Saturday, March 13, 2010

Heritage: Bloor West Loblaw

TORONTO, ONTARIO - More by coincidence than design, this year's Swansea Historical Society Calendar (still available at Swansea Town Hall for $8) includes the locations of past locations of the Loblaw grocery stores in what today is called the Bloor West Village neighbourhood of Toronto. A look at the locations today presents an interesting microcosm of the village.

The first location of Loblaw in the Bloor West Village of Toronto is now a variety store on the right side of this building seen on 4-March-2010

The first location of Loblaw was at 2428 Bloor Street West, just east of Jane Street, and appears in the background of the November 2010 calendar page. Labeled as "Loblaw Groceteria," the location likely opened during the large expansion of Loblaw in the early 1930's explained on the Loblaw history page. The location has now become a long-standing variety store on a portion of the block which has been most affected by the recession.

The second location of "Loblaws" in Bloor West was about a block west of the original location, a building that was without a tenant on 4-March-2010

Sometime after World War II, Loblaw moved into a new building west of Jane Street at 2450 Bloor Street West. While the "Loblaws" sign is now gone, the remainder of the facade looks almost exactly as it appears in the background of the March 2010 calendar page. The building is currently vacant, last occupied by a short-lived electronics discount store that closed in 2009.

The third location of Loblaws remains a grocery store, a franchised No Frills location near Kennedy and Bloor observed on 4-March-2010

By the late 1950's, Loblaw had again moved to a larger location. The streamline moderne architecture of the previous location carried over to new location well to the east near Kennedy at 2187 Bloor Street West. That location today remains a grocery retail outlet in the Loblaw family, as it became a No Frills in the late 1970's. It now operates as Nicholson's No Frills after the No Frills locations were sold to franchisees in the 1980's.

The closest Loblaws to Bloor West Village is now the Humbercrest Loblaws on Dundas Street West west of Jane, seen on 11-March-2010

To recapture the upscale customers in the area, Loblaw subsequently opened a new location which is considered to be in Etobicoke at 3671 Dundas Street West, west of Jane Street. The Humbercrest Loblaws remains open to this day, continuing a tradition of serving the Bloor West area which has now extended for three-quarters of a century.

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