In addition to reshaping our skyline, new developments contribute significantly to many other aspects of urban living. Public art installations and infrastructure upgrades are amongst the new cogs in our city’s complicated system of gears, yet they tend to only impact the pedestrian realm in a building’s immediate vicinity. Successful neighbourhoods also depend upon community programming, something that some developers don't give a second thought to. Others however are more involved, and give back to the neighbourhoods they build in.
The Daniels Corporation, no stranger to community initiatives, has partnered up with Toronto Community Housing (TCH) to bring a much appreciated weekly summer event to Regent Park, a neighbourhood in the midst of a massive revitalization. Now in its fifth week, the Regent Park Farmers’ Market is still just a pilot project, but the massively successful neighbourhood venue has already seen substantial praise from the community it actively engages on a weekly basis.
Every Wednesday until October 30th, from 3 to 7pm, locals and those just passing through will have a chance to pick up locally grown fresh produce, artisanal foods and various exotic dishes which reflect the unmatched diversity found within this culturally vibrant community. The market also plays host to musical performances and artistic activities by rising local talents every week.
The farmers' market offers healthy and sustainable produce, sourced from small-plot urban growers and rooftop gardeners, as well as unique fare from local food entrepreneurs. The market places emphasis on both accessibility and economic opportunities, bringing the community healthy, fresh and sustainable products, while also providing economic opportunities that can help reap long-term benefits for the neighbourhood.
Despite being operational for over a month, last Wednesday marked the market’s official opening. TCH President and CEO Eugene Jones Jr. along with The Daniels Corporation Vice-President Martin Blake joined residents, local vendors and visitors at the grand opening, which featured a garden-inspired style vine cutting to mark the moment.
"Toronto Community Housing is committed to building vibrant communities. We are proud to work with our partners to create yet another reason to come to Regent Park," Mr. Jones said. "The Farmers' Market will benefit people living in Regent Park and the surrounding neighbourhoods. It is one more way revitalization is helping to make Toronto a great place to live."
To celebrate the opening, Regent Park’s new neighbourhood restaurant—Paintbox Bistro, led by chefs Patrick Wiese (of Top Chef Canada fame) and Tallis Voakes (award-winning chef)—scoured the market for ingredients to create unique and simple dishes in the midst of a busy market full of shoppers. During a live cook-off, the chefs distributed samples and recipe cards to market-goers, giving them a unique opportunity to see and taste the full potential of the fresh ingredients sold on-site.
As a testament to the spirit of cooperation found throughout the Regent Park community, the Paintbox Bistro makes its kitchen available to local vendors for preparation and cooking of many of the items found at the Regent Park Farmers' Market, and will help launch resident vendor start-ups as inaugural "Food Incubator" businesses.
"Our commitment to Regent Park has always gone much deeper than the bricks and mortar of the buildings," said Mr. Blake. "We are devoted to helping launch and nurture local businesses that have the potential to reward multiple generations through economic opportunities, healthier lifestyle choices, and community engagement. By supporting this initiative, we continue to add to the incredible urban agriculture story unfolding in Regent Park. The Regent Park Farmers' Market is both a wonderful place for foodies and families alike, and it's quickly becoming a destination for Torontonians."
While the Regent Park Farmers' Market goes to great lengths in helping bring the community together, it also supports the growing locavore movement in the GTA by making fresh locally farmed produce available to the growing community east of the downtown core.
Looking for more information? Visit www.regentparkfarmersmarket.ca, or simply show up any Wednesday late afternoon through 'til the end of October to see what all the fuss is about!
|Related Companies:||Artscape, Cecconi Simone, Diamond Schmitt Architects, Hariri Pontarini Architects, NAK Design Strategies, tcgpr (The Communications Group), The Daniels Corporation, Toronto Community Housing Corporation|