construction queen toronto

Toronto small businesses furious and frustrated after latest street construction fiasco

Construction on Queen St. West has officially started in Toronto, and it has businesses worried about the rest of the summer.

The construction is taking place along Queen from Fennings to Bay, in order to make TTC track and watermain replacements and improve the streetscape in partnership with the local BIA.

This includes replacing the streetcar track from Fennings to Bay and at the intersection of Queen and Shaw, and replacing the watermain and City-owned portion of substandard water services from Bay to University.

No matter the reason, any construction in any spot is a cause for concern for businesses.

"It's always a concern for us anytime there is construction going on in our area," Eric Chao, owner of vegan restaurant Parka, tells blogTO.

"We fully expect our traffic and sales to be affected while construction on Queen is happening, and our only hope is that it will be managed well enough by the authorities to minimize the timeline and impact on neighborhood businesses."

construction queen toronto

Parka near Queen and Spadina, where construction has yet to hit. Photo by Briana-Lynn Brieiro.

While construction is an issue at pretty much any time, businesses have just been allowed to reopen for in-store shopping and indoor dining, so this is an especially crucial period for them.

"Having been in lockdown for most of our time open, and now opening to the public with construction outside for six months is extremely disheartening," Shannon Whelan, owner of flower and gift shop Euclid Farms, tells blogTO. Her business just opened in October 2020.

"You would think the city would be more compassionate to small business owners and store materials," she says, adding, "It's not like we've had an easy year."

Whelan also says construction materials being stored along Queen are further impacting businesses, and she wonders why they couldn't be stored elsewhere. She also notes she only had a couple days' notice this was happening.

construction queen toronto

Euclid Farms at Queen and Strachan, across from Trinity Bellwoods. Photo by Briana-Lynn Brieiro.

Samira Mohyeddin, who co-owns Iranian restaurant Banu, also feels the City didn't give clear direction to businesses.

"This just feels like another hurdle being thrown at us and our industry," Mohyeddin tells blogTO. "Who the hell wants to sit outside and have construction noises happening just 10 feet away from them?"

 They're also frustrated that they now have to dismantle their patio.

"There's no room. We just have to throw our hands up in the air again," says Mohyeddin. "We paid money and constructed a patio and now we may have to dismantle it. It's just a shit show."

construction queen toronto

The patio that will soon have to be taken down at Banu. Photo by Briana-Lynn Brieiro.

Mohyeddin feels that the entire project could have been pushed.

"We are a major artery of this city on Queen West," says Mohyeddin. "They should wait till October at least to do this and try and minimize the damage being done to businesses."

Like Chao, Mohyeddin knows construction is going to hurt whenever it hits, and feels it's an issue that will continue to plague some of our most vibrant areas if planning doesn't improve.

"We have been here for 16 years and it feels like every year or two years the street is being torn up for something," says Mohyeddin.

"It would be hilarious, if it wasn't so detrimental to businesses."

Lead photo by

Briana-Lynn Brieiro

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