Olive on a Mission: Grocery Store in the Village of Streetsville

Olive is on a mission. I would love to see a small-scale independent grocery store open up in the downtown core of the Village of Streetsville.

When I was growing up in Streetsville, there used to be two grocery stores downtown. One was the IGA (which is now Shoppers’ Drug Mart at Centre Plaza) and the other was Dominion (later Foodport, which is now the Portuguese Community Centre at Britannia and Queen).

I lived in Montréal for a period, where I could walk to a great fresh fruit and vegetable store,

Photo courtesy of Bonjour Montreal

a gourmet butcher, a baker, a full-service grocery store, and an ethnic grocery store (not to mention a handful of great restaurants!). And that was all within 4 blocks of my apartment. Streetsville villagers need a grocery store that we can walk or cycle to, on a short jaunt, to pick up fresh produce without making a car trip outside of the village.

I am so envious of the Mineola neighborhood in Port Credit, which has the fabulous, small-scale gourmet grocery store Cousin’s right in their neighborhood.

Photo courtesy of Cousins Gourmet Market

Todd Ladner, Chairman of the Streetsville Business Improvement Association would like to start a movement. He thinks the building currently occupied by the post office (at the southeast corner of Queen Street South and Kerr Street) would make a great location for a small-scale gourmet grocery store or co-op farmers’ market.  The post office at this location will be closing and then re-opening on a smaller scale in the former location of JOE LAD (on Queen Street South between Thomas Street and Pearl Street). So, this building will soon be vacant. The property will be sold by the federal government to a private owner. It has parking, a loading dock, and lots of space.

Imagine turning this

Streetsville Post Office

into something more like this,

Summerhill Market

or this,

or maybe even this. Olive The Apple Factory!

apple factory

Todd would like to hear what you think. What kind of grocery store would you like to see in the Village of Streetsville? Please share your thoughts with us by commenting on this post. And forward this post to as many Streetsvillites as possible, so we can hear the voice of Streetsville loud and clear.

Long on my wish list, olive the idea of riding my bike (scarf in the wind) to a village gourmet grocery store to pick up a warm baguette, a block of fine cheese, some fresh produce, and some gourmet goodies. Let’s make it happen Streetsville! Cousins and The Apple Factory, I hope you are listening.

21 comments to Olive on a Mission: Grocery Store in the Village of Streetsville

  • Kathy Hawkins  says:

    My husband and I have been talking about this for several years now, I think the Post Office would be an ideal location…we’re all for it and excited about the prospect that this could become ‘reality’. Let’s make it happen, ‘Olive’ the idea!

  • James Hurt  says:

    Olive. I like you always believed there should be a small local grocer in the village of Streetsville. I worked in the Streetsville IGA with George and Bert for 23 years and loved the community atmosphere. It would be nice for the seniors to be able to again have a store which services them the way they should be and not shuffled as cattle through the big Guys, not being noticed. A friendly greeting and a small type store is what would be best for the area. Olive and Todd are correct and it would be an exciting addition to the downtown core once again.
    Jimmy Hurt (Apple Factory Mgr)

  • Olive  says:

    I agree, Jimmy. Wouldn’t it be great if the Apple Factory could set up shop in town?

  • Jill  says:

    Yes, yes, yes, Olive, we want a small grocer in downtown Streetsville! What a great idea for using the soon-to-be-emptied post office.

  • Alan  says:

    I think this is a great idea Olive! It would be nice to have the convenience of such a store in town.

  • Wendy  says:

    I agree that we need a grocery store in the village. At the moment, I can’t imagine what the seniors do for ‘proper’ food if they are unable to drive. We sure miss Bert and the IGA!

  • Judi Johnston Vankevich  says:

    Wow you guys! Now I’m getting all sentimental for my home town… Streetsville… !

    I loved growing up in Streetsville! I loved walking downtown to Queen Street on a field trip from Ray Underhill Public School with my beautiful Grade 1 teacher, Miss Russell (now Mrs. Johnson!!)… singing all the way to the “new” Centennial Library! (Remember we sang “Mud is very nice to feel all squishy squash between my toes…. I’d rather play in squiggly mud than smell a yellow rose bud!!”

