Working on Queen West in Toronto: Angry Traders

Customers are not there, as pedestrians and motorists alike have to take detours to reach the shops.

I’m angry, and much more, says Janet Wright, a store owner from West Queen West. The hosiery store owner explains her disappointment: she thinks the work started in November Queen West It reduced the number of its customers by 50%. This situation occurs at the worst time of the year, ie during the festive season.

Janet Wright, owner of FloorPlay Socks

Photo: Radio Canada / Thillelli Chouikrat

Access difficulties

Ms. Wright cites several reasons for client absenteeism. They do not go to business on this commercial artery because trams no longer pass on the artery. Business is moving from east to west, and as a result cars can’t drive entire sections of the road either.

Janet Wright usually recruits four people for this period. Today, you will not be able to afford recruitment costs. Nor does she know how to dispose of the goods she ordered on holidays. As for deliveries, they also became difficult.

The delivery staff can’t come to my store, so they have to stand up illegally, and punish them for delivering goods that I can’t sell., she is protesting.

According to her, this repair work on the tram track is Rashad’s coup that would have forced two neighboring companies to close. Already greatly weakened by the fallout from the pandemic, they would not have resisted this final hurdle.

She explained that she had contacted the municipality on several occasions, asking them to postpone work for a few weeks, but reported that she had not received any response.

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She thinks the mayor doesn’t care much about small business.

« H&M and Zara can be opened, while mine can’t? This is ridiculous. Why did the city choose these brands and let us suffer? »

Quote from Janet Wright

If I had one thing to say to Mayor John Tory, it would be a shame on you, concluded.

A view of a sidewalk where fences prevent pedestrians from crossing the street.

Fences prevent pedestrians from crossing the street

Photo: Radio Canada / Thillelli Chouikrat

To the east, at the crossroads of Bathurst Street, Richard Cisse, the owner of the Nord Lyon bakery, noticed a sharp drop in his customers, by about 40%.

Last year in December we were very crowded (…) There was a long queue outside, while we were in the middle of COVID, explains his son Ciwan Cici.

Her father explains that customers who park nearby to go to work often find themselves fined. He also confirms that deliveries are slowing down.

This is indeed what Rene Kariga, the delivery man, explains. It has an impact on our work, we have to take great turns, Determines. Estimated loss of about thirty minutes during his birth.

Rene Karriga next to his truck.

Renee Kariga, delivery operator

Photo: Radio Canada / Thillelli Chouikrat

Companies are closing their doors

Robert Siske, Director of the Organization West Queen WestHe also says he is very upset with the situation. He explains that two weeks before the start of work, some companies had their best sales of the year. Then the work started and we lost the 817 bar which we had to close (…). For them, it was a fatal blow, he explains.

This group of 210 traders has published a petition to protest the work schedule. The document, specifically addressed to Toronto Transit Commission and the city’s mayor, collected nearly 5,000 signatures. But according to Robert Siske, no response was obtained. West Queen West Asked again to postpone work for a few weeks.

A man from the front in front of a fence that extends next to the works.

Robert Sisk, Director of West Queen West

Photo: Radio Canada / Thillelli Chouikrat

Brad Ross, Toronto’s director of communications, explains that the delay will affect other maintenance work. According to him, the city has shortened business hours in response to the merchants, and has clarified that the postponement of work may be complicated by the weather.

Contacted by Radio Canada, the city mayor’s office indicates that John Tory Fully aware of the concerns (…) of companies along Queen Street and their frustrations (…). This is why it supports the entire construction acceleration. He adds that the department’s staff made an effort to respond to all companies that sent an email regarding this matter.

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