Category Archives: Members News

Silver Spoon To Close January 22

From the recent article in Toronto Life:

The Roncesvalles institution Silver Spoon is closing in the next two weeks, but chef and owner Rocco Agostino says the never-ending construction on the neighbourhood’s main drag isn’t the reason why he’s packing up. “It’s bittersweet. I’m not going to lie that I didn’t get emotional,” says Agostino, who also heads the kitchen at Pizzeria Libretto. “But it’s not necessarily horrible. Ten years is a good run. I want to go back to my roots, which are in Italian food.”

Even though he says the construction has led to a decline in business, he says he’s been thinking about other ventures for a while now. Aside from Libretto, he’s focusing on his next restaurant, Enoteca Sociale, which will feature house-made pastas and cheese. He says it’ll be on Dundas, about four blocks west of Ossington, and hopes to be open by spring.

But despite the dug-up roads and roadblocks that have hit Roncesvalles businesses hard in recent weeks, Agostino still loves the neighbourhood he calls home and has considered opening a small café on the strip someday. “I can now spend more time with my son,” he adds. “I consider this a move forward, and I have no regrets.”

Silver Spoon’s last service will be in 10 days, on January 22.

Victoria Flower Shop Moves On…

Alicia, who operated Victoria Flower Shop at 420 Roncesvalles Avenue for 18 years, closed her shop last Friday. She has been thinking about retiring from the flower business for quite some time, and recently sold her property and tells me that she’s looking forward to a lengthy holiday. We wish her all the best in her future endeavours.

I had the pleasure of speaking with the new owner of 420 Roncesvalles, who will be opening up a bridal fashion shop in February.

How can we best manage disruption in 2010?

Roncesvalles Reconstruction, photo from BlogTO

Photo: BlogTO

Recently, BlogTO posted an article on how Roncesvalles businesses are struggling during the reconstruction, a reminder of the importance of supporting local businesses during the holiday season. The BIA urges all Roncesvalles residents, please, to brave the occasional dust blast (and chilly breeze), and drop by your local shops, services and restaurants. We need you now more than ever!

The article mentions several business closures, although it is not clear that all these closures were due to the reconstruction. What is certain, however, is that business is down, and the 30 percent drop that Len McAuley from Pollocks reported sounds typical for the street. Is there way of mitigating the disruption during the second phase of construction (to begin in the spring with the streetcar track and sidewalk repairs)?

In addition to urging continued local support for Roncesvalles businesses, the BIA would like to ask community members for their observations of how this first phase of construction has been managed. What can be done better to ensure that the second phase proceeds as smoothly as possible? Good suggestions should be incorporated into the tender document, which the City and TTC will send out shortly.

Here are some sample observations, and a few suggestions:

1) Do more to ensure pedestrian movement: Quite often during the first phase, pedestrians were required to walk a block or more out of their way just to cross the street. This effectively cut off businesses from half their customers. The new contract should state that pedestrian crossings shall be maintained at each block except when this is absolutely impossible. Each hour that a pedestrian crossing was closed made a difference to businesses across the street.

2) Manage the dust: Perhaps even more than parking and car access, dust and noise were main factors keeping customers off the street. The jackhammers only lasted a week or so out front of a business, but the dust remained far longer. This meant that whenever a bus drove by, a huge cloud of dust was stirred up and thrown into people’s faces. Even after the first blast, micro particles would linger in the air, making the street unpleasant for everyone and intolerable for those with allergies.

3) Contain the mess: Right now, there are several blocks along the street that are finished but still closed off due to staging materials. Wherever possible, the City should insist that staging materials be kept on the same block where work is occurring or just one block adjacent. Whenever a block can be opened up, however partially, it should be.

4) Preserve bike parking: whenever bike posts must be removed in order to reconstruct the sidewalk, temporary bike parking should be provided nearby. Car parking may need to be restricted along Roncesvalles, but there is no reason bike  parking should be.

5) Accept time-based transfers at all Roncesvalles stops, allowing TTC riders forced to switch vehicles at Queen/King/Roncesvalles to shop a bit before resuming travel without requiring use only at designated transfer locations. A similar program has been in place on St. Clair.

6) Bonuses for speedy completion of work should be included in the construction contract

Are there any other observations/suggestions? Please contact the BIA at info@roncesvallesvillage.ca, Councillor Gord Perks at councillor_perks@toronto.ca,  or post below!

The community has always understood that the reconstruction work is long overdue and is absolutely necessary to avoid having streetcars run off their rails. And disruption is inevitable with any reconstruction. But there is always room for improvement in how such things are managed. Let’s make sure the lessons learned during this first phase are incorporated into the second!

The Local Turns Five!

Drop in on Melissa, Rupert and lots of great musicians (including Yawd Sylvester, Good Right Arm String Band, and Jay Clark and the Jones) on December 20th for The Local’s fifth anniversary. In a short five years, The Local has grown to become one of the most popular venues on Roncesvalles and a regular part of many musicians’ lives. Congratulations!

Mayor Miller Declares Shop Local Week

From the office of David Miller:

shop-local-week-pdf.jpg

Whereas TABIA (Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas) recognizes the tremendous contribution of small business to the economic sustainability of Toronto and to our fiscal recovery during the present economic down-turn.

It is important that residents recognize the role of small business in the growth and success of Toronto and that their support of neighbourhood shops and businesses is paramount to the overall prosperity of our city.

During this week, millions of dollars will be spent, a financial stimulant that will benefit our Toronto’s economic growth and recovery. Spending at the local level and at local shops will ensure a great degree of economic stability.

NOW THEREFORE I, Mayor David Miller, on behalf of Toronto City council, do hereby proclaim December 7 – 14, 2009 as “Shop Local Week” and encourage everyone to support at-home shopping at neighbourhood and local shops in the City of Toronto.