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Walmart looks like it might skip Kensington Market

Posted by Chris Bateman / February 13, 2014

toronto kensington walmartKensington Market looks like it's going to stay Walmart free thanks to a deal struck between city councillors Mike Layton and Adam Vaughan and developer Riocan, The Globe and Mail reports. The controversial big box store planned for Bathurst Street that would have housed the retailer is being significantly scaled back, cutting the retail space by more than half.

The back-and-forth over the Kensington Walmart, which would have been built on the site of the former Kromer Radio building, has been going on for more than two years and attracted widespread criticism from local residents.

Riocan fought for its proposal at Toronto's committee of adjustment and the Ontario Municipal Board. In July 2013, the city issued a year-long moratorium on all new stores on Bathurst between College and Queen streets, putting the brakes on the project.

According to The Globe and Mail, Vaugan and Layton outlined the revised concept at a local stakeholders meeting earlier this evening. The new design for the store will have 4,180 square metres of retail space, down from 8,825 sq. m. There will be office space on the upper floors and the building will be set back further from Bathurst St.

But that doesn't mean Walmart is definitely backing out. In a slightly cryptic remark to the newspaper, Ed Sonshine, chief executive officer of RioCan, said the deal will allow the retailer to "basically walk away" from the deal.

The full proposal will be unveiled later this month and will still need to pass city council.

Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Image: Turner Fleischer Architects



iSkyscraper / February 13, 2014 at 10:32 pm
So now it will be a Shoppers or Staples or something instead? Big deal. Should have just let Wal-mart in.
gerry replying to a comment from iSkyscraper / February 13, 2014 at 11:09 pm
A Shoppers?

You mean like the one already located at College and Bathurst?

Why are you commenting?

You clearly know nothing about the neighbourhood.
Meh / February 13, 2014 at 11:23 pm
The shoppers at Western is severely under-stocked and could use an expansion but i tell you guys, i can't wait to see another mall with some amazing businesses that are sure to delight the neighbourhood: a pet doctor, an optometrist, shoppers and dry cleaner, and maybe, just maybe a 'walking on a cloud' 2015 here we come! I couldn't be more excited! Go Bathurst, go Bathurst, you are finally A DESTINATION!
chester / February 14, 2014 at 12:18 am
So lets not bring in walmart, but lets bring in RioCan to bring in every other generic chain store to fill their place. The people complaining get what they wished for.
graham / February 14, 2014 at 01:20 am
Good. There's walmarts everywhere, but as far as I know there's only one Kensington Market in Toronto. I hope they walk away, it would have been a shame to have the worst retailer in history in such a unique area.
v79 / February 14, 2014 at 02:07 am
I wish these NIMBYers would stay within their borders. Bathurst is in no way part of Kensington Market. How is a Walmart or whatever retailer that ends up there any different than the Kromer Radio building and parking lots that take up an entire block? It's not even visible from any point in Kensington, let alone a part of it. This is simply a bunch of anti-capitalism professional protesters trying to keep freedom of choice out of the area to prop up their buddies' rat infested, sketchy, overpriced hipster joints.
um.. replying to a comment from v79 / February 14, 2014 at 02:42 am
Um, no. that's not true. that's just you being angry. but hey, rant away if you must. :)
Mar / February 14, 2014 at 07:56 am
I thought it was common knowledge that wal-mart was giving honest eds the same treatment loblaws did to maple leaf gardens?
allconnect / February 14, 2014 at 08:24 am
So now to go to Wal-Mart I have to drive to the suburbs instead of walk.

Sorry guys would rather drive out than take out a second mortgage to buy things in downtown shops with their insane prices.
allconnect replying to a comment from v79 / February 14, 2014 at 08:24 am
gimme a hell yea!
Sean / February 14, 2014 at 08:27 am
It is worth noting that Walmart has a store format that fits into this smaller floor size (they call it Neighbourhood Market). It might not be a Walmart superstore, but could be a Walmart.
Joe Public / February 14, 2014 at 08:31 am
Good to see Mike Layton and Adam Vaughan are anti-job / anti-business as always, I was beginning to worry they were losing their touch. Future NDP voters in the making!
Gee / February 14, 2014 at 08:53 am
If I were cynical, i'd say that RioCan is being smart, and will get approval for the project first, Kensington thinks they won, and defeated the big bad evil empire, and after it's approved,
RioCan will still lease this space to Walmart for a grocery store, a "Neighbourhood Market",
it's about the right size for one.
iSkyscraper replying to a comment from gerry / February 14, 2014 at 09:02 am
I was referring to store format and square footage.

