Ossington Avenue Continues to Transform as it Adds Innovative New Retailers

Date:

Share post:

Ossington Avenue in Toronto continues to transform into a unique strip of retailers and restaurants. Once a seedy address known for its bars, the character street is being repositioned as an upscale, diverse neighbourhood that is becoming a favourite for first-to-market retail concepts. 


Photo: Craig Patterson

The particular stretch of Ossington Avenue between Queen Street West and Dundas Street West is especially hot right now, with developers such as Hullmark buying up properties for redevelopment. The location makes sense — residential areas surrounding the strip are amongst the most desirable in the city for many families, and popular Trinity Bellwoods park is just three blocks east. The ‘West Queen West’ strip to the south was declared by Vogue magazine in 2014 to be the ‘second coolest’ in the world

Ossington Avenue has found its own cool factor, made possible in part by the street’s diverse mix of heritage buildings and modern architecture. Gritty sidewalks create authenticity, as does street art and building uses such as self-storage. 

Things are changing as new retailers come into the area, and what’s resulting is an overall elevation to the Ossington Avenue retail strip. Detroit-based Shinola opened its first Canadian store at the corner of Queen Street and Ossington in the summer of 2016, joining well known brands such as Tiger of Sweden which is located nearby. In the fall of 2016, Lululemon unveiled its first standalone men’s store called ‘The Local’ at 96 Ossington Avenue, in a building now housing Vancouver-based Ride Cycle Club and Burton Snowboards’ first standalone Canadian store. 

The newly constructed 109 Ossington building is particularly notable. It has seen the addition of five new retailers including a 2,000 square foot grocery store called Fresh City Farms, which was formerly an online-only retailer. Pilot Coffee recently relocated to a location in the building which is now the company’s largest, and Vancouver-based women’s fashion brand ‘The Latest Scoop’ opened recently, as well. Unique Omakase Japanese restaurant concept ‘Narami’ took the most northerly unit in the building and opened to the public in August, and a very innovative retail concept will be announced for the remaining space when permitted — we can say that it will be unlike anything in Canada to date.

Aly Damji, Senior Vice President at Hullmark Developments, explained how 109 Ossington Avenue has helped animate the street further with boutique, fine grain retail spaces. While the building had about 11,000 square feet of retail space available and rather than leasing it to larger tenants (there is a site specific by-law limiting size of retail at the development to no more than 5,000 SF each), Mr. Damji explained how Hullmark broke the space up into smaller units in order to create a “neighbourhood feel” that includes smaller storefronts that provide a more diverse and interesting pedestrian shopping experience.

 

Hullmark recently acquired the row of residential houses located between 46 and 54 Ossington Avenue and the idea is to renovate these to create an innovative mix of retail at grade with office space proposed above. Mr. Damji explained that the development will help bridge that part of the street by extending the retail that characterizes the street on either side. A whimsical illustration has created interest in the development. Renovation of the existing buildings are slated for next year with delivery for possession in the open market by the end of 2019.

The building with address 12 Ossington Avenue, another Hullmark development, is a further example of how Hullmark is trying to enhance the street with thoughtful interventions. The project which is designed by award-winning Canadian architect Hariri Pontarini, will be a ~20,000 square foot building that will attract top tier retail with office space above. Mr. Damji explained that one of Hullmark’s goals is to add more office space in the area to further increase foot traffic for local retailers and restaurants. Furthermore, Mr. Damji explained that office users continue to seek out boutique and high-design spaces in non-traditional office nodes that are vibrant live/work/play environments. Right now, 12 Ossington is currently in the approval process and Hullmark hopes to commence construction within 12 months.

Hullmark is also actively developing a 35,000 square foot building nearby at 944-952 Queen Street West, which features creative agency Sid Lee as its anchor, as well as a 3,000 square foot restaurant concept by well-known chef Matty Matheson (details to follow). A publicly-accessible courtyard will be an amenity to the project. One remaining retail space in the complex, measuring approximately 3,000 square feet, is currently available.

Several deals in the area have been coordinated by the team at CBRE in downtown Toronto, under the direction of Arlin Markowitz, Alex Edmison, Jackson Turner and Teddy Taggart

Ossington Avenue already boasts some significant retail brands — Style Garage, Peace Collective, Reiging Champ, House of Horvath Cuban cigars and V de V are on the strip, and more interesting retailers and food and beverage concepts are looking at the area as it continues to transform. 

