THE CHARACTER OF OUR COMMERCIAL STREETS IS CHANGING AS CHAIN STORES MOVE IN

<Hard Rock Cafe, 1970’s, Yonge-Dundas Square>

The Hard Rock Cafe is about to become a Shoppers Drug Mart. That seems to have put at least one city councillor on alert. MIKE LAYTON doesn’t want the chains to take over, and we’re rapidly headed in that direction. Pure and simple, with sky-high rents Mom and Pop can’t afford storefront property any longer.

Mike Layton wants “to create an environment that’s more of an incubator for small-scale stores.” The downtown councillor is impressed by a SAN FRANCISCO policy called Formula Retail Use, in which chain stores face additional regulations – a more rigorous approval process, controls on matching the neighbourhood’s character and prohibitions in some areas. TORONTO’s Yonge Street can certainly use some of that right now.

<Yonge, south of Gerrard, will soon be redeveloped>

Mike Layton: “You can’t just have the same formula for every development. This isn’t saying no to chain stores, but there needs to be some local consideration.”

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