Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Canada
Friday 04 Jan 2013


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Our brief was to create the "world's best food store" in a downtown location that was once the iconic home of the Toronto Maple Leafs. 

Maple Leaf Gardens (MLG) is an urban location surrounded by multiple inner city units but with very few public places where the community can engage with each other. Whilst the intention was to create a model store that could be replicated elsewhere, the building itself was redolent with a history that informed our work in equal parts through its scale, massive brutality and social history. As such we decided that it was important to not just create a supermarket but rather a "Super" "Market", a place where people could meet. A social place not unlike a "Market Town" of old which was a community's hub.

Once a place of entertainment hosting major sporting, political and cultural events, now half of the ground floor consists of 4000 SQM's of fresh food and visible production facilities including a: Full scratch baker, 14 chef open kitchen, Pizzeria, Grill, Salad & Sushi bars, Patisserie and confectionery, Café, canteen & cooking school, Cheese specialist with the world's tallest wall of cheese, Butcher and fishmonger.

In response to the urban planners' brief, we were requested to celebrate the building's history. We chose to do this through an integrated design approach, not in cordoned off small spaces as they suggested. We achieved this by making these specifications a dynamic part of the overall design, exposing the "ghosts" of walls past, commissioning a 12m x 12m Maple Leaf sculpture of old stadium chairs, reusing stadium lighting, murals and much more.

The resulting visual environment is very distinctive, differing from the bland generic of most North American supermarkets. However above all else, MLG is still designed to make the food and the people making the food the heroes.

Projection Completion date: November 2011
Size:7900 sq m