Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Rotting Decaying Corpse of Target Cloverdale Mall

Cloverdale Mall is a shopping centre in the former Borough/City of Etobicoke, which is near Toronto's border with Mississauga. It was named Cloverdale for the fact that it was on the "dale" side of the cloverleaf exit of Highway 27 (now 427) and Highway 5 (now not Highway 5, but still-) Dundas Street. The mall was built as an open-air plaza in 1956 to serve the exploding growth in Metropolitan Toronto's western borough, as well as the adjacent Toronto Township which evolved into present-day Mississauga. The mall is one of the oldest in the area, predating the adjacent (now dead) Honeydale Mall and Sherway Gardens, a regional shopping centre 2 km south.

One of the original tenants in the plaza was Morgan's Department Store, a Montreal-based chain which opened a two-storey building at the north end. The chain was purchased by the Hudson's Bay Company in 1960 and the store was renamed "The Bay" in 1964. It continued operating at the location through changes which saw the plaza converted into an enclosed shopping centre in the 1980's, as well as Hudson Bay's acquisition of the Simpson's chain, which operated a store at the larger Sherway Gardens, in 1978. When the Simpson's name was retired in 1991, this meant that there were two Bay stores within a short distance of each other. The two outlets co-existed until 2005, when Hudson Bay closed the Bay store and started renovations which would have their discount Zellers chain move from the south end of the mall to the northern anchor space, albeit on one floor, not two.

Let's go back to June 2012, after HBCs announcement that they were shutting down Zellers as a discount department store and were closing all but three stores operating under the Zellers banner. Cloverdale was one of the doomed locations. Here's what the store looked like in its waning days.

Shortly thereafter (June 9, the last day of operation of the Zellers Family Diner), the mall was in liquidation mode. As you can tell by the crowded aisles, they were already emptying the warehouses to fill the stores with as much inventory as the fire code thought they could handle. By September, they were closed.

The transition of the space into a Target took place over the winter of 2012-13, and saw some interesting changes made.

 The standard "Target Loves Canada" signage which would appear throughout their introduction to the country appeared on the hoarding covering the mall entrance.

This is actually a rare shot. When the first signage went up on the exterior of the mall, they used the white background of the former Morgan's/Bay/Zellers building and affixed their red bullseye logo directly onto it. It would appear the the various logos which were previously affixed to the wall left too much of an impression because come store opening time, they repainted the wall red and affixed their white bullseye logo, as seen here.

I'd expressed my feelings about the new store on my first visit in March 2013.

Of course, the "Doomed" part was just a smartass comment. Or was it RETAIL PROPHECY!?!? Who knows, but what I did know is that my impression of the place was (in 2013 vernacular) "Meh." Looked like Zellers, better than Walmart, clean, airy, etc. But no customers, no compelling reason for me to be there. Of course middle-aged men are not their, ahem, target demographic, but we do on occasion accompany the ladies whose wallets they yearn for, and on those occasions who knows, perhaps a TV, tablet, video game, nice piece of "sure-its-made-for-a-kid-but-I-won't-look-too-ridiculous-wearing-that" clothing. The prices weren't great, the stock wasn't that great, or maybe I just wasn't in the mood to spend any money that day. Either way, I left empty handed. Well, except for a map. Each store had a map. (Where'd I put my map?)

Yada Yada Yada... 2013, 2014, 2015, WHOA...what?? You're leaving so soon? On January 15, 2015, the day of their announced departure from Canada, before the liquidation signs go up, here's what Target Cloverdale Mall looked like.

 Welcome to Cloverdale. Drive yourself accordingly. 

 Original Morgan's exterior 

 Note the window from the former Morgan's/Bay second floor restaurant

 Target plans to take their balls and go home

 Apparently not.

 Note the crush of shoppers

Despite the inference of fresh produce, these stands were never used for anything beyond prepackaged baked goods

 Unlike Zellers, there's no "thanks" for shopping at Target

Soon there'll be another blank space baby, and Bentall Kennedy Properties will unwrite your name.
(Get your Target-exclusive Taylor Swift CDs while you can. With original lyrics)

Photos taken at or around Dundas Street West and The East Mall in Toronto, Ontario on June 6, 2012, December 6, 2012, March 18, 2013 and January 15, 2015.

UPDATE: April 8, 2015. The last day of business....

UPDATE 4/14/2015: The signs have come down all around the mall. The only thing left to do is whitewash the rings.



 Expect less. Spend no more. RIP Target Canada 2013-2015. 

1 comment:

P. Wingert said... for a detailed analysis of what was happening behind the storefront while Target imploded.