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Canadian Tire stores in Toronto say they were forced to turn away seniors during storm

Canadian Tire stores in Toronto have been closed for in-store shopping since Boxing Day—a move which has left seniors standing out in the cold, says the hardware chain.

Tuesday's snowstorm forced Toronto residents to take out the shovels following heavy snowfall that persisted throughout the day. 

According to Canadian Tire, staff from a number of Toronto stores reported being forced to turn away several seniors trying to buy winter essentials during the storm. 

Like all other hardware stores across Ontario, items from Canadian Tire must first be purchased online before being made available for curbside pick-up or delivery. 

Some seniors—who either weren't aware of the store closures or have no access to Internet—showed up at locations on Tuesday anyway, says Canadian Tire.

According to staff at the chain's Liberty Village's location, an 83-year-old woman was turned away after arriving at the store to purchase a heater. She didn't have a smartphone or a computer at home, and was forced to ride the bus to Walmart instead.

Portable heaters have been a popular walk-up demand, says the Canadian Tire store in the Stockyards. Staff say the only way they can complete their orders is to make the customers call in, while standing outside the store in the cold.

Canadian Tire says that curbside "just isn't working for seniors."

"Ontarians have always relied on our stores for essential goods and this is especially heightened during tough winter months and storms. In some parts of the province, we are the only store that provides winter essentials," said a Canadian Tire spokesperson. 

"Turning away customers in their time of need is very difficult." 

The brand says that they could easily follow the same capacity restrictions that are currently in place for stores like Walmart or Costco, which remain open for in-store shopping since they sell groceries.

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