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Keeping the Memory of a Canadian Tradition 1919 - 2009

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Dominion Factsheet
Former type Division
Industry Supermarket
Fate Absorbed into Metro
Founded Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 1919
Defunct December 2008
Headquarters Ontario, Canada
Key people J. William Pentland, Robert Jackson - co-founders
Products Master Choice products; dairy, frozen foods, grocery, general merchandise (non-food), meat/deli, pharmacy, produce, snacks

Dominion Stores was once a national chain of supermarkets in Canada, which was still known as the Dominion of Canada at the time of the company's founding. The chain was founded in 1919 in Ontario and was later acquired by Conrad Black's Argus Corporation. It was later sold to The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company (A&P), which ultimately restricted the chain to the Greater Toronto Area, with stores outside Ontario sold to third parties. A&P's Canadian division was later acquired by Metro Inc., which re-branded the remaining Dominion stores to its namesake banner in 2008.
Dominion store started from one Toronto store on May 23, 1919. The store was founded by Robert Jackson and William J. Pentland of Connecticut.Pentland was manager of A&P stores in Connecticut and was hired by Jackson. By the end of 1919 they had a 20 store chain with 18 acquired from rival Loblaws and 61 stores a year later. In 1929 it tried to acquire a stake in Loblaws, but the stock market crashed ended the growth.

During the Depression, Dominion lost both founders. Jackson went bankrupt and Pentland was killed in an auto accident in 1933.
Dominon's leadership was not resolved until 1939, when J. William Horsey became President. He in turn sold Dominion to Argus Corporation. Smaller stores were consolidated from 574 to 195 by 1954. In the 1950s, Dominion began to build large stores with airy ceilings and large glass fronts.The chain also expanded beyond Toronto to other parts of Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, and Newfoundland.

Competition in the 1970s forced the chain to discount and would lead to the collapse in the 1980s.
Dominion Stores had been acquired by A&P's Canadian division, A&P Canada, from Argus in 1985. A&P subsequently rebranded all its stores in the Greater Toronto Area as Dominion stores (absorbing Miracle Food Mart), while Dominion locations elsewhere in Southern Ontario took the A&P name.

The territory of Dominion stores as compared to that of other stores owned by A&P, and later Metro, was approximately the following: the City of Toronto; York Region, excluding Stouffville; the Cities of Mississauga and Oakville; and the Cities of Pickering and Ajax.

In northwestern Ontario, Safeway acquired at least two stores in Thunder Bay. (Incidentally, it is
Safeway's presence in Thunder Bay which prevents Metro from offering Air Miles at its Thunder Bay locations.)

In Western Canada, Dominion stores were simply closed, leaving many suburban shopping malls scrambling to fill large, now-vacant sections. This event, coupled with the subsequent collapse of several department store chains, sparked a wave of mall renovations in many parts of the country.

Alberta stores went to Safeway in the late 1960s.

The remainder of the chain in eastern Canada was ultimately acquired by Loblaw Companies, albeit through several unrelated transactions:
  • Newfoundland: Dominion stores in Newfoundland were sold to local owners, who then resold them to Loblaw in 1995. The Newfoundland locations are the only ones to continue under the Dominion banner to this day; see Dominion Stores (Newfoundland).
  • New Brunswick: Shortly after the A&P acquisition, these stores were sold to Food Group Inc., which operated them under the Village banner until they themselves were sold to Loblaw and merged into its Atlantic Superstore unit in 1995.
  • Nova Scotia: These locations were sold to Oshawa Group and became IGA stores. However, after Sobeys purchased Oshawa in 1999, Loblaw took over IGA's Atlantic Canada locations due to competitive concerns.
  • Quebec: Dominion stores in Quebec had been sold to Provigo in 1983; Provigo was itself acquired by Loblaw in 1998.
Exterior of a typical Dominion store (at Don Mills Centre in Don Mills, Toronto, Ontario), prior to rebranding as Metro in late 2008

Metro, which previously operated solely in Quebec and the Ottawa area, acquired A&P Canada from the U.S.-based parent company effective August 15, 2005. A&P initially retained a minority ownership share of the combined company.

On August 7, 2008, Metro announced it would invest $200 million consolidating the company's conventional food stores under the Metro banner. Over a period of 15 months, all stores were to be converted to the Metro name, beginning with the Dominion stores in the Toronto area
Dominion's distribution centres were located in Toronto and Mississauga retained the old Dominion banner until 2009.
  • "Mainly because of the meat"
  • "We're Fresh Obsessed"
  • "There's a definite difference at Dominion"
  • "We do that little bit more"
List of stores in Ontario:
Greater Toronto Area:
  • 174 Wallace Avenue - first store
  • 779 Queen Street East - second store
  • City Hall Market on Queen Street West - discontinued 1960s
  • 614 Rogers Road near Keele Street - site now a mall and Value Village store
  • York Mills Road and Bayview Avenue -> opened 1952 as Dominion Market
  • 1277 York Mills Road -> converted to Food Basics
  • Finch Avenue East and Leslie Street - Sunny Supermarket
  • College Square at Yonge Street and College Street -> converted as Metro
  • Thornhill Square (Bayview Avenue & John Street) -> converted to Food Basics
  • Don Mills Shopping Centre at Lawrence Avenue East and Don Mills Road -> converted as Metro
  • Kennedy Commons at Kennedy Road and Highway 401 -> converted as Metro
  • Markington Square at Markham Road and Eglinton Avenue East
  • Lawrence Avenue West & Keele Street -> converted as Metro
  • Lawrence Avenue West & Bathurst Street -> converted as Metro
  • Wilson Avenue & Keele Street -> converted as Metro
  • Yonge Street & Church Street -> converted as Metro
  • The Villages of Abbey Lane (Rylander Boulevard) -> now a Shoppers Drug Mart
  • Sheppard Avenue West & Bathurst Street -> converted as Metro
  • Yonge Street & Sheppard Avenue East -> converted to Metro, now demolished
  • Woodside Square, McCowan Road and Finch Aveue East, converted to a Dominion Save-A-Centre (before Dominion's demise), now a Food Basics in another part of the mall (formerly Zellers/Pascal Furniture)
  • Kipling Avenue at The Westway -> now Food Basics
  • Islington Avenue and Rexdale Boulevard (Rexdale Plaza) -> demolished
  • 89 Gould Street, Toronto
  • Ajax, Ajax Market Place -> converted to Metro, now Food Basics
  • Aurora, Aurora Village
  • Burlington, Appleby Mall -> became a Mr. Grocer, then Fortino's
  • Burlington, Burlington Mall (777 Guelph Line)
  • Mississauga, Applewood Village Plaza
  • Mississauga, Clarkson Crossing
  • Mississauga, Derry Road & 10th Line
  • Mississauga, Iona Square
  • Mississauga, Lakeshore Plaza
  • Mississauga, Meadowvale Town Centre
  • Mississauga, Roseborough Centre
  • Mississauga, Sheridan Place
  • Mississauga, Westdale Mall -> converted to Metro, now closed
  • Newmarket, Yonge Street & Mulock Road
  • Newmarket, Dominion Plus Centre
  • Newmarket, 404 Town Centre
  • Oakville, Hopedale Mall
  • