BRIEF: Ontario Science Centre Launches On-Site Retail, Canada’s Largest Esports Facility

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Ontario Science Centre Launches Pop-Up Retail Spaces: The popular Ontario Science Centre is dipping its toes into retail by offering three ‘pop-up pods’ on its premises as well as a larger temporary retail space. The centre sees about a million annual visitors and will diversify its offerings by partnering with brands. 

Each of the three pods come in different colours (red, blue and green) and measure about 200 square feet each. The red pod has shelving built to accommodate product presentation and storage for vendors. Additionally, there’s a fourth space spanning about 400 square feet in the front entrance common area of Ontario Science Centre.

All four spaces are located close to the Centre’s main entrance and are strategically situated before guests head down ‘Discovery Way’ en route into the exhibits. 

Retailers continue to look to pop-up retail spaces in order to test out concepts, markets and to create consumer awareness. Brands seeking a unique location may consider Ontario Science Centre, which gets a variety of visitors including tourists, tour groups and science-seeking locals. The pop-up spaces can be seen on pop-up go’s website. 

Holt Renfrew Ogilvy Unveils Impressive Montreal Men’s Personal Shopping Suite: The renovation and expansion of Montreal’s Holt Renfrew Ogilvy store is on track for completion next year, and last week the store unveiled its men’s personal shopping suite. The impressive space features a luxurious beige backdrop with mirrored tables and green velvet accented furniture. The suite is located on Holt Renfrew Ogilvy’s fourth floor, which is dedicated entirely to men’s fashions.  

Last month Holt Renfrew Ogilvy opened its impressive 40,000 square foot men’s floor, which includes 25 boutiques for some of the world’s biggest luxury brands. No store in Canada can boast so many men’s shop-in-stores in one location (many are leased concessions), with the Montreal store having by far the largest men’s department of any Holt Renfrew store. Customers can book appointments at 514-842-5111 or email:

Last week Holt Renfrew Ogilvy opened ground-floor shops for Tiffany & Co., David Yurman and Bottega Veneta. Others will follow and we’ll report on them. 

Canada’s 1st and Largest Esports Entertainment Complex to Open this Week in Montreal: Gaming enthusiasts are eagerly awaiting the opening of Esports Central in downtown Montreal on Friday, May 31. The company says that it will be the first and biggest esports entertainment complex in Canada, spanning about 14,000 square feet, and will include a retail component. Its address is 1231 Ste. Catherine Street West in the heart of the city’s downtown retail district. 

The upper-level space, accessed by escalators, features rows of 94 high-end PCs offering a world of virtual reality. There are 20 consoles and six D-Box racing simulators, as well as two Omni Virtuix VR stations. 

Esports Central’s President is a woman named Delilah Kanou, who brings her years of technology and retail industry expertise to create a comprehensive experience at the esport complex. “It’s more than just entertainment, we’re here to unite the gaming community under one roof,” says Kanou. “It’s a place to grow and thrive with a supportive network of like-minded gamers. It’s the destination where future esports champions will emerge.” 

Esports Central also houses an in-house resto bar with overhead televisions, along with opportunities from streaming, product launches and workshops to hosting tournaments. The space also has private party rooms for corporate events and birthday celebrations. 

There’s also a retail section selling top-of-the line gaming hardware, accessories and apparel. Gaming specialists will be on hand to custom-build PCs made according to each gamer’s preference and budget. 

Luxury Women’s Fashion Brand Jonathan Simkhai to Open Toronto Pop-Up: US-based fashion designer Jonathan Simkhai will open a pop-up shop for the first time at TNT The New Trend at Yorkville Village in Toronto on June 13. The shop will feature Simkhai’s range of women’s ready-to-wear styles that are often edgy and glamorous. While prices aren’t as high as a brand such as Chanel, prices start in the hundreds of dollars with more elaborate dresses costing well over $1,000 each. 

Jonathan Simkhai founded his eponymous fashion line in 2015 in New York City after years of experience as a buyer and merchandiser. He honed his technical skills at Parsons School of Design and the Fashion Institute of Technology. Early success of the label propelled Simkhai into the CFDA {Fashion Incubator} program where he developed his eye for quality of craft.

Last year, Simkhai relocated his headquarters to Los Angeles where he operates a multi-level atelier and showroom that also hosts the first Jonathan Simkhai retail space. 

Toronto-based fashion retailer TNT The New Trend, which operates three retail spaces at Yorkville Village spanning a total of about 18,000 square feet, has a continuous rotation of pop-up brands from some of the world’s most interesting designers. Some are saying that the future of multi-brand retailers includes pop-up activations — even Nordstrom and Holt Renfrew host designer pop-ups, with about 10% of Holt Renfrew’s square footage now devoted to temporary activations.  

