Every Saturday morning Historicist looks back at the events, places, and characters—good and bad—that have shaped Toronto into the city we know today.
Power Supermarket, 1953. City of Toronto Archives, fonds 1257, series 1057, item 496
November 12, 1953: shoppers descended on Danforth Avenue a few doors west of Woodbine to await the grand opening of the eighth store in the budget-conscious Power supermarket chain. Care to join the crowd and check out the offers in aisle three?
Advertisement, The Toronto Star, November 11, 1953
The Power chain’s origins dated to 1904, when Samuel and Sarah Weinstein opened a grocery store named after themselves near present-day Bay and Dundas. The family’s first store under the low-cost Power banner opened at Coxwell and Danforth in 1933 with the slogan “Why Pay for Fixtures?” The same year that 2055 Danforth Avenue opened, Power was purchased by Loblaw Groceterias but maintained a distinct identity and independent marketing policies. Samuel and Sarah’s son Leon ran the company by this point and eventually served as president of Loblaws from 1968 to 1970.
Power Supermarket, 1953. City of Toronto Archives, fonds 1257, series 1057, item 498
The grand opening ad was posted by the front door. Staff and dignitaries were photographed as they pondered how to cut the ribbon before letting shoppers in. Scissors? Knife? A quick chop with the flower bouquet?
Power Supermarket, 1953. City of Toronto Archives, fonds 1257, series 1057, item 499
These bag boys were primed to start packing away purchases. Current city officials would be proud of the paper bags on display.
Power Supermarket, 1953. City of Toronto Archives, fonds 1257, series 1057, item 500
The Power name faded away during reorganizations of Loblaws store banners in the 1970s. The company still operates at least two of the locations listed in the grand opening ad as No Frills stores (Parliament Street and Eglinton Avenue West), while the Sunnybrook Plaza store now operates as a Pharma Plus. As for 2055 Danforth…
…it sits vacant, surrounded by a fence bearing “no trespassing” signs.
Photo of 2055 Danforth by Jamie Bradburn. Additional material from the June 18, 1968 edition of The Globe and Mail.