farmers market toronto

Toronto cafe transforms into an indoor farmers' market one day a week

A Toronto cafe that currently can't welcome coffee drinkers has transformed into a farmers' market on certain days of the week.

Page One started off welcoming a farmers' market project into their space once a week on Wednesdays from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., and should be expanding to open the market on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. as well. Otherwise, the cafe is open as normal for takeout coffee.

One of the owners Firas Arafat says Page One decided to start selling gourmet European groceries around October of 2020, including imported products like pastas, flours, oils, crackers and cheese. You can now even get local beer from Black Lab there.

They had heard of the impending lockdown and wanted to come up with a way for their space with a capacity of 100 to remain useful to the community.

Arafat told blogTO that although they were "focused mostly on coffee," they had "lots of support from residents of the building" in which they are  located. One resident recommended the Page One owners check out the farmers' market at Brickworks to find businesses to partner with, and it's there that they found Fresh and Tasty Mushrooms.

Shannon Declerc of Fresh Tasty Mushrooms found herself restricted on space at Brickworks and was unsure about staying there in the future, so Page One offered her the use of their space to run her own farmers' market.

"The seating area wasn't being utilized and we wanted to help another small business, so we offered the space for free," says Arafat.

He says that most people who attend the market come from the building of over 400 units where they're located, but they also get students and customers who live in nearby buildings. They've told Page One that the market is super convenient and they like not having to go far.

Declerc's main focus has been mushrooms, but at the Page One market you can also get fruit, free range eggs and meats. Distancing and masks are required, and a max of five customers are allowed in the cafe at a time. There are never more than 10 people total inside including spaced apart staff.

"We want to make sure we support the community and that people shop small, and they are," says Arafat.

Lead photo by

Page One

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