The past is blending with the future, as Loblaw’s historic West Block Building at Lakeshore and Bathurst in Toronto has officially reopened to the public, bringing retail, office, and residential space to the community.
First built in 1928, the site was formerly home to the first Loblaws Groceterias warehouse, and served as a pioneer in modern retailing. The original building was unveiled at Fleet and Bathurst 92 years ago and was one of the first projects constructed on Toronto’s new reclaimed land.
“When the building first opened in 1928 it was hailed as the most modern warehouse of its kind. Our task was to reconstruct a space that represents Loblaw’s exciting future and properly captures the essence of both its history, and that of the city,” said Galen G. Weston, Executive Chairman, Loblaw.
And now, the historic building has been restored and is ready to reopen its doors to the public.
“The reopening of the West Block building is an important milestone in Loblaw’s history, and a cornerstone of our future,” said Sarah Davis, President, Loblaw.
“The building is an architectural representation of our company, and our role as an ongoing retail innovator. It brings together our century-long story, combining convenient bricks-and-mortar store locations and the new hub of our digital, loyalty and financial services teams.”
With a combined investment of more than $400 million, West Block was rebuilt brick-by-brick and stone-by-stone, with each stone replaced in the same original location. A number of historical artifacts remain in the building, including wood salvaged from the old Queen’s Wharf in 1833, and support columns from the Gardiner Expressway in the parking garage.
The dismantling of the building started in November 2015 following an official ceremony on August 5, 2015, with Galen Weston Sr. and Mayor John Tory removing the first brick.
“The reopening of the West Block is a tribute not only to our city’s history but to the role that Loblaw has played in that history,” said Mayor Tory. “People will come to the Lakeshore and Bathurst area to not only experience the new building and the services it offers but to see a new iconic building in a growing and vibrant part of Toronto.”
Owned and managed by Choice Properties REIT, the building also features: five floors of office space that will serve as the new home of more than 1,100 digital economy workers, including teams from Loblaw Digital, PC Optimum, and PC Financial; two residential condo towers with approximately 850 residential units; and a modern courtyard for community events.
The site was redeveloped by Wittington Properties to provide City Place and Harbourfront residents with a destination to live, eat, shop, and work, thanks to the elevated grocery experience in Loblaws, the convenience and luxury of Shoppers Drug Mart, and the latest in affordable fashion at Joe Fresh.