A rare kind of grocery store is coming to the Stonegate community in Etobicoke. Vandyk Group of Companies, a Mississauga-based developer who has built projects across the GTA and in Florida, has been working on their inaugural Toronto project just west of the Humber River. Backyard Neighbourhood Condos is a master-planned, mixed-use community with 505 units across the site. Three of four buildings are residential, while the fourth is a retail hub for both the incoming residents and the rest of the surrounding neighbourhood, and in that building will be the Berry Road Food Co-op.

Backyard Neighbourhood Condos, Vandyk GroupRendering of Backyard Neighbourhood Condos situated in its broader neighbourhood, image by Vandyk Group of Companies

Located at the intersection of 2 collector roads, Backyard Neighbourhood Condos is being built on the former Stonegate Plaza lands, which once housed a Valu-mart and a number of other neighbourhood shops and services. At the time, the Valu-mart was the only walking distance source of groceries for the residents of the area, many of which are recent Ukrainian and Polish immigrants. With the closure of the Valu-Mart, the Stonegate community has for the time being become a 'food desert' - an area without easily walkable access to food stores.

Backyard Neighbourhood Condos, Vandyk GroupStonegate Plaza from Apple Maps

The new commercial building is sort of a landmark development for the neighbourhood, which until Backyard Condos hadn’t seen activity in the recent Toronto construction boom. While no major arterial road runs through the Stonegate neighbourhood, it is only a 1 minute drive from The Queensway, a 2 minute drive away from the Gardiner Expressway, and the burgeoning Humber Bay Shores community forms the new skyline to the south. Despite its proximity to some of the tallest towers in the country, like the 66-storey Eau du Soleil, the urban form of the community is generally low and mid-rise and defined by 4-through-6-storey 50s and 60s style apartment buildings, townhomes, and single detached houses. 

Backyard Neighbourhood Condos, Vandyk GroupStore front of the future Berry Road Food Co-op, image by Vandyk Group

When Vandyk began planning the redevelopment the site, they searched for a grocery tenant to meet the needs of the local residents. With the site not fronting on arterial roads however,  the major chains like Loblaws, Sobeys and Metro declined, as did the convenience chains like Rabba. Enter: The Berry Road Food Co-op, a not-for profit grocery store designed to meet the food needs of the Backyard Condos and Stonegate communities. The co-op will act just like any other grocery store, selling locally sourced products and national brands at prices lower than what you would find in a for-profit store. Patrons can purchase a lifetime membership for just $10 to take advantage of the store’s special sales and deals. The store will be 8,727 square feet and offer additional services like a hot meal counter, food education classes, and an in-house cafe.

Backyard Neighbourhood Condos, Vandyk GroupVandyk Group and BRFC at the site of the new development, image by Vandyk Group

Due to the not-for-profit nature of the co-op, donations are being sought to set up the store and pay operating expenses until it becomes self sufficient. Vandyk is matching donations to the FundRazr Campaign dollar-for-dollar, with the goal of raising $100,000 by January 1st. The store's planned opening is Spring 2019.

To learn more about the project, you can check out the database file, linked below. Want to get in on the conversation or see how construction is coming along? Visit the associated forum thread, or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.