Why are you commenting?

You clearly know nothing about commercial real estate.
bob / February 14, 2014 at 09:06 am
The comment above... there aren't really Walmarts everywhere... perhaps if you live in the Burbs they are, but downtown... no sir

however lets keep slowly gentrifying Kensington by growing the high end butchers and fish mongers and forget about bringing in any stores that are affordable, taking the bus/streetcar across to Dufferin mall is awesome
Pholy / February 14, 2014 at 09:14 am
replying to a comment from allconnect:
Dufferin Mall is just a short walk south of the Dufferin subway station; that's hardly a suburban drive. You will find a Walmart Superstore there.
Suicide_Boi / February 14, 2014 at 09:56 am
I noticed that you converted the square footage figures in the article to metric.

If there is only one Kensington Market, and people love it, then perhaps we should set up more elsewhere.
Thomas replying to a comment from iSkyscraper / February 14, 2014 at 10:42 am
Middle class whites couldnt stand having a walmart in their hood
Redgerrymander replying to a comment from allconnect / February 14, 2014 at 10:46 am
Um, no... just to the Dufferin Mall, where there's been one for years.
Spike replying to a comment from allconnect / February 14, 2014 at 11:04 am
No, you get your lazy ass to the subway, go to Dufferin Station, get off, and then take the bus to Dufferin Mall, get off said bus, and then you walk to Wal-Mart. It's that easy, and I've done it myself a lot of times.
cc / February 14, 2014 at 11:08 am

There's a Walmart at Duffer in Mall moron. You don't have to go to the "suburbs".
Parker / February 14, 2014 at 11:22 am
Good news if the scummy US retailer is kept from the Kensington neighbourhood. Walmart is a rubbish company that treats its workers poorly.
this blows / February 15, 2014 at 03:35 am
A Walmart would've thrived in this neighbourhood as it would be the most accessible walmart to central Toronto.
Logistics / February 15, 2014 at 09:41 am
Can you imagine the number of trucks that would have to drive downtown to supply a walmart at Kensington!
An employee replying to a comment from Parker / February 15, 2014 at 12:55 pm
Oh you must work there too then. At least your comment would lead people to believe you have an ounce of credibility.
Sam Kropotkin replying to a comment from Joe Public / February 15, 2014 at 05:28 pm
I didn't know that being against Wal-Mart and they way it does business is being anti-business, dumb-ass. Check out the link below for some info on why people don't want a Wal-Mart near them;
PatK / February 16, 2014 at 10:25 am
Walmart at that location would have been a good match for the neighbourhood. I've lived in this neighbourhood 40 years, Kensington Market is a shadow of what it was, now I have to travel downtown were parking is a joke or to to the boonies for shopping. A micro Walmart is not on... Shoppers has 3 stores already in the area, so we'll likely be looking at a bleak derelict set of buildings for a long time to come. I don't believe this was the true desires of the people living in the area.
butterknot replying to a comment from PatK / February 20, 2014 at 10:05 am
There is a walmart at dufferin mall, just minutes away, that is not the boonies.
kn / February 20, 2014 at 02:53 pm
Ok, let me get this straight. Adam Vaughan rams through a billion dollar plan to rebuild the biggest ghetto in downtown Toronto in Alexandra park by presenting a plan to the local homeowners that had already been secretly agreed upon behind closed doors. Now he wants to freeze development along Bathurst to stick it to Walmart? This is democracy?

How is it that 20 story condos along the south side of Kensington market on Dundas be an example of great urban planning but it is horrible at College and Spadina or at Bathurst and Bloor? I can only think of one word. Hypocrisy.
storage / April 10, 2014 at 12:22 pm
Now, after getting a clear picture of a Block level and File
level data storage, let us take the positives and negatives from them.
It's a lot easier and probably cheaper for college students
to store their stuff instead of spending the money moving it back home.
Once you talk to him for a bit, he should explain that he needs someone to
hack the computer in the storage facility so that they
can get some radiation suits.
Umm replying to a comment from v79 / July 25, 2014 at 03:33 pm
I totally agree. If having a Walmart there steals business away, it just means people actually have options and are voting with their wallets. Simple.
tony / August 3, 2015 at 10:40 pm
Reading a lot comments here if Walt mart comes or not not any better then big chains like loblaws or others no different if you don't like don't shop there .
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