Kensington Market is a unique and irreplaceable part of Toronto. A vibrant and eclectic neighbourhood and one of the last open air markets in North America, it has been designated a national heritage site and is a well-loved destination for Torontonians and visitors. It’s a world apart, still a village in the midst of the big city. Historically this has been a place of acceptance of people not accepted elsewhere, a place for small business to flourish, a place where shopping means visiting with neighbours. Torontonians cherish and want to keep that culture.
This special place is at risk if a Loblaws moves in to 297 College St, 400 meters from the heart of Kensington Market. The backbone of the market is and has always been the small independent stores, especially the purveyors of raw food—fruit stands, dry goods, fishmongers, butchers and groceries. These smaller stores, many generations old and family-run – are fragile. They may not withstand the impact of a Loblaws moving into the community.
When a fruit stand closes, it is almost always replaced by a bar or a restaurant. With a chain grocery store as competition, we risk replacing the small food stores —the market itself—with a concentration of bars, restaurants and formula stores. We risk losing Kensington Market’s unique welcoming community.
Mr. Weston, we know your family has deep roots in this city and has generously contributed to civic causes. We ask that you meet with the Kensington Market community to find ways to make sure the market is not harmed by your retail space at 297 College St. Please make sure you don’t destroy a national cultural treasure by bringing a Loblaws onto Kensington Market’s doorstep.