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Random Ontario retail nostalgia

Great thread! Oh, how I remember Consumers Distributing - fun times going to the store and having the employee check the back for an item, only to come out and say they don't have it in stock.


Oh yes Consumers! I got my dad's Wynford Hall 8 track/radio that he got at Consumers in the 70s. The radio still works! Pretty good sound quality too.

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Really? I grew up in Downsview and the Petro-Can at Finch and Sentinel got one in the late eighties. I remember they sold Coke in bottles, and various cream sodas I couldn't find elsewhere.

maybe they only started franchising them in 2005...but they most certainly do still exist.
 
2 great memories for me - 1, the lunch counter in the basement of Simpson's, near the exit to the Thomson tower. It was cheap, not exceptional, but an awesome space with a bunch of 'u' shaped counters that the waitresses patrolled with coffee. Also, the cookie machine in the basement of Eaton's, way back in the day. There used to be a whole food section in the basement of Eaton's at the Eaton Centre, and it was awesome. The cookie smell was fantastic. I remember as a kid having my dad buy me a half dozen cookies from the grumpy old ladies in white overcoats, as they scooped up cookies that came out of the automated backing machine.
 
What was the hot dog place in the basement of Simpson's Queen Street/The Bay Queen Street called? It's probably now part of Foodwares.
 
What about Ponderosa Steakhouses?

My mother's name for that place was The Feeding Trough, but I liked it better than that. All you can eat when you're a kid? Heaven!

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Anyone remember White Rose Garden Centres? Every year at Christmas we would go and get decorations to add to the collection. I remember the stores always being a little bit of an organized mess.
 
Hobby shops: One used to be on Yonge near where Empress Walk is now, and, of course, George's Trains on Mount Pleasant.

Does anyone remember a hobby shop closer to downtown? I have a lingering memory of a really dumpy one on Yonge somewhere near Eaton Centre, but I might be making that up out of nowhere.
 
One of my early Toronto memories was biking to the Knob Hill Farms at Cherry Street and slowly making my way home, awkwardly balancing bags on each handle bar.
 
Yes! The little plastic cows they stuck your steak to indicate how it was cooked... the staff wore cowboy hats too!

The Ponderosas were so packed back in the 70s, with lineups stretching to the doors. Later they rested on their laurels and serving poor-quality steaks and business plummeted until they went under. Some businesses never learn that a healthy customer base can't be kept by their name alone. I believe the location in Niagara Falls stayed in business the longest.
 
The Ponderosas were so packed back in the 70s, with lineups stretching to the doors. Later they rested on their laurels and serving poor-quality steaks and business plummeted until they went under. Some businesses never learn that a healthy customer base can't be kept by their name alone. I believe the location in Niagara Falls stayed in business the longest.

Belleville was the last in Ontario, if not Canada. I ate there a few times with family.

Niagara Falls does have US chains that are rare or non-existent elsewhere in Canada (TGI Friday's has been there for years, as has Tony Roma's).
 
Belleville was the last in Ontario, if not Canada. I ate there a few times with family.

Niagara Falls does have US chains that are rare or non-existent elsewhere in Canada (TGI Friday's has been there for years, as has Tony Roma's).

I've seen Tony Roma's in Alberta.
 

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