Oxford Properties Announces First-to-Canada Food Market Concept in Former Target Space 

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By Craig Patterson

The Upper Canada Mall in Newmarket, just north of Toronto, will become home to a unique food market in September when it unveils ‘Market & Co.’ in a 40,000 square foot space in part of the mall's former Target store. When open, a demonstration kitchen as well as 18 best-in-class local merchants and first-to-market eateries will enhance the overall shopping centre experience. 

“With the growing popularity and prominence of urban food markets worldwide, we saw an opportunity to pioneer this concept within a shopping centre. Market & Co. at Upper Canada is a first of its kind food market that features a highly sought-after collection of first-to-market and local merchants and brands,” said Bradley Jones, Head of Retail, Oxford Properties. “We have designed the market so guests can purchase quality groceries and specialty items to take home, enjoy food experiences at the market and take part in special events at the state-of-the-art, built-in demonstration kitchen.”

Market & Co. will occupy about 40,000 square feet on the ground floor of the mall’s former Target space, with visibility to busy Yonge Street to the east. Sport Chek will relocate its Upper Canada store into a 65,000 square foot space adjacent to the new Market & Co., making it one of Sport Chek’s largest stores in Canada when it opens. 

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A diverse culinary experience will characterize Market & Co., which will include a mix of food vendors and eateries, including full-service restaurants. The idea is that local vendors will be part of the mix and to that end, some of them will be opening their very first retail locations at Market & Co. 

The list of vendors will include: Bake Three Fifty, FloralEscence, Humble Roots Organic, Ma’s Best Quality Soups, Newmarket Olive Oil, Our Farm Organic Bakery, Pier 87 Fish Market & Grill, Ray Woodey’s Craft Chippery, Seed to Sausage Meatery, Sweet Jesus ice cream, and Village Juicery

Several of York Region’s favourite brands will also have a presence at Market & Co., including Vince’s Market and Amadeus Patisserie as well as well-known brands including Starbucks and Sugar King Factory.

Furthermore, Market & Co. will house three full-service restaurants, including Canada’s first MidiCi The Neapolitan Pizza Company (based in Los Angeles), Union Chicken (Chef Michael Angeloni’s celebrated Toronto, spit-fired, rotisserie chicken eatery), and Amano Kitchen (a seasonally inspired Italian restaurant also developed by Chef Michael Angeloni). 

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A highlight at Market & Co. will be ‘Kitchen & Co.’, a built-in demonstration kitchen that will host regular events, pop-ups and workshops that will educate visitors as well as help them get to know their local market merchants.

On July 28, Upper Canada is hosting a career fair to fill approximately 250 full-time and part-time positions. The one-day career fair will take place at Upper Canada in Yonge Court (near Entrance 3) from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm — there’s more information on Market & Co.’s new website: shopmarketandco.com. Oxford Properties has also already set up social media accounts for Market & Co. on InstagramTwitter  and Facebook.

“We are thrilled to introduce Market & Co. to the community, foodies and guests at Upper Canada. Upper Canada has invested $60 million to bring exciting new food experiences and 18 premium food brands and merchants to the centre,” said Bri-Ann Stuart, General Manager, Upper Canada Mall.  “We look forward to celebrating our opening this September with special activities and promotions.”

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Ms. Stuart explained that one of the goals of the new food market is to enhance Upper Canada’s food offerings, which also include a recently renovated traditional food court area. “Food builds community,” she said, and Upper Canada is further looking to engage with the local community — York Region is the fastest-growing region in the Greater Toronto Area, and it’s also remarkably affluent, and is home to a diverse range of households. 

The food market will also lend itself to authenticity with the addition of many local vendors, some of which have never had a permanent retail space. Others, such as Bake Three Fifty, got started operating as a food truck. 

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Upper Canada Mall is one of the most important regional shopping centres in the Greater Toronto Area, housing more than 200 stores in an enclosed centre which spans nearly a million square feet. Many popular national and international brands can be found in the mall, which is anchored by Hudson’s Bay. The centre boasts nearly 5,000 parking spaces and sees more than eight million visitors annually, and is one of the country’s most productive shopping centres in terms of annual sales per square foot, according to Retail Council of Canada

Market & Co. is the third food market announcement that Oxford Properties has made over the past four months. In March, it announced that Les Galeries de la Capitale in Quebec City would be adding an innovative food marketplace that will also feature the second location for RICARDO Boutique + Café. As well last month, Oxford Properties announced that it would be creating a ‘Food District’ at its massive Square One property in Mississauga. Both will open in 2019, which means that the Upper Canada Market & Co. will technically be a first in the company’s Canadian portfolio — and more food markets are said to be in the works. Other landlords such as Ivanhoé Cambridge are also adding food markets to their properties, with a recent announcement that a Time Out Marketplace would be opening as part of an overhauled Montreal Eaton Centre

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Craig Patterson, now based in Toronto, is the founder and Editor-in-Chief Retail Insider. He's also a retail and real estate consultant, retail tour guide and public speaker. 

Follow him on Twitter @RetailInsider_, LinkedIn at Craig Patterson, or email him at: craig@retail-insider.com.

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