After many years of planning, prospecting, meeting with tenants, negotiations, construction stops and starts, we finally reached a new milestone on November 27 – The opening of the highly anticipated food court at Union Station.
Rewind almost 6 years ago, to the first meeting with Osmington, to discuss the vision for the 170,000 SF of retail at Union Station.
The vision has been consistent over the years – the goal was to create a unique retail destination in the heart of the financial core. The food court had to be different – a curated mix of both national and local tenants. A place where commuters, event goers, office workers and residents could find a differentiating and relaxed atmosphere to grab a bite or those going to a game or concert could hang out, eat and socialize before heading out for the evening to the Scotiabank Arena with family or friends.
Head down the Go York Concourse, where you’ll find the escalators leading into the food court. At 8 a.m. McDonalds and Tim Horton’s already have long line-ups, while the rest of the food court is filled with people having meetings, working on laptops (WI-FI everywhere), parents and their kids are enjoying breakfast together before they start their day and friends are catching up and hanging out before work or school. Truly an eclectic mix of people, all gathered in one place and for one reason, to enjoy a meal and have a fun experience.
Arrive at 11:30 a.m., you’re already too late. It’s tough to find a seat or make a decision on what to eat from the array of tantalizing food offerings. Will it be a local operator like Loaded Pierogi, Roywoods, Sushi Shop, Bangkok Buri or Paramount? Or will it be a national tenant to satisfy your guilty pleasure like McDonald’s, Pizza Pizza or Tim Hortons? You decide to go with whichever has the shortest line because it doesn’t matter, it all looks good and you’d like to taste everything…eventually! Which means many more trips to the station.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the food court has been so well received and that so many people have somehow found it so quickly. After all, this was the vision, knowing that independent operators, who in some cases have no brand recognition in the financial core have been embraced because of the uniqueness of their food offerings is in itself very reassuring. It is a testimony to their open-mindedness and ability to be flexible and creative. And this is what attracted us to many of these independents, many of whom had no prior experience in either building out or operating a food court unit.
It required an open mind: a positive attitude, belief and then a leap of faith. To their credit, Torontonians are not only ready for, but are also embracing these different and new food experiences! Take Khao San Road for example, they took their street concept and customized it to fit the design and menu of a food court setting and experience, serving up chef-driven food in a fast paced and chaotic environment. You’ll be lucky if you find less than 20 people in line during the lunch hour rush!
For all involved, from the city, to the designers and collaborators GH+A and Partisans, to Osmington who believed in Union Station as a credible retail destination, the ambitious curation of the food court required an open mind and many jam sessions for it to have a positive outcome. Mission Accomplished!
Congrats to all of the collaborators and especially to all of the tenants!
It’s no secret that food halls have been popping up all across North America and most recently Canada. Harkening back to the era before traditional supermarkets and fast food, everything old has become new again.
We have spent the last decade traveling the world with the specific intent of discovering why this mostly European tradition has grabbed the attention of North Americans. We’ve traveled internationally visiting countless food halls and fresh markets, where we discovered the magic of these communal gathering places. Venues where good, fresh and curated food offerings is king. We’ve met with chefs and foodies, picking their brains to understand why this phenomenon has taken hold so dramatically and transformed the way we eat and socialize. We’ve discovered food halls in all shapes and sizes and grasped the charm when they do work.
From Cape Town to London and Zurich, Seville, Lisbon and Madrid,Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Munich to Berlin, and New York to Los Angeles, and many others in between, we’ve gathered intel, done our research and grazed our way through some of the most unforgettable establishments, all in the name of food. What we’ve found is that they are the result of a creative and curated process….a
Our team has been involved in conceptualizing food halls across the country for the past 7 years. Fast forward 6 years and finally our first customized food hall, Queen Street Fare, opened its doors in the financial district in downtown Ottawa, on December 7th.
Queen Street Fare is 10,000 SF, fully licensed and includes a stage for live music, performances
The tenant mix was curated by our development team, led by Taylor Borg executing an
When we first started working with Bentall Kennedy on
We had scoured the city and discovered that there was an amazing pool of talented local operators– each unique in their own right. We started brainstorming with the team and most importantly with the local players. We talked not only about what they
The idea for the stage and bar was borne out of the collaboration with Bar Robo, where the conversations started with the coffee counter and morphed into a discussion about the lack of venues for events in the city, which is where Bar Robo came in. We had our bar and entertainment component! This we felt was crucial to bringing life to the building not only Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm but extending the hours into the evening and weekends as well.
