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Attention Parkdale Shoppers

I can't speak for all Parkdalians, but I've been wondering about the old Thrift Town lot for a while (located at 1473 Queen St. W., near Jameson). It's taken forever for the empty space to be transformed into something substantial. And now, with the appearance of cheery face photos in the store's windows, it's become pretty evident what the space is going to be: a brand new Shoppers Drug Mart.

Big, established drug stores aren't exactly easy to find on this strip of the city, so no surprise SDM is planting a stake. But the anti-gentrification crowd isn't pleased. Several people I spoke with fear rents will go up. Or local businesses will be forced out. Or the chain store will permanently alter the rough beauty of the 'hood.

Sure, all those things can (and probably will) happen. But does change always have to be such a bad thing?

When this argument comes up I always think about Roncesvalles. That strip has been gentrifying for years and while many of the older places have changed hands or closed up, many have not. And many of the new stores that have opened in the area are convenient, small, independent businesses themselves. No, Roncey is an eclectic mix of young families and traditional Polish cliques.

The same thing could happen to Parkdale. And I don't necessarily see that as a bad thing. There goes the neighbourhood, or great for the neighbourhood? We'll just have to wait and see.


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