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The Albion Centre

Justin Ziadeh

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Here's an original Kmart menu from late January 1977:

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Photo credit: Brenda Boettcher on Pinterest.
 

Justin Ziadeh

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Another late entry for today. Here's a Big Boy Burgers menu from 1969 along with a few memories at the Albion mall!

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JB was a prominent Big Boy Hamburgers Franchisee in Ontario. From the ad, it seems JB had an agreement with Jean Beliveau
to appear at each of JB's locations --- all in one day!

Today's photos come from Dan Jones and Eugenio Arcilesi of the Rexdale - Old Photos facebook group.
 

Justin Ziadeh

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Today's find is a higher-quality shot of JB's Big Boy Hamburgers from Eugenio Arcilesi.

This particular Big Boy location was built outside of the Albion Mall and lasted there until the mid 1970's. Notice the white Mustang in the parking lot?

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.

In the background, you can spot Stevenson Rd and the recently-created apartment buildings in the area. My personal guess for the apartment building to the left
would be 10 Garfella Drive.

In the decades to follow, this portion of Albion mall's parking lot would home to Brewer's Retail/The Beer Store's relocation and the houses in the background would
be obscured by the series of stores built along Finch Avenue (next to Sunny's Food Mart).
 
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Justin Ziadeh

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Rexdale Archivist Eugenio Arcilesi was kind enough to share these vintage clippings from the Albion mall and surrounding area.

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A midnight screening of a 1970's documentary about the Rolling Stones' 1969 tour? Count me in!

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Frank Vetere's Pizzeria was long before my time. Though, the franchise had a number of locations throughout Toronto
and Scarborough.

Frank's was actually located at 1729 Albion Road, which would become a Pizza Hut in the 1980's and then Singh Food
Centre and Om India in the years to follow.

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Texaco has long been replaced by Crosstown Car Wash - which is just across the road from Dr. Flea's Flea Market.

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Eugenio adds:
"Burger King was located at 1751 Albion rd, that's where Tim Hortons is today."

Personally, I never knew of this particular Burger King's existence. In the early 1990's, my family used to drive from Garfella Drive all the way down to
(what we thought was the closest) Burger King at 2372 Finch Ave.

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The logo used in the advertisement is the bottom left one from 1969-1994. Since the Burger King ad also mentions it's new drive-thru service,
the ad was most likely printed after 1975 when Burger King allegedly re-introduced drive-thrus to it's establishments.

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Subway restaurant would eventually move across the street to 11 Westmore Drive.

Getting things back on topic, has anyone visited the Albion mall lately? I heard with Covid guidelines there's security at every entrance.
One google review even mentioned being forced to wait outside for 25 minutes just to get in.
 

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Justin Ziadeh

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Here's a McDonald's menu (complete with prices) from 1972.

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Photo credit: Eugenio Arcilesi

Though, McDonald's wouldn't become an Albion anchor until the mall's late 90's - early 2000's renovation -
which added a food court among other additions.

The next photo comes from Alan Aerts (Rexdale - Old Photos facebook group's Admin) who took this photo prior
to leaving Canada. In the top left corner, you can see Albion mall.

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Alan had this to write:

"**𝗣𝗵𝗼𝘁𝗼 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘄𝗲𝗲𝗸**

#48. When I left Rexdale in the early 90's to do a bit of traveling, I never thought I'd never return. Those travels brought me to many places which eventually stopped here in Ireland. But I've never forgotten where I came from, where I learned my street smarts, the fun I had and the greatest friends I ever made, many of whom I'm still in touch with after all these years. That's why this photo is so important to me; it was probably the last photo I took before leaving "the hood" from my 17th floor apartment on Panorama Court. Much of what is seen in this photo has changed, namely the field between Stevenson and the Albion Mall, or my old grade school St. Andrew's before the extension. The Finch extension was still only a proposal and Henry Carr was still a high school before becoming the community centre it is today. And the mall was still the "Mall" with a clear view of the cinema entrance I spent many Saturday mornings entering and lining up for before it was renovated and turned into the "Centre". Places change, but there will always be great memories of what they were like. Today's generation will probably do the same years from now with today's photos. I will always have the fondest memories of Rexdale and I can't begin to thank you all for sharing all of your own personal experiences. It's a place you grow up wanting to leave and grow old wanting to get back to."
 

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Justin Ziadeh

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Here's a vintage 1967 clipping for Albion Smoke & Gift Shop:

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The clipping comes courtesy of Bonnie Hogan. The clipping itself is part of a 1967 cookbook from St Paul the Apostle church on Kipling.

Maybe it's a coincidence, but there is also an Albion Smoke and Gift Shop - located close to Anga's Farm and Nursery on 361 Albion rd.
 
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Justin Ziadeh

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For our next assortment of vintage memories, the following shots depict a rare glimpse of the surrounding area around Albion Mall circa late 1960's.
Apologies in advance for the blurriness of the photos:

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From the Rexdale - Old Photos group, member Patrick Charles Nolan writes:

"Next to the white apartment building is the R.J. Smith Apartments, the retirement community that is still there now. You can also see the Ontario housing townhouses on the right. My family moved to Kendleton Drive in 1967 and I remember no buildings in front of the unit's we lived in. You could see farms out the front window in the distance."

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All photos submitted by Dhillon Singh

To the left, you can see what Albion Mall looked like from a distance. The photo was taken before Albion Mall's enclosure in the 1970's.
In the far distance is Kipling Avenue going left to right. To the left is the middle portion of Albion Mall where the Doctor's offices, Hopedale
Drugs and Dominion were once located.
 

