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Target Will Open Three Toronto Stores on Tuesday

After much hype, Target is on the verge of opening its doors to Torontonians. Here's a sneak peek at one of the stores.

GCiampini TargetPreview 8445

The long wait is finally over. On March 19 (which is tomorrow), Target will be opening 17 more stores across Ontario, including its first two Toronto locations. Local shoppers will have access to a whole new world of big-box goods, from a retailer that had previously only operated in the U.S.

The Target stores opening in Toronto on Tuesday are at Centrepoint Mall and East York Town Centre. A third one, at Shoppers World Danforth, will open on March 28. These are only “soft openings,” meaning they’re intended to give each store a short test run. If anything goes wrong or doesn’t work as planned, the management can make some last-minute adjustments before the official grand openings, which won’t happen until early April.

Three Target stores in Guelph, Fergus, and Milton have been open since March 5. Target plans to open 124 stores across Canada this year.

“The reason we opened the three stores [in Guelph, Milton, and Fergus] was to learn, and to get ourselves ready and prepared,” said John Morioka, Target Canada’s senior vice president of merchandising. We really wanted to understand what the marketplace was going to bring us.” Earlier this morning, he gave members of the media a tour of the East York Town Centre location, still untouched by shoppers’ hands prior to its first day in business.

The East York store is clean and bright, with a Starbucks Coffee at the front entrance to give shoppers that essential caffeine jolt. Target has a number of partnerships with various brands in clothing, food, electronics, and housewares, which gives them access to exclusive products. In the grocery section, shoppers will find Market Pantry and Archer Farms labels. The pets section has collars and leashes made by Boots and Barkley. The kitchen section has high-quality Calphalon cookware, something Morioka said is a pretty big deal for Target.

Also, for a limited time, Target has a partnership with Roots, meaning shoppers can snap up some of the iconic Canadian brand’s sweaters. There’s also a Fan Zone with t-shirts, tank tops, ball caps, and jerseys for the Maple Leafs and the Blue Jays.

We were whisked through the entire store without much time to browse, but prices did seem generally low. It would appear that Target is doing its best to stay on par with the discount retailers we’re already familiar with, like Walmart.

“We competitively shop over 20,000 items a week, so we’ll continually keep our fingers on the pulse of the marketplace,” said Morioka. “Our goal is to be competitive.”

Good thing, because these days Canadians are hungry for deals. It’s why many of us venture south to shop in places like Buffalo where prices, and taxes, are much lower. In Toronto, one of the most expensive cities in Canada, shoppers have historically flocked to U.S. Target locations to ravage the shelves in search of bargains. Target Canada’s first three stores faced massive swarms of shoppers on opening day that have yet to fully subside.

“We definitely were slammed,” Morioka laughed. “We thought there would be an initial bump, and I would say the bump has not leveled off to the degree we thought.”

“Guests seem to be experiencing the entire store rather than just going to one area and leaving,” he said.

Those who have been to an American Target store can expect much the same experience here. The walls and checkout counters are all painted the company’s trademark red. The checkout procedure and merchandising are also true to form, but Morioka said Target Canada did bring in some products specific to Canadian demands. On the whole, customers are saying that Target has done a good job of replicating the U.S. experience. But whether or not Target begins sourcing significant amounts of merchandise from Canadian suppliers remains to be seen.

“As we open our stores we’ll continue to learn,” said Morioka. “Our focus will be to continuously improve and listen to our guests and to tweak and change as we go forward. This is really the starting point.”


  • tyrannosaurus_rek

    Great, another foreign-owned retail beast come to undercut Canadian competition.

    • Mike Brock

      Yes! We must not give Canadians choice. Inevitably, Canadians will choose to buy the same goods for less, in order to save themselves money. We can’t have that. What has this world come to? There should be a law preventing foreign competition, as Canadians are not socially conscious enough to shop at the morally-correct stores. This is why I advocate total government control over our economic lives.

      • andrew97

        I can’t tell if those up votes are ironic or serious.

      • Andrew Smythe

        “Okay people here are your choices: you can go to the blue Walmart on your left or the red Walmart on your right! Choose!!! Choose now!!1!!!!11!”

