BRIEF: French Bakery Concept Entering Canada, Holt Renfrew Rebrands All Restaurants

Retail industry news delivered directly to you. Subscribe to Retail-Insider.

By Retail Insider

French Bakery Concept ‘Paul’ to Enter Canadian Market: The 1100 block of Robson will be getting a second big-name French food concept in the summer when bakery ‘Paul’ opens its first Canadian location. Signage recently went up at 1164 Robson Street for the Paul concept, which is owned by the Holder Group. More Canadian locations are expected to follow.


Paul is known for its baked goods such as pastries, cakes, croissants, sandwiches, soups, juices, tarts, crepes, and over 140 types of bread. Sweets are also on the menu.

The 1164 Robson Street space was formerly home to Joe Fresh and RW&CO in years past. The space spans 3,120 square feet and the property also features a 1,185-square-foot mezzanine level. CBRE’s Vancouver team represented the landlord in the lease deal under the direction of Mario Negris and Martin Moriarty.

Holder also owns French bakery and sweets maker Ladurée which is located across the street from the new Paul location. Ladurée’s Canadian licensee is not part of the Vancouver Paul expansion, which appears to involve opening corporate stores in this country. On the Champs Elysees in Paris, Paul and Ladurée are also across from each other.

Paul dates back to 1889 when it was founded in Croix, France, and in the early 1950’s, the granddaughter of the founder married into the Holder family. Paul launched an international expansion in 1985 with its first locations in Spain which was followed by Japan in 1990, the UK in 2000, and the expansion picked up quickly into the 2000’s thereafter. Paul now has 620 locations in 34 countries globally. The business model includes corporately owned units as well as franchised locations.


Nearby at 1151 Robson Street, the Uncle Tetsu cheesecake concept will also be opening a location in a few months. It will be the first in the city of Vancouver and one of a handful in Canada. The same CBRE team also negotiated that lease deal.

The Robson Street Paul location is expected to become the first of multiple locations for the chain in Canada. Other major markets may see locations and given that the first will be a standalone street front location, more of these could come to markets such as Toronto and Montreal — both cities have numerous popular high streets that could be targets for Paul.


Luxury Book Publisher Taschen Opens Vancouver Retail Space: German art book publisher Taschen has opened a unique retail space at the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel in Vancouver. The ‘Retail Library’ is located on the hotel’s second level in a cozy space, offering a full catalogue of Taschen titles with more than 275 books available for purchase. Products range from ‘approachable’ artist monographs to prestigious limited-edition collector’s editions. Floor-to-ceiling bookshelves display product and comfortable seating encourages visitors to linger.

Taschen was founded in Cologne Germany in 1980. The company is known for producing expensive, high-quality coffee table-appropriate books showcasing art, fashion and other visually interesting topics. The company has 12 standalone stores globally and are distributed in multi-brand retailers as well. The Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto has a Taschen section dedicated to the brand’s offerings. In years past, the Holt Renfrew store at 50 Bloor Street West in Toronto had a Taschen boutique on its mezzanine level next to the entrance to the in-store restaurant.

The Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel is considered to be one of the leading hotels in the city, with many rooms overlooking Coal Harbour and Burrard Inlet. A residential component above the hotel includes condominium units priced into the millions of dollars, with well known residents including businessman Darryl Katz and even the Crown Prince of Dubai, who paid a whopping $55 million for several units including one of two penthouses in the summer of 2013.


Dyson Opens 2nd Canadian Retail Space: UK-based household and technology ‘reinvention’ brand Dyson opened its second standalone Canadian location in Vancouver last week at the CF Pacific Centre. The 2,000-square-foot space features a dedicated Dyson Beauty Lab, allowing visitors to fully experience the Dyson Supersonic™ hair dryer and Dyson Airwrap™ styler. The space is designed to encourage people to pick up, test, and understand Dyson technology. Interactive demonstrations are said to bring to life the science at the heart of Dyson machines. Dyson Experts are on-hand to provide advice and support. Included is technology that includes purified air, and lighting, not to mention dryers, vacuums and other Dyson products.


“Vancouver is known as a hub for health, wellness and beauty, with a large and diverse population. Our machines cater to a wide variety of needs and we think the community will appreciate the opportunity to experience Dyson technology first-hand”, said one of Dyson’s engineers in a statement. “We also know Vancouver outdoor air pollution can be visible multiple times throughout the year. With health and wellness top of mind for many in the area, it’s a great opportunity for Dyson to help educate and inform visitors to the store about outdoor and indoor air quality and how to manage air pollution within their homes.”


It’s the 155th Dyson Demo Store in the world and the second in Canada. The first opened at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre in December of 2017. Dyson is clearly being strategic in its location selection in Canada — Yorkdale is Canada’s most productive mall in terms of annual sales per square foot, and CF Pacific Centre ranks second according to the latest Retail Council of Canada Canadian Shopping Centre Study.

The CF Pacific Centre Dyson replaced a J. Crew store that closed last year. There’s no word yet if Dyson will open more locations in Canada, though sources say West Edmonton Mall could be a target. Dyson wouldn’t formally go on record when asked about more Canadian showrooms, the representative said, “I can share Dyson started in Canada in 2006 with just two machines in its range. Today, we bring our latest products across several categories to the country and Dyson Demo stores offer us the ability to showcase our latest technology and to be at the fingertips for all who enter the space, so everyone can experience it for themselves. As we grow, it will continue to be important for us to allow current and future Dyson owners to understand how our technology works better and can improve their lives.”


