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LOBLAWS Maple leaf Gardens

Banner ad at the top of this page says opening November 23. Click on Nothing for further information. If they can't get a website up, how can they stock that big hole in the ground?

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  1. I am pretty sure it will be two separate departments handing the website launch and the store management. You can rest easy!

    1. The launch has been delayed at least once already. I think this past weekend was the 80th anniversary of the Gardens and they wanted to get it up and running by then. On one of the "development" forums (urban something or other, found it through google the other day) people were saying there is a lot of work to do at the site still and requires a lot of 24hr a day work to get open by then.

      Anyway, should be interesting to see what they do with it...good or bad...

      1 Reply
      1. re: ylsf

        Have to hope one day they will do something really special for us....hopefully...

      2. Walked by it on Sunday and it is starting to look like an actual store is emerging from all that construction -- but I think it's more than 8 days from a proper opening. (Incidentally, MLSE will insist that you cease and desist from calling the building by that name.)

        1. I'm interested to see how business will be at the Metro at College Park once this opens. There is also a new Sobey's in College Park. I already avoid the Metro when possible, but between the Sobey's and the Loblaws, I could probably never step in there ever again (happily).

          2 Replies
          1. re: Sooeygun

            The strangest thing is, the service at that Metro seems to be getting WORSE. I've only been back there once since my beautiful new Sobey's opened, but it was absolutely the worst experience. I can't wait to shower Loblaws and Sobey's with all my grocery money...

            1. re: canadianbeaver

              WORSE? Wow, I didn't know that was possible. I noticed the last couple of times I was in that they were training new cashiers.

          2. I'm given to understand that there's only finishing touches to be done. Shelving is in and a lot of dry goods etc. that have long shelf lives are already stocked. "Very close" is the word.


            1 Reply
            1. re: Davwud

              I've also heard they are training staff at other Loblaws locations so it must be close to opening.

            2. Just got a press release, the opening has been pushed back to November 30th

              It also appears (and my inside contact confirms) that Loblaws has paid MLSE for the use of the Maple Leaf Gardens name for the grocery store.

              Maple Leaf Restaurant
              1076 Cardiff Blvd, Mississauga, ON L5S1P3, CA

              1 Reply
              1. re: bytepusher

                The press release is here: http://www.loblaw.ca/English/Media-Ce...

                Sounds like they're trying to attract foodies with, for example: "The Amazing Wall of Cheese. At a towering 18 feet, it's quite a sight to see. We carry more than 400 varieties of cheese from around the globe; unique and exciting varieties that cheese lovers won't be able to resist, including a sensational 100-pound wheel of Stilton - one of only 100 in the world - and the Canadian Grand Champion Louis d'Or."

                Loblaws has taken over all the advertising space in the College subway station touting the November 30th opening.

              2. Second Harvest is looking for volunteers for their drive early December
                http://secondharvest.ca/volunteer-for... so we'll at least see it open by then.

                1. So...has anyone been today? I read that people camped out overnight!

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: peppermint pate

                    I was there at 8:45 am (it opened at 8:00 am, I believe) and there was still a big line to get in. I couldn't stay, as I had to go to work, but will go tonight.

                    BlogTO has posted some photos: http://www.blogto.com/city/2011/11/ne...

                    1. re: canmark

                      Thanks - cool pics. I especially like the one of people lined up under the (original?) MLG marquee. The interior reminds me of the larger Whole Foods stores in the US - concept sounds similar as well with a large cheese set-up and various cooking stations. I'll be curious to check it out at some point. And I love me some Joe Fresh. Can't believe those line-ups, though - cray-zee!!

                      1. re: peppermint pate

                        Hope it's not too nuts.. I am so excited to have another grocery store option besides Metro. I was planning on checking it out after work... and buying some of the PC peppermint "oreos" for oreo truffles..

                        1. re: rstuart

                          The Sobey's at 777 Bay Street is really a lot nicer than the Metro, too. I haven't found the prices at all more expensive, and the checkouts are non-stressful and non-annoying. I would try that too, if I were you.

