Wexford Plaza, the movie (Dec. 1-7, 2017 Carlton Cinema)

Discussion in 'Out & About' started by Eug, Dec 2, 2017.

  1. Eug

    Eug Senior Member

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    Wexford Plaza, screening December 1 to 7. Given that this stars a rundown Scarborough strip mall, I'm surprised nobody's posted this yet.

    A slice-of-life offbeat comedy about Betty, a lonely female security guard working at a deteriorating strip mall. Isolated and friendless, a glimmer of hope appears when a make-up salesman shows Betty kindness, leading to an unexpected sexual encounter. Although Betty and her paramour are well meaning in their intentions, their behavior ends up causing both of their lives to unravel.



    There have been only a few reviews so far, but they have been good.

    I'll likely go see this at Carlton this weekend. Anyone know what's the best parking and best ramen restaurant around there?
     
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  2. Eug

    Eug Senior Member

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    Saw the movie today. It's a light story but decently written and executed, although the pace is quite slow. Content seemed more appropriate for a one hour TV show episode as opposed to an 82 minute movie, but overall I enjoyed it. I give it a solid 3/5. If you know Scarborough, you'll recognize a lot from the movie too.

    BTW, I parked on Carlton Street east of Church, and after the movie I went to Kinton Ramen based on its excellent reviews. The ramen and broth were good, but the pork was dry. I'll have to try Jinya Ramen next time I'm at the Carlton.
     
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  3. salsa

    salsa Senior Member

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  4. Eug

    Eug Senior Member

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  5. Eug

    Eug Senior Member

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    The Star: The strip mall is the final outpost of independent commerce in Toronto

    I went out to the real Wexford Heights Plaza at Warden and Lawrence Ave. E. this week where the film got its name (though it was actually shot at a different strip mall, in North York), to have breakfast at the Wexford Restaurant. The place is a Scarborough institution of wood veneer and vinyl-bench booths, which claims to have cracked millions of eggs in its decades of making all-day breakfast. It is the opposite of desolate and lonely — it’s the kind of place where the waitress calls you sweetheart and offers you three coffee refills in an hour, and where regulars fill the seats and chat with each other from across the room.

    It’s a throwback to a Scarborough culture of a few decades ago, and it appears to continue to thrive — though now with newer neighbours who appear to have set roots in the same rich soil. A sari shop, a Singaporean jeweller, a Middle Eastern patisserie, an Islamic clothing superstore. Across the street, in another strip mall, is Uncle Seth’s African and Caribbean grocery. Nearby, a Vietnamese food place is opening soon, and down the street, there’s a Filipino grocery. Of course, there are also nail salons, the MPP’s office, hair salons and a raw pet food store, too.

    It is exactly the kind of hodge-podge of places — from so many different cultures, of different sizes, with different purposes, almost all independent — that we used to love about the places we’d call main streets. Today, in the more established downtown neighbourhoods where the rents are higher, it often seems like “diversity” on a commercial strip means a Tim Hortons anda Starbucks, and maybe four different burger chains to choose from, too. Meanwhile, in the rundown strip malls in less fashionable areas, independent entrepreneurial character reigns.

    There has always been life in these plazas, of course: when I lived in Scarborough as a teenager and young man, our most interesting hangouts — comic book shops, coffee stops, used bookstores, arcades, pubs and pool halls were almost all in strip malls. That’s the nature of how these areas were built. But back then the downtown seemed to have more exotic, exciting versions, in more bustling form.

    ---

    To be honest, I have no real nostalgia for strip malls. I do appreciate the hole-in-the-wall restaurants that serve good no-nonsense and inexpensive food (a definition which ironically apparently doesn't include Wexford Restaurant due to its relatively high cost), but they don't always have to be in rundown strip malls.

    But then again, I didn't grow in Scarborough, even though I live there now.
     
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  6. blixtex

    blixtex New Member

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    It's definitely more nostalgic if you grew up in the area type thing. Especially in a era before the big box chains (a la Montana's) exploded everywhere. Also of a certain income level.

    Actually I have a friend who's parents owned a restaurant/Bar on Birchmount near Ellesmere in a strip mall like that. My memories of the place in the 90s where we used to hang out alot are more working class folks, I guess when Scarborough was more more working class in the traditional sense (factory, trades). Demographic shifts in the mid-2000s made that type of classic Western food type restaurant less appealing. I think the new owners made it more of a Caribbean bar type place. Their family bought the building as well as the bar/brill business at Woodbine and Danforth around 2005. When that area was still considered very 'sketchy'.

    But now, that place has gentrified alot more, seeing strollers, new yoga type businesses everywhere. I'm sure the value of that building has increased greatly too. But it's reflective of the type of change that has occurred and for many people the loss of that comforting hangout spot as the'it' spots are back to the old type of business store fronts of Queen St.

    As for me, I grew up along Eglinton, so there were plenty of arcades and pool halls that made up the strip malls, so that's more of my memory of it. There's a big strip mall at Brimley and Eglinton (had 2 arcades and a pool hall), that's still pretty run down. Probably one of the biggest of its kind. Was at one of the diners not that long ago having ordered wings and fries (good value) just to check it out for old times sake. The owner (older guy) was saying he was trying to sell it, if I was interested. Also mentioned the shift in demographic (away from western food, coffee, alcohol) making it hard to run a business like this and that nobody wants to buy. It definitely was rockin back in the day. Looks like the movie was addressing that type of business.

    If you're curious about checking out classic Scarborough joints, there's Aunt Mary's at Golf Club and Lawrence, really a breakfast diner and more of a quick eat and go. And Ted's at Kingston rd and Military Trail (highland creek) being a popular spot if you haven't been there. Crowded early weekends, but otherwise, small town feel diner. Really relaxing on the week days. They shoot a lot of shows there. Wexford on the other hand is probably one of the last real dinner/lunch focused places too as mainly, breakfast and bar type places still exist.
     
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  7. Videodrome

    Videodrome Senior Member

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    I live across the street from Wexford Plaza. The only places I go into are the Subway and corner store, which has drinks you can't get at most big name stores. I haven't eaten at the restaurant in a while, but did like it when I went.
     
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