy is going to say 'Well, he was able to!'"

I tell the cashier I've heard about the development proposal, and ask her whether there are any details on where and when they'll be moving. She's friendly to me, but she looks both bored and annoyed by this pedestrian question, which appears to have been posed to her a skull-numbing number of times. I can't blame her, given the fact that rumours of the bakery's closure have been circulating since 2010. She says she's heard an uproar from neighbours about the closure, but then, other neighbours have complained about the bakery being there in the first place because of increased traffic and truck deliveries.

She sighs."We don't know anything yet. We might only be open 'til the end of the summer, maybe longer."



BM / July 13, 2014 at 11:30 am
First world problems.
bernie Q / July 13, 2014 at 12:24 pm
What are they complaining about? It's not just a condo they're going to build its going to be a place for millionaire spinsters and artistic millionaires to express their uniqueness by a fancy trendy condo lobby and hamstercage size apartments with no kitchen counterspace, paper thin walls and no closet space to keep their trendy expensive clothes and starting in the LOW $500k's. EXACTLY what the neighborhood needed...
Rachel / July 13, 2014 at 01:08 pm
Funny. I bet if Weston wasn't already there and they just announced they'd be opening their plant/bakery/factory in Leslieville - today's residents would be outraged that this mega corporation was trying to move in.
Ford Nation / July 13, 2014 at 01:10 pm
Poor people don't belong in Toronto. If you can't afford to shop at Whole Foods and 100% organic, get out.
realitycheck / July 13, 2014 at 03:05 pm
The actual fact is Canadians are passive and lazy and won't be bothered to get together and figure out how to stop it.
So they keep getting it up the butt cuz they take it so quietly. Only with little howls that add effect.
Dusty / July 13, 2014 at 03:49 pm
Ford Nations that was a mean thing u said,,telling them to get out..if everything wasn't so over priced just maybe people could live on their income...I guess u have money it doesn't concern u I bet..Im not poor neither am I rich but I do have consideration for others.If I c someone hungry I have given money to them,,I c all walks of life and the Government should step in and help these people..I hate stuck up people.
Questionable / July 13, 2014 at 03:56 pm
There are a number of excellent, small and often family-run bakeries in the area. It is too bad that these jobs are moving, especially if some of the workers in the area, but that certainly isn't Weston's fault. It is good that more homes are being built in a great part of the City. I will however miss the smell of freshly baked bread wafting over the neighbourhood.
BM / July 13, 2014 at 04:16 pm
What is everyone so scared about? Change? The Weston bakery will be relocated somewhere else. And in 70 years that new place will become condos. Relax. Toronto is growing.
nv / July 13, 2014 at 04:21 pm
''everything in Weston Bakery costs about $1, from cans of beans and chickpeas to tea, soup stock, various condiments''

I thought a ''BAKERY'' sold freshly ''baked'' items.
Moose / July 13, 2014 at 04:58 pm
This is fucking dumb! Toronto has enough condos, but they are making more?! I swear in a couple of decades toronto will be called condoronto.
steve / July 13, 2014 at 05:25 pm
Don't get this fear of residential construction. No one is forcing you to live were you do not want to. Toronto is no were near being 'over built' Any aerial view will show this, there are a few areas with high density but overall it is pretty sparsely populated.
More residents (people) equal more jobs equaling more property.
steve replying to a comment from bernie Q / July 13, 2014 at 05:30 pm
What are you getting at? The type type of residential property tour talking about is at the low end of the scale, it can be had for $200k, maybe less, to $250k, very affordable. For $500k you will get a nice 800 to 1200 sq ft, maybe 1500 sq ft. It depends on location and age of building.
So silly when I hear myths spun and presented as reality.
steve replying to a comment from realitycheck / July 13, 2014 at 05:37 pm
Reality is if you stop the city from building, growing, it goes backwards. No new residential building less people moving to the city, business will not locate or open in the city going elsewhere to find new employes, with less jobs people leave to find jobs elsewhere, it cyclical.
If you want a quiet do nothing, go nowhere town find one to live in.
Leslieviller / July 13, 2014 at 07:46 pm
I live on the same street as the bakery and it is a complete hole filled with food you probably shouldn't be eating. The people who shop there do not depend on or care about the market because I believe most don't own property. Leslieville is still up and coming and should welcome developments so we can one day sell our houses and make some money.
S / July 13, 2014 at 10:53 pm
Ummmmm.....what? The condo owner interviewed in this is annoyed that a condo is going to be built? Really? And what does corruption have to do with this; isn't this a case of the bakery or their landlord can get more cash from selling the land so they sold the land? WTF is wrong with people. Believe it or not, not every building in this city is going to stay exactly the same in perpetuity.
PBR / July 13, 2014 at 11:37 pm
My concerns aren't the bakery but the condos and the extra conjestion it will cause along Eastern Ave.
There was a staff report from May 12, 2007 that said the following to counci.
The report recommended that on Eastern Ave between Logan and Leslie have a lane reduction be implemented to reduce the existing four lanes to two. It also reduced the available parking on Eastern from 141 to 66 available parking spots. Last but certainly not least to put bike lanes on both sides of the road. There is an existing bike lane not more then one block away that unlike the situation on Eastern Ave is a separate bike lane not attached to a lanes that they share with cars.
The report goes on to say the following:

