Credits to Sammy Roach for going on this adventure with me.
The Baker’s Dozen – also known as B13 – is a space that houses 14 vendors in the Heart of OEV.
The name is an homage to its predecessor Chapman’s Bakery, located at 613 Dundas Street. Fuse had a chance to speak with curator William Older and visit B13 ahead of their grand opening on November 17th.
A Place to Grow
Baker’s Dozen is described by Older as an “art and retail incubator.” It’s a space to encourage people starting out, especially those on the cusp of choosing between a 9-to-5 and their passion which has been limited to long nights and weekends.
When Older moved to London from the United Kingdom, he looked for the elements of art and culture that he likes in a city. He found that they were either in their nascent stages or completely absent. So he was faced with two choices – either sit and wait for things to come into fruition or to do something about it.
Initially, he acquired the space to rent it out to a single tenant, however, he did not find the perfect fit for all 5,000 square feet. He recalls the shopping arcades of England and Wales, which had rows of local vendors enclosed under a glass ceiling. These were some of his favorite places from where he lived.
Without the dream tenant, Older decided to recreate his own version of shopping arcades.
“I want to encourage window shopping,” Older remarks excitedly. “Isn’t it the best when you have an eclectic collection of shops?”
A thriving neighborhood
Baker’s Dozen is in the heart of Old East Village, an area that has historically had a bad reputation, though it has recently seen an acceleration in community development. Old East Village has become a hub for local shops and artists. Older wants Baker’s Dozen to be in the middle of it.
Fuse asked about his choice to acquire a space in a location with a reputation.
“The most exciting things happen in areas where people think is risky,” Older responds. “There is a wider spectrum of life here and with that there has also been a lot of community support.”
This is the type of neighborhood that he wants his kids grow up in.
“When this opportunity came up,” Older shares, “It was a glaring sign in my face.”
He gives the Old East Village BIA a shout out, as they had a huge hand in the success of Baker’s Dozen.
Older wants his tenants to eventually grow out of Baker’s Dozen, expand and go down the street to fill in the commercial spaces down Dundas. He wants to help Old East Village to become a one-of-a-kind commercial corridor known across the country – a vision he sees coming to fruition in 50-to-10 years.
Baker’s Dozen is not just a space where tenants can have either studio or retail space; it is also open to events, workshops… A space for artists and creators to express themselves. It has become a free space for the tenant’s, with a goal to make art more accessible.
Not Just A Shopping Arcade
They have already hosted album releases from artists such as Charlie Weber, and Odyssey records is bring cult movie culture back to London at Baker’s Dozen.
One way that this is made possible is having space for pop-up shops. When FUSE visited, they had George Robb, who was sharing his love of Canadian transportation history.
Another way that they are revolutionizing the shopping experience is by having a space for kids, with furniture donated by POI Business Interiors. This allows for parents to shop to their heart’s content knowing that their kids are also having a fantastic time.
An Ecosystem of Positivity and Development
The organic growth of the Baker’s Dozen continues by the tenants and Older coming together.
It is a space with the potential to grow into an arts hub. It already displays some pieces from local artists, most notably Susan Day’s ceramic mural wall on the corner of Marshall Street. Currently they are looking to fill an artist’s wall, and they are open to volunteers who want to share their work with the community.
Their grand opening on November 17, is an opportunity for the community to come enjoy the vendors, artists and do some window shopping. However, the events do not stop there. Look for information on workshops and events that the tenants are curating.
If you want to learn more about the space, or want to contact them to be a featured artist, check them out on: Facebook and Instagram @b13bakersdozen and http://b13.space.
Here is a list of all the artists and vendors:
– Odyssey Records – record store
– Juicy Tings Juice & Espresso Bar
– TUCD (Totally Unique Custom Design) – Jewelry
– Antler River Collective – screen printing, crochet, woodworking and sourdough bread
– Rezonance printing – Screen-printing
– Community Ink Tattoo Studio
– Art Box Collective – Artists
– Richard Thompson Studio – Artist
– Empowerment Infoshop – Anarchist bookshop
– Creative Beasts Makery – Artist
– Black Crow Studio – Artist
– Grassroot Goods Gallery – multiple artisan store
– Stay Hungry Stay Humble – Hip-Hop apparel store and breakdance crew
– Stories Interiors – Interior decor/design store
– Everyday Organic Essentials – Organic health and beauty products
– Jenny May Mosaics – Mosaic artist
– Hannan Fayad Glass – Glass artist
– ScienceArt Gallery
– Creative Chaos Kids Corner