Barrie and Orillia, ON chain grocery/supermarket history, 1927-present

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Andrew T.
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Barrie and Orillia, ON chain grocery/supermarket history, 1927-present

Post by Andrew T. » 24 Sep 2019 21:18

I was briefly in Barrie this week. You probably know what that means: Another city to add to the site! Two cities, in fact:

Barrie, ON chain grocery/supermarket history, 1927-98 (plus 2019).
Orillia, ON chain grocery/supermarket history, 1927-52, 1994-98, plus 2019.


The inconsistency of coverage is due to the inconsistency of source material. Barrie and Orillia were originally covered in separate sections of a single directory. By 1961 this had ceased, and the 1961-90 listings cover Barrie only. But in 1994, Vernon suddenly began listing Orillia addresses in the Barrie directory again...with no indication given in the classified section as to which addresses were in which city!

What is there to say about the chain history of these cities?

* For most of its history, Barrie and Orillia read like an extension of the GTA. Loblaws and Dominion were there early on; Eaton came and went, A&P got a 1930s start, and later names like Food City and Miracle Food Mart emerged, and all the usual voluntary chains (IGA, Red & White, Superior) were in evidence.
* One of the bygone retail names that briefly operated in Barrie was Power, a chain that was highlighted on BlogTO a few years ago. Power in the 1960s seems to have been Loblaws' north-of-the-border equivalent to National's Del Farm discount brand. And like Del Farm, the Power name disappeared in the 1970s when Loblaws rebranded.
* Sobeys was operating in Barrie as early as 1990, which might be a record for Ontario. (In fact, their first store in Barrie is old enough to have warranted conversion to Fresh Co.)
* Loblaws competed in Barrie under their own name through at least 1982. In 1990, what name they used is anyone's guess: I couldn't find anything in that year's directory. By 1994 Barrie had been reassigned to the Zehrs division, with three newly-built stores. And so things remained...until a few years ago, when a Zehrs store at 472 Bayfield Street was renovated and rebranded as Loblaws!
"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: Barrie and Orillia, ON chain grocery/supermarket history, 1927-present

Post by Groceteria » 26 Sep 2019 13:02

I was thinking about doing Barrie this fall; the library was closed last time I was there. Thanks for saving me that drive!

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Re: Barrie and Orillia, ON chain grocery/supermarket history, 1927-present

Post by Andrew T. » 26 Sep 2019 21:40

Glad to be of help!
"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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