    You are all so sweet to remember when you worked at “Mr. Johnston’s” IGA store! I loved being “Mr. IGA—‘Burt Johnston’s” daughter!” and I loved working with my beautiful Mom (Margaret), Randy and Skye at the store. Little Janice was our adorable mascot! I remember when she was born and dad had the Jolly Green Giant outside the store (when it was at the Royal Bank location!) saying “It’s a girl!!” (I even won the Streetsville Speech contest up at Vista Heights School—my speech was on Janice and “The Terrible Twos!” I loved doing carry out at the store… (we weren’t allowed to take a tip!) delivering IGA handbills… and going with dad when he drove the van to deliver groceries to the seniors. He never charged them a delivery service, and I think he called them all “Sweetie!”!! LOL I remember Grandpa Eldred often was the one to go in early and open the store and put those yummy smelling chickens on the grill! It was fun to wrap meat with Grandpa in the back or those Saturday night inventories – all by hand! (remember – no computers!) My dad was amazing with mental math – always with that pencil behind his right ear!

    I loved Dad’s big community parties in the IGA parking lot… when Grandma Annie challenged Dad to a cow milking contest (no kidding!) and we had line dancing… and gospel sing songs lead by Carlos Figuerdo and the Johnston Sisters!… and the day Carolyn and I even dressed up like Barney! You should have seen the line up to hug us… all across the parking lot!! I loved working in the garden centre in the summers and my little daughter, Lexi, took her naps under the outdoor cash register. When she woke up, she loved handing customers their receipts with a smile… “Thank you for shopping at Grandpa Burt’s IGA store!” (So cute!)

    I was proud when Dad came to our Dolphin Graduation and presented scholarships. (But I was embarrassed when he came to pick me up early at the Dophin dance!!) funny!

    I remember when Dad did renovations at the store, and he had GIANT prints of historical photos of STREETSVILLE in the olden days… as his decorative art work all around the store. Even when the big superstores started opening all around Streetsville, it still seemed like people liked to come to the IGA because of Dad’s “old fashioned friendly service”… and of course great prices… and the very charming staff like Jim Hurt and Madeline and Jim and Paul Flack and Ross Carkner and Lenny Bryant and the Baltus sisters and their big brother, Ron!(it’d be fun to have a reunion!) Dad and Mom were blessed and grateful to have such an amazing team of young people work at the store. Dad wasn’t perfect… but he loved his family at home and his family at the store and his family at Rotary Club!!

    Mayor Hazel McCallion was amazing… she was ALWAYS there to support us. We are super proud of our wonderful Mayor and grateful for her years of faithful service. I remember when Grandpa served as a Town Councilor, and when he didn’t get re-elected, he wrote in the Streetsville Review,” Eldred Johnston would like to thank everyone who voted for him, and his wife Annie would like to thank everyone who didn’t!” Brilliant!

    It was wonderful to grow up in a little town called Streetsville… and feel like you knew everyone in town… and feel like they knew you.. or knew your parents.. so you had to behave! Even the Police Chief seemed to know everyone’s names—and not because we were in trouble… but because he cared!

    I loved life at Ray Underhill… except when I had to go to the Principal’s office (Mr. Catling) for riding my bike in the school parking lot! Mrs. Squires taught us to make bread and even make our own butter in a jar by shaking the cream! And Mrs. Rennie drilled those Multiplication Facts into us… Can anyone help me find her! I want to say Thank you! And all the girls thought Mr. Reynolds was so handsome!! (I think he was 19 or 20 when he started teaching!) Our school Janitor was SOOO nice.. what was his name? And Mr. Johnson even had class prizes… my two prizes were… “The girl the boys would most like to take home to mother!”… and “Hollywood… Here I come!” (which came true!) Thank you Mrs. Southwood for all those wonderful musicals (The Early Bird Catches the Worm!) and I remember the lovely hymns we sang at assemblies “Can a little child like me… thank the Father fittingly… Yes oh yes be good and true.. faithful kind in all we do. Father in Heaven… Father in Heaven… Father in Heaven we thank you!!” and we even sang O Canada… God Save our Gracious Queen.. and said the Lord’s Prayer.

    Can you imagine what a thrill it was for me a few years ago to do a “Judi The Manners Lady Concert” in my old gym at Ray Underhill… and it was even in the Toronto Star!!

    When Grandma Annie and Grandpa Eldred sold their farm, Grandpa bought a house on Shady Lawn Crt… across the road from Ray Underhill… and one of the highlights was when every Wed. after school, about 30 kids ran across the road to Grandma’s house for my mom’s Bible Club! Even now, kids tell my mom that they still remember her Bible Clubs!

