hotbox toronto

Toronto's most famous cannabis cafe has just been sold

A Kensington Market staple that has been keeping customers happily full — not to mention high — for more than two decades has just been sold.

The colourfully-painted HotBox lounge and head shop that has been serving potheads ("since ah... I forget") on Augusta Avenue at Baldwin Street has been acquired by fellow Toronto cannabis aficionados, Friendly Stranger.

The latter company, which sells a wide selection of marijuana accessories out of its storefront near Osgoode Station, says in a press release that the acquisition is part of its "aggressive growth strategy" to dominate the city's weed market, which also includes the forthcoming launch of six new retail locations across the GTA this year.

Like Hotbox, Friendly Stranger has been around since the mid-90s. Its recent expansion projects include the seven-location chain and online shop Happy Dayz, while it had past plans to open weed dispensaries with Green Acre Capital.

The news is major in the industry, and came as a surprise to many.

Hotbox founder Abi Roach, who said in a release that she is happy to hand her business over to a fellow long-standing Toronto cannabis institution, will now be taking up a position at the province's legal online retailer, the Ontario Cannabis Store.

She will always remain an icon of and advocate for the city's cannabis community, having opened the first legal "potio" in Canada and maintained active involvement in Ontario's process of legalization.

Hopefully for fans of the HotBox cafe and its long and storied history, things won't be changing too much under the new ownership.

Lead photo by

@moussamariamm


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