We finally know the fate of HMV’s former flagship store in Toronto. It’s going to pot. Literally.

When HMV came to Canada back in the 80s, it immediately set out to build a flagship store along the Yonge Street strip. I can’t even begin to guess who much money I dumped into 333 Yonge. In fact, I was one of those customers who suggested that the store provide shopping baskets and grocery store-style carts so I could lug around all much purchases.

[How Times Have Changed Sidebar #1: While we’re on the subject, remember (a) HMV’s “buy ten, get one free” CD purchaser loyalty card? and (b) the store’s no hassle return policy. Yes, those really were things back in the day.]

When HMV went out of business two years ago (April 2017), there was much speculation about what might happen to that prime real estate. Doug Putnam, the head of Sunrise Records and the purchaser of over 70 HMV locations, considered acquiring the flagship store location but ultimately decided that the numbers didn’t work. So the store has sat there, empty and forlorn, awaiting its fate.

Now, however, we know what’s going in there: a pot dispensary, hence the lazy punny headline on this story.

According to BlogTo, Tokyo Smoke, one of just five outlets licensed to sell weed in Toronto, is scrambling to move into the building before the government-imposed April 1 deadline. Remember that all licensees must be open for business by that date or face fines.

[How Times Have Changed Sidebar #2: Yes, the government will now punish people for NOT selling weed.]

This will be one big pot store. HMV had retail space in the basement, the main floor, and two upper floors. The main floor was (I seem to recall) 4,000 square feet alone. In other words, this has the potential to be Canada’s first weed superstore.

Tokyo Smoke already runs four physical locations in Manitoba.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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