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BRIEF: SEE Eyewear Exits Canada, LCBO Scores Coveted Corner Mink Mile Retail Space

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SEE Eyewear Exits Canadian Storefront and Cancels Expansion Plans

Edgy and popular SEE Eyewear has shut its only Canadian storefront that was located at 153 Cumberland Street in Toronto’s Yorkville neighbourhood. The 812-square-foot boutique opened in November of 2017 and plans were in pace to grow the retail chain across Canada.

Urban locations were being targeted for SEE locations and Toronto’s Queen Street West was already being looked at for a second Canadian location according to Founder and Owner, Richard Golden, during an interview at the store opening. The expansion would have been carefully planned with Vancouver and Montreal being among the targeted cities for future locations.

SEE is still available to Canadians online according to a sign on the storefront noticed by Retail Insider over the weekend.

SEE, which stands for ‘Selected Eyewear Elements’, was founded in 1997 by optical pioneer Richard Golden with an aim to provide consumers with affordably priced, fashion-forward eyewear. The company’s prices encourage shoppers to create a ‘wardrobe’ of glasses, with a wide variety of styles available. In the Toronto store, SEE’s collection ranged from $199 to $599 for eyeglasses and include single-vision plastic or polycarbonate lenses. All sunglasses are priced at a reasonable $149 per pair.

The chain doesn’t appear to have grown a lot in the US since we first reported on it more than three years ago — in 2017 SEE had 40 stores and according to its website, there are currently 43 locations in the US only.

Rendering of The Manulife Centre Podium at 55 Bloor Street West
Rendering of The Manulife Centre Podium at 55 Bloor Street West

LCBO Secures Highly-Coveted Mink Mile Corner Storefront

(Note: a previous version mentioned CBRE, which was not involved in this particular deal)

The Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) has leased a more than 10,000-square-foot space on the street level of the Manulife Centre at 55 Bloor Street West in downtown Toronto. The coveted location is at the corner of Bloor Street and Balmuto Street in the renovated podium of the Manulife Centre which cost well over $100 million to renovate and features a 50,000-square-foot Eataly location that opened last year. The new location will replace a smaller LCBO store in the basement of Manulife Centre.

The previous tenant in that street level corner space at Manulife Centre was tableware retailer William Ashley, which in the spring of 2018 relocated nearby. In years past, iconic luxury multi-brand retailer Creeds occupied the Bloor-Balmuto corner.

Beauleigh handled leasing and overall retail strategy for Manulife Centre and negotiated the lease deals to date. Several more commercial spaces are available at the Manulife Centre which includes recently opened Shoppers Drug Mart and Over the Rainbow storefronts, as well as an overhauled Maison Birks flagship that we featured in the spring of 2019.

Corner of The Manulife Centre where the new LCBO is set to go. Photo: Craig Patterson
Corner of The Manulife Centre where the new LCBO is set to go. Photo: Craig Patterson

We’ll follow up on this story when more details are available — we might expect a premium liquor selection, given that the new LCBO store will face directly towards Holt Renfrew’s flagship store across the street.

Other recent tenants opening on Bloor Street include Hakim Optical at 66 Bloor Street West and a Bogner pop-up at The Colonnade at 131 Bloor Street West. Some prominent stores have recently closed on the street including The Gap, Banana Republic, Mulberry, Victorinox, MAC Cosmetics, and several others, with Club Monaco set to join them. A new set of tenants will eventually replace them as the Mink Mile sees something of a transformation.

The LCBO raised eyebrows in the spring of 2020 amongst landlords and brokers when the Crown corporation asked for rent breaks despite being declared an ‘essential’ retailer that was allowed to remain open during shutdowns. Some argued that such a government-owned business should not be asking private landlords for such a discount.

The North Face x Gucci collaboration. Photo: Gucci
The North Face x Gucci collaboration. Photo: Gucci

Gucci Opens North Face Collab Popup in Toronto and Customers Probably Won’t be Able to Visit

Gucci announced last week that it would open a select few The North Face x Gucci popup stores in North America, and Toronto’s Holt Renfrew store at the Yorkdale Shopping Centre is one of the locations. The popup opened last week and will operate until February 14th. With Toronto’s lockdowns of ‘non-essential’ retail extending into at least February 10th, customers will only be able to do virtual appointments, make telephone orders, and pick-up purchases curbside.

Toronto is one of only a handful of places in North America for The North Face x Gucci pop-ups. Other locations include at standalone Gucci ‘Pins’ storefronts in Brooklyn NY and in downtown Los Angles, as well as at the Gucci flagships in Union Square in San Francisco and on North Michigan Avenue in Chicago.