The process was organic and fluid, one of discovery not only of what existed in the city but what could be created by tapping into the local talent. We were fortunate enough to be engaged in a process which included collaboration with the landlord, management team, designers and t
Thank you and a big shout out to all who believed, participated, collaborated and helped us execute! See you at Queen St. Fare!
Queen St. Fare designed by @iron.ivory
The summer might be coming to an end, but the sun never stops shining with Gypsy Soul. Gypsy Soul is one of our two winners of the Free Pop-Up Space competition at Manulife Place, Edmonton. With only 1 week until the opening, we wanted to introduce you to the company’s founders, Brandi and Chelsea. We sat down with the ladies and talked about the company and all the exciting things they have planned for the pop-up space.
Beauleigh: Who is Gypsy Soul? Can you give us some background information on the creators of the company?
Chelsea + Brandi: Gypsy Soul is a lifestyle brand that is based on an unconventional style of living, being a free spirit, someone who loves to travel and going on adventures! We started Gypsy Soul almost 6 years ago now, the two of us met at a music festival in BC which was crazy because we had both grown up in Edmonton with all the same mutual friends. We both had our own little brands and we decided to plan a trip to India in search of fabrics. We had no intentions of starting another company together but we found this amazing fabric and we were inspired to start Gypsy Soul while in India. We then found this incredible silk shop in Goa, India so we ended up bringing home a 5 piece collection. We opened a little showroom in Chelsea’s house and booked appointments and in a couple of weeks, we had sold out of all our pieces. After that, we decided to explore working on a Kimono and that was one of our first big pieces that really put us on the map. A lot of people told us what we were doing was too ‘niche’ or a ‘fad’ and funny enough that year Chanel hosted their first Bohemian runway show and the ‘Boho’ trend took off.
Beauleigh: What an exciting journey for you both. What is something you have learned along the way, getting where you are now?
Chelsea + Brandi: One of the things we have learned in the last 6 years is to always stay on brand and stay true to who you are. People can really tell that when they see us, we live our brand. It hasn’t been easy and sometimes we had to say no to big opportunities, for example, a company wanted us to reproduce and replicate our hand died silk which is a one of a kind product where no two pieces are the same. For us, we didn’t want to dilute our brand like that and a businesses associate, Jamie from One Teaspoon said to us “for no amount of money do you go against what aligns you with your brand” and we have really tried to stay true to that. It’s really about the sustainability of it all – we are doing something that we love and at the end of the day we are the lucky ones.
Beauleigh: Why did you choose to participate in the Manulife Place Pop-Up Competition?
Chelsea + Brandi: We were looking in Edmonton recently to find a commercial space to set up a shop and checked out a couple different places and nothing really seemed right. We have such a loyal following in Edmonton and such a great support network and really wanted to open a shop where we grew up. We weren’t sold on any of the places we looked at and then a friend of ours tagged us in the Manulife Place Facebook post for the competition and we were both so excited to apply! We sent in our application and sure enough about a week later we found out we had made top 3 and then Beauleigh calls and said we had won! We were honestly so excited about it as it is such an amazing opportunity for us in such a great place. Being from Edmonton it means the world to us!
Beauleigh: Give us a preview of what is to come! What are you most excited to feature at the Manulife Place Pop-Up Space?
Chelsea + Brandi: We have so many fun pieces in the works for this shop! A couple pieces are going to be exclusively available just for the pop-up. We will be working with a couple of our favourite Edmonton designers to design some exclusive pieces with them. We really want to tie in the art and fashion community of Edmonton with our designs, and giving these designers a space to showcase their work. We have also been curating a vintage collection that will be available as well as vintage homeware pieces.
We couldn’t be more excited to see what Gypsy Soul has in store for their pop-up space. We’ll see you all there on Sept 7!
Photography by: @whitewillow_fashion
Makeup by: @missymackintosh
Only 2 more weeks until the opening of the Manulife Place Pop-up space in Edmonton! This past April Beauleigh and Manulife launched a contest for local brands to win a free pop-up space in Manulife Place. We sat down with one of our winners, Ryan Willisko of Nitro Snow to learn more about the brand and what we can look forward to with the Pop-Up!
