By AMANDA GIBB
The Gerrard East Market is a new beach-themed patio offering food and drinks from many local businesses in the area.
The collaborative effort to open a patio was achieved by local businesses Poor Romeo, Dive Shop (formerly Hotel Delilah), Vatican Gift Shop, PYMBO Investments, and soon-to-open businesses Two Cats Cannabis, and a wine bar called Gardel
It’s located on the northwest corner of Gerrard Street East and Marjory Avenue.
“Most of the neighbourhood restaurants are involved, we put their QR codes on the picnic tables, and anyone who sits down can facilitate the menu and order at their own leisure,” said one of the owners of Poor Romeo, Adam Graham.
Many other local businesses have since joined the Gerrard East Market including Pinkerton’s Snack Bar, Hype Food Company, and Yard Sale.
Graham said that PYMBO Investments purchased the property months ago, and wanted to make the parking lot into a 200-person patio as part of the CaféTO program.
From there, Graham said that the construction of the patio took three of four days.
“All the businesses combined together were all out there painting, building tables, contracting out build-outs, stringing lights, installing bars, and then it was done – miraculously done,” said Graham.
The finishing touch was the 22 tons of sand dumped out onto the lot to give it that beach feel.
“It’s time to be creative with your businesses and hope you can survive. We’re lucky to live in a country where our government is supportive of getting these patios outside for businesses to keep striving away,” said Graham.
Graham said that there is a lot of uncertainty in the coming months when the weather turns colder but hopes to keep it licensed throughout the year.
Graham said that the GEM has been well-supported by the community.
“I think it has been well-received, we stay within the guidelines…It’s not loud and overbearing…it’s family-friendly, kid-friendly, and dog-friendly. I think it fits well in the community and people have been embracing it so far,” said Graham.
Toronto-Danforth Councillor Paula Fletcher voiced her support for the Gerrard East Market.
“I was very happy to get this special patio approved by City Council. It is a great addition to Gerrard Street and I am hearing from everyone how much they love it,” she said.
Graham said the CaféTO program is a great idea and hopes to see support for businesses like this in the future.
“We’re very thankful to the City, to PYMBO, and to John Tory to be able to come together to do this for the community.”
The Gerrard East Market is open Thursday and Friday evenings, and all day Saturday and Sunday.
For more information about the Gerrard East Market and businesses involved, please visit the Instagram page at https://www.instagram.com/gerrardeastmarket/