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Openings

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Introducing: Longo’s. Take a tour of the new 48,000 square-foot supermarket that’s sure to feed the downtown grocery war

Upwardly mobile at the new Longo's (Image: Karon Liu)

The latest supermarket to open in the downtown core is a sleek, 48,000 square-foot megastore by Longo’s. The new spot is part of Maple Leaf Square—the spanking new sports-themed development beside the Air Canada Centre—and should make locals rejoice as their area, better known for tourists and expressways, takes one step closer to becoming a bona fide neighbourhood.

Like the other inner-city supermarkets that have recently opened or undergone a massive renovation—Fresh and Wild, McEwan, Metro, Sobey’s, Loblawsthis was a time consuming effort. Longo’s took five years to build a store with modern elements that are increasingly standard for supermarkets: sushi counters, pizza ovens, salad bars and a grab-and-go counter. Spokesperson Rosanne Longo tells us that the surge of these types of supermarkets coincides with Toronto’s condo boom.

“Consumers are looking for alternatives to fast food. They want something that’s quick but at the same time fresh and healthy,” she says, adding that this is the fifth downtown location for Longo’s (the others are much smaller). “We looked at the busy downtown Torontonians who often buy food two or three times a week rather than one big trip.”

Like many of Longo’s competitors, it’s trying to attract shoppers of all types: the busy condo dwellers buying a $10 ready-to-heat dinner for two, the traditional nuclear families buying in bulk and the Food Network addicts looking for gourmet sea salt, rare Pakistani mangos, Kobe beef and kopi luwak coffee ($44 for 80 grams or $11 a cup—all from Longo’s in-house coffee roaster). The market also claims to have the largest selection of cheese (300 varieties) under one roof in the city. On-site cheese masters help flustered customers with wine pairings.

In the back is an area dubbed “The Loft,” where Longo’s turns into more of a lounge than a supermarket. There’s a Starbucks, WiFi, cooking studio, a seating area, microwave, sinks, five flat-screen televisions, washrooms (a definite plus in supermarkets) and above all, a fully functioning bar called Corks that serves exclusively Ontario beer and wine.

The question now is how the food shopping landscape of downtown will finally shape up. With glistening supermarkets opening up all over—including a Loblaws and a Sobey’s both nearby—and gourmet provisioners like McEwan scouting downtown locations, the battle lines are still being drawn. If nothing else, it looks like a tasty war for Torontonians.

Longo’s Maple Leaf Square, 15 York St. (at Bremner Blvd.), 416-366-1717, longos.com.


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  • Pee

    Finally, more competition to Loblaws queens quay. Truly the pits has this place become so hopefullywhen they see Longos they will provide more options. Longos is nice but way too expensive…

  • andrew

    In-house coffee roaster? Crazy!

  • Sabrina

    The funny thing is Longo’s prices are not too far from any other grocery store and in some instances cheaper! I think the misconception of it being expensive is due to all the gourmet products and ready-made foods on offer. When comparing the same brand of cereal, there’s really no difference.

  • Francois

    Hopefully their produce will compare to that of their Leslie and York Mills store, which was until now their closest supermarket. I have never seen such a well-tended department. Not surprising, they have a lot more staff than other stores, food isn’t piled up sky high, rotting and teeming with fruit flies, and they often have unusual stuff (fresh dates and almonds, for instance).

  • Chris

    Another expensive supermarket in the downtown core.

  • Laurie Morissette

    I visited the new Longos yesterday and it is so impressive, and so needed downtown! I do not think Longos is any more expensive than other stores when it comes to grocery items. Of course, one must expect to pay a decent price for the convenience of prepared foods!

  • Rosanne Longo

    To Chris and Pee, could you please let us know which item(s) you are referring to? In addition to our bi-weekly flyer, we have systems in place to make sure our pricing is competitive. Our Thank You Rewards program also offers incentives which provides our customers with even greater value. Thnx.

  • Sandra

    I am a huge Longo’s fan and I didn’t think anything could beat the one built at Rutherford and Bathurst in Richmond Hill, but I may have been wrong. Does this new location offer parking?

  • Tina Longo -Iandoli

    We have been shopping at Longo’s forever! We moved from Markham to Richmond Hill, and still the supermarket of choice for us is certainly Longo’s! I can agree that maybe it is a little expensive, but overall you get what you pay for!

  • Dave_o

    Yeah free parking if you spend $30 or more for either 90 minutes or two hours not sure which. Its pretty much as expensive as the other ripoff downtown supermarkets like the Sobey’s at Queen’s Quay but way bigger. I still think Loblaws on Queen’s Quay is the best value in the Harbourfront

  • Francois

    This is definitely the best grocery store downtown. I don’t get the constant complaining about prices. Frankly it doesn’t seem more expensive than anywhere else. If you can afford the real estate prices in that area, stop complaining about your groceries, please!

  • PAUL MOSCOE

    THE CONDO THAT MY WIFE AND I RESIDE AT IS THE EMPIRE PLAZA LOCATED AT UNIVERSITY AND WELLINGTON.IF I NEED A FEW ITEMS I GO UNDERGROUND TORONTO AND I HAVE 2 LONGOS TO CHOOSE FROM .THE PRICES ARE HIGHER THAN MAPLE LEAF SQUARE BUT I UNDERSTAND THE RENT IS MORE UNDERGROUND THAN THE NEWER LARGE SUPERMARKET AT MAPLE LEAF SQUARE SO I HAVE AN OPTION WHEN I DO MY WEEKLY SHOPPING.THE SERVICE IS ALWAYS GREAT AND THE STAFF IS ALWAYS VERY HELPFUL. ITS GREAT TO SEE A COMPANY TO SORE TO THE TOP, A TRUE CANADIAN SUCESS.

 

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