In response to The move from the West, published March, 18, 2009.
First off, congrats on a great new site and bumping up your news content. It reminds me of the original Uptown many, many years ago.
I am writing with regards to ‘The move from the west’ in your last issue (issue 24). Stating “businesses are leaving the west end in droves” is way off the mark. I live and work in the West End and, if anything, have noticed the opposite over the years. New diners, ethnic shops have filled up most empty storefronts from Central Park to Arlington. The U of W, West End Cultural Centre, HI Hostels, etc. have made major investments in the area of late. Sargent has become a great hangout spot for coffee and snacks.
The stores that have left are larger ones: Safeway, Bargain Shop and Budget, but I don’t think they left because of any problem with the West End. Safeway closed the two stores nearest it’s new megastore at Madison Square but renovated the one at Sherbrook and Sargent. The Bargain Shop has two stores a few minutes from each other. The days of the friendly neighbourhood car rental lot were gone years ago.
As the Polo Park area continues to sprawl and areas of Portage Avenue see new retail, like mega-drugstores, larger neighbourhood stores will continue to close down. The West End, though, seems to be responding to it quite well.
– C. Cassidy, The West End
Published in Volume 63, Number 25 of The Uniter (March 26, 2009)