  • Russ Schaeffler

    If Zellers would have put some effort into training its staff in customer service this might not be happening, but it seems customer service is lacking at most Canadian stores (Canadian Tire is a great example also). I know the U.S. is not much better, but hopefully the service will improve with Target… one can only hope.

    • dsmithhfx

      Customer service and lowest price are mutually exclusive.

  • HotDang

    “Centrepoint Mall and East York Town Centre… Shoppers World Danforth”

    Each one closer to the middle-of-nowhere than the last.

    • Rob

      FYI: Civilization doesn’t begin south of Bloor.

      • Andrew Smythe

        (Full disclosure, I live north of Bloor.) My first reaction was to laugh at HotDang’s comment. But after looking at the TTC website, the East York location wouldn’t be too horrible to travel to (take the 88 at St. Clair station). I mean, people travel to Ikea which is farther north, right? The Centrepoint location seems more burdensome as it’s on that awful stretch of Yonge between Finch and Centre St. And the Shoppers World location is downright ridiculous. (Who’d want to travel to the crappiest mall in Brampton to go to a Target?)

        • Wrong

          Shoppers World Danforth is not in Brampton. It’s on Danforth Avenue in Toronto. That stretch of Danforth is pretty dreary, I will grant you that.

    • dsmithhfx

      Still, closer than IKEA.

  • Guy

    Why do people continue to care so much about this? It’s all over the news all the time. It’s a red Walmart! You’d think it’s the second coming of the Messiah.

    • Andrew Smythe

      “Why do people continue to care so much about this?”

      Because most people are gullible and lack critical thinking skills.

    • Andrew Smythe

      Also, when an American retailer comes to Canada, people automatically think that those ultra-low prices they’ve seen while cross-border shopping are coming along with them. LOL, yeah right, keep dreaming people.

    • treptower

      Not only that but the amount of free advertising that Target is receiving is astonishing. Every newspaper, blog, TV network, newspaper is running almost daily articles on these dumps. Get over it! Same crap for sale, different shelves. More McJobs for branch-plant Canadians while the profits are piped to the decision makers in Minneapolis.

      • tyrannosaurus_rek

        Articles/press releases. Even this one smells a bit fishy, I hate to say. (I like my Torontoist with a bit of snark, a bit of but-what-does-this-mean-for… lateral thinking.)

        • TorontoistEditors

          You got us. After years of rigorously maintaining a wall between editorial and advertising, we decided to throw all our ethics out the window for $3 leggings.

          (That, if you can’t tell, was a whole big heap of sarcasm.)

          To be clear: never in the history of Torontoist have we taken money in exchange for editorial coverage of a subject, unless we clearly labelled it as a sponsored post. (You can see what those look like here: .) Has Target purchased ad space on Torontoist, or anywhere with St. Joseph Media? I have no idea. I have no idea who buys ads until I see them on the site. (Again, unless there is sponsored content involved, which as been labelled as such.)

          All that happened is that someone thought a major new retailer coming to the city was worth noting and pitched it.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            There’s the snark!

          • treptower

            It seems to me that the Target PR dept. has done a real number on the local yokels. For a mundane discount store to generate this amount of free publicity is incredible. It’s as if people have been walking around barefoot and pantless waiting for Target to step in and save the day because Canadians are too stupid to sell to their own people in their own market. It’s all rather bizarre and has the makings of a future ‘Under The Influence’ episode: ‘The Time Target Conned and Manipulated The Canadian Media Into Providing Millions In Free Advertising’. Get on it, Terry O’Reilly. I can’t wait to find out how they did it.

          • treptower

            Yes it’s all very fascinating.. the aisles, the sunglasses, the lights, the cookware.. incredibly fascinating. Unlike anything seen before.

          • dsmithhfx

            “someone thought a major new retailer coming to the city was worth noting”

            Or not…

          • kat

            wait $3 leggings? is that real?

  • Ana Eboli

    I like this writer’s style.

  • Rob

    Walmart quality(crap) at Zellers prices(not great) is what TARGET is all about. I went to the one in Milton and it’s simply a waste of time and effort.

  • Joe Clark

    Were dstopping still running this site, would Torontoist ever have published blatant shilling like this?

  • vampchick21

    Dudes, it’s a store. If ya don’t want to shop there, then don’t.