starbucks east danforth

Don't say gentrification as Starbucks headed to the East Danforth

The East Danforth is about to get its first Starbucks in the space previously occupied by Top Notch Pizza. There's been some community talk about it already, but a development application filed with the City of Toronto confirms that Seattle-based coffee giant has its sights set on northeast corner of Monarch Park and Danforth avenues.

Is this a big deal? Is it a surefire sign of gentrification? It depends on who you ask. The Starbucks Effect has long been pointed to as a potential boon to real estate prices, though the chain coffee shop's arrival is often accompanied by concerns about the health and vibrancy of local businesses, particularly cafes.

I'd suggest, however, that Toronto's love affair with independent coffee culture tends to insulate small businesses from the harm that could potentially be brought on by the arrival of a corporate neighbour. There was plenty of chatter when Starbucks finally arrived in the Junction, but the indie shops have hardly been driven out of neighbourhood. Quite the contrary.

With that in mind, one suspects that places like Red Rocket and Sweet Serendipity will do just fine when Starbucks eventually opens its doors. As for the g-word, it's easy to point to one development as the tipping point, but it's more prudent to take a holistic view of neighbourhood changes before using the term in a cautionary manner. That, at least, is what Starbucks does when it chooses its locations.


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