That transformation will likely reflect the changing demographics in the area, which are driven in part by its exceptional location. The surrounding area is home to schools, parks and convenient shopping, which means that it is a target for singles as well as families with children seeking an urban location with character, amenities, and a closer proximity to downtown employment centres than the far-flung suburbs which offer larger homes, but less ‘cool factor’. Because the residential real estate market is a target for households with duel-income families, real estate prices have escalated quickly and the area is now one of the most desirable in the city. As high-income households continue to move into the area, Ossington Avenue and West Queen West are expected to see new businesses and redevelopment that will continue to transform the area into something more upscale than in years past. 

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

More From The Author

Retail in Vancouver ‘Recalibrates’ with Increasing Downtown Vacancy Rates and Suburban Growth [Colliers Study]

A report by Colliers shows that a slower return to the office is impacting the city's downtown while suburban retail vacancies see a downturn, though the return of tourists and cruise ships is a positive for the core.

Aussie Eyewear Retailer Oscar Wylee Continues Aggressive Canadian Expansion with 1st BC Store [Interview]

The brand says it will grow its store count quickly over the next while as it enters new markets with its value-focused optical concept.

(Video Interview) Lisa Hutcheson from J.C. Williams Group Discusses Top Global Retail Trends

Craig and Lisa discuss the new Ebeltoft Retail Innovations Book which is in its 18th year of production. Four Canadian retailers were among the top innovators.

Canadian Consumers Seeking Value and Reassessing Spending as Dynamics Shift: Salesforce Study

A new report provides valuable information based on a poll of consumers about what they are seeking and expect from retailers following the pandemic.

French Fashion Brand ba&sh to Expand into Vancouver with a 1st-in-North-America Concept Store

The brand will soon have four stores in Canada as it grows its operations after entering the country during the pandemic.

Foot Locker Canada Launches Indigenous-Owned Streetwear Brand in Stores [Interview]

Foot Locker’s Home Grown platform showcases local up and coming designers, connecting communities with brands that are the future of streetwear. 

Hudson’s Bay to Shut Historic Standalone Store in Banff Alberta

The smallest department store in the chain caters to tourists and locals in the town and has been an important retailer in Banff for over 80 years.

Canadian Retail Apparel Market Seeing Rebound in 2023 with Positive Fundamentals: Trendex Report

The think tank is predicting good things for the industry while also predicting that Sport Chek will struggle as competition grows.

Anatolia Turkish Foods Looks to Expand from Calgary Base into New Markets [Interview]

The Calgary-based retailer and wholesaler has embarked on an expansion strategy into new markets, including ethnic food stores and dining options.

John Crombie Shares 6 Canadian Retail Trends to Watch for in 2023 [Interview]

Crombie, who's predictions usually come true, spoke at the ICSC Whistler Conference recently and discussed how retail in Canada is shifting as consumer habits change.

Video Interview: What Matters To Today’s Consumer in Canada

An expert talks about how consumers are looking for discounts and value, their concerns about their finances, how they are making fewer impulse buys and how they expect big companies to do good in society.

Major Condo Tower Rezoning Application Threatens a Block’s Worth of Toronto Restaurants

Developers say that they're responding to shifting urban trends, though only two small commercial spaces are proposed where a block of businesses currently operate.

Hudson’s Bay to Shut Londonderry Mall Store in Edmonton

The retailer will close one of its oldest locations in Alberta this summer as the retailer strategizes the future of its physical stores.

Toronto Six Professional Women’s Hockey Team Retail Presence Looks to Multi-channel Growth with On-Ice Success [Interview]

The President of women's professional hockey team the Toronto Six says that fans of teams are helping create a new revenue source.

Best Retailers for Customer Experience in Canada Ranked in Leger Study [Interview]

Thousands of Canadians were polled to determine which retailers came out on top, with some surprising findings.

Deciem Rebrands Many Stores as ‘The Ordinary’ as Company Shifts Focus and Retail Strategy [CEO Interview]

The popular beauty brand is refocusing some of its stores as 'The Ordinary' as Deciem grows its wholesale business with Sephora, and is also looking to launch new brands through its incubator engine.

Retailers Shifting Loyalty Programs to In-House as Businesses Drop Air Miles and Others [Interview]

An industry expert says that companies such as Starbucks have found success in its own loyalty programs, and consumer confusion with third-party programs is leading more retailers to develop their own.

‘Repair and Run’ Bike Maintenance Retail Concept Expanding to more Locations in Canada after Successful 1st Launch [Interview]

The bike repair business, founded by some of the people behind the launch and success of Mobile Klinik, is seeing success after opening its first store in 2021.

Earls to Launch New Restaurant Concept as Chain Expands Locations [Interview]

The Canadian chain is expanding its operations as consumers embrace in-person dining following the pandemic.