Holt Renfrew Rebrands In-Store Restaurants: Multi-brand luxury retailer Holt Renfrew unveiled its impressive new restaurant space at its 50 Bloor Street West flagship last week, with details reported last month in Retail Insider. While it had initially been announced that the restaurant would be branded as a Colette Grand Café as has been the case with restaurants at three other Holt Renfrew stores, it ultimately opened as a ‘Holts Café’ though it is operated by Chase Hospitality Group as are other restaurants in Holt Renfrew stores.


It now appears that the Colette Grand Café locations at Holt Renfrew in Vancouver, Yorkdale (Toronto), and Montreal have also been rebranded as Holts Café after a recent update on the Holt Renfrew website. A large restaurant will also open in the spring at the new 250,000-square-foot Holt Renfrew Ogilvy store in Montreal — the current Montreal Holts will close once the new big store is completed in April.

It’s unclear why restaurants have been re-branded, though many of the Colette Grand Café locations appeared to be relatively quiet at the best of times. The Holts branding may be more on brand in terms of attracting customers to the new Holts Cafés.


INS Market/Marche INS to kick off Quebec expansion, with a focus on Montreal office towers, malls, busy streets, and institutions: With 200 stores in Canada and the United States (Chicago and South Florida), INS Market is planning an aggressive expansion across Quebec. The company continues to evolve with the times, curating its focus on a busy customer base searching for convenient services and healthier snack and beverage options. Becoming “the most modern instant gratification store in the market” is top priority for INS Market in 2020. These expansion plans, centred on Quebec, are in partnership with Tony Flanz of Think Retail.


Locating high-traffic areas continues to be part of INS Market’s expansion strategy, as it zeros in on mid- and large-size office buildings, public transit venues, shopping centres, and institutional areas within the Montreal area. Spaces ranging from 500 to 700 sq. ft. for inline stores and 150-200 sq. ft. for kiosks are preferred, however the versatile concept is adaptable to accommodate a variety of sizes, spaces, and configurations. Founded in 1994 as International News, INS has been in business for more than 25 years.


Kristals Cosmetics eyes Canada for expansion: Florida-based ‘luxury’ cosmetics and skincare brand Kristals Cosmetics plans to open several more locations in Canada. Launched in 2015 and owned by private label cosmetics manufacturer and distributor UHI Cosmetics, Kristals Cosmetics is a line of skincare products “combining the healing properties of precious gemstones with the latest anti-aging technologies to provide some of the most powerful and holistic skincare products and treatments in the market to date.” To date there are two Kristals Cosmetics locations in Canada, both in Ontario.

Much of the brand’s success can be credited to its immersive retail stores. Designed to host valuable in-store product demonstrations that show clients firsthand the direct results of Kristals’ unique formulations, the company’s modern store design has a “high-end aura”. In addition to its global chain of branded retail stores, UHI products can be found in high-end retailers, spas, and professional treatment centres.

Canadian markets of interest for the upcoming expansion span British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario. That’s according to Tony Flanz of Think Retail, who is representing the retailer.


Cadillac Fairview and Partner Selling Buttonville Airport Site: Toronto-based landlord Cadillac Fairview, which we recently reported has many of Canada’s top most productive shopping centres under its corporate ownership, is selling its Buttonville Airport site north of Toronto in the Markham area. The 170 acre site, co-owned by Armandale Co. Ltd. was purchased in 2010 with plans for redevelopment. The site became an airport in 1963 after being founded as an airstrip a decade earlier, according to a report in RENX. Siften family-owned Torontair Ltd. offers aviation services on the site.

Cadillac Fairview and Armandale proposed in 2011 to create a massive multi-billion dollar mixed-use project on the site that would have spanned up to 10 million square feet. Tall residential towers up to 60 storeys as well as parks, a man-made lake, hotel and entertainment would have been included. Retail would have also been an important component to the project with some suggesting that a major shopping centre would become part of the property. One source in 2016, tied to Cadillac Fairview, had said that the new shopping centre could have become home to the GTA’s third Saks Fifth Avenue location. Saks appears to have halted its Canadian store expansion at this time, however, having shelved plans for a 200,000 square foot downtown Montreal store. The airport will remain operational until at least 2023.


Planet Fitness Expands Canadian Operations with Multiple Openings: Toronto’s first Planet Fitness location at College Park opened late last year and is quickly gaining momentum with more than 2000 people already subscribing to the idea of a “Judgement Free” gym. The 21,000-square-foot fitness centre is the 25th location in Ontario, operated by franchisee Taymax Group. 

The three-level College Park Planet Fitness includes new cardio machines, fully equipped locker rooms, many full-sized flat screen televisions, a 30-minute express circuit, two massage chairs, two hydro lounges, three tanning beds (two lay down and one stand-up), and a ‘Total Body Enhancement Booth’. The club is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

Off the back for the New Hampshire-based company’s success in Canada, 2020 is seeing the introduction of two new Planet Fitness locations in Winnipeg. The first is located in Garden City and the second on Regent Ave. This brings the total number of Winnipeg locations to four. 

Winnipeg is experiencing a massive growth in the fitness and health industries, and with Planet Fitness being so affordable and accessible, these two new locations are sure to make a splash. 



  1. Wow! What exciting news for Canada that Paul is opening! I’ve always wanted to try it out! Will the expansion include most major cities in Canada or selected ones to see what target? Calgary?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -