Toronto’s 50 Most Influential: #24, Galen Weston
Our annual ranking of the people whose smarts, connections and clout are changing the city as we know it
24 The bespectacled scion of Canada’s second-richest family has redefined grocery shopping for the 21st century. Weston spent 2015 growing into his new position as Loblaw president, a role that puts him at the centre of day-to-day operations of the supermarket chain. He took the title within months of finalizing the $12.4-billion acquisition of Shoppers Drug Mart—a monumental merger that commingled the strengths of the two companies (and enables Torontonians to buy fresh vegetables, deli meat and Ace Bakery bread at the drugstore). That acquisition helped Loblaw stock hit a 10-year high in 2015. This past spring, Weston announced a $1.2-billion revamp of the Loblaw network. The grand plan includes opening 50 new locations, completing 100 renovations, closing 50 underperforming outlets, and expanding the Click and Collect online grocery service test-piloted in Toronto last fall (you order your groceries online, staff sort and select it all, and you pick it up at a prearranged time).
West Block, a mammoth “urban community” in the historic Loblaw head office and warehouse at the corner of Lake Shore and Bathurst. It’s slated for completion in spring 2019.