path toronto

This is what it was like running a business in Toronto's deserted PATH for the last 4 months

Holding on to your business during a pandemic is no easy task. We've witnessed tons of businesses say goodbye to some or all of their locations.

Prairie Girl Bakery is no exception. The bakery's location in First Canadian Place (FCP), located in the deserted PATH for the last four months, could simply not survive.

The bakery closed all five locations temporarily on March 16 along with almost all other Canadian businesses.

The cake and cupcake shop ended up having to permanently shut down all locations other than their flagship store located at 18 King Street East, facing Victoria Street.

The FCP location was the "only other store that we had hoped to keep open, along with our Victoria Street store, but we could see the writing on the wall that our corporate clients were not going to return downtown very soon," said the bakery's president, Jean Blacklock.

"I went down to the FCP store several times to check on it and the whole concourse was, and is, a ghost town," she said. "There are very few office workers right now and I believe it will be like that well into the fall."

The bakery put out a statement on Instagram saying goodbye to their FCP location, which had been open since 2011.

Today we say goodbye to our First Canadian Place location. 💗⁠ ⁠ First opened in 2011, just six short months after the beginning of Prairie Girl Bakery, we will never forget all of the amazing customers we were able to serve during our time at @firstcanadianplace.⁠ ⁠ We also will never forget our monumental Valentine's Day line ups (such as the one pictured here, from all the way back in 2013 😱)!⁠ ⁠ Although we are making the decision not to reopen our FCP location, we are very excited to be able to put all of our time into improving and making changes (keep your eyes on this space for updates 👀) to our flagship Victoria Street location while we steer through the rest of the pandemic!⁠ ⁠ We also wanted to take a second to thank some people who have been especially amazing during these trying times full of sudden new changes. ⁠ ⁠ The first being to our supportive landlord at FCP, @brookfieldpropertiesretail for their human and gracious approach over the last difficult 4 months. ⁠ ⁠ The second being to our wonderful delivery companies and the individuals who work for them. We are busy working on plans with them to streamline and develop our delivery offering even more!⁠ ⁠ The third being of course, to you! Our customers! Whether you are a long time PGB customer, or a brand new one, we want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your continued loyalty always, but especially right now during these uncertain times.⁠ Prairie Girl Bakery would not be here if it wasn't for you! 💜⁠ ⁠ #prairiegirl #prairiegirlbakery #pgb #fcp #firstcanadianplace #toronto #thesix #the6 #the6ix #torontoeats #torontosweets #torontofoodies #bakery #cake #cupcake #cakes #cupcakes #yyz #bakersofinstagram #torontofood⁠ ⁠

A post shared by Cake & Cupcakes In Toronto (@prairiegirlbakery) on

"The management team made the final decision to close the FCP store last week," Blacklock told blogTO.

The pandemic was hard for the bakery in many ways but the hardest part was letting so many team members go, according to Blacklock.

"We had over 30 at the start of this and now only about a quarter of that number are left," she said.

The bakery thanked their landlord, Brookfield Properties, in the letter they put out - as the last four months had been a difficult time for the lonely shop in the PATH.

They also thanked the delivery companies they worked with as well as their loyal customers, many of which have been picking up orders at their Victoria Street store.

"The landlords have been quite supportive and our suppliers and customers have been amazing," Blacklock told blogTO. "You realize how much support you have as a business when you go through something like this."

Even though it is sad to say goodbye to this location, they will be refocusing their time and energy into their flagship store and have been relying on online orders for delivery and pickup out of the downtown storefront.

Lead photo by

Fareen Karim

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