Changes On The Drive #44

April 1, 2015

It really felt like spring today as I walked the Drive, with mostly blue skies and a comfortable cool temperature. Very nice.

Starting in the south, as usual, 2247-2249 Commercial, the old Kingdom Supplies place, is still vacant (5 months). Across the street, 2290 in the Marquee Building is also still vacant (9 months).

Next door at 2270, the place that was a kind of coffee shop has now become a restaurant called Wishes & Luck. According to a very helpful chap called Mark who saw my interest, the brother took the coffee business off the Drive, while the sister matched up with a chef from “L’Abattoir” morphed 2270 into this new place, open evenings only + weekend brunch. It is somewhat upscale but casual, food locally procured. Sounds interesting, but I gather the interior is not quite ready yet.

Wishes and Luck

Further north, JNZ is still closed in the Brandon Block (9 months).  The Strawberry Bakery site in Il Mercato is still empty (2 months). I heard a rumour that JNZ looked at the space but it wasn’t big enough.

Across the street from there, the Odlin Block was sold, purchased I am told by the same man who owns the Brandon Block. The tenants of the apartments were given until 1st April to leave, and the upstairs at the front has looked empty for a couple of weeks already.  That’s another bunch of relatively affordable suites aboout to be reno’ed to a luxury rental rate.

Odlin April 2015

I also noticed that the pub on the Commercial/Graveley corner has changed its name to “Stateside”. I’m not sure when that happened.

While I’m in these middle blocks, this would be a good time to mention that new street furniture that has sprouted in some blocks in the form of planters with short cast iron railings. They work really well, and I applaud the effort whether that be by the City or the BIA.  Now, what we need are some more benches, please.

Vera’s at 1438 Commercial is undergoing a major refit. Next door, the long-promised Bonvita Wellness Bar at 1458 Commercial has not yet opened (store vacant/closed for 8 months), and the former Scandalicious at 1340 is still vacant (2 months).. Interestingly, the store Scandalicious store has not been stripped and still looks fully equipped.

Good news from Bonnie Beckwoman. Her store at 1314 Commercial was not as damaged structurally as had been feared.  She is actively working on cleaning her stock from fire, water and smoke damage, and is keen to open again as soon as she can.

Around the corner on Charles, two new stores have opened, a dollar store at 1716 Charles, and a perogie store at 1704. I wish them both a prosperous future.


After being vacant for 23 months, the old pizza place at 1268 Commercial now has a sign that it will soon be City Bistro.

City Bistro

That woukd be right next door to Absinthe Bistro.  Do I smell a trend or a lack of imagination?

Havana was installing a new outdoor heating system as I walked by today.  Another sign that spring is here!  But what’s happening in the north half of Joe’s? The black bag curtains have been up more than a month now.

The Reach Medical centre has put in an application for a development permit, to allow them to revamp their space and spread out to the west. They sure need it. If it goes ahead, both the medical and dental portions will move, separately, outside of the Drive, to operate for a year during the rebuilding. They will then both return.


1108 is still vacant (12 months), and Moja at 1102 is still not open. The delay is a mystery to us all.

In the 900-block, Dream Design at 956 is open only for two more weeks. Next door, Sibuya at 952 is still “closed for renos”, more than three months now.  The fine old house, the last surviving house on the Drive, at 928 Commercial sold for just aboiut the asking price. Now we wait to see what happens to the site.

Previous Changes on the Drive posts

Image: Tulips and Vase

April 1, 2015

Tulips and Vase