Beauleigh: Tell us about Nitro Snow? Can you give us some background information on how you started with the company?
Ryan: Nitro Snow as a company has been around in Europe since 1990. Originally, I was previously working for a distributor of Nitro Snowboards in Edmonton, and in 2016 I had the opportunity to start and partner Nitro Snowboards directly in North America. We started the Canadian business out in our garage and a small warehouse that we were working out of for about a year. Nitro Snow North America has been progressively growing ever since. When we started we had the brand in about 25 retailers across Canada and now we have over 110 doors. Nitro Snow is now available coast to coast in Canada, predominately in Quebec, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and British Columbia.
Beauleigh: We are so excited to have you as one of our Manulife Place pop-up Winners – Why did you choose to participate in the Manulife Place Pop-Up Competition?
Ryan: We chose to participate in the competition because we believed it would give us a platform to express who Nitro Snowboards is and express who we are. It’s hard sometimes for brands starting out – they make all these amazing products, but don’t get to have that direct interaction with the end-consumer when its sold through a retailer. This way people can experience the products in person, get to know the brand and who we are. We want to make this pop-up first and foremost a marketing experience as our goal isn’t just to sell product, but rather highlight Nitro Snow, and the inner workings of the brand. We want to make a statement in our own backyard. We are an international company, and we felt this was a great opportunity to focus within Edmonton and help support the community.
Beauleigh: What do you hope to achieve with your pop-up space at Manulife place?
Ryan: We have a few different initiatives planned for this location, as we want to help give back to the community and support people in need. Nitro Snow will be giving 10% of outerwear sales back to people in need through technical outerwear. We also want to do this ourselves, and we aren’t going to subcontract that out, our staff will actually be handing out our technical outerwear to people in need, it is our way of giving back. As much as we are a business we also want to support the community that has been there for us.
Beauleigh: Give us a preview of what is to come for the Nitro Snow pop-up space.
Ryan: We want the pop-up to really be an experience as well as making sure we have a selection of products so that there is something for everyone. We will have a variety of price levels on products from headwear to more technical pieces like an outerwear jacket. What we are most excited for with the space is integrating the local business culture in Manulife Place with Nitro Snow, bringing people a little bit of fun in their busy work day! I find people often forget to take a minute to themselves, or even get outside and have some fun. #SkipWork, We are trying to create an environment that someone passing by on their lunch break can come in and have a coffee and hang out with us, watch movies, even play some foosball! We are also planning some exciting events for the space including athlete meet and greats, we also want to do nights focused on Women in Snowboarding. We will also be hosting intro to snowboarding nights for kids, who can come with their parents and learn about snowboarding and what to look for when buying technical pieces.
Beauleigh: What can we look forward to seeing from Nitro Snow in the future? Goals after the Pop-up Space?
Ryan: We just finished a very busy Olympic year so the Pop-up space at Manulife will be our main focus for now. After the Pop-up, we would love to do more pop-up locations in collaboration with our retailers, possibly one in the US. We have a couple of film projects in the works right now so we are looking forward to working on those as well.
We can’t wait for Nitro Snow’s Pop-Up to open at Manulife Place and hope to see you all there on Sept 4th!
It’s that time of year again, construction has taken over and the summer sun is bringing on the heat that is too hot to handle in the city of Toronto. This Canada Day weekend, Union Station opened its highly anticipated Summer Market! After a year hiatus, the beloved Union Summer is back, and better than ever. Celebrating some of the best Toronto has to offer there are a total of 10 different vendors that you will not want to miss. Union Summer will run now until Aug 19th with 50 consecutive days of programming featuring free movie nights, live performances and more!
Curated by Beauleigh in collaboration with Osmington, meet the vendors!
One of Unions newest additions inside the York Street Promenade is offering an abbreviated menu so you can sit in the sun and enjoy a meatball sub or some eggplant parmesan! Ciao!
What better way to cool off from this heat than a frozen banana dunked in chocolate and covered in popcorn?! Bananza offers a variety of tasty treats including banana pops dipped in your choice of sprinkles, PB + Nutella, Salted Caramel and more!
