It’s hard to find anyone who used to frequent P.M. Toronto, the off-track-betting bar that shut down last year. But its closure has had a significant effect on the mall it used to call home.
The hole that P.M. Toronto used to fill until it closed last summer isn’t the only vacant storefront in the Galleria mall. It’s not even the longest-standing one; that honour goes to the one between Zellers and Wow One Dollar, which the latter’s owner tells me has been vacant since its previous tenant, a furniture store, shut down four years ago. But unlike that closure, the loss of P.M. Toronto, an off-track-betting bar, and its customers, has noticeably changed the mall.
For one, security guard Jospeh DaSilva doesn’t have as much to do. DaSilva said P.M. Toronto patrons—though not the regulars, he stipulated—were the reason for most of security’s calls. “We’d get calls to kick people out from there,” he told us. “More often than any other store.”
Though no one I talked to misses the services P.M. Toronto provided (or even knows anyone, for that matter, who does), everyone, from the guy stocking shelves at Pharma Plus to the mall management, admitted the Galleria is much quieter.
The essentials—the LCBO, the grocery store, the drugstore, the pet store—are still busy. There are two salons; one is always full. But the little guys in between—”the dinky dollar stores,” as one LCBO employee described them—are not doing so well.
But the employee, who refused to give her name, says she’s looking forward to the mall’s “revamping,” as a new, not-so-dinky Dollarama moves in to P.M. Toronto’s old spot. Property Manager Christina Jackson couldn’t elaborate on exactly when the mega-dollar-store outlet will open, just that everyone is looking forward to it.
Filling the hole left by P.M. Toronto is a start, but there’s another obstacle on Galleria’s road to revamping: Zellers, one of the anchor stores, is closing at the end of July, with no potential tenants in sight. (And, no, it won’t be a Target.)