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Rexdale Plaza

Justin Ziadeh

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Any memories, photos or updates on Rexdale Plaza?

My recollections go back to the early 90's to the enclosed portion of the mall's demolition around 2004.

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1970's styled signage.

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Unlike the Albion Centre and the Woodbine Centre, there were no individual entrances for most stores; requiring shoppers to
step foot inside the mall first.

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To the left was Catalina Grill. One of only two restaurants in Rexdale Plaza. Previously, the original owners
of Catalina Grill operated the Rexdale Tavern inside the mall.

In the middle is a walkway that served as both an entrance into Rexdale Plaza and a connector to Zellers/Towers.

In the 1960's expansion, Catalina Grill was originally a Tire shop with two garage service bays to the left.

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The rear entrance (from Burrard Drive) had a hallway lined with silhouettes of shoppers. The art style is definitely 1980's.

If I recall, the other side of this hallway had silhouettes of famous landmarks from around the world.

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While Rexdale Plaza didn't have a food court, it did have a single, 1970's style fast food kiosk.

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You have to admire a mall's optimism. More 1980's decor.

In this spot were also a handful of kiddie rides, a kiosk to the right that sold knockoff toys (called "Into")
and to the left was Dollarama (which still exists as part of the Rexdale's strip mall makeover).


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Towards the East end of the mall where (if I remember correctly) was a Sears, Shoppers Drug Mart and
a small library. The escalator led to underground parking, a Bargain Harrolds, various offices and the
washrooms.


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By the early 2000's, most name brand stores had left the Rexdale Plaza and the mall itself started hosting
a flea market on weekends.

Tables were set up throughout the mall where vendors were selling just about anything you could think of.
Clothing, electronics, old Nintendo games, and even vintage Playboy magazines (...) all out in the open.

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The only remnant of Rexdale Plaza's former self is the former Zellers/Towers structure that now hosts a number
of different stores all bundled together under one roof.

Photo credits to Dan Bartles (Flickr) and Urban Exploration Resource (UER).
 
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ShonTron

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You mention Towers… was Food City the anchor on the other side of the mall at one time? If so, it was one of the many smaller Oshawa Group-led malls built across Ontario, which also included Galleria at Dufferin and Dupont and Kipling-Queensway.

Another company, MultiMalls, built small malls anchored by Woolco - Honeydale was one such example.

Most of these malls are gone - either demolished completely, or converted into big box centres.
 

Justin Ziadeh

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You mention Towers… was Food City the anchor on the other side of the mall at one time? If so, it was one of the many smaller Oshawa Group-led malls built across Ontario, which also included Galleria at Dufferin and Dupont and Kipling-Queensway.

Another company, MultiMalls, built small malls anchored by Woolco - Honeydale was one such example.

Most of these malls are gone - either demolished completely, or converted into big box centres.

I can't vouch for Food City, but Dominion was an anchor from when Rexdale Plaza was first built around 1957.

rexdale-plaza-looking-se-from-islington-dominion-edit.jpg

Photo credit: Etobicoke Historical Society.

Exterior view from late 50's.

Funny enough, I've read that Rexdale Plaza wasn't enclosed until the 1970's. By 2004's demolition, we've come full circle in a sense.
 
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Towered

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Ugh, this mall was awful. Not that its replacement is anything great...
 

Tim MacDonald

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I remember it had a good hobby shop around 1981 or so. Used to get AFX racing cars there.
 

Justin Ziadeh

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I remember it had a good hobby shop around 1981 or so. Used to get AFX racing cars there.

Rexdale Hobby was probably the name of the store you're thinking of. It was across from Catalina Grill.

I remember a hobby shop (perhaps the same one) in the early 90's, too.
 

Justin Ziadeh

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Thank you. It's been fun sharing memories with everyone. Here's some more finds from our friends
at the Etobicoke Historical Society:

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This next photo was taken in 1955: Islington Avenue looking north with Rexdale Boulevard.
Rexdale plaza would be built on the empty field to the right one year later. As for what's on
the opposite end of the photo:

rexdale-blvd-and-islington-3.jpg

You may recognize the water tower in the distance. The new Simpsons Sears factory circa 1950's.

During Rexdale's early development, it was a common sight to see warehouses and farmer's fields co-existing.
Decades later, the field would be converted into a massive, barely-used parking lot.
 

Towered

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Thank you. It's been fun sharing memories with everyone. Here's some more finds from our friends
at the Etobicoke Historical Society:

rexdale6_orig.png


This next photo was taken in 1955: Islington Avenue looking north with Rexdale Boulevard.
Rexdale plaza would be built on the empty field to the right one year later. As for what's on
the opposite end of the photo:

rexdale-blvd-and-islington-3.jpg

You may recognize the water tower in the distance. The new Simpsons Sears factory circa 1950's.

During Rexdale's early development, it was a common sight to see warehouses and farmer's fields co-existing.
Decades later, the field would be converted into a massive, barely-used parking lot.