    I loved the bazaars at the Anglican Church.. and when Carolyn did all her Christmas shopping in one hour with three dollars! Great value deals in Streetsville!

    I loved it when our Dolphin Principal stood outside his office every day after school and said “good bye” to each of us by name. (Yeah Mr. Flack!) I was proud to play basketball for SSS… (everytime I see Orange and Black I burst into that corny cheer, “Orange and black! Orange and black! These are the colours that we will back! Razzle Dazzle… siss boom bah… Streetsville High School.. Rah Rah Rah!!” (Told you it was corny.. but our cheerleaders were so pretty and enthusiastic!) Initiation Week for us grade niners was weird… but ended up being pretty fun! Mr. Manders was really nice… Mr. Giles taught us Science. My all time favourite teacher was Mme. McKerrow… who drilled French grammar and pronounciation into us… Skye and I loved her! Mme McKerrow taught us the adjectives that preceed a noun, in a little poem…
    “Vieux, jeune, nouveau;
    villain, joli, beau;
    court, long;
    mauvais, bon;
    grand, petit, gros.
    Autre, chaque,
    Premier, dernier,
    Mechant, haut, certain!
    She promised that if we memorized it, we would never, ever forget it. It’s true. I taught my kids.. and passed it on to their French teachers! (call me and I’ll recite it for you! 604.530.4346)

    I loved our Youth Group at Streetsville Baptist Church… and our church baseball team… and TV show on Cable 10… and our church musicals… and even our summer services down at the park by the river! Our church and the IGA store always had a float in the Bread and Honey Festival parade… (dad loved to dress up… from Farmer to Roman togas!) We all felt like Miss Canada.. waving from the float!… or working with Jim Tulloch as we interviewed people along the parade route for Cable 10 television!
    I remember how exciting it was when Streetsville got bus service… remember those beautiful, shiny orange and white buses that took us to the brand new Square One! (Didn’t we feel grown up going there by ourselves!)

    I loved piano lessons with Mrs. Dimitroff (and her wonderful Bulgarian desserts!) and her infamous piano recitals at the United Church! (Todd… do you remember when it was your time to shine on the piano.. and she made me sing along with you! So sorry to have made you share your spotlight!)

    I remember looking forward to what Mr. Goheen would write in the sports column each week in our “Streetsville Review.” Sports was a big deal in Streetsville! And how many summers did we line up when the Streetsville pool opened at 9 am… and left looking like prunes at 7 pm when the pool closed!!

    I loved skating on Friday nights at Vic Johnston arena. It was my dream to grow up and be a professional figure skater! It was a thrill to get each new badge and to feel like an ice princess at our final performances! It was fun to watch my big brother play for the IGA Panthers or the Streetsville Derbys. It was fun to go with Dad to Rotary Club down at the Anglican Church, or later down at the newly renovated “Vic Johnston Community Centre!” I loved ballet lessons at St. Joseph’s (even though I was bummed never to get to wear a tutu or do twirls … we had to wear striped pajamas and carry a candle!) I loved playing basketball for Ray Underhill, Dolphin and SSS.. and going to OFFSA for track and field. (I was just looking through our SSS yearbook—black and white of course – and my kids thought we all looked geeky… but what great memories)

    I loved learning Portuguese… my mom signed Skye and me up for Portuguese lessons at the new Cultural Centre just past the Cenotaph! My dad and Carolyn had fun greeting all their customers in their first languages! “Bom Dia!” (Portuguese!) “Ab kay say hey!” – in Urdu!) You should have seen the customers smile when they were so surprised to be greeted in their first language! It showed Dad and Carolyn cared.

    We were all so proud when Dad’s beautiful cashier, Maria Silva, was crowned, “Miss Streetsville!” (Our prayers and condolences to Maria, Danny, Annette and Elizabeth as their precious mom went to be with the Lord this past year… we loved Mrs. Silva from Earl Street!)

    I loved building rafts with Randy and floating down the river.. or jumping from Tube Benders dam / falls (Don’t tell mom!) I loved taking my kids to play in the Credit River and catch crayfish (when they were banned from Carolyn’s wedding shower because they had chicken pox!) funny!