Justin Ziadeh

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Care for a smoke?

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These matchbooks come courtesy of eBay sellers: cashexplorer0815 and brybrenn

This photo was provided by Alan Aerts: the Administrator of the Rexdale - Old Photos facebook group. Alan took this photo outside
Consumer's Distributing (in which Alan also worked at during the time). Consumer's Distributing was part of the neighbouring Finch
-Albion Centre.

In the background, you can see Albion Road.

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A recent photo comparison. Consumer's Distributing was replaced by Dollarama.

Now that Covid restrictions have been lifted, has anyone ventured to the Albion Mall lately?
 
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Justin Ziadeh

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This next vintage photo of the Albion Mall comes courtesy of Alan Aerts. Admin of the Rexdale - Old Photos facebook group.

Alan writes:

"That time Blinky came to Rexdale, circa 1974! That's me on the left. Anybody remember this day? I believe it was at the Albion Mall. #MatchingSweaters #WhoWoreItBetter"


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This photo was taken outside of Kmart at the Albion Mall.

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Image credit: Retrontario

Anyone else reminded of Falkor from Never-Ending Story?

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Blinky went through several different incarnations since his creation in the late 1960's.
 
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Justin Ziadeh

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This next vintage photo was taken just one intersection down from the Albion mall circa 1970's.

Submitted by Terri MaCleod from the Rexdale - Old Photos facebook group. Terri adds:
"From the parking lot of 1819 Martin Grove rd. before before the Toronto West Seventh-Day Adventist Church was built on the corner."

The orange sign along Martin Grove rd. was Gulf Gas Station. Long replaced by a series of stores bundled together which includes
the Albion Martin Grove Pharmacy. Facing Gulf is the former Esso Gas Station (now a Canadian Tire gas pump).

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interchange42

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This next vintage photo of the Albion Mall comes courtesy of Alan Aerts. Admin of the Rexdale - Old Photos facebook group.

Alan writes:

"That time Blinky came to Rexdale, circa 1974! That's me on the left. Anybody remember this day? I believe it was at the Albion Mall. #MatchingSweaters #WhoWoreItBetter"


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This photo was taken outside of Kmart at the Albion Mall.

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Image credit: Retrontario

Anyone else reminded of Falkor from Never-Ending Story?

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Blinky went through several different incarnations since his creation in the late 1960's.
Blinky came to my public school once, and I think it showed up in the Santa Claus Parade every year back then. It was the most bizarrely ugly thing…

42
 

Justin Ziadeh

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Blinky came to my public school once, and I think it showed up in the Santa Claus Parade every year back then. It was the most bizarrely ugly thing…

42

Other than a few sporadic parade appearances over the years, I'm curious to know what year Blinky was discontinued.

Still holding out for Disney Pixar's "Blinky - The Animated story".
 

Justin Ziadeh

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Submitted by Eugenio Arcilesi of the Rexdale - Old Photos facebook group. A 2003 Albion Mall clipping:


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I'd estimate a good chunk of Albion Mall's revenue comes from the nearby schools that frequent Albion every lunch hour
(next to shopping at No Frills, of course). Highfield, Smithfield, Father Henry Carr ...I have vivid memories of watching my
N.A.C.I. classmates march down Kipling, cut through the patch of grass where the 23 division Police Station now sits and
line up at McDonald's ritualistically.

Last I checked, C.J.'s Sports Bar closed down a few years back. The other oldest store still in operation by 2003 was The
Jolly Friar and The Albion Bar and Grille (which I believe is a Carribean Heat now).
 
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Justin Ziadeh

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More vintage memories from the Albion Mall submitted by Rexdale - Old Photos Group Expert Eugenio Arcilesi.

To start things off, let's return to an era when Albion Cinemas (then known as "Albion Odeon") once played Hollywood movies:

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Burn! originally aired in 1969.

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The original Night Of The Living Dead as a midnight viewing at the Albion? I'm totally there.


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I still remember the encyclopedias my parents used to own. A whole collection of sturdy blue books in a set of about 15 volumes.
All organized in gold ink along each book's spine. Which, sadly, we never used.

Then came the advent of the internet, and well....

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Comparatively speaking, Bank Of Montreal first opened in the Albion Mall back in 1967.

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Yes, there was a time when now-defunct Canadian chain Music World was a part of the Albion mall.
Other than Johnny Mathis' "The Best Days of My Life" (which was released on January 29th, 1979),
most of the albums featured in this ad were released back in 1978.

I'm guessing Music World decided to relocate after the Woodbine Centre first opened back in 1985.

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I especially like the slogan "Where Good Things Happen". Reminds me of Rexdale Plaza's old slogan:

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"Something Special Is Happening" (which turned out being a second demolition back in 2003-2004).

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Justin Ziadeh

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Today, we're heading back to September of 1970. The Albion Mall was still in the early stages of becoming an enclosed mall; only
for this incident to take place:

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Photo courtesy: Eugenio Arcilesi and Ken Hutcheson.

Going through my notes, I believe the shoe store mentioned was Maher's Shoes and the fire started with a cigarette.
Using an inflation calculator, the estimated cost of $750,000.00 in 1970's money would equal to about $5,224,137.93
today!

This next photo contains older signs from the surrounding area that may bring back memories to some Albion Mall shoppers here.


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Photo credit: Eugenio Arcilesi and Nanci Rigato.

Eugenio tells me that old street signs like these can be purchased at a store called Platinum Liquidations in North York.
 
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