Ice cream, donuts, coffee, oh my! Fugo is here and ready to fill your summer treat needs with a selection of speciality cones including Cookie Monster and Cookies N’ Dreams or some Tropical Soft Serve, vegan options and mini donuts made on site.
Their classic Burger may be called the Plain-Jane but, it is anything but! Enjoy a Charbroiled Burger and admire the colourful lights at the Harry’s Burgers booth!
It’s suns out buns out at Mean Bao! Enjoy a steamed bao with your choice of stuffing including Pork Belly, Chicken, Braised Beef, and a vegan option of Tufo & Enoki Mushroom.
The only jerk you should ever love. Roywoods, Home of the Jerks have come to Union! Stop by the Roywoods booth for a Jerk Chicken sandwich, a side of plantain and a refreshing Ting! Roywoods will be opening in Toronto’s food court later this year.
The Carbon Bar
Bringing BBQ to Unions backyard, The Carbon Bar is featuring some of its must-have items including the Smoked Cuban, Barbecued Turkey Leg, and a side of Mexican Street Corn.
The Plant YYZ
Offering a fully plant-based menu, Plant YYZ sources local, sustainable and healthy ingredients all from Ontario. Try their Grilled Stuffed pepper or Grown Burger with a glass of Cranberry Kombucha on tap!
Another one of Union’s recent openings inside the York St. Promenade – Union Chicken has all your Fried chicken dreams covered! Order the OG Fried Chicken Sandwich or if you’re feeling adventurous try its spicy counterpart the Lightening Hot Fried Chicken Sandwich!
Soon to be a full-service location inside of Union Station’s York St. Promenade, check out the WVRST booth for a sneak peek of what is to come! Order up some Sausages and Duck Fat Fries with Melted Swiss Raclette cheese on top – Prost!
At the beginning of April, Beauleigh and Manulife Place announced a competition that would showcase the best of Edmonton’s independent operators and entrepreneurial scene, offering 2 retailers the chance to win rent-free Pop-Up Space at Manulife Place for 4 Months.
Since then, we have received an overwhelming amount of incredible applications and, although we are not surprised by the talent and vision of Edmontonians, we were pleasantly surprised by the wide range of unique concepts and ideas that flourish in the City of Edmonton. To everyone that applied, a big thank you! We wish you all nothing but the best in the future.
With much anticipation, we are so pleased to announce our 2 Winners of the Manulife Place Pop-Up Competition: Nitro Snow and Gypsy Soul!
ABOUT THE WINNERS:
In 2016 Ryan Willisko acquired the exclusive rights for Nitro Snow North America and has brought the concept back to his hometown of Edmonton. Nitro Snow is the only Edmonton based winter sports brand in Alberta, featuring high-quality technical snowboarding apparel, equipment and accessories for Kids, Teens, Men and Women. Ryan’s goal with Nitro Snow at Manulife Place is to create a strong foundation for snowboarding, while at the same time promoting and incorporating art and fashion in the community. 10% of all of Nitro Snow’s sales at the Manulife Place Pop-Up will be given directly back to Edmontonians in need via Technical Outerwear.
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Brandi Dea and Chelsea McKinley, both born and raised in Edmonton, started their journey on a trip to India in 2012, that inspired them to design their first label, Gypsy Soul. Since then, Gypsy Soul has taken off, being picked up by retailers such as Urban Outfitters, Shop Bop, ASOS and more. Gypsy Soul is predominately an online retailer, with one brick and mortar location in Kelowna, BC., that features Women’s apparel, accessories and swimwear. Gypsy Soul style includes bohemian travel-wear that encompasses their mantra ‘Always Go’.
W A R D R O B E Over the years we have collected so many treasures, silks, samples and vintage oh my! With SPRING on the horizon we are joining the community in a massive CLOSET CLEANOUT @laurelpackinghouse SUNDAY!! Doors open at 10 and close at 2. You prob don’t want to miss this!! #gypsycloset #cleanout #sale #gypsysouldesigns #kelownaclosetcleanout #downtownkelowna • • Creative direction: @tabatha.ann.barker Hair: @modsalonkelowna Photography: @freshfinishmedia Makeup: @flickmynic Style and Wardrobe: @bdealux @gypsysouldesigns
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Nitro Snow and Gypsy Soul’s Pop-Up Space will open on September 1st, 2018. See you all there!
