A and W toronto

Toronto not happy with A&W opening a lot of new locations

How does a restaurant chain go from small-town food court staple to most visible purveyor of hamburgers in the downtown core of Canada's largest city?

A&W has it figured out, that's for sure. The root beer-centric fast food franchise has been on an aggressive expansion tear in recent years, and Toronto has proven very popular in terms of where it wants to be.

The company's sleeker-than-usual black and orange "urban concept stores" have been popping up around The 6ix since 2010, more and more of them each year, it seems.

A post shared by Pigeons of the 6ix (@topigeons) on

You'll find them now in Queen West, West Queen West, Little Italy, down by the Harbourfront, all along Yonge Street and throughout the Financial District (among other places.)

Some in Toronto aren't happy about A&W locations opening near their homes, however – particularly when the chain is booting a long-standing independent business

It's almost as though A&W has replaced Starbucks as the default harbinger of gentrification. You'd think so, at least, by what residents of one downtown neighbourhood are writing on Facebook this week.

"What is the deal with the A&W all day breakfast Downtown East takeover?" wrote a woman named Tara Gostling in the I am a Leslievillian! Facebook group on Monday. 

"We go from East Chinatown to this?" she continued. "We totally skipped gentrification and went right to fast food, ok."

She laments that a new location is soon to open at Broadview and Gerrard, despite there already being an A&W at Broadview and Danforth.

"They are literally 3 streetcar stops apart!" replied someone in the thread. "Too bad a local business couldn't get the space. Likely due to high rents."

Lead photo by

Jason Cook


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