New Loblaws experience ‘like shopping in a museum’

Jian Kourdah made the trip from Markham to the corner of Church and College streets to buy groceries in one of hockey’s most storied shrines.

He was among the hundreds who checked out the new 85,000-square-foot Loblaws location at Maple Leaf Gardens following its grand opening on Nov. 30.

“I’ve done a months worth of shopping here today,” Kourdah said. “This place is fantastic.”

It’s like shopping in a museum. It’s great.

—Jian Kourdah

The new Loblaw grocery store chain flagship boasts a five-metre-tall wall of cheese, a sushi market and a walk-in wine room.

“I don’t know how much (Loblaw) bought the building for but I’m confident they’ll make their money back quickly,” former Toronto mayor John Sewell said.

Sewell, a founding member of the now-defunct Friends of Maple Leaf Gardens, is one of many who had been concerned the heart and soul of the iconic building – hockey – would be lost. But that concern, he said, has eased.

“The upper tier of the building has been converted into a hockey-specific arena for the Ryerson Rams,” Sewell said. “I think it’s great that a team will still call this place home.

“Hockey is still very much a part of the building’s history.”

Kourdah agreed.

“I’m a huge Leafs fan and I love the history of this place,” he said. “It’s like shopping in a museum. It’s great.”