East York food plant to expand with money from Queen’s Park

$22.6-million investment in Peek Freans bakery expected to create jobs

A long-time East York bakery will be expanded and modernized with the help of a $22.6-million investment from the Ontario government.

The announcement was made last week by Jeff Leal, Minister of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs, at Mondelez’s Peek Freans plant on Bermondsey Road. He was accompanied by Arthur Potts, MPP for Beaches-East York.

“The Mondelez-Peek Freans plant in East York has been a significant local employer for nearly 70 years,” Potts said on April 16. “Today’s massive investment will help Mondelez expand local production, create more jobs and support greater prosperity in our community.”

Mondelez produces such well-known treats as Oreo cookies and Ritz Crackers and is one of Canada’s top food companies. The Peek Freans location has supported local wheat farmers and other ingredient suppliers since the 1950s.

Ontario’s Jobs and Prosperity Fund has invested in the expansion project and plans to support opportunities in master baking, technician and engineering skills. It’ll also allow the company to expand the production plant and install two new bakery lines while upgrading existing bakery lines.

In a press release, Steven Del Duca, Minister of Economic Development and Growth, said the investment is part of the government’s strategy to attract business investment in order to build “an Ontario where businesses and working can thrive in a changing global economy.”

Leal said the investment will help “increase Ontario’s profile in the international market.”

Alicia Alessio, a mother of two who has lived in the area for seven years, believes this is “a smart move. If they actually stick to their plan on creating more jobs, then this move could be great for Ontario’s economy.”

Alexis Papadakis, a resident of the Danforth community for more than a decade, questions this, however.

“Will there actually be a change in our employment and economy, though? We usually see a situation like this where they claim that they’ll be a change, but the plan ends up failing and we’re left with nothing.”

The Jobs and Prosperity Fund has committed more than $830 million to 35 projects leveraging over $10.9 billion in total investment. The fund has supposedly created and retained over 46,000 jobs since 2013.