The Municipality of Leamington is turning to a structural engineer to determine the future of the town’s iconic tomato stand.
The tourist booth is in disrepair but, Mayor Hilda MacDonald thinks the stand and the landscaping surrounding it can be “freshened up” to bring new life to the familiar landmark.
“It’s been part of Leamington for a long time,” said one uptown resident.
The rotten condition has the tomato closed, but MacDonald stresses the situation is a temporary one.
Tiles are ready to fall in the booth and the structure shows signs of aging.
“The Chamber [of Commerce] who runs the Ambassador program went in and noticed the smell, it’s a heavy mildew, musty, smell, and then called in administration and we looked and said, ‘You know, this isn’t safe,’” said MacDonald.
The mayor says the municipality has received calls from businesses offering help to restore the tourist information booth.
Some residents have even started ‘Go Fund Me’ pages in order to save the stand.
“It’s heartwarming and very encouraging that so many people are so passionate about it but, it doesn’t need that level of passion at this point in time,” said MacDonald. “There should be no fear.”
The tomato was planted on Erie Street in 1961 and is a recognizable symbol for tourists and newcomers to Leamington.
Council is expected to make a decision concerning the future of the big red tomato once an expert opinion and recommendations have been provided to councillors.