    And of course, when I got married, there was no question about where I would take my handsome groomsmen to get their tuxedos… Eric Ladner’s Mens Wear! (Todd and Cobi.. I bet your dad and my dad are up there telling jokes with Stan Turner — Mrs. Southwood’s dad – she was my beautiful grade 4 teacher… and lead Carolyn and me in all our school musicals!!)

    I live on the west coast now… but love coming “home” for vacations and we always bring our kids through Streetsville… and tell them all our “stories!” We even went to visit the wonderful family who moved into our home on Arch Road! Randy loved coming up from Birmingham, Alabama when Todd invited him to join “the guys!” at the Bread and Honey Festival!

    It’s fun to find so many “old” friends on Facebook… Reconnecting is good… it gives us roots. And reminds us to be grateful.

    I recently spoke at our City Hall Council Meeting here in Langley, B.C. and I told our Mayor and Council how much I loved growing up in a “small town” called Streetsville, Ontario and that great feeling that you knew everyone in town. And even though our small town of Langley has grown larger and is starting to sprawl.. that it’s not too late to bring back that small town feel. A sense of community. Where neighbours care about each other and actually know each other’s name. Where you can go into a shop and the store owner greets you by name… and he probably knows your parents!

    We can create this small town feel again in Streetsville…

    It’s not about buildings. It’s not about fancy shops! Although they will DEFINITELY add to the charm. It’s about people. People who care. People who are kind and greet you with a friendly smile as you pass them on the street. People who remember your name.

    As “The Manners Lady,” I recently had the privilege of training over 12,000 young people to be multicultural friendship Ambassadors for the 2010 Olympics here in Vancouver…. Inspiring young people to use their three Kindness Keys to open the door to friendships: the Respectful Attitudes Key, Respectful Words Key and Respectful Actions Key! And we’re just going to be launching the “Proud to be Canadian” Gratitude Campaign.

    We can do this in Streetsville! Let’s get all us “oldie goldies” to come home and remind our friends in Streetsville about the power of a smile and a genuine, “Hi! It’s nice to meet you!” or a caring, “How’s it going?!” Or “How can I help you!?” the way Mr. IGA taught us! We can set the standard for every small and large town in Ontario and Canada!

    I remember a speech I gave for school called, “Let’s put Streetsville on the Map!”… well.. Todd and Olive …. way to go!! Let’s make Streetsville the most charming destination around!

    Maybe a fun way to start would be to celebrate National Manners Month in October (www.NationalMannersMonth.com) and focus on making Streetsville the friendliest and safest town in Canada!) We could do the “Meet your Neighbour Contest!” to encourage all ages to learn how to give a firm handshake as we meet our next door neighbours and the names of the people who serve us at local businesses, the library, the post office and local churches and volunteer agencies.

    And maybe The Manners Lady can come do a concert for the community! (That’d be so much fun!!)

    I’m like “Olive!”… who “Loves” to eat!! I also lived away from Streetsville.. I had the opportunity to model in Paris after high school… and I agree with “Olive”… one of the highlights of life in France was walking to the boulangerie for a fresh yummy baguette (okay.. the pain au chocolat was yummy too!)

    Todd and “Olive!” Let’s go for it! Let’s put an old-fashioned neighbourhood gourmet grocery store or co-op in the old post office on Queen Street.. and make it the social hub of the town!! What a great idea! Let’s do it quickly so Mayor Hazel McCallion can be the one to dedicate it!! And my dad would probably love to come back from Heaven and run it!! But we’re grateful for the next generation of “Todd Ladners” who have caught the vision for leading the renewal of the vision for the town we grew up in… Streetsville—a place for friends to meet! … and meet again!

    I just realized how long running monologue has become… boy was I sentimental… and a big sappy.. but it’s good for me to remember. Maybe we can all start writing down our memories… it’s healthy and fun! It made me smile to think of so many of you. And it’s good for the next generation to hear our stories of what it was like when we were little.

    If anyone from the “olden days” remembers me or my family or my dad.. we’d love to connect.. [email protected] or Judi Johnston Vankevich on Facebook. I can’t wait to come home and see you all again! Todd.. you’re good at reunions!… let’s do it! (Do you know how cool it is to have my Grade one teacher and Grade four teacher as friends on Facebook! Imagine! It truly makes reconnecting easier and fun!) Thank you all who made my growing up years in Streetsville so much fun!