Eastern Avenue was not identified as a potential bikeway in the Toronto Bike Plan, because the physical characteristics of the roadway make it difficult to extend the bikeway west of Broadview Avenue and east of Leslie Street. West of Broadview Avenue the merging and diverging traffic on the Eastern Avenue bridge, coming from and going to the Don Valley Parkway, makes crossing this bridge very difficult for cyclists. East of Leslie Street, the westbound curb lane adjacent to the Connaught TTC yard is occupied by several sets of skewed angle street car tracks making it problematic for cyclists.

Someone wish to explain this to me? Even cycling groups are sick of bike lanes that go nowhere from nowhere!
Now the neighbourhood faces next year, with what city hall is saying, is going to be gridlock in the area caused by the Pan-Am games.
The traffic is already overflowing into the surrounding sides treats and yet they want to put in a 259 unit condo?
Again really, who's making money on this cause it makes no sence to me.
And again, does someone want to explain this to me?
Apsley Dood replying to a comment from nv / July 13, 2014 at 11:47 pm
They also sell day old and imperfect confections to the mostly low income in that area. Yeah, we snobs from the Beach slither over and stock cottage freezers full of hotdog and burg buns for the summer.
Once in a while you'll run into Sweet Daddy Sikki filling his SUV with purchases for local low resource assets he may be helping out.
Mary / July 13, 2014 at 11:55 pm
How does a family live off carbs alone? What happened to fresh fruits and vegetables?
7 storey building???? / July 14, 2014 at 08:12 am
THAT close to downtown?

Look, I know it's heavily residential, but they could put 15-20 storeys in easily and still not disturb things.

Do you have any idea how much this area is going to intensify density-wise in the next 20 years? Total missed opportunity.

At least do like they did on Dovercourt and tack 5-6 floors on top of the old building
Concerned with the current state of mind in Leslieville / July 14, 2014 at 08:55 am
All ot your comments are completely self centered and quite frankly selfish. Are none of you concerned with how this may effect the Weston family? There are people behind this you know its more than just a street address.
Milch / July 14, 2014 at 09:43 am
Once this place closes and the new condo building is built there will more than likely be a starbucks on the ground floor. They offer some baked goods as well as coffee and other drinks. Problem solved! Moving on
Rando / July 14, 2014 at 10:00 am
wahhhhhhhh I don't like condos but I won't do anything to stop them from going everywhere... That's you Toronto..
Joshua / July 14, 2014 at 10:37 am
Irony is that if Weston wanted to move into the area with 'industrial sized' bakery, the neighbours would be up in arms.

People don't like change, but I think this will be good. Rumours has it the bottom floor will be a small loblaws (considering Weston bakery is owned by Weston foods?)
Aydin replying to a comment from Apsley Dood / July 14, 2014 at 10:46 am
"Mostly low income in that area?"
This is a surprise to me. When house-hunting a few years ago, I focused on that exact neighborhood and had a hard time finding a home for sale in decent condition for less that $600,000. Since then, property values have only risen.