May 2-4 has finally arrived, right in time for our long-anticipated spring! While many people are heading out of town, or up to cottage country for the long weekend, we’ve put together a list of some of our favourite activities to do in right here in Toronto. Get pumped for the perfect staycation – right in your own backyard! 😊
WHAT TO DO
Toronto Island – Rent bikes and hit up the beach!
Did you know that High Park isn’t the only place in Toronto to see #CherryBlossoms? #FBF to warmer spring days last year on Centre Island This year the cherry blossoms are a little delayed due to the April snow showers, however they are normally in bloom at the end of April and early May! #CherryBlossomWatch2018 Be sure to come to the Island to see a spectacular view of pink and white blossoms! TIG Summer 2018! For more information stay tuned and check out our link in our bio! . . . #TorontoIslandGuide #TIG #TorontoIsland #FlashBackFriday #FBF #CherryBlossom2018 #SakuraCherryTrees #Spring #SpringOnTheIsland #TorontoIslandSpringTime #TourismToronto #Toronto #InstaTravel #LoveToronto #TOTourism #ONTourism #instaperfect
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Toronto Harbourfront – Rent boats, seadoo’s or SUP boards at the pier.
Trinity Bellwood / High Park – Pack your picnic basket and check out the Cherry Blossoms in bloom!
Blue Jays Game – Playing Both Saturday and Sunday @ 1:07pm
Spring Beerfest TO – May 19th, 12-7pm @ Fort York National Historic Site
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Walk one of our favourite Toronto neighbourhoods:
- Kensington Market
- Liberty Village
- Queen West
Raincheck? Here are some options on how to have fun this weekend while staying dry!
SWAT Fitness – Check out SWATS newest location at Queens Quay Terminal for a great indoor workout!
REC Room / Snakes and Lattes – Food? Beers? Games? Yes please!
Movies – Go see the new Avengers: Infinity War or watch Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool 2
Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors – Hit up the most *instagramable* exhibit at the AGO … if you haven’t already!
#WednesdayWisdom “I want to lift my heart towards a brighter future, with a sense of reverence for human beings, asserting that we are much more than just wretched insects in an unimaginably vast universe.” #infiniteKUSAMA Photo: @theangelalewis
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WHERE TO EAT/DRINK
If you’re heading out of town for the weekend or on your way to the Jays game, check out the awesome new selection of stores/restaurants at Union Station including:
Sit down: Pasta Amano, Union Chicken
Drinks to go: Greenhouse Juice
@greenhousejuice is NOW OPEN at Union @torontounion #WhereTorontoIsGoing . . . . . . . #toronto #torontounion #unionstationtoronto #exciting #awesome #new #retail #retaildesign #instagood #instapic #picoftheday #new #inlove #greenhouse #greenhousejuiceco #juice #nowopen
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Treats to-go: Biscotteria by Forno Cultura
Union also has a variety of stores and services including Peace Collective, Naked Beauty Bar and The Detox Market.
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Sit on one of the many awesome Toronto patios for a drink (or bites!) :
Joe Bird – Right by the water, enjoy some fried chicken and a drink, or two…!
I'll have the bird + waffles, corn bread and taquitos…to start 😏What are you having? . . . . . . 📷: @twopickyfoodies #joebird #joebirdto #toronto #torontorestaurant #foodie #torontofood #waterfronttoronto #harbourfrontcentre #instagood #instalike #picoftheday #delicious #chicken #new #menu #whatsfordinner #lunch #torontoeats #torontoblog #tofoodie #foodieto #cravethe6ix #delicious #foodblog #foodporn
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The Fix – Get your ice cream fix at the Fix !
Cactus Club Cafe – Soak up the sun on the rooftop patios of Cactus Club.
King Taps – Grab a group of friends, and some pints on the King Taps patio.
Pie Bar – Enjoy a glass of wine and a slice of your favourite pizza on the Pie Bar patio!
Wishing you the best during your long weekend staycation! x
We are a boutique retail real estate consulting firm specializing in creating repositioning, redevelopment and rebranding strategies for retail properties. We love all things food, fashion, arts and culture. Our purpose is to bring our industry alive with our vision by creating unique, vibrant and animated environments.
Our blog is our platform to bring to you what is happening in the retail market, what's trending and to share exciting news and announcements about Beauleigh and our industry.