The North Face x Gucci collaboration includes a wide range of products, from windbreakers and fleeces to a series of bags and backpacks emblazoned with the new logo —The North Face has adapted its quarter-circle stamp, which pays homage to the famous granite Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, and now includes Gucci’s green-red-green stripe for the collaboration, which is 70s inspired.

Exterior of CF Promenades St-Bruno. Photo: CF Promenades St-Bruno
Exterior of CF-Promenades-St-Bruno. Photo: CF Promenades St-Bruno

CF Promenades St-Bruno’s ‘Marché des Promenades’ Adds New Merchants

Spring of 2021 will see new additions to the popular CF Promenades St-Bruno’s ‘Marché des Promenades’.

The 13,000-square-foot open exchange space continues to bring together the cream of passionate culinary craftsmen, producers, and restaurateurs from Quebec, Greater Montreal, and its surrounding agricultural regions. 40 additional merchants are set to join Marché des Promenades within the next few months, including Edward Smoked Meat, SAQ, Quai des Glaces, and LAPop.

Landlord Cadillac Fairview had originally announced its investment of $67.5 million in its CF Promenades St-Bruno shopping centre property to create a “market-style food hub” in mid 2019. With the goal off reinforcing the centre as a key destination for Montreal’s South Shore community, Cadillac Fairview officially opened the innovative space in late 2020, promising a “unique food, beverage, and entertainment experience”.

The market, which resides in CF Promenades St-Bruno’s former Target space, is all part of a much larger investment on the part of Cadillac Fairview, which has seen more than $175 million spent over the past several years on updates and expansions.

Hillcrest Mall lululemon popup store. Photo: Hillcrest Mall Instagram
Hillcrest Mall lululemon popup store. Photo: Hillcrest Mall Instagram

Seasonal lululemon Popup Opens at Hillcrest Mall

lululemon has opened a seasonal popup store in Richmond Hill’s Hillcrest Mall and now no one can visit it due to pandemic lockdowns. The pop-up could signal a permanent lululemon location eventually opening in the mall.

The popup store opened in December when in-mall shopping was still allowed under Ontario’s COVID-19 restrictions. As of recently, however, Hillcrest Mall is closed to the public and is only offering centralized and curbside pickup services for its shoppers.

The popup offers an array of lululemon’s favourite activewear, all of which can be browsed and purchased at shop.lululemon.com and picked up safely outside the mall.

Working with select retailers within the centre, Hillcrest mall is providing locals with the means to shop their favourite stores despite the current situation. Hillcrest are encouraging those interested to contact the retailers directly (online or by phone) and there is a list of participating retailers featured on the mall website. Once you have placed your order with the store, you will be contacted by email notifying you of your pickup time. All curbside pickups will be conducted at Entrance 4 of the mall.

lululemon operates 87 locations across Canada as of 2021, with 17 of those being seasonal stores.

To learn more visit hillcrest-seasonal@lululemon.com

Exterior of Eataly Toronto. Photo: Craig Patterson
Exterior of Eataly Toronto. Photo: Craig Patterson

Eataly Celebrates Turning 14 as it Marks a Year in Canada

Italian grocerant Eataly turns 14 this year and the popular upscale store is encouraging its shoppers to “Sale-a-Brate” with them. With up to 50% off hundreds of its favourite products through to February 7 and month-long offers and weekly popups, Eataly is hoping to celebrate its birthday in style this new year.

Available until Sunday, January 17, shop up to 50% off the following high-quality products:

  • Select Italian extra virgin olive oils & vinegars
  • Pecorino Toscano
  • IGP & Sicilian Pepato
  • Hearty winter greens & chicories, housemate sauces and seasonal fresh pasta

The hybrid grocery store opened its Toronto location in November 2019 in the city’s Yorkville neighbourhood. The introduction of the 50,000-square-foot, three-level Eataly location was met with considerable hype, with lineups every day for weeks post opening.

Featuring a grocery store, fresh market, four restaurants, and at least six bars, and coffee shops, Eataly has managed to weather the COVID-19 storm despite having to close its restaurants and bars during 2020.

Eataly Toronto partnered with Selfridges Group and Terroni Restaurants for its entrance to Canada, though Terroni is reportedly no longer involved with the Toronto concept. Eataly’s Canadian operations are partially owned by the billionaire Weston family, who also own Holt Renfrew, directly across the street from Manulife Centre.

Eataly Toronto is open for in-store shopping and is also providing online options at shoptoronto.eataly.ca or on Instacart.

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