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On The Move

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Obsolete no longer

Agricola's favourite record retailer weathers the gentrifying strip's ups and downs

Posted By on Thu, Mar 12, 2020 at 9:51 AM


After ten years on Agricola Street, Obsolete Records was booted from its ramshackle storefront last fall in the most anticlimactic way possible. “Someone was parking out back, and drove into some support beam,” says Obsolete owner Ian Fraser. “And the building’s owner decided to just tear it all down.” 

The news wasn’t a total surprise: plans were already afoot to build a five-storey apartment building on the site. The parking mishap was just the nail in the coffin. But though Obsolete has become a North End mainstay—with a selection skewing heavily to Fraser’s own tastes in indie rock, underground hip-hop, and other relatively niche genres and artists—the redevelopment nearly spelled its end. 

“I was in the same space for very close to a decade,” says Fraser, “and they never raised my rent. When I actually had to start looking, it was a shock to see how rent had gone up all around the neighbourhood.”

The relocation may have been a blessing in disguise, however. Brighter, cleaner and wheelchair-accessible, the new space, at 2855 Agricola Street, is also the first to be occupied in a new block of storefronts that aims to draw Agricola foot traffic farther north. And, says Fraser, “it feels like a real store, not an afterthought kind of space.”

Obsolete occupied the first of a two-phase development, and Fraser says a cafe is planned to open beside his story in the spring or summer. “It looks like this is going to turn into a great little niche area,” says Fraser, “a new little hub of commerce.”

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Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Scotia Pharmacy is moving (not very far)

We would like a dinner roll with that.

Posted By on Tue, Mar 6, 2018 at 4:38 PM


Your friendly neighbourhood, all-caps-tweeting pharmacy is on the move. The north end’s beloved Scotia Pharmacy (2151 Gottingen Street) announced it’ll be making the very short jaunt across the street and moving into the MacDonald Building (2131 Gottingen Street—where the home of chicken delight, The "No Name" Cafe, was for 24 years).

“It’s a smaller spot,” says Scotia’s Jenn Jorna, “but we’re pretty excited because we have such a dank little pharmacy now and we needed new life.” While the downsize means no post office services post-move, the new location puts the pharmacy under the same roof as North End Community Health Centre and MOSH (Mobile Outreach Street Health)—“one of the doctors approached us when The Cafe was closing,” adds Jorna—and makes way for a new home for fellow Gottingen Street resident Direction 180, which will take over the 2151 space.

“The push is on for March 19,” says Jorna. The jury is still out on whether there will be dinner rolls with purchase.

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Monday, December 11, 2017

Earth Goddess Shop is moving, making room to grow

The jewellery boutique is set to leave the Hydrostone and head to Point North.

Posted By on Mon, Dec 11, 2017 at 3:22 PM

After eight months in business, Shannon MacGregor and Sandy McInnis were told their shop’s building had been sold. While Earth Goddess Shop has been attracting customers to the little establishment in the Hydrostone (5528 Kaye Street), plans to tear the place down mean they have to move.

“We wanted to stay in the north end,” says McInnis, so the pair chose a space in the Point North building (5870 Demone Street).  “There’s so much going on in that building I can’t really divulge right now—but there is a great restaurant going in on the other end, that’s all I’m gonna say—and there’s customer parking there as well.”

The new shop will be bigger, allowing MacGregor and McInnis to do things they didn’t have room for before: evening workshops in jewellery-making and reiki are two of the things they hope to begin. “We’ve really fine-tuned what works for us and what doesn’t” in terms of merchandise, says McInnis, so there will also be some changes in products—but she’s mum on the full details for now.

On top of that, MacGregor and McInnis are planning to expand the online shop, which is currently on Etsy featuring some of their most popular products. In the new year, Earth Goddess will have a website of its own featuring new and improved internet offerings.

Earth Goddess’ last day at the Hydrostone location is December 29 and it’s expected to be open in Point North in February. 

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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

My Mother's Bloomers' new digs

Posted By on Wed, Nov 8, 2017 at 4:23 PM

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Neville McKay’s flower shop has put down some serious roots on Spring Garden Road. It’s been 25 years of My Mother’s Bloomers (5486 Spring Garden Road) growing with the downtown strip, but 2018 will see the business blossom in a brand new location in the north end.

“It’s not like I wanted to leave the road as much as I wanted to evolve a little bit more as well. We looked around the street, and other parts of the city, and when this area came up we thought it was quite something. It was just the energy in the neighbourhood,” says McKay of his new digs at 2086 Creighton Street, former home of Kevin Muise Interiors. “Spring Garden is a very vibrant important area, it’s a big hustle and bustle. When we first started on the street it was a little calmer—I think we all were—and I like that feel of that relaxation here, people sauntering around, going to the bakery or off to the Goggle or EDNA. There’s so much going on, it’s such a neighbourhood feel.”

Having a standalone storefront will be new for the shop, and McKay says all of the location’s space and windows have him daydreaming already—of more plants, window displays, crafts and community events. He’ll likely be digging into some sweet window planters, too. My Mother’s Bloomers will say goodbye to its old location just in time for the new year, moving out of its current shop December 31.

“The big trek will happen January 1,” says McKay. “Brand-new year, brand new spot, brand new us, brand new look.”

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