cabbagetown toronto

Toronto neighbourhood businesses say they're dying due to construction and traffic

A Toronto neighbourhood has been plagued with construction that's all but entirely diverted traffic away from main commercial hubs, and locals have had enough.

A petition to save Cabbagetown businesses now has well over a thousand signatures.

It explains the issues presented by warring streetcar track replacement, hydro utility repairs and water main replacement on College, Carlton and Parliament that are reducing parking and TTC access to the area.

"While infrastructure changes are vital to the healthy functioning of our city, the timelines for these long overdue projects is unreasonable," reads the petition. "Cabbagetown is witnessing huge drops in traffic and shoppers. Our local businesses are reporting revenue declines as high as 70 per cent."

The petition says the projects are to be completed by spring 2023, but makes demands of Mayor John Tory in the meantime to reduce the threat of small business closures in Cabbagetown, including reducing construction timeline by 50 per cent, financially supporting small businesses and meeting with owners.

"I've lived in Cabbagetown since 1982 and frequent as many businesses as I can," reads one comment on the petition.

"Without small street-front businesses we lose our community engagement and the heart of Cabbagetown. We need supports for small business owners, political will and funding to expedite the construction and upgrades. Even I have trouble getting to stores and I'm committed."

Douglas Ling had to relocate his restaurant Maracas to the area recently, and was experiencing success with the reopening until construction hit.

"I’ve had to fight my way back to make basic daily sales with more marketing and different ventures and I continue to fight as the construction is ongoing," Ling tells blogTO.

"Business owners, who have been here for years, as well as myself having opened this year, did not receive a notice and were not aware this construction would be taking place until it started. This lack of consideration shows that the businesses here were overlooked and forgotten. And it seems like there is no interest to help support us."

Another recently opened restaurant that's totally new, Golden Pigeon, has also noticed the impact of the ongoing construction and traffic woes on their business.

"We have noticed a change in our patio traffic and have tried to use lights and signs to get people in and notice we are open," a rep from Golden Pigeon tells blogTO.

Even others in the area who have not yet felt the full sting of the issues are wary of what's to come when construction inevitably hits the area where their business is located.

pastor taco

Wesley Spencer, owner of Pastor Taco. Photo by Fareen Karim.

"As a resident and business owner I see the impact and inconvenience caused by the construction," Pastor Taco owner Wesley Spencer tells blogTO.

"My business is located on Gerrard between Berkeley and Ontario. We don't have construction now but will have in the spring, which will be more major than the current construction on Parliament. Not looking forward to having to deal with the same amount of mess and disruption."

Lead photo by

A Great Capture

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