Toronto, Canada – Loblaws opened their flagship location at the renovated Maple Leaf Gardens this morning. Hundreds lined up for the opening at 8am and there were spotted lineups throughout the day. An LCBO and Joe Fresh clothing is also in the building.
It’s been over 10 years since there was much foot traffic around Church and Carlton, after the Toronto Maple Leafs moved to their new home at Air Canada Centre.
The 84,000 square foot store is part of a project with Ryerson University and at it will include a full size hockey surface on the top floor and several fitness facilities for the students.
There is all kinds of history still visible in the historic site, including centre ice, from the Toronto Maple Leafs, which is marked with a red dot, somewhere in the Loblaws on the main floor. As you take the escalators to the second floor you can see a piece of artwork which has been made with old seats from the Gardens, in the shape of a Maple Leaf. You can look closer and even see the color blue near the old wall of the original building, where the stairs use to be.
At the moment, there are still jagged edges visible, but most leaf fans would hope they remain. If you look further you will see some old leaf seats in the coffee lounge, and more will be placed in the ice rink, right around the boards.
The building was originally built in 1931, and had a corner stone marker on the front, before the remodelling commenced. It is no longer there, but fear not, Ryerson University has announced they will save a special spot for it, in the ice rink when it opens in 2012, on the top floor.
The Loblaws is equipped with free WI-fi and will be open seven days a week 7am – 11pm. Parking is available under the store and the first hour is free (after that it’s $4 each 30 minutes, if you spend $18) It’s right on Carlton, so easily accessed by the TTC.