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Rexdale Plaza

There's never a shortage of vintage Rexdale Plaza photos.

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Rexdale Plaza looking south along Islington Ave. To the left, you can see Dominion. To the right is Rexdale Boulevard (complete with sign
and a Bus Stop).

Next up is a TTC map of the surrounding area from 1958.

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For lovers of vintage cars, this next shot shows an open field to the left where Rexdale Plaza would be built in 1956.

By 1957, semi-detached homes would be added in the distance along Allenby Road.
 
Today's amazing aerial shot was submitted by Eugenio Arcilesi of the Rexdale - Old Photos facebook group.

A.) Rexdale Plaza - which wouldn't be enclosed until 1972.

B.) What still appears to be farmland in front of Simpsons-Sears. Would become the Sears parking lot in the years to come.

C.) Soon to be redeveloped from farm houses into the Rexdale Mews.

D.) Bergamot dr. heading towards Islington ave.

E.) This area would eventually make way for the International Muslim Organization decades later.

F.) Kipling ave.

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The current state of the former Sears Outlet close to Rexdale Plaza:



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Redevelopment is underway. At the intersection of Bergamot Dr. and Rexdale Boulevard.

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Rubble piles and construction equipment aplenty.

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No, it's not Egypt. Viewed along Rexdale Blvd. heading towards Islington Ave.

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Looking back towards Bergamot Dr. via Rexdale Blvd.

The iconic Sears water tower was dismantled three years ago. In the distance is another abandoned water tower that was owned by Steinberg's,

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Over where the warehouse and mechanic portions of Sears used to exist. Rexdale Blvd. with Rexdale Plaza and Islington Ave. (not pictured)
to the left.

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Heading towards Islington Ave.

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I always found accessing Sears via Islington rather cumbersome.

All photos taken by me yesterday.

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The perfect album cover for a Punk Rock band? Turning back towards Bergamot Dr. on the right.
 

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More vintage Rexdale Plaza memories:

For the first store inventory, Rexdale Plaza was oddly listed as "Rexdale Shopping Centre". This listing is from 1969:
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Next up is an aerial view of the Nearby Red Barn restaurant. Judging by the aerial view, I'd say Rexdale Plaza is on the right,
Islington is running N to S and the old Sears Warehouse is towards the bottom left corner:

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All photos submitted by Eugenio Arcilesi at the Vintage Rexdale Facebook group.
 
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The vintage memories continue with another celebrity spotted at the Rexdale Plaza.

Twitter user Erin Zabukovec is seen pictured here with the late Ernie Coombs (best known for starring in the Children's Television
show "Mr. Dressup") at the Rexdale Plaza.

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Across the street from the Rexdale Mall, land development continues at the old Sears Warehouse location:

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Photo by: Diane Sammut Hamlett

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Photo by: Eugenio Arcilesi

Alongside a Coscto warehouse, a Canadian Tire and an LCBO (which follows the last opening at Queens Plate and Highway 27)
are also planned to be added. From north of Costco, the Walmart portion of Rexdale Mall can be seen in the top left corner.

Some residents feel the inclusion of these new stores next to the Rexdale Mall are an eyesore for the area. Others praise the soon-to-be job
openings these new stores will create as a positive.
 
In the 60's and 70's, one of the most popular shops in the Rexdale Plaza was Surdin's Photo Centre.
Besides selling camera equipment, shoppers could also have their photos enlarged, developed and talk shop with the friendly staff.

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Photos by: Lynn O'Brien & Elaine Hodgson Cooper with additional info by Lorna Westhouse Adams..

Customers would get free album sheets with every roll of film developed; which could be placed in a Surdin's photo album (sold separately).
Talk about clever marketing!
 
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Today's incredible find comes from Leonard Surdin. Leonard writes:

" Surdin’s Photo Center in Rexdale Plaza. My father sold it in 1964 so we could move to Los Angeles."

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Vintage Rexdale Group Expert Brian Westhouse added

"Between the Brewers Retail and Surdin's there was a walkway that went from the front of the plaza to the back parking lot. Construction to enclose the plaza was started in 1972, but after that the walkway was still there, but all the businesses were replaced with the Eaton's Horizon store. Surdin's was still in the mall somewhere. I remember the new location was a former shoe or clothing store. I think it was a bit north of the smoke shop."

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Long time contributor and Vintage Rexdale Group Expert Eugenio Arcilesi was kind enough to provide a colour-enhanced update to Leonard's photo.
 
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Thank you for sharing all of this. So much nostalgia.

You are most certainly welcome. The majority of my recollections trace back to the early 90's. A time when the Rexdale Plaza had begun settling into
quiet obscurity; the sad relegation of 'that old mall' that sat across from the then-aging Sears warehouse.

Once Zellers left - the Rexdale Plaza's fate was sealed.

Most of the attached photos of the Rexdale Plaza come from the mid 1950's - the same time the mall was built as a first for Rexdale. Then attention
shifted with the creation of all of the other malls in the area - leaving Rexdale Plaza as a West Toronto footnote.
 
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Newest rumour that has me scratching my head is that Walmart will be leaving the Rexdale Plaza and relocating across the street
(to where the forthcoming Costco is being built). Already, there's a couple of red flags popping up in my mind:

1) Doesn't Walmart own their own property? Or does the entire land around Walmart also belong to the owner of the Rexdale Plaza?

2) With Costco and the presumed condo development in the works, Walmart would surely be downsizing. Would a Walmart be able
to fit in such a compact space? Even for smaller Super Centre standards, I have my doubts.

Walmart leaving would definitely reduce foot traffic around the nearby stores.
 
I remember from the planning community documents that the owner of that plaza ( I think smart centres ) Was very against the Costco development.
 
I can see why, Costco would surely drive away a lot of customers and reduce sales. The upcoming Costco is also easier to spot coming off the 401.

Going back to my last post, I was under the impression that the owner of the Rexdale Plaza was Chris Hinn (who also owns the Closeout King liquidation outlets and the Woodbine Centre).
The rest of the strip mall and Walmart property may belong to the Smart Centre now that you mention it.
 
Smart Centres owns the Crossroads shopping area, where I assume Crappy Tire and LCBO are going to move from. The half-vacant Crossroads Centre is almost certainly going to be developed for residential uses in the next decade.
 

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