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The Albion Centre

Justin Ziadeh

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Continuing over from my previous post, here's an extended article on the fire that took place at Albion Mall on September 15th, 1970.

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Special thanks to Eugenio Arcilesi once again for sharing these clippings with me.

For my next photo tour, I'm planning to visit Albion Mall in person this coming week.
 

Justin Ziadeh

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Yesterday's trip to the Albion Mall part 1:

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Canadian Tire facing Albion rd. and Kipling ave.

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The entrance facing Finch Avenue West.

Years ago, I remember there being The Jolly Friar around where Pizza Pizza was located.

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Next to Pizza Pizza was C.J.'s Billiards; a popular bar and billiards hall in the Albion Mall for many years. Sadly closed now.

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Perhaps the oldest remaining portion of Albion Mall is the Albion Cinemas building and walkway.

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The Albion Cinemas sign. Albion Cinemas was originally known as Albion Odeon when the cinema first opened over 40 years ago.

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The Albion Cinemas entrance into the mall.

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Facing the exit of the Albion Cinemas alway towards Finch Ave. West. To the left are featured movies currently playing at Albion Cinemas.

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Albion Cinemas walkway heading into the mall.

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Albion Cinemas; formerly Cineplex Odeon.

I remember seeing Hollywood movies in this theatre up until the mid 1990's. By the time I returned in the late 90's - early 2000's,
Albion Cinemas had started playing Bollywood films (a feat which attracts many fans of the genre from as far away as Niagra
Falls).

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The space where Blackbox TV now sits used to display movie posters and coming attractions before being converted into more
retail space in the late 1990's - early 2000's.

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Entering from the entrance closest to No Frills.

Mike's Smoke Shop is one of the oldest stores still in operation within the Albion Mall for 25 years. Anyone who ever step foot inside Mike's will
remember the large ceramic statues for sale.

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Facing the No Frills exit.

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The barred doors facing the viewer used to be Silver Dollar in the 1990's. A dollar store that later became "Your Dollar Store With
More
". This was sadly one of the few stores I actually wanted to visit during the day's photo session.

In the early 90's, my mom used to take my brother and I to Silver Dollar almost daily to purchase colouring books, pencil toppers,
and toys. Later on, Silver Dollar even sold knockoff handheld games (similar to Tiger's from the 90's but on a lower scale) for a
few bucks.

In between snacking on some fries and gravy from the nearby Snack Shack. Mom would also purchase us random packs of baseball
cards. All in hopes of one day amassing a collection of cards for the two of us that would be worth a ton of money (oh, how optimistic
we were).
 

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Justin Ziadeh

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Yesterday's trip to Albion Mall part 2:

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Excel is another long-standing establishment that specializes in hair care products and weaves.


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Beneath the golden circle was once a fast food kiosk (long before Albion Mall had a food court) called Snack Shack. Most people remember Snack
Shack for their delicious fries and gravy.


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These vending machines have been a staple next to Silver Dollar for what seems like decades.

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The dreaded era of card collecting known as the 1990's where an over-saturation of sports cards flooded the market; making many of these packs
practically worthless.

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The opening day packs by Upper Deck seem to be the most recent from 2019.



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You'd get better value buying refurbished Pokemon card packs from your local Dollarama than paying $1 a card at this vending machine.

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The Canadian Tire in the distance used to be Kmart.

Sketchers, Irie Music and XTC designs were also staples located around this area.

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Heading towards Shoppers Drug Mart.

While most of these photos were taken just before closing, there were still a few vacant stores that were no longer in operation.
Clearly, the Albion Mall has taken a few dire hits from the pandemic, too.
 
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Justin Ziadeh

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Sharing the previous photos of the Albion ,all with the Rexdale - Old Photos facebook group evoked a lot of memories.
Many members who used to frequent Albion mall in the 60's, 70's and 80's were shocked at how much the mall had changed
over the years.

As expected, sharing a picture of the now-empty C.J.'s Billiards prompted the most comments from the group. Thankfully,
Eugenio Arcilesi was kind enough to share a few photos of C.J.'s before they closed back in 2011:


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The sign outside October 10th, 2008. Unit number 34a.

The next two photos were also shot by Eugenio in October of 2020.

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Justin Ziadeh

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Besides C.J.'s Billiards or the Albion Odeon, many Albion Mall shoppers remember The Snack Shack kiosk. Whether it was the 75 cent fries, the
scrumptious burgers, the infamous fries and gravy or an ice cold beverage on a hot summer's day, Snack Shack had the best of everything.

In the Rexdale - Old Photos facebook group, Tanseer Khawaja mentions: "They moved to across from Etobicoke General and was named Burger Boy.
I met the owner and we reminisced about “the mall”. Eugenio Arcilesi was also kind enough to provide an original Burger Boy clipping from 1979:

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The Snack Shack continued on for a few more decades (and I would imagine under different ownership) until becoming a Bubble Tea shop (and
now currently a vacant space).
 
