The best and worst Loblaws in Toronto
The best and worst Loblaws in Toronto are marked by a few noteworthy differences. The good are usually bright, well organized, and bountiful with fresh vegetables, meat, fish and baked goods. Kind and helpful staff goes a long way, as does accessibility.
The reverse is true of the bad ones. At worse they are dirty, frustrating, and expensive. Rarely is a Loblaws all of these things at once -- I expect they'd be run out of business if that were the case -- but a spectrum exists nonetheless. What's sometimes more of a travesty, however, are the mediocre spots. Sure you can pick up the basics at these places, but they don't inspire enthusiasm for eating, one of life's great pleasures.
Here is our list of best and worst Loblaws in Toronto.
Maple Leaf Gardens
Some were disheartened by the conversion of Maple Leaf Gardens from classic hockey arena to Loblaws food emporium. But it proved to be so insanely fantastic, with its wall of cheese, in-house canteen, cafe, Ace Bakery, butchery and cornucopia of every fruit, vegetable and product under the sun (you name it, they have it) that visitors can finally sing with "We are the champions" with confidence.
Queen and Portland
Like a phoenix from the ashes, the Loblaws at Queen and Portland rose from the terrible Queen Street fire. Striking that balance between downtown grocery feel and convenience with suburban perks like underground parking and extensive selection all under one roof. The wide aisles, on-site Ace Bakery, friendly staff and bounty of choice keep customers happy and coming back.
The Queens Quay Loblaws location has been surrounded by road construction in the last few years, making it a little annoying for pedestrians and cyclists, but get around that and you can have a hey day with all the parking and great variety once inside. Highlights include the natural light, the take-away prepared foods section and cooking classes.
St. Clair and Bathurst
Of the best Loblaws, the St. Clair and Bathurst one is hit-and-miss. The overlooking cafe and cooking classes are good, plus they have a wide selection and all the PC products. But unfortunately it is no longer 24 hours, and some find it pricey.
Broadview and Danforth
Complaints run high for the Broadview and Danforth Loblaws. Tired and out-dated building somehow both cramped and yet lacking in variety, slow staff and rumours of rotting produce and expired food. The upside? Great deals to be had and the butchers will do custom cuts.
Dundas and Bloor
Tucked back by the empty old Zellers is probably the least of this Loblaws' problems. The Dundas and Bloor location doesn't carry the full line of PC products nor does it have the impressive cheese, dessert or bakery selection of other locations. There is no Joe store either, which can be a big draw. There is, however, a ton of parking and this store is fine for a basic shop.
The Empress Walk Loblaws gets a mixed review. It has an unusual design, with three storey vaulted ceilings and an open concept, the organics selection is wonderful and it's directly across from the subway. Some people love the available self-checkout, while others hate it. Out Twitter followers also complaing of poor customer service.
As part of the aging Humbertown shopping centre in Etobicoke (it is basically unchanged since the '70s), the Loblaws has a tired look around the edges. The open-air mall is slated for redevelopment though, so let's hope the produce section gets an overhaul while they're at it. That said, it has a certain nostalgic charm.
Loblaws, Upper Beach
This mid-range Loblaws has a few perks -- drycleaning, banking, a pharmacy -- but the produce and organics selections aren't particularly expansive and are on the expensive side. The small Joe Fresh collection may act as a lure for some, but over all nothing about this Loblaws really excites.
Leslie and Lakeshore
The Leslieville Loblaws is sort of an odd duck. It has a big Joe Fresh, is clean, relatively well laid out and thus all the promise of a great grocery, but its dowdy exterior and lack of modern amenities like self checkouts (slowing the whole process) makes it more frustrating and less appealing than other joints, like the nearby Queens Quay outlet.