Maybe the bakery used to belong in that area, but it doesn't make any sense anymore. It's a huge footprint in an area where real estate is very pricey. Weston can sell it, move to a cheaper area and use the savings on operating costs (possibly employing more people).
Jules / July 14, 2014 at 12:19 pm
That's sooo 2007, its 2014 now. Welcome to Toronto most areas have congestion issues. If one bakery closing and one potential 259 unit condo opening is going to crumble the entire Leslieville infrastructure than let it crumble to be rebuilt properly. Currently the land is still zoned as an "employment area" the Weston application seeks to redesignate it as a “neighbourhood.” This has not been decided. BUT if it remains an Employment area instead of condos you could look forward to a Loblaws, Winners, Joe Fresh kind of deal like they did at King and Bathurst. Better yet Walmart! Condos or commercial use what do you want?

Ohh and the Pan AM Games last 16 days and effect many areas of the city, suck it up its not going to ruin your entire life. Should we cancel all events in the east end, like the fireworks, beaches Jazz fest etc until further notice because one report from 7 years ago says Eastern Avenue can't handle it?
James / July 14, 2014 at 12:37 pm
PBR was in Leslieville first so no one else gets to move in. Otherwise PBR may not be able to freely cruise the streets in that sweet Chevy Nova.

Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR) was established in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Think local, drink international gotta keep them trucks on the roads, highways and Eastern Avenue.
Yep replying to a comment from Rachel / July 14, 2014 at 01:07 pm
What Rachel said.
panoptica / July 14, 2014 at 01:42 pm
There are so many vacant storefronts in Riverside/Leslieville. It's unfortunate that one with an operating business had to be the one affected.

So is anyone concerned about the inability of places to stay open very long on Queen East? Rasputin Vodka Bar has a new 'for lease' sign on it now too.

Gayle replying to a comment from panoptica / July 14, 2014 at 02:58 pm
Well if we don't support them and there isn't demand then they close BUT usually the main case is a bad business plan to begin with and not enough actual market research done by small businesses.

Was there ever really demand for a Vodka bar in Leslieville? Was it over ambitious?
toomuchcoffeeman replying to a comment from Milch / July 14, 2014 at 04:40 pm
funny story Mitch, there is already a Starbucks at Logan and Queen, literally a few hundred feet from this proposed condo.. so you're right they'll probably put in a new one, thats too far of a walk.
Questionable replying to a comment from PBR / July 14, 2014 at 04:43 pm
I live close by. It is not gridlock. Far from it. I used to drive to work everyday. It's completely fine and 10,000 times better than the suburbs where I used to live.
Chris / July 14, 2014 at 04:55 pm
So the writer spoke to 2 people - one who works at the Plant's dry goods store and at best appears indifferent to the closing, and one person who lives nearby and is apparently concerned about walking 2 blocks to Shoppers Drug Mart to buy bread, and concludes that "Leslieville" is worried about the plant closure? That's some hard hitting research there.

Oh and the closure was announced well over a year ago, as was the development proposal. The writer really ought to get out more.

Drew / July 14, 2014 at 05:07 pm
Don't worry you'll still be able to buy your favorite Weston Breads at the Loblaws at Leslie and Eastern Ave. The Weston Family has you all on lockdown.

Country Harvest
All but Gluten
Casa Menddosa
All But Gluten. Gluten Free
Weight Watchers
Amanda / July 14, 2014 at 08:01 pm
Let's go Leslieville! Let's go Leslieville! Let's go Leslieville! Let's go Leslieville!

Let's stop all progress, so we can be Kensington Market in 20 years.

Leave us alone!
Pat replying to a comment from BM / July 20, 2014 at 01:07 am
That line is cliche and is like cut-and-paste, easily whipped out but no thought behind it. Think for yourself, don't just say a cliche. Most of all, think before you speak or type.

A problem is a problem. Problems need fixing for progress. If it is a problem of a certain place - a neighbourhood, a village/town/city, or country, even personal - then it's a problem and an issue for THAT place. And yes, Toronto and Canada is in the first world, thank you for pointing that out, which you must know by now. Another important thing is never ever compare a first-world place or problem with a third-world place or problem, because it's far-fetched. Compare similar places and levels with only similar ones too. Not doing this is a cop-out and injustice.
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