Does Toronto need to change holiday shopping rules?
Visitors to Toronto Shoppers Drug Marts this Family Day found large sections of the stores taped off. "Due to Family Day this aisle is closed today. Sorry for the inconvenience," signs read. "This section is closed in accordance with Ontario's statutory by-law ... products behind this tape cannot be sold," said another blocking access to loaves of Wonderbread.
So what gives?
The problem was due to a conflict between Shoppers Drug Marts' expansive selection and the city's strict holiday retail rules. According to the Toronto by-law that restricts sales on Family Day, Christmas Day, and other mandatory holidays, pharmacies are only allowed to remain open provided "no other goods are available for sale except as sundries."
Sorry, no magazines or laundry detergent for you.
Supermarkets and grocery stores in designated tourist areas--the Eaton Centre and Bay Queen Street Store, Downtown Yonge BIA, Bloor-Yorkville BIA, Queen's Quay Terminal, and The Distillery--and small convenience stores (under 2,400 square feet) with fewer than four employees were allowed to remain open.
So were stores that sell "tobacco, antiques, handicrafts, gasoline/motor oil, nursery stock, flowers, fresh fruit, books, newspapers, and periodicals." Also small art galleries. LCBO and Beer Stores were, of course, closed.
In other words, instead of closing its non-compliant stores down, Shoppers did an ad hoc modification to bring them inline with the by-law, yellow caution tape and all. It didn't look pretty, but it appears to have accomplished the company's goal.
Is it time the province and the city allowed more stores to open on stat holidays? If we can't get beer in corner stores, surely we should be able to buy some laundry detergent from the local Shoppers, no?
Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.
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