Toronto’s Newest Attraction…
…Is not a museum, amusement park or aquarium (though Ripley’s has finally broken ground on that, near the CN Tower). No, the biggest new draw our city has is…a GROCERY STORE!
Now, folks reading this in Upstate NY won’t find this so strange, as Wegman’s is famous throughout the land (any Canadian folks reading this who haven’t been to a Wegman’s – you haven’t lived…). But this is new territory for us Torontonians, who treat our grocery stores like…well, like a place to buy groceries! But the new Loblaw’s on Carlton Street, just east of Yonge, has changed all that. Why, you may ask? Well, this new superstore has taken over the Taj Mahal of Canada, the Wailing Wall of Toronto – the old Maple Leaf Gardens, the venerable home of our sanctified hockey team.
From the moment you walk through the door – facing a huge blue maple leaf created from the original arena chairs (see photo) – until you roll your cart over the big dot painted on the floor indicating where “centre ice” once stood – the aura of this famous arena permeates.
And if that doesn’t get to you, the sights and smells certainly will. From the acclaimed 20-foot “Wall of Cheese”to the amazing display of cupcakes, this store has everything – freshly made sushi, a bakery, pizza and panini station…and anything can be taken upstairs (after paying for it, of course) and eaten on the spot (on tables depicting all the great events that took place in the Gardens, including concerts by Elvis and the Beatles, and boxing matches with Mohammed Ali…). In the same area upstairs is a cooking school, where visitors can stop by for demonstrations and samples all day long, as well an an LCBO (liquor store) and “Joe Fresh, the new Loblaw’s-owned clothing store that has taken North America by storm.
Since I feel foolish writing an entire blog gushing about a grocery store, let me switch gears before I close and give a little plug to the Toronto Jazz Festival, which announced it’s 26th season this week. Running from June 22-July 1, this amazing event takes over the City, with 1500 artists performing at over 40 locations (and lots for free!). Visit www.torontojazz.com for the full rundown.
So soak up some Gardens’ history, grab some Loblaw’s take-out and head over to hear some great JazzFest tunes this summer!