Venerable bread plant latest casualty of the condo boom
It seems there is more dough in condos than bread, and we’re all the poorer for it.
One of the few pleasures of driving along Eastern Ave. is the aroma of fresh baked bread that wafts through the air near Logan Ave., where a Weston Bakeries plant has operated for at least 60 years.
My 12-year-old son once asked me why it always smells so good around there. When I told him, he was fascinated by the idea of a factory that produces bread, and proposed a visit so we could watch the process up close.
I’m sure a lot of kids who live in the Leslieville area have had the same thought, and are accustomed to the wonderful smell of baking as part of their neighbourhood.
While wandering through the area the other day I noticed a City of Toronto sign tacked to the side of the building, and knew before I was close enough to read it that it was bad news.
The sign said a development proposal has been made by a numbered company, along with an application to build a “7-storey mixed use building containing 266 residential units and 1,432 square metres of retail” and commercial space.
In the retail outlet at the back of the bakery, where a loaf of bread or a package of cheap cookies can still be bought for pennies, I spoke to a woman at the counter who confirmed that the building was sold.
The plant will continue to operate until the end of 2013, she said, when she and the 100 or more people who work there will lose their jobs.
We went on the Weston Bakeries website to look for a news release about the sale of the Eastern Ave. operation. We found a long list of releases about financial results, but nothing about the plant.
The relentless march of progress over the past 15 years has devoured so many local landmarks that provided jobs and amounted to neighbourhood touchstones, to build 800 square foot shoeboxes that sell for $300,000.
It makes me yearn for the Toronto I discovered when I came here in 1979, where breakfast joints were run by Greek guys in soiled white uniforms and paper hats, instead of baristas with perfect teeth and slicked back hair.
So much for jobs and delicious smells.