Female-Owned Cannabis Retailer CANVAS Opens 2nd Toronto Storefront Amid COVID-19 Shutdown

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By Retail Insider

CANVAS has announced the opening of a second store just months after arriving on Ontario’s emerging retail cannabis scene.

Ontario’s first residential cannabis retailer to be solely owned and operated by a woman is expanding in the midst of the COVID-19 shutterings.

“From day one, we focused on building for the future and meeting the growing need for cannabis products within Toronto communities,” said CANVAS Founder Helene Vassos, whose new store, CANVAS Mount Dennis, is located at 1285 Weston Road.

“Our goal has always been to bring a personal touch to the cannabis retail experience,” explained Vassos, whose first store opened in December on the Danforth and has seen exponential month-over-month growth since then.


“Our stores are located in beautiful, thriving neighbourhoods that are undergoing major redevelopment, and whose residents are looking for access to a sophisticated and fresh outlook on the cannabis retail experience,” she said “We relish the opportunity to be a part of this growth moving forward and hope to open one or two additional locations before the end of the year.”

The unprecedented global pandemic was not part of CANVAS’ growth plan, however the store is taking every precaution to keep customers safe until Ontario’s restrictions are eased. Like its original location, CANVAS Mount Dennis will adhere to strict COVID-19 preventative measures through online sales and curbside pick-up service only. A protective Plexiglas shield is installed at the front entrance for pick-up orders, and hand sanitizer is provided to every customer. Social distancing is adhered to through visible markers and signage and operational hours have been shortened to 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., with staff wearing masks and gloves.

The new location mirrors the original CANVAS Danforth store with its warm hues, natural elements, and subtle, stylized elegance, including walls and a ceiling enveloped in real moss. It caters to a varied clientele of all ages and carries a wide selection of cannabis products and accessories, including edibles, oils, and topicals.


“We know our customers by name, we engage with them, and we’ve formed strong relationships,” Vassos said, explaining that her staff is focused on helping customers find the best products for their needs. “It has been a wonderful, positive experience that I look forward to replicating in Mount Dennis.”

Following the success of her first store, the timing was right to expand CANVAS, Vassos explained. She credits her accomplishments in good part to an amazing support team that includes a core group of senior staff and family members, and a business model based on employing full-time permanent staff.

Vassos is leading the way in the industry by helping to establish standards and procedures through ongoing collaboration with government agencies, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and her colleagues in the retail cannabis industry. She also worked with several vendors on behalf of the industry to facilitate the rapid development of a platform to securely accept online payment for curbside pick-up during the pandemic.

To learn more about CANVAS Mount Dennis and its curated line of cannabis products and accessories, now available for online purchase via CANVAS’s prepaid, ‘Click and Collect’ purchase platform, visit

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  1. Just wondering why the title of this article says "female-owned"…? Is your gender important when it comes to owning a business, any kind of business, in 2020?

    • If you were writing an article about a women who was the first of her gender in a otherwise oppositely gender dominated field of business – wouldn’t you want to give praise and recognition to that?


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