Canadians Should be Checking Receipts at the Grocery Store as Errors are Common [Op-Ed]

Sylvain Charlebois says that Canadians may not realize that the prices on the shelves and what's scanned might be different, and that there's sometimes an opportunity for compensation if there's been an error.

RECENT RETAIL INSIDER VIDEOS

Advertisment

Subscribe to the Newsletter

RECENT articles

Retail in Vancouver ‘Recalibrates’ with Increasing Downtown Vacancy Rates and Suburban Growth [Colliers Study]

A report by Colliers shows that a slower return to the office is impacting the city's downtown while suburban retail vacancies see a downturn, though the return of tourists and cruise ships is a positive for the core.

Aussie Eyewear Retailer Oscar Wylee Continues Aggressive Canadian Expansion with 1st BC Store [Interview]

The brand says it will grow its store count quickly over the next while as it enters new markets with its value-focused optical concept.

(Video Interview) Lisa Hutcheson from J.C. Williams Group Discusses Top Global Retail Trends

Craig and Lisa discuss the new Ebeltoft Retail Innovations Book which is in its 18th year of production. Four Canadian retailers were among the top innovators.

Canadian Consumers Seeking Value and Reassessing Spending as Dynamics Shift: Salesforce Study

A new report provides valuable information based on a poll of consumers about what they are seeking and expect from retailers following the pandemic.

French Fashion Brand ba&sh to Expand into Vancouver with a 1st-in-North-America Concept Store

The brand will soon have four stores in Canada as it grows its operations after entering the country during the pandemic.

Foot Locker Canada Launches Indigenous-Owned Streetwear Brand in Stores [Interview]

Foot Locker’s Home Grown platform showcases local up and coming designers, connecting communities with brands that are the future of streetwear. 

Hudson’s Bay to Shut Historic Standalone Store in Banff Alberta

The smallest department store in the chain caters to tourists and locals in the town and has been an important retailer in Banff for over 80 years.

Canadian Retail Apparel Market Seeing Rebound in 2023 with Positive Fundamentals: Trendex Report

The think tank is predicting good things for the industry while also predicting that Sport Chek will struggle as competition grows.

Anatolia Turkish Foods Looks to Expand from Calgary Base into New Markets [Interview]

The Calgary-based retailer and wholesaler has embarked on an expansion strategy into new markets, including ethnic food stores and dining options.

John Crombie Shares 6 Canadian Retail Trends to Watch for in 2023 [Interview]

Crombie, who's predictions usually come true, spoke at the ICSC Whistler Conference recently and discussed how retail in Canada is shifting as consumer habits change.

Video Interview: What Matters To Today’s Consumer in Canada

An expert talks about how consumers are looking for discounts and value, their concerns about their finances, how they are making fewer impulse buys and how they expect big companies to do good in society.

Major Condo Tower Rezoning Application Threatens a Block’s Worth of Toronto Restaurants

Developers say that they're responding to shifting urban trends, though only two small commercial spaces are proposed where a block of businesses currently operate.

Hudson’s Bay to Shut Londonderry Mall Store in Edmonton

The retailer will close one of its oldest locations in Alberta this summer as the retailer strategizes the future of its physical stores.

Toronto Six Professional Women’s Hockey Team Retail Presence Looks to Multi-channel Growth with On-Ice Success [Interview]

The President of women's professional hockey team the Toronto Six says that fans of teams are helping create a new revenue source.

Best Retailers for Customer Experience in Canada Ranked in Leger Study [Interview]

Thousands of Canadians were polled to determine which retailers came out on top, with some surprising findings.

Deciem Rebrands Many Stores as ‘The Ordinary’ as Company Shifts Focus and Retail Strategy [CEO Interview]

The popular beauty brand is refocusing some of its stores as 'The Ordinary' as Deciem grows its wholesale business with Sephora, and is also looking to launch new brands through its incubator engine.

Retailers Shifting Loyalty Programs to In-House as Businesses Drop Air Miles and Others [Interview]

An industry expert says that companies such as Starbucks have found success in its own loyalty programs, and consumer confusion with third-party programs is leading more retailers to develop their own.

‘Repair and Run’ Bike Maintenance Retail Concept Expanding to more Locations in Canada after Successful 1st Launch [Interview]

The bike repair business, founded by some of the people behind the launch and success of Mobile Klinik, is seeing success after opening its first store in 2021.

Earls to Launch New Restaurant Concept as Chain Expands Locations [Interview]

The Canadian chain is expanding its operations as consumers embrace in-person dining following the pandemic.

Canadians Should be Checking Receipts at the Grocery Store as Errors are Common [Op-Ed]

Sylvain Charlebois says that Canadians may not realize that the prices on the shelves and what's scanned might be different, and that there's sometimes an opportunity for compensation if there's been an error.