                      2. re: canmark

                        I was coming to work at 7:45 (I work in 2 Carlton) and the line was all the way around the corner onto Yonge Street back as far as the main entrance to Shoppers. The guy that hands out the free newspaper in front of our building was doing a brisk business.

                        The crowd blocking our building door seemed indignant when I had to get through the line to enter the building.

                        I might stop in for a minute on the way home tonight..

                    2. Wow!
                      It looks like a large, nice grocery store!

                      wake me up when they open the hockey rink in the top level.

                      1. I dropped by this morning before work at 8:45. big line, but it moved fast. it is a massive and very nice store. no trace of it's former hockey glory, sadly. anyways, the Wall is impressive (had me a piece of parmesan reggiano ... molto bene!) ... whereas, the block of chiselled chocolate chunk was not so good. prices seemed very reasonable in general from what I saw. hopefully with the increased competition in the area (Loblaws, Metro, Sobeys), they will resist temptation to gouge us at the cash register (as Metro has for years). I'm actually most excited about the news that a Bulk Barn is opening up on north east corner of Yonge & Carlton. bargain snacks! very nice.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: wooby

                          Sounds like a positive addition to the neighbourhood and I can't wait to look around. But the first thing that strikes me is that I can now drive along Carleton without a 10 minute delay due to construction at Church.

                          1. re: Herne

                            Wow this is exciting news! I've got a question for the Toronto CHers though. I live in Ottawa but visit Toronto once a year. The local (Ottawa) CBC news mentioned earlier this week that Ryerson will be locating their athletic facilities in the same building. I guess Loblaws is located on the first floor and Ryerson will be using the higher-up floors - just wondering if anyone can enlighten me? When I walked down Carleton last summerI was too busy dodging construction to look up... Between Loblaws, Sobeys, and eventually a Bulk Barn there will be lots of shopping to do-;)

                            1. re: ottawaoperadiva

                              Yes, the Loblaws food areas occupy the 1st floor. They devoted a lot of space for eat-in/takeout food such as freshly made sushi, thin crust pizza, panini sandwiches, gelato, soups, hot entrees, etc. The 2nd floor holds an LCBO and Joe Fresh. I was told by a Loblaws employee that the third floor will hold Ryerson's athletic facilities, which are still under construction.

                              1. re: Chatty Cathy

                                Heard they are using the sushi approach of T&T for their sushi dept in the store. If that's the case?! Forget it!! Pathetic quality Shari!! Rice hard and wrongly seasoned!
                                I know I might not be comparing apples with apples. But how's the selection and quality of the hot entrees compared to say Puseteri's or McEwan?! or for that matter Longo's?!

                                1. re: Charles Yu

                                  I agree Loblaws has a long way to go on improving their sushi. But there doesn't seem to be many grocery stores in the area (other than Sobey's/Metro in College Park) so hopefully a little competition will to them good.
                                  When I visit Toronto I usually stay in the Dundas/Bay area and am always on the lookout for a quick lunch. I know there are alot of restos in the area but sometimes I don't have much time between shopping to stop at a dine-in place and I'm getting tired of the Eaton Centre food court. (Although I understand there are some new additions since my last visit last July.) There don't seem to be many grocery stores in the area but I hope things will change and more stores will open and offer some tasty lunch options.

                        2. Dropped by to grab a quick lunch today. But I've gotta say, I expected more from the food quality since it was billed to have a great time led by an in-house executive chef. Granted, I got a quarter piece of roasted chicken, but they still managed to mess that up. Must have been the blandest piece of chicken I've ever tasted, plus it was still pink some areas. The person working at the entree section (there are 3 sections where you order hot food: the entree, sides, and pizza/paninis) was moving in slow motion the whole time. If they were trained, then they weren't trained that well. Also note that I was there at 11, but none of the entrees were ready (even though on the menu it states 11-2 pm and some dinner hours I guess). Value (mind you, not that I'm expecting cheap prices or anything) did not seem good at all. There was some chipotle chicken thigh I think for 4/5 bucks, and all you got were two tiny pieces of chicken.

