Changes On The Drive #52

December 1, 2015

Well OK, I cheated a little this month. I did the north half of the walk yesterday in the cold bright sunshine.  The southern half was completed today in the wind and overcast (though at least not the rain we were promised).

At the south end, the Marquee storefront at 2240 Commercial is still vacant (after 4 months). Across the street, 2245  is also still vacant (13 months).

The final open space on the east side of the Drive — 2084, now 2080 — is about to be closed up.  After spending about $3m for the two lots, the new owner now has a development application for a single story and quite small space.

2015 Dec 2040 CD

I have to admit to both surprise and delight at this.  I had assumed a full-block assembly and a high density structure to follow.  We’ll wait and see how this develops.

The old bakery site at the back end of Il Mercato is still vacant (after 11 months). Although the reputation of the Strawberry Bakery had allowed it to draw crowds, the actual storefront is out of the way, getting zero passing traffic. It will be a hard ride for a new business getting started there.

Across the street at 1670 Commercial, the Caffe Napoli has been closed for renovations for a few weeks. Their original sign said it would reopen 30 November, but that didn’t happen. Just a brief delay I am sure, although peeking through the window, they are still down to the bare rock and the concrete slab.

The apartments upstairs at 1612 in the Odlin Block are still vacant presumably while renovations continue.

Home Hardware on the corner of Graveley & Commercial has their roof stacked with Christmas trees once again, punctuating the intersection with the powerful aroma of pine.

At 1501 Commercial, long-time site of Blue Bird Beauty Salon, Columbus Travel has moved right in and seem tyo be mor=toring on famously.

2015 Dec Columbus

On the corner of Kitchener, at 1399 Commercial, Al Basho Restaurant has been shut down, at least temporarily, for a cooking violation.

2015 Dec Al Basho

As I stopped by today, it didn’t seem to deter people going to the newly re-opened Elizabeth’s Bakery at the same location; but it can’t be great marketing for anyone to have a large STOP COOKING notice on your front door.

Elizabeth Bakery’s old spot, at 1303, is still vacant (1 month), with for lease signs in the window, so I guess Andre’s plans, if ever there were such, to expand Renzo’s Cafe into the space they own are on hold at least.

The storefronts at 1340 (9 months), 1268 (30 months), and 1108 Commercial (20 months) are all still vacant, languishing like some ridiculous pout. Why on earth don’t the owners simply lower their rent demands and get what will still be a healthy rental income?

1124 Commercial, which used to be a consignment store before it was Green Party headquarters has immediately morphed back into a thrift store, called Still Fabulous.

2015 Dec Still Fab

The owner of this space seems quite adept at keeping his property rented; some others could learn something perhaps.

What used to be the Marijuana Lifestyle Dispensary above Penelope’s, closed by the City last month, has morphed into Lisa Le Natural Herbal Online Ltd. Can’t imagine what they are selling now.

2015 Dec Lisa

The ground floor of the old Peg’s building at the corner of Parker is still boarded up. I guess we have to assume they are working away behind the wall.  I am surprised there is a still a tenant upstairs.

Nonna’s Sandwiches has finally opened for business at 952.  We wish them the best.

2015 Dec Nonnas


Across the street, at 935 Commercial, I see that the venerable Andy’s Bakery has changed its name to Andy’s German Bakehouse Cafe & Bistro. That’s quite the step up. I hope they do well.2015 Dec Andys

Finally, the old Money Mart at 902 is still vacant (7 months) and little sign of Robyn’s expansion yet.


See the entire run of Changes on the Drive posts.

Image: Garden Gate

December 1, 2015

Garden Gate

Rosa Parks Day

December 1, 2015

Rosa_Parks_BookingIt was sixty years ago today that an experienced activist named Rosa Parks chose to say “No” when told to give up her bus seat for a white passenger on a rainy night in Montgomery, Alabama. Later, repeating her refusal to a police officer, she was arrested and became an historical figure.

Not withstanding the scores of millions of volunteer hours that went into the Civil Rights movement, and the billions of words crafted to defend the principles of equality and anti-discrimination, movements are often characterized by individual actions: Rosa Parks refusal being a classic example.

Never underestimate the ability of very small groups of people to start movements that develop into landslides of social change.


December 1, 2015