Streetsville unveils newly minted Village Square



Streetsville’s Village Square was completed after a handful of construction delays in September

After two years of construction, frustration and headaches Streetsville’s Village Square is now a well-groomed destination for coffee shop regulars and culture-hungry tourists.

The $3-million renovation has created a public space outfitted with a stage and seating area intended to host a range of events including live musical performances, movie nights and Streetsville’s Christmas tree lighting.

“We got working on it about seven or eight years ago to start getting the wheels in motion,” said Ward 11 Councillor George Carlson. “It took that long to get the plans made, to co-ordinate with all the levels of government and get the funding, and what you see in front of you is the result of that work.”

The construction of the project was divided between the summer of 2013, and the spring/summer of this year.

Carlson said the underground work proved to be exceptionally difficult.

“(The construction company) encountered 150-year-old infrastructure under the ground,” said Carlson. “You know, in the old town of Streetsville I guess they weren’t too fussy about where they ran wires and pipes and so on. So basically the guy told me it was a lot like working inside a bowl of spaghetti – you had to go around this wire and that wire.”

Originally a cenotaph built in 1926 in the memory of fallen World War I veterans, the Village Square sits in the heart of Streetsville’s main strip, at the corner of Queen and Main Streets (or Mississauga and Bristol Roads to non-locals).

Due in part to a particularly difficult winter, the construction took longer than expected, much to the chagrin of Christian Kennerney, owner of Strings Attached, a music store in the square.

“It was brutal for everybody on the entire street. There’s just no way around a project this big directly outside your front door,” said Kennerney. “It was a big challenge man, the fact that all of the businesses are still here is a testament to how well they prepared.”

This past summer, Kennerney occasionally closed the store early and was forced to lay off a handful of employees.

“It’s hard to physically do business when people can’t get in your front door,” he said. “And there isn’t any compensation from the city the way people might think. There isn’t a magical fund that takes care of you while you have to endure this.”

Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 11.32.11 AMAlthough the original completion date was unofficially set for Canada Day this year, Carlson called the deadline a dream.

“Nobody was holding their breath.”

“The official day they wanted to be out of there was the first of August,” said Carlson. “So it actually took six weeks longer than they thought. They just ran into umpteen construction challenges.”

Carlson said he hopes to see a wide variety of events and activities throughout the fall and following spring in the Village Square.

“The kinds of things we’re looking for are arts culture, maybe heritage music, a farmers market, an open café, Shakespeare in the park – it’s all sort of left to the imagination of the people who want to put on shows,” he said.

Angela Trewartha, general manager of the Streetsville Business Improvement Association said a handful of businesses have already shown interest in booking the square.

“There’s a lot of local musicians here and we have local yoga studios and they’ve been really great at agreeing to play on the square or teach yoga on the square,” said Trewartha. “That’s what we’re sort of doing to just get a feel for the space.”

Carlson is hoping the new square will generate a few dozen jobs and increase revenue by more than $1 million annually by drawing tourists to local restaurants and businesses.

“I’m really hoping more than anything the new economy that will come from the day trippers, the young and older adults,” said Carlson. “We can provide a place to go, so that they come here and spend their 10 or 20 bucks, take a trip to the square, maybe they go out for dinner, and buy some stuff.”