                          The butternut squash & apple soup I did get was good though. They have I think 5/6 different varieties of soup and 2 kinds of chili. The salad bar looked pretty good as well. My friend got a red velvet cupcake from the patisserie counter, but it seems that the frosting was really sweet.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: FruitsGalore

                            Re. roasted chicken...the chicken is supposed to be Beretta Farms. Whole chicken was $10.99 and a quarter for eating there/take home was $2.99 (I think). Guess they'll have to tweak salt content/brine them. The pink (depends on how pink)....hopefully they don't go too far the other way and way overcook the birds so that it's dry like cardboard. Also of note, they put coloured dots on the package to help tell you how long it's been there.

                            Roast chicken can take a fair amount of salt to taste good so hopefully they fix this as I thought this was a good deal.

                            1. re: LUV_TO_EAT

                              I bought one of the roast chickens last night for dinner and it was dry, dry, dry! I did enjoy the other stuff I bought though. The prepared rapini was great, and the large cupcakes I had got for dessert were a hit!

                              1. re: cubmike74

                                The chicken at the Sobey's is $9.99 and always really juicy (or whatever you call chicken that isn't dry....). 1.1 kg

                              2. re: LUV_TO_EAT

                                Dry, dry, dry is, sadly, correct. According to the guy who seemed responsible for setting up that part of the store, all poultry is cooked to at least 190 F per Toronto Public Health. He suggested that I might prefer to avoid it. Silly and sad....

                            2. I don't know what you're all wetting your pants for.

                              It's a grocery store like any other. Good for some things and bad for others.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: radiopolitic

                                Sorry but there is no reason why a "grocery store" can't raise the bar if it really wishes to.

                                1. re: radiopolitic

                                  No need to be rude because you're not interested. Just move along.

                                  Sure it's a just a grocery store, but it's located in an area that was formerly only served by a really bad Metro. For those of us that live and work in that area, it's nice to have a good, full service grocery store to go to.

                                  1. re: Sooeygun

                                    he wasn't being rude. people are waiting in line and going nuts over a grocery store.

                                    in the end, it ain't no Longos. and i wouldn't wait in line to go to a new Longos, even if it was in the bowels of Lower Bay station.

                                2. I'm really excited about this! It's really nice that the city and a private business kind of partnered in this way to revive a landmark and make it an accessible place by public transport and walking. That will only help revitalize the neighborhood near the University. Plus, the University will be putting in a hockey rink above, so the Gardens will have hockey still there!
                                  As for food quality, well, it IS a grocery store. I've had similar experiences at Whole Foods in the US, some good stuff there as ready to eat, and some not so good. It is what it is, a grocery store with benefits.
                                  I personally am really impressed! Wall of Cheeeeese! Red dot in the middle to remember Centre Ice! Doesn't get much better!

                                  1. I dropped by today and was impressed by some things, found other things were 'meh' and some things very underwhelming. I expected to see a much more creative and impressive presentation of food and except for the sheer size of the store I was disappointed.

                                    I tried to find 5 things I regularly buy and they didn't have them. They were:

                                    - Country Choice Steel Cut Oatmeal (the company says they supply Loblaws)
                                    - Skotidakis Yogurt (the company says they supply Loblaws)
                                    - Raincoast Wild Pacific Sardines (BPA free)
                                    - Eden strained tomatoes in amber glass jars (BPA free, the company says they supply Loblaws)
                                    - Bob's Red Mill Organic Steel Cut Oats (they had many other Bob's products there but not that one)

                                    I then looked for a suggestion board, like at Whole Foods, so I could post my requests, but there wasn't one.

                                    I noticed there were many bins of precut bulk vegetables, but then noticed the tongs were small enough to drop into the bins after someone used them with their hot sticky dirty little fingers and that was a big turn off.

                                    I roamed around the store quite a bit and other than some of the prepared food sections (and the impressive wall of cheese) I found the store not that impressive and quite a trek to walk around inside. Although it was large they just seemed to have a lot of everything that they had in smaller Loblaws stores (with some exceptions where they had more selection), rather than a more diverse selection.

                                    I think I'll stick to my regular stores (Lady Yorke, The Big Carrot, Costco and a few others) where I don't have to walk miles to buy things.

                                    Later I went upstairs to see the LCBO and was surprised and how meagre the selection was. I also thought the store looked like a 'white box' version of a tradtional LCBO store. I wasn't necessarly expecting a store quite like the one up at Summerhill, but geez they could have put a bit more design sense and romance into the place given the context of where this store is located.