  • Joel McClintock  says:

    It’s a worthy Mission Olive. I received a copy of this article via Facebook from a high school friend and Streetsville neighbor. Unfortunately I don’t live in the area anymore but every time I get back to Ontario I make it point to visit Streetsville. It’s unique character back in the 60’s and 70’s has been beautifully sustained and the addition of an independent small-scale grocery store would be wonderful and would add to the attraction and appeal of an already amazing town.

  • Olive  says:

    I feel the same way about Streetsville, Joel. It’s thanks to Todd and Eric Ladner (I am sure Mary had lots of input too), that the village has sustained its beautiful charm. Thanks for your input and come home for a visit again soon!

  • Olive  says:

    Thanks for sharing all of these wonderful memories, Judi.

  • Liz Porter  says:

    I love the town of Streetsville where I grew up. I think that adding a small grocery store would be benefical to the town and would add charm to the town. Fantastic idea! The folks in Streetsville need a small grocery store with fresh produce. I would love to see it happen!

  • Grace  says:

    It’s something that’s desperately needed. Streestville is an awesome place to live but it’s hurting for a market like the one mentioned in the article. It’s too full of fast food places and nail salons/spas. A grocery store is the type if business Streetsville needs to bring to it’s residents.

  • Alex  says:

    Yes, I would love to see this happen!!!
    Streetsville would benefit from a small scale grocery store, the residents would too!

  • Taylor Meddick  says:

    Great location for something like The Apple Factory. Sure we have Shoppers Drug Mart for milk and bread. But a market with fresh produce would be ideal in the heart of streetsville

  • Lynanne Mckee  says:

    Loved working at the IGA in Streetsville, spent 11 great years there with Burt, George and Jimmy, Sandra and many others and got to meet lot of great Customers. Nice “Hometown” feel! A small scale store withe fresh produce woud be great and certainly be a blessing for the Senior Citizens who have to go a lot farther to get theif groceries now!

  • Kirstin Schwass  says:

    Imagine that Streetsville had been without a proper grocery store for so long! My mom would bicycle to the local grocery stores on a daily basis, when I was growing up. Streetsville continues to be such a beautiful village but a community should be “walkable”. How wonderful it would be for the residents to have a grocery store that they could walk or cycle to!
    Judy, was the janitor you were referring to at Ray Underhill Mr. Carlson? (I think it was his son, George, who used to frequent The Cheeseboard when Olive and I worked there!) 🙂 Lots of great memories of Streetsville!

  • Vivek  says:

    There is a medical centre proposed for this location. Would you like to see grocery store instead or in addition?

  • Olive  says:

    The village of Streetsville desperately needs a grocery store that sells fresh produce, fresh meats, etc. A little one would be better than nothing but one occupying the entire space would be ideal. Thank you for taking the time to contact me.

  • Wendy  says:

    I’ve joined the facebook page just to keep an eye on their proposals. Having a grocery store with select foods, instead of selling donuts, would fit in with the health aspect of the project.

  • Vivek  says:

    This post is somewhat old but wanted to freshen up the discussion to see if now there is a bigger need for a grocery store as the community is growing and more and more residential units are coming up. What does the community like to see this store carry (am talking about various departments like bakery, pet food, fresh produce, take out, etc.)? Will you be willing to pay a bit higher prices as compared to big chain store for the convenience of it being walkable? Any other suggestions? Let’s try to make this a reality.

  • Olive  says:

    Vivek, if you have any power over bringing a small grocery store to the village of Streetsville, we would crown you Mr. Streetsville. There is a definite need for a grocery store that at least carries fresh produce, fresh bread, fresh dairy, and any other items that we would need to be replenished on a regular basis. Who wouldn’t love to take a walk or bike ride to downtown Streetsville instead of driving to the outskirts for fresh vegetables? The seniors in our village desperately need something within walking distance. All those who work in the village would benefit too. We lost the closest grocery store, No Frills at Bristol and Creditview. I picture fresh produce and fresh flowers set up outside the store, on the sidewalk. It would be lovely. If we cn save the gas and a trip in the car, I would go there regularly for fresh produce, as long as it was well stocked with good quality and good variety. There was a small fruit and vegetable store here for a while but it didn’t last because they sold mostly apples and onions and potatoes – produce that stores well and doesn’t need to be replenished regularly. It is the more perishable items that we need to replenish regularly. Can you tell us more about your interest in this story please?

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