Bayview Avenue got a festive make-over on the end-of-September weekend as the trees between Soudan and Davisville avenues were garnished with artificial apples to celebrate the second annual Apple Festival.
The two-day event, presented by the Bayview Leaside BIA, pays tribute to the apple orchards that once occupied this land.
“Whether it’s an elm or honey locust, we turned them all into apple trees and it just makes me smile and I’m hoping it makes everybody smile,” event coordinator Debora Kuchme said.
From the historical Lea family orchards of the east to the Lawrence family orchards of the west, apples of all types have grown in Toronto.
Kuchme notes the importance of the event is to let residence learn their own history while celebrating the season.
The autumn timing of the event is also important as it celebrates the coming of the late-blooming Northern Spy apple which grew on the Lea family orchard.
“What we are doing is so important to make a community feel like part of history — to educate people on what it means, what it was and what it could become,” Kuchme said. “It’s beautiful.”
The trendy upscale street got a rustic feel for the event as folk and bluegrass street performers sat on hay bales outside local businesses.
BIA members participated by featuring apple-themed products and providing attendees with free samples.
Naeem Memon of Refuel Juicery skipped the traditional cider to supply attendees with fresh pressed apple juice, showcasing the purest natural flavour of the apple.
For Memon, the event is bringing out more customers than ever before.
“It’s actually bringing the people out. [We’ve] never had as many people on the street,” he said. “It reminds us what used to be in this neighborhood a long, long time ago.”
Toronto mayor John Tory stopped by the event on Saturday afternoon.
The event’s decor was created by the Bayview Pixies, a volunteer organization created to beautify the area.
The organization was formed when the BIA received a letter from a resident who was unhappy with the area’s appearance and was offering her own time to fix the issue. Kuchme was inspired by the person’s willingness to help her community.
“What a great idea to have a volunteer group be a part of the beautification of Bayview,” Kuchme said.
“We started as a group of three and it grew to a group of 12. We are all seniors and we all do this because we love it.”