                                    1. I went last night and I have to say I'm most excited about the Ace Bakery section. I'm a sucker for good fresh bread, and it looks like the ACE bread is being baked on site. I bought a small miche boule and it was quite good. Hopefully they can keep the quality up, and do enough volume to justify keeping the standards they have currently set.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: cubmike74

                                        I dropped by today, and was pretty happy with what I found.. it means that I won't have to wait for meeting up at North York to stock up on presidents Choice products I like. I was there for baking supplies, and also noticed that they had more options in housewares than many of the smaller urban Loblaws.. appliances, dishes etc. Glad to see that I have more options now!

                                        1. re: cubmike74

                                          Not surprising about the ACE Bakery breads, given that Loblaws/Weston bought them out over a year ago.

                                        2. The store is beautiful and impressive in a lot of ways, but it is also rather difficult to navigate and lacking in some things I would consider basic. For example, even though they have all sorts of fancy ready-made foods of all sorts, there are NO halal products offered in the store - not fresh meat, cold cuts or frozen products. Longo's Maple Leaf Square carries several kinds of fresh halal chicken and also frozen halal products under the Maple Lodge Zabihah brand; even the trashy Metros underground are starting to carry some halal frozen products. Most No Frills throughout the city carry several halal options. For a store of this size in the centre of a very multicultural city to not have ANY halal products and not many international food items is ridiculous, if you ask me.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: ACCritic

                                            This has to be one of the greatest marketing coups in Loblaws history... who knew so many people would be so interested in a grocery store.

                                            I went yesterday. The store is impressive in size and scope, but I had to wonder if it's possible to be (almost) everything to everyone. There's lots of foodie-type items, which is nice, but it's clear they're also offering a lot of regular grocery store items.

                                            It'll be interesting to see if the gourmet stuff, such as the obscure mushrooms and boxes of Beausoleil oysters will be in stock a few months from now.

                                            1. re: Lotus Seedling

                                              I've posted photos I took of the store on Friday: http://www.flickr.com/photos/canmark/...

                                              Overall, I was very impressed. While I don't think the store is any more than you will find from leading retailers in other world cities, as we are so starved for up-to-date retail shopping experiences in Toronto, I think it's wonderful. It may take them a while to settle on their marketing mix. Now, it's quite a destination shopping experience, but over time (as similar stores open up in other neighborhoods--I hear the Queen/Portland Loblaws has the same concept) it will more of a neighborhood shopping experience, and they'll sell the products that sell best at that particular outlet. For example, what with their T&T connections, I thought there might be more Asian products and foods (although their "sushi bar" was a nice idea, even if you're getting mass produced California rolls). But maybe they feel there aren't enough Asian people living in that neighborhood to warrant a large selection? Also, as mentioned by somebody else, there didn't seem to be a lot of halal or Middle Eastern food products. The "fishmonger" was a bit small. But there was a good selection of produce, tropical fruits, mushrooms, cheeses and baked goods--more than from a typical grocery store.

                                              I think Loblaws and Longo's are upping the ante downtown, and if I was Whole Foods I would be worried.

                                              As others have mentioned, the LCBO was disappointing, but maybe they felt there wasn't need for a high-end store given the neighborhood and proximity to Manulife (at Bloor) and Atrium (at Dundas).

                                              I'm looking forward to the opening of the ice rink and Ryerson athletic centre next Spring. Hopefully there will be some kind of public open house (or Doors Open).