Tumi to Relocate Yorkdale Flagship: Luggage and accessory brand Tumi is relocating its storefront at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre to a new 1,235 square foot space. It’s location is strategic, being between Richemont Group’s Piaget/Panerai boutiques and Davids Shoes, and directly across from David Yurman and Saint Laurent.

The new boutique will be similar in size to the current location a few steps away. Sources say that a significant international luxury brand will be taking over several retail spaces, including the current Tumi space, with an announcement to be made shortly.

Tumi operates boutiques across Canada and also wholesales in multi-brand shops.

Kettleman’s Bagel Co. Kicks Off Significant Expansion with 1st Toronto Location Deal: Ottawa-based bagel-focused QSR chain Kettleman’s Bagel Co., which currently operates three storefronts in Ottawa, is expanding its operations in Canada that will include about 15 new locations over the next five years. As part of the expansion, the retailer’s first Toronto location has been secured, according to Haroon Amadi of Redwater Capital Realty Inc., who is negotiating the retailer’s non-urban sites in southern Ontario. 

The Toronto location will open this fall in a 4,000 square foot space in the Shoppes of Alderwood in Etobicoke (which is also anchored by Toronto’s first Farm Boy grocery store). Kettleman’s Bagel Co. will be open 24 hours per day, seven days per week. Mr. Amadi explained that future locations will ideally be in the 3,500-4,500 square foot range with drive-throughs. 

Ketleman’s downtown eventual Toronto expansion is being handled by Brandon Gorman and Carmen Siegel of Cushman & Wakefield, and are seeking spaces in the 2,500 square foot to 4,500 square foot range in high-profile locations that allow for on-site bagel making. Cushman & Wakefield’s James Lavinskas is handling the Montreal region, and Brent Taylor at Brentcom Realty Corp. is handling leasing for the Ottawa/Capital region. 

Montreal native Craig Buckley opened the first Kettleman’s Bagel location in Ottawa in 1993. “When he started the business, he simply wanted to make the best bagels you could find, by rolling, kettling, and baking traditional Montreal style bagels in a wood burning-oven using hand picked hardwood, and maintaining an unwavering commitment to the traditional quality of the food,” according to the company. The three Ottawa locations are open 365 days per year and 24 hours per day. 

The company says that part of its success is due to its “no wall” experience. When patrons walk into the space, the first thing they see is the Kettleman’s Bagel Roller working and rolling fresh bagels, cutting the dough with a knife, and boiling the bagels in honey water to seal moisture. Behind the Bagel Roller is the baker who finishes the bagels with fresh poppy or sesame seeds and bakes them for about twenty minutes in a wood-burning oven. 

Roger Vivier Boutique Returning to Holts Yorkdale: Luxury footwear brand Roger Vivier will open a new shop-in-store at Holt Renfrew’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre store in Toronto. The boutique will be located in the women’s shoe department which also houses shops for Manolo Blahnik, Gucci, Christian Louboutin and Dior. Toronto-based dkstudio is designing the Roger Vivier space.

Roger Vivier had a boutique at Yorkdale’s Holts until 2017, when the space was taken over for the expansion of Chanel’s highly productive concession that operates in partnership with Holts.

Holt Renfrew Yorkdale’s shoe department has seen some changes recently. The Dior boutique is relatively new and replaced a Ferragamo shop-in-store that had occupied the space for several years. The Christian Louboutin boutique, which operates as a leased concession, recently added men’s footwear after a small separate men’s Louboutin shop shuttered to make way for renovations to the store’s men’s department.

Holts Yorkdale is seeing a significant expansion and renovation that will be completed in several months time. A 10,000 square foot expansion will see the opening of Dior, Fendi and Gucci, the latter which will be a ‘world of’ boutique with fashion, footwear and accessories. Burberry will also open a ‘world of’ boutique in the centre of the store’s main floor where Fendi is currently located. Further renovations to the store’s accessory area and second-level women’s fashion floor will follow. Recently, Holts unveiled a renovated menswear department with shops for brands including Balenciaga, Thom Browne, Fendi, Moncler and others.

As well, earlier this month Dior opened a futuristic pop-up space in the accessory area on Holt’s main floor featuring Dior’s pre-fall 2019 men’s collection. A ‘feminine robot’ by Japanese illustrator Hajime Sorayama stands guard at the shop that features a pod of brushed metallic, chrome and mirrored surfaces. The Dior collection includes a men’s version of the iconic Dior saddle bag as well as accessory and ready-to-wear items. It’s one of only three Dior pop-ups of its kind in North America, following shops in Washington DC and at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, California. If you want to see it for yourself, it’s only open until Friday of this week. See slideshow directly above. 

Article Author

Craig Patterson
Craig Patterson
Located in Toronto, Craig is the Publisher & CEO of Retail Insider Media Ltd. He is also a retail analyst and consultant, Advisor at the University of Alberta School Centre for Cities and Communities in Edmonton, and a public speaker. He has studied the Canadian retail landscape for over 25 years and he holds Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws Degrees.

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