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Justin Ziadeh

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Yesterday afternoon, I decided to meet up with a friend at the Albion Centre's food court. In the process, I made a brief stroll around
the mall again and noticed a few things:

Since my last visit from about a month ago, I noticed a handful of stores were still vacant lots. Stores such as Your Dollar Store With More,
Grand Bubble Tea
(though, there is still a similar store called "Real Bubble Tea" which is located around the corner from the food court) and
Ardene are a few examples that come to mind.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, Albion Cinemas is also temporarily closed.

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A leftover photo I took back in August from the No Frills parking lot. In the background, you can see the apartment buildings along Stevenson Rd. to the
right and the trees scattered in front of Highfield park on the left.

Years ago, The Beer Store (formerly Brewers Retail) used to be attached to the Albion mall. The exact spot The Beer Store used to occupy is now called
Home Essentials. Before A & W was added on, I remember an "Indian-Inspired" Chinese food restaurant here (the name escapes me...was it something
along the lines of Chopsticks or Manchu Wok?).

A & W marks the first time a burger chain has been featured outside of the Albion mall since Big Boy restaurant back in the early 1970's.
 
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Justin Ziadeh

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spring 1976.on map this pic was taken in round tree park where it says picnic area 1.the camera is facing toward finch.now apartment cover the viewView attachment 354646View attachment 354647

Loving these photos. Keep 'em coming.

My mom first moved to Rexdale back in 1972 and lived at Wellington Place Apartments at 1901 Martin Grove rd., Mom would use the payphones at Esso Gas Station until
she got a home phone set up a short time after.

Interestingly, I was planning to head down to Martin Grove Mall for a few weeks now. I heard before Danforth Food Market existed in the mall, there was Valencia Food Market
in the 1980's.
 

Justin Ziadeh

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I stopped into Albion Mall yesterday and noticed some more renovations taking place.

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What used to be "Your Dollar Store With More" along with Ardene have been boarded up.

The rumours of a Dollarama taking up both spots seems more than likely.

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The boarded up stores heading towards the Finch exit next to No Frills.
 

Justin Ziadeh

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Looks like the rumours of a Dollarama coming to the Albion Mall were true. Photos taken a few days ago:

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The store with the bars used to be Silver Dollar. Then later "Your Dollar Store with More". On the right was Ardene.
 

Justin Ziadeh

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Today's Albion Centre throwback comes courtesy of Albion Library's official Twitter account.

The photo was taken before Albion mall was enclosed in 1970. Etobicoke Public Library would move across the street and be renamed Albion
Library in 1972.

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Justin Ziadeh

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Today, I heard a rumour that Canadian Tire is closing in the Albion Mall.

Apparently, the older Canadian Tire location on Kipling and Rexdale is also set to shut down. Furthermore, both Canadian Tire locations are planned to be merged
along with the upcoming Costco on Rexdale and Islington (former Sears Warehouse).

The rumour stated that the merger could take place over the next five years.
 
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Towered

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Today, I heard a rumour that Canadian Tire is closing in the Albion Mall.

Apparently, the older Canadian Tire location on Kipling and Rexdale is also set to shut down. Furthermore, both Canadian Tire locations are planned to be merged
along with the upcoming Costco on Rexdale and Islington (former Sears Warehouse).

The rumour stated that the merger could take place over the next five years.

Makes sense. I doubt there's a need for 2 CT's in Rexdale.

Also, I really hope this crappy mall gets redeveloped.
 

Justin Ziadeh

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Makes sense. I doubt there's a need for 2 CT's in Rexdale.

Also, I really hope this crappy mall gets redeveloped.

I can only wonder what would replace the Canadian Tire in the Albion Mall. Probably another Asian Supermarket.
That seems to be the growing trend with the general vicinity.

Though, the service station gas pump brings a lot into question. It's common for Canadian Tire's retail outlets to relocate
while their pumps remain onsite (I've heard that there is a 10 year grace period before the land can be used for anything else).
 

Tuscani01

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Today, I heard a rumour that Canadian Tire is closing in the Albion Mall.

Apparently, the older Canadian Tire location on Kipling and Rexdale is also set to shut down. Furthermore, both Canadian Tire locations are planned to be merged
along with the upcoming Costco on Rexdale and Islington (former Sears Warehouse).

The rumour stated that the merger could take place over the next five years.
Interesting. The closing of the Albion Mall location wasn’t on the radar when I worked for CT, but I wouldn’t be surprised. That store has always been underperforming.

That said, the proposed store at Islington is a replacement for the 401/Weston Road store - so the rumour would mean 3 stores closing.
 

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