With all the commotion surrounding the recently completed Loblaws at the (former) Maple Leaf Gardens, it was easy to overlook another significant opening by the grocery-giant last week; a new Loblaws officially opened on December 2nd at the corner of Queen and Portland, below Tribute Communities and RioCan's new Queen & Portland Loft & Condominium Residences.
What it may lack in nostalgia this Loblaws makes up for in convenience; the neighborhood around Queen and Portland has experienced a boom in condominium development, with an influx of new residents moving in. The area was in desperate need of a large-scale grocery store, and what better way to integrate it within the district than to put it below both retail (Winners opened early this fall on the third floor) and condominiums. Loblaws' marketing team is clearly catering to the younger urbanite; the image below shows a streetcar ad that targets the Queen West sterotype pretty directly.
The interior is surprisingly similar to the location at Church and Carlton - Loblaws' has clearly adopted a new color scheme, and while their stores have never been 'refined' (re: Pusateri's), they've clearly embraced the industrial look, with excessive piping and mechanical systems made visible and integrated within the store aesthetic.
The Queen and Portland Lofts and Condos has received mixed reviews from the UrbanToronto community; while many are thrilled that the project filled in an eyesore of a parking lot, the architectural design doesn't seem to draw much inspiration from the surrounding area. That's not to say it doesn't have some interesting features; the Portland street facade is definitely unique, while the upper level condos and lofts are thoughtfully recessed back, using a yellowish colored glass on the balconies and on smaller window panels.
We'll finish off with the image below showing the Queen Street perspective on the building looking east; in the foreground is a now empty lot, formerly occupied by Toronto favorite Duke's Cycle which tragically burnt down in 2008. They've managed to rebuild, however some of the empty lot still remains. Let us know what you think of this project, and what you'd like to see going in next door by leaving a comment below.