Loblaws planning to do something with that cool-looking building at Lake Shore and Bathurst
Near the foot of Bathurst Street, just a hop away from the Porter ferry docks, lies the old Loblaw’s warehouse, which was built in 1928 and has been abandoned for a decade. Recent activity around the building, however, makes it look like the grocer is preparing to reincarnate the site. Loblaws and the city have been in an argument over the fate of the building for years, with Loblaws wanting to demolish it and the city predictably wanting part of the heritage building preserved “in perpetuity.” Despite the erection of construction hoarding around the building, that argument doesn’t seem to have been resolved yet.
According to the Toronto Star:
“They haven’t contacted us for any permits. We just don’t know what they’re doing.” says city planner Jamaica Hewston. “We don’t know anything about (the hoarding).”
In December, the company updated its original 2004 rezoning application, but like the first proposal, the new plan calls for a partial demolition.
Loblaw wants to take down the entire warehouse, which was designated as a heritage property by the city in 2001, before restoring the west and south facades, one of the key sticking points for city approval.
The western part of the area doesn’t have a big-box grocery store for the growing condo population, so this might be all for the good. (The small convenience store–grocer just south of Lake Shore isn’t cutting it.) Part of the original bargain with the city was that Loblaws would be allowed to develop some vacant land into condos if the company preserved the original warehouse—because it wouldn’t be Toronto if a large developer didn’t want to put a condo on every dry piece of land.
According to the National Post, the signs on the outside of the site now indicate an intent to “preserve the heritage façades and permit the development of retail floor space,” so maybe they’ll work out a deal with the city quickly. Not that we hate heritage sites (unlike some people), but surely the property can offer more than a rotting, abandoned warehouse.
• Loblaw ready to tear down historic warehouse [Toronto Star]
• Loblaws to refurbish waterfront warehouse [National Post]
8 thoughts on “Loblaws planning to do something with that cool-looking building at Lake Shore and Bathurst”
Loblaws loft development?
I remember sorting cans there. For the daily bread food bank.
Here comes Loblaws to turn another historic building into a nightmare forever long and never ending construction project (Think Maple Leafs Garden).
They should instead focus on good customer service, ensuring they have enough products stocked on their shelves @ the Queens quay store and that the self service or cahsiers line do not all close down 30 minutes before closing with 1 cashier on! Loblaws, DID YOU HEAR LONGOS AND SOBEYS is around the corner ? Yeah! Thats where i end up when i get tired of your poor service and food that is never in store but on the truck!
Given that Toronto’s urban plan resembles one that retarded monkeys might come up with, I’m not surprised that Jamaica Hewston has no clue what’s going on.
I would like to thank Toronto Life and John Michael McGrath for publishing an article about the Loblaw Warehouse. As the grandson of William Forbes it is disheartening to see his works demolished and replaced by the utilitarian and instantly forgettable. My cousins and our families have real concern in the preservation of this building. If heritage means something then why is the city unaware of the current situation? Should we caution passing drivers and pedestrians of an imminent building collapse?
John Forbes Allen
I applaud your passion and caring for your grandfather’s work and I agree with your sentiments regarding the building. It is unfortunate, but in Toronto, big money will always trump City bylaws and special designations, etc. A current example being the Military Institute on University Avenue. The building was sold to developers who plan to turn it into a condo. The members of the Military Institute were told that although they were losing their beloved club, the facade was to be saved and incorporated into the condo. I guess someone accidentally (on purpose) forgot to mention this to the person manning the wrecking ball. Whoops!!! No facade after all. If a complaint is filed, the condo corp might have to pay a few hundred thousand in fines, which is probably nothing to them, but the Military Institute is gone forever. In Toronto, if you have a lot of money, you get to do anything you want and are accountable to no one.
I just recently moved to Lakeshore and Bathurst. It’s shocking how much of a urban planning failure the neighborhood is. Our City’s condo builders and municipal leaders must be smoking bath salts!
The closest LCBO is a half hour walk away at King and Spadina. The closest grocery stores are all a 30 minute walk away as well. It’s a desolate, cold and sterile condo land that our short sited and greedy GTA developers have created.
Do the urban planners in this city have any clue as to what makes city living so great … it’s convenience!
I would love to see this heritage building preserved and turned into a Loblaws with an LCBO at the bottom. They could even convert the top floors into high priced lofts if they wanted to.
Hey, the Weston family – take note! You will make millions of dollars by following my advice and you’ll keep the people of Toronto happy by keeping a really cool heritage warehouse alive.
I think it’s a great idea to restore the structure, or some of it, and make it a new Loblaws store. This is what the community needs as far as convenience goes.
@ GRBY – There’s actually a beer store and LCBO in liberty village which is only about 8 min away.
I will agree with the fact that this area needs much more retail space. It feels like the only business open along lakeshore are drycleaners or real estate offices. Let’s get some convenience stores, cafes, clothing boutiques, etc.
I am a Toronto native ,I love this city. Toronto is growing everyday with new developments . Me personally I love historic buildings and I dont understand why the city cant some how restore the building at bathurst and lakeshore , the whole area has so much history . Im sure alot of people would agree to keep the building historic and add modern renos inside, placing some histoy info inside to teach the people about the history of the building . We need a major grocery store in this area , I live at buthurst and lakeshore and Loblaws would be so convenient for me and many others . Keeping the history of our city is important, its been done with so many other sites , why not this one too?
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