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Sam the Record Man

Where in Toronto: Maple Leaf Gardens as a Grocery Store

photo by Rasheed Clarke

I hate starting off a story with “when I was a kid…”
It makes me feel old. Ah well. When I was a kid, my dad would take me to hockey games at Maple Leaf Gardens so I could cheer on my favourite Leaf, Felix Potvin. We always rode the subway downtown from our home in Etobicoke because my dad hates paying for parking. College station was a lively place on game nights as fans rushed off the trains, up the stairs and down Carlton Street to what used to be
a national hockey hub.

The Buds moved from the Gardens to the Air Canada Centre in 1999, and it’s taken more than a decade for their former home to find another permanent tenant. Or, more accurately, two new tenants.

The first is Loblaws, the grocery store chain that two weeks ago opened its latest Toronto location inside the southwest wing of Maple Leaf Gardens. In the company’s words, this store represents “food’s greatest stage.” A lofty statement, but there are some novelties that set the place apart from other grocers: a sushi bar, omelette bar, a sizable patisserie, and a really tall glass case of cheese.

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