                                              1. re: Lotus Seedling

                                                I was in today - nice grocery store. Not sure about the gourmet action; Beausoleil Oysters had a harvest date of Nov 9th (yikes!),

                                            2. How does the parking work? Is there self checkout?

                                              6 Replies
                                              1. re: Teep

                                                I don't think there was self checkout. Parking entrance is off Carlton and you get 1 hour free with $18 purchase. When we were there on Friday (during the day) they weren't checking parking vouchers and the electronic parking arm was in the up position.
                                                I enjoyed checking out the prepared food areas and the produce section. The bakery/confection counter had me drooling. I didn't even bother venturing into the grocery aisles.
                                                There was tons of staff around and were mostly very friendly, helpful and enthusiastic. I was there with my parents and we got lunch, which came to just under $20 (with tax). My mother and I had sandwiches which were good, quite large, but nothing exceptional. My father had chili which had good flavour but was very greasy. He would have appreciated it if there had been some rolls located by the soups and salads. It was quite busy and we weren't prepared to get in another line.
                                                My father went to one of the cashiers to get our parking pass stamped, this had to be done at a grocery checkout, they did not have stamps at the prepared food counters. When he handed the cashiers his receipt she told him that he had to spend $18 before tax, we were at $17.72. Given that the store had just opened and they were obviously spending a lot on over staffing and trying to make great first impressions I was dumbfounded that they didn't just stamp the parking pass. We made an additional small purchase and got out pass stamped, but in the end no one was checking them!

                                                1. re: cheesymama

                                                  Hopefully they don't have the supply problems that other Loblaws seem to. My store hasn't had Pepsi in 3 weeks!! How hard is it to stock pop!!!

                                                  1. re: cheesymama

                                                    Geez. that $17.72 vs. $18 parking thing would annoy me! I guess someone is just "doing their job" but they should instruct people to use their discretion, especially at the opening of the store.

                                                    1. re: ylsf

                                                      I actually don't like validated parking...on occasion, I would go to a grocery store (Yonge/Sheppard) Loblaws and they'd be out of stock on the feature item or I didn't like the way it was cut and thus I didn't buy anything....I'd still ask them to validate my parking.

                                                      As well, if you shop and then eat there, it's quite possible you could be there longer than one hour.

                                                      1. re: LUV_TO_EAT

                                                        The Maple Leaf Gardens is a 1 minute walk from the College subway & there's tons of seating area like a food court

                                                    2. re: cheesymama

                                                      Apparently I'm going to the store tomorrow morning and one purchase we just have to make is Chili Chicken. Has anyone tried it?

                                                  2. If they have a sushi bar operated by the T & T Chinese supermarket chain(which they own), I think they should have a dim sum counter like the T & T Supermsrket on Cherry Street. i also couldn't find the Thai curry pastes I find at T &T

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: YVR flyboy

                                                      Dim Sum from T&T counter??!! NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
                                                      Frozen ones by Amoy...etc tasted better!!

                                                    2. Saw Michael Bonacini checking out the food offerings at the new Loblaws last night.

                                                      4 Replies
                                                      1. re: canmark

                                                        I went over there last night. No dim sum. Sushi looks good. I bought some olives. Very good.

                                                        Also, I got some of that pricey giant block of chocolate! $39.99 kg. I got a bag worth $6. I haven't eaten any yet. Anyone know why its so pricey?

                                                        Yes tons of staff! I wonder how long they will keep that up though!

                                                        1. re: Chocaholic

                                                          I was there this am about 10:30. The place was much as described with distinct uniforms for staff in various departments and a real wall of cheese. Lots of items I'd never seen before (eg organic Liberte yogurt) and many other items. The prepared food section was very impressive and for those who pass by in a rush should be able to buy lunch or dinner with ease amongst the many alternatives. The place is very large and I'd need to see the numbers to know if it or the Highland Farms on Hurontario at the 401 was the largest I've been in in Canada.

                                                          Only negative note was the lack of knowledge of cashiers and other staff about how the $18 purchase-free parking actually worked and the inability of one lady to speak or understand English well enough to answer my questions about it. Minor stuff and the neighbourhood should be better off except for the nearby competition. Gave me one of the few recent cheerful experiences in this currently distressed town.

                                                        2. re: canmark

                                                          For those who haven't visited yet, Loblaws have posted a brief video highlighting the store: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Ji80F...

                                                          1. re: canmark

                                                            Too bad they didn't include any of the old Maple Leaf stuff in the video. The old east wall and the centre ice dot would probably bring a lot of customers if they know they were there.--men from the suburbs mainly I guess.

                                                        3. Had Chilli Chicken from the take away yesterday. The whole tray was sold in less than 1/2 an hour. Very nice. Sweet with a hot spice background.