Every month this year, we’ve heard news of a different landmark in the city closing its doors.
The impending closure of Honest Ed’s, the demise of two well-known bookstores locations and the near-death experience of Johnny Rockets are top of mind. Here’s a list of four establishments near Ryerson that are closing down.
1) Honest Ed’s
A huge red and yellow sign on the corner of Bathurst and Bloor Streets will flash no more come 2016. The discount store that stretches across the entire block sells everything from groceries to appliances. But after 66 years of amazing deals, we’ll soon have to see it go. With their giant sign up for sale in March, Torontonians could take home a piece of history.
The Vancouver developer, Westbank, who built the Shangri-La hotels in Toronto and Vancouver, has purchased the buildings for $100 million. Plans for the site have not been finalized, according to a Global News report. City councillor Adam Vaughan said developers will need to consult the surrounding residents before designing or building anything.
2) The World’s Biggest Bookstore
It’s official. The World’s Biggest Bookstore is closed. The closing ceremony was a 50 per cent off sale on everything on the store floor. Customers snatched up the entire stock. Lifetime Developments is building a culinary mecca on the site, with plans for a row of four restaurants with multi-level patios. At the very least, we can be thankful it isn’t more condos.
3) Chapter’s Festival Hall at Scotiabank Theatre
Just one day after the World’s Biggest Bookstore closed, book lovers in Toronto got another unwelcome surprise. The Chapters location at the corner of John and Richmond Streets, famous for its abstract architecture, will be closing its doors come the end of May. The steep lease pricing of the location is the cause for the closure. Chapters is still looking to stay downtown and is in search of new vicinity. What will take its place at Scotiabank Theatre is still in the works. No company has taken over the lease.
4) El Mocambo
One of Toronto’s historical music halls is up for sale with a $3.95 million price tag. The spot offered its stage to legendary performers like The Rolling Stones, U2 and Blondie. The music hall could soon be redeveloped as retail space, a fitness studio or even worse: a residential space. The venue has crossed many hands over the years but the ‘El Mo’ is part of the cultural heritage along Spadina Avenue. Heritage Toronto says it is worth preserving.
Honorable Mention: Johnny Rocket’s
The vintage-diner-style burger joint in Dundas Square gave their patrons quite a scare when they didn’t open for five days. What was even more shocking was when the owners found the “Notice of Termination” for their failure to keep up with the rent. They managed to open their doors within the week. The store is struggling to cope with the harsh winter weather and finding unique ways to attract customers, owners say. Read our story on Johnny Rocket’s here.
The moral of this story is that nothing lasts forever. Something we see as a staple of Toronto could be ripped from us faster than you can say “closing sale.”