The proposed homes of Toronto’s next legal pot shops include the Harbord St. site of an illegal dispensary shut down by bylaw officers and an east-end strip mall location once criticized for being too close to a school.
Thirteen operators were given the right to apply to open a new legal pot shop in Toronto following the province’s second cannabis store lottery, the results of which were announced Wednesday.
Five of the proposed locations are on Queen St. A total of 42 operators across the province can apply to run the next wave of cannabis shops.
The lottery winners have until Aug. 28 to complete an application that will be vetted by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, which regulates the sector.
Each applicant must show they have secured retail space for a store, and that they have the capital to open it.
One of the proposed shops is at 104 Harbord St., the site of an illegal dispensary that operated under the name Cannabis and Fine Edibles (CAFE) until it was closed. Massive concrete blocks were placed at the address last month by the city.
The numbered company proposing a store at that address is listed as 11180673 Canada Inc.
Corporate documents show that Robert Heydon, based in Hamilton, is a director of the company. The Star couldn’t reach him for comment.
On Wednesday, a handful of people wearing black CAFE T-shirts could be seen taking orders under a tent set up in front of the barricaded store.
Another proposed location is a Gerrard St. E. address that was briefly announced last year as the home of the first government-run Ontario Cannabis Store, in a strip mall about 450 metres from Blantyre Public School.
After the Star revealed in April 2018 that the site was near the school, then premier Kathleen Wynne said she “asked our folks to go back” and consult with boards of education so they would have a say over locations.
While then Tory Leader Doug Ford was critical of Wynne over the issue, once in government his Progressive Conservatives allowed private retailers to be just 150 metres from a school.
Alcohol and Gaming Commission spokesperson Brian Gray said the location passed that requirement.
Jimmy Maxwell and his spouse Rosaleen Keogh said it’s “unfortunate” their two toddlers — ages 3 and 4 — will grow up with a pot shop directly across the street from the school. Maxwell’s 4-year-old son, Jimmy Jr., is starting classes at Blantyre Public School in the fall.
But they said they’re not too concerned.
“Them growing up now, it’s kind of going to be the norm,” Keogh said.
On the upside, Maxwell, a cannabis user himself, relishes the convenience of being able to grab his supply of pot literally next door.
Juliet Medina of Hicuts Hair and Care hopes the local schools like nearby Malvern Collegiate Institute were consulted.
“I’m a mom, so it concerns me big time,” she said. “What if they (students) ask someone old enough to purchase pot for them like they would try to do with cigarettes or alcohol?”
“The schools should be consulted, because teenagers are vulnerable,” Medina said.
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In total, 42 new operators were given the right to apply across Ontario, with 13 in the city of Toronto, six going to the rest of the GTA, 11 in the west region, seven going to the east region, and one each in Kenora, North Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay and Timmins.
The 13 winners of the pot shop lottery in Toronto:
- 570 Bloor St. W. — 9247220 Canada Ltd.
- 730 Danforth Ave. Suite 1 — Helene Vassos
- 2464 Dufferin St. — 2464 Dufferin Inc.
- 501 Church St., Unit 4B — 2708654 Ontario Ltd.
- 2480-2490 Gerard St. E. Unit 20A — Jason Krulicki
- 104 Harbord St. — 11180673 Canada Inc.
- 619 King St. W. — 1916384 Alberta Ltd.
- 964 Kingston Rd. — Najia Guthrie
- 213 Queen St. E. — Varant Kichian
- 1303 Queen St. E. — Brian F Parker
- 237 Queen St. W. — Maria Laura Rasile
- 815 Queen St W. — Junaid Khan
- 1180 Queen St. W. — 2197130 Alberta Ltd.