Mystery store: 154 Talbot St W, Aylmer, ON

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Andrew T.
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Mystery store: 154 Talbot St W, Aylmer, ON

Post by Andrew T. » 25 Aug 2018 21:34

Yet another mystery from today's weekend drive:
aylmer.jpg
This building is a smidgen larger than the one in Ingersoll. The entrance configuration looks supermarket-like, but there's no guarantee that this started out as a supermarket: It could have been built as a variety store or hardware store instead.

There sure are a lot of snazzy details, though: The peaked roof, the integral tower sign, the textured pattern of protruding ridges on the side wall. It almost reminds me of the sort of thing that Steinberg would have built in the '60s (and Steinberg did use signs like these at least once)...but I have no idea if they operated in stores or towns this small.
"The pale pastels which have been featured in most food stores during the past 20 years are no longer in tune with the mood of the 1970s."
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Re: Mystery store: 154 Talbot St W, Aylmer, ON

Post by Andrew T. » 25 Aug 2018 23:18

FYI, there are references lingering in the back corners of the web to a "Joe's No Frills" store once existing at this address.

Could this store have been Loblaws originally? It scarcely looks like anything that company would have built. Zehrs? The plot thickens...
"The pale pastels which have been featured in most food stores during the past 20 years are no longer in tune with the mood of the 1970s."
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Re: Mystery store: 154 Talbot St W, Aylmer, ON

Post by TW-Upstate NY » 26 Aug 2018 10:18

Did Safeway ever build marinas in Canada? Looks like it could possibly be one.

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Re: Mystery store: 154 Talbot St W, Aylmer, ON

Post by Groceteria » 26 Aug 2018 11:51

TW-Upstate NY wrote: 26 Aug 2018 10:18 Did Safeway ever build marinas in Canada? Looks like it could possibly be one.
The marina era was over by the time Safeway made its relatively brief appearance in Southern Ontario, but the profile of this one doesn't really fit anyway (asymmetrical front, side entrance, etc.). Too small (and rural) for Steinberg.

Zehrs is probably as good a bet as any, or even more likely an independent or franchise. I am betting it was indeed a supermarket, though.

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Re: Mystery store: 154 Talbot St W, Aylmer, ON

Post by Andrew T. » 31 Aug 2018 21:49

I'll file it under "probable former independent grocer." There used to be a lot more of those in southern Ontario than there are now.
"The pale pastels which have been featured in most food stores during the past 20 years are no longer in tune with the mood of the 1970s."
Andrew Turnbull

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Re: Mystery store: 154 Talbot St W, Aylmer, ON

Post by J.R.G. » 28 Apr 2020 00:13

This was likely a small-town format Dominion store from the 1950s or 60s. It is consistent with other Dominion stores throughout small-town Ontario. For example, I have seen similar buildings in Prescott, Huntsville and Napanee. All of those almost identical buildings had the same slanted roof, all home to Dominion supermarkets at one point in the distant past.

Prescott's operates as a Shoppers Drug Mart today, but operated as a Bargain Shop until approximately 2013: https://www.google.ca/maps/@44.7091938, ... 312!8i6656

Huntsville's has been abandoned for years:
https://www.google.ca/maps/@45.3262808, ... 312!8i6656

Napanee's former Dominion eventually operated as a Mr. Grocer, a Valu-Mart and most recently a No Frills before it moved in the mid-2000s - here is a 2009 Google Street View example. The building was demolished with an office building later built in its place:

https://www.google.ca/maps/@44.2465862, ... 312!8i6656

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Re: Mystery store: 154 Talbot St W, Aylmer, ON

Post by Andrew T. » 28 Apr 2020 18:39

J.R.G. wrote: 28 Apr 2020 00:13 This was likely a small-town format Dominion store from the 1950s or 60s. It is consistent with other Dominion stores throughout small-town Ontario. For example, I have seen similar buildings in Prescott, Huntsville and Napanee. All of those almost identical buildings had the same slanted roof, all home to Dominion supermarkets at one point in the distant past.
Oh my...so there are others! Twins, triplets, quadruplets, for this design! You've just about made my day for solving this mystery at last.

The Napanee specimen was a particularly good example, since it shared the Aylmer store's integrated twin-pole sign and was still decked out in supermarket livery at the time the Google car drove by. It's a shame that it's gone...though the others survive, and I wouldn't doubt that there are other identical structures in Ontario waiting to be discovered.
"The pale pastels which have been featured in most food stores during the past 20 years are no longer in tune with the mood of the 1970s."
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Re: Mystery store: 154 Talbot St W, Aylmer, ON

Post by J.R.G. » 29 Apr 2020 00:33

It's my pleasure! :) I may have found another possible Dominion with similar architecture. This is a 2nd Muskoka example, in the town of Gravenhurst. The first example was the Huntsville one in the last post.

https://www.google.ca/maps/@44.9201405, ... 312!8i6656

Some early 1980s Dominion ads in the Huntsville Forester list Gravenhurst as being home to the chain. The only thing making this location 100% verifiable as a Dominion would be finding out if the store is listed in some sort of directory. In any case, here is an ad from the September 14, 1983 Huntsville Forester showing locations in all 3 major Muskoka District towns.

http://communitydigitalarchives.com/hun ... apers.html

If Bracebridge ever had a similar building, it was definitely replaced by 1977, when it moved to Highway 118 in the west end - now a Food Basics (and at one point an A&P).

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