With retailers moving towards shopping centre concepts such as big boxes and lifestyle centres, older, once-prosperous places to shop are being left in the dust. Websites such as Dead Malls and Labelscar are devoted to this phenomenon, tracing the history of old shopping centres before they fade away.
Toronto is no exception to the trend, with barely-filled centres such as Honeydale Mall or rebuilds such as the Don Mills Centre. Down by The Queensway and South Kingsway, Swansea Plaza is all but abandoned. Other than a convenience store and a restaurant, the plaza is lined with the shells of former anchors like Valu-mart and CIBC, and offices for unsuccessful city council campaigns. A sign above one empty store points to the property’s future as condominiums.
Shoppers Drug Mart had one of the larger spaces in the plaza before moving westward along The Queensway, near the Ontario Food Terminal. Apart from recycling bins, the old location has been emptied except for one item: a bank of novelty vending machines, the type usually found just past the checkout to feed or entertain children while their parents wait in line for other customers to count out 73 pennies.
Zooming in reveals that the machines are still full of toys that may never find a good home and candy that may never contribute to a cavity.
Photos by Jamie Bradburn