Bringing a community together, one apple at a time

Apple Fest celebrates Bayview Leaside's orchard-laden past

Apple Fest might sound like a hi-tech gathering, but in Bayview Leaside, it’s actually about apples.

The Lea family once occupied apple orchards on this land. Though these historical orchards are no longer present, the community maintains the spirit of the family farm. That rich legacy, along with all things apple, was celebrated by The Bayview Leaside BIA at the third annual Apple Fest, which took place Sept. 29-30 on Bayview Ave. from Soudan Ave. to Davisville Ave.

“The Lea  family used to have an orchard here, and Apple Fest is all about bringing our history back to the city,” said Cheryl Sims, coordinator of the Bayview Leaside BIA.

The Leaside family is just one of the apple-orchard owners the Fest paid homage to. For example, the “Lawerence family farms on the west” were celebrated, too, notes the Bayview Leaside BIA’s website. 

Cheryl Sims, coordinator for the Bayview Leaside BIA, greeted people at Apple Fest 2018.  MICHAEL GEZAHEGN/TORONTO OBSERVER

Along with looking back, Apple Fest also focused on bringing the community and local businesses together in the present.

People walking down Bayview Ave. and Millwood Rd. were greeted with free apples by vendors like Patrick Rocca, a real estate broker with Bosley Real Estate, one of more than 40 businesses who participated in the event. “Just a little something to promote myself and the community,” he said.

Some stores offered clothing discounts, while food stores like Cobs Bread had employees handing out apple scones served with vanilla ice cream.

Ian Wilkie and co-worker George at Cobs Bread serving apple scones with vanilla ice cream. MICHAEL GEZAHEGN/TORONTO OBSERVER

Others, like the Academy of Culinary Arts, offered free apples for customers and encouraged people to peel them. Some of those apples were provided by local Ontario apple supplier Badali’s Fruit Market, which has been running for over 80 years, just down the street from Culinary Arts.

An apple-peeling station

The Academy of Culinary Arts’ complementary apples and apple-peeling station. MICHAEL GEZAHEGN/TORONTO OBSERVER

Not only small businesses participated. Large chains on Bayview Ave. sported apple-themed posters whether they were directly involved in the celebration or not.

Among all of the sweet apple treats was a chance for a community to enjoy the warm weather before the coats come out.

As Wilmar Kortleever, a resident in the Leaside area, said, “You actually see all the shops and you meet a lot of people, and it’s just nice to run into neighbours every once in awhile.”

An entry in Apple Fest’s chalk-drawing competition. MICHAEL GEZAHEGN/TORONTO OBSERVER

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Posted: Oct 2 2018 1:19 pm
Filed under: News