Not long ago downtown dwellers had all the privileges of a city centre life except when it came to getting groceries. Beyond the small corner bodega, Shopper’s Drug Mart, or a local gas station, city residents often had to cab it to the larger grocers down on Queens Quay or north to College Street and stock up on provisions.
Fortunately today, with the literal explosion of downtown condominium development over the past 10 years, food retailers have become the newest markers of status and convenience, providing easier access and greater selection to a population who have embraced our city centre neighbourhoods as their own place to call home.
And with good reason. Cuz when you’re hungry, who wants to shop in a gas station?
Loblaw’s, our City’s nearly Omni-present food emporia, opened a location situated at 585 Queen Street West at Portland just this past December, much to the joy and delight of neighbourhood residents. This is one of several locations, and grocery retailers, who are acknowledging the need for diverse fresh food choices across multiple urban neighbourhoods across the old city of Toronto. What’s interesting, is that it has also coincided with the arrival of specialty food emporiums and purveyors of organic foods who, mimicking von Thunen’s economic model of land use, are locating near these larger retail chains (or, in some cases, in reverse.)
From the Junction and Parkdale across to Riverdale and Leslieville; from the massive offerings provided by retail giant Loblaws all the way down to local pastry shops (Dufflet), traditional bakeries (Brick Street), boutique-style grocers specializing in local meats and produce ( The Healthy Butcher, Rowe Farms, Cumbrae’s), speciality cheese (Thin Blue Line, Leslieville Cheese Market), this growth in the foodie retail sector is being driven by the intensification of Toronto’s traditional neighbourhoods.
This Loblaws location, similar in its interior style and execution to the Maple Leaf Gardens location, offers outstanding pret a manger (take-away) choices, a sensational ceiling-high cheese refrigerator, fresh produce that’s very hard to beat, an on-site ACE Bakery, and remarkably, free underground parking provided you pick up necessities totalling a minimum of $20. And it’s open from 7am to 11pm daily!
As hosts who love to gather people around our tables, we LOVE how food is becoming elevated both in quality and the retail experience.
It’s the key to a livable city.
Do you like the idea of living steps from Loblaws and more speciality food emporiums?
~ Steven and the urbaneer team