Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Zellers Ghost

In 1956, after the closure of Dufferin Park Racetrack, Dufferin Plaza was born just south of Bloor Street (and in-between three of my alma maters), bringing the suburban strip-mall experience to the west end. By the time it was covered over in 1975, major tenants included Family Fair department store, Bad Boy furniture, Loblaws, Brewers Retail, Dairy Queen (to me anyway), and a bi-level Zellers. The subsequent Dufferin Mall brought Woolco and Horizon department stores to the area, cementing the centre as a major retail force, surprisingly without decimating the adjacent retail landscape on Bloor Street.

Zellers survived until after the 1994 conversion of Woolco to Wal-Mart, but eventually they raised the white flag and left the mall. Nearby locations at the Galleria at Dufferin and Dupont as well as Bloor and Dundas (both former Towers locations) were better able to serve the area, without a monster operation like Wal-Mart a mere 100 paces away.

Despite their departure, and subdivision of the space to a health club in the basement and a clothing store at mall level, the ghost of the old store remains, near the rear entrance to the store, at the end of Cobourg Street, where this photo was taken on January 13, 2011.

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