That's looking south. That field/parking lot is currently being redeveloped into some big-box nonsense.
 

Justin Ziadeh

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While browsing facebook, I stumbled across a handful of vintage photos of Rexdale Plaza's early years:

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Coles exterior shot 1959.


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Coles interior shot 1959.

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Coles "Grand Opening" newspaper ad from 1958.

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Construction underway at the Rexdale Plaza in 1971 to make it an enclosed mall. Coles opened a new store once it was completed in 1972.
Towers would become Zellers by the early 1990's.

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Islington Avenue heading towards Rexdale Boulevard. Rexdale Plaza is on the left.

In the distance, you can also make out the field that would be taken over by Sears (behind the buildings on the right).

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Construction of Rexdale Plaza's Dominion in 1956.

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Rexdale Plaza looking north (from Allenby Ave.) 1956.

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Another shot of Dominion.

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From Vintage Toronto: this is the Rexdale Plaza taken at night from our 5th floor apartment at 27 Bergamot Ave., in 1960-62 ~ Bill Cunningham

The Rexdale Plaza group also had these photos. No dates or descriptions are added:

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Dominion's parking lot can be seen in the top right portion.
 
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Justin Ziadeh

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rexdale plaza 1960s.png


Brewers Retail (The Beer Store) exterior shot from the 1960's before Rexdale Plaza was enclosed.

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Since it's nearby Rexdale Plaza, I'm throwing in this vintage shot of the future Simpsons and Sears location.
 

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Justin Ziadeh

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Who's up for some more vintage Rexdale Plaza photos?

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Before Towers was added at the north end of Rexdale Plaza. Islington Avenue (which looks like a two car road in the above shot)
is on the left while heading north to Bergamot drive. This shot was taken before Rexdale Plaza was enclosed in the early 70's.

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Another incredible, full-colour shot. Isn't it funny how stores were easily accessible before the mall was enclosed?

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Did you get your photos developed at Surdin's Photo Centre?

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1980 shot of the Sears parking lot. In the background is Rexdale Boulevard with Rexdale Plaza (not pictured) on the
right.

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The amazing photo quality definitely hides the age of this 1950's shot.

Islington Avenue facing Rexdale Boulevard brancing off to the right. Rexdale Plaza would be built on the left while the open
field on the right would become Sears.

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Anyone remember The Donut Castle? I vaguely do. Looks to be 1980's. Now known as The Solarium.

Rexdale Boulevard heading towards Islington and the Rexdale Plaza. The Sears parking lot is on the right. It also looks like Dominion
was still an anchor at Rexdale Plaza.
 
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Justin Ziadeh

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On Flickr, a few photos of Rexdale Plaza (already posted here) around the time of the mall's 2004 demolition contained a few fascinating facts that were added in the comments section.

Flickr user Brian Westhouse had this to say:

"Rexdale Plaza was built in 1957, I was only five years old. Of the original concept, storefronts faced Islington Ave. From the Dominion Store south, Scotia Bank, Riggs Hardware, Rexdale Restaurant, Beer Store, walkway, Surdins Photo, Uncer's Bakery, Coles Books, Storkland and Bouroughs furiture. North of Dominion was a wide space followed by Rexall Drugs (with post office) clothing stores (Lady Ellace and Little Lady Ellace), and etc. Rexdale Paint Supply (John Allen) and Rexdale Smoke Shop, with the Barber Shop off to the side. Under that a stairway led to the Bowling Alley, five pin on the right and ten pin on the left. The plaza continued with more clothing stores a beauty salon, Maynards Candy, Woolworths and LCBO. For several years the plaza ended there, until more stores were added, including Walkers clothing and a tire store with service bays in the rear. This store was occupied by the Catalina Restaurant in later years. To the north of that was Blairmore Rd. running between Islington Ave. and Burrard Rd. The boundary of The Elms golf course ran along Blaremore Rd. The road was removed when the Towers store was built and the Mall was enclosed in 1972.

The storey and a half Bungalows east of the plaza were built in 1952-53. Directly behind the Brewers Retail was an old farmhouse, backing on to Burrard Rd. This served as the first post office until the one in the drug store opened in 1957. I remember this place had a multi-windowed veranda and every pane of glass was shattered the only time I remember seeing it. I only have a few photo's taken around home in those years. I moved to my present address in May 1952 when I was only a few weeks old."


Source: CLICK HERE
 

Justin Ziadeh

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Today's submission comes from Susan Lynne Schwenger (of the Rexdale - Old Photos facebook group). It's a menu from Woolworth's circa 1970.

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The above photo re-post shows Rexdale Plaza from 1962 along Islington Avenue and Bergamot Drive. Rexdale Plaza
wouldn't become enclosed until 1972.

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Also included is a larger, zoomed-in image of Woolworth's at Rexdale Plaza. Courtesy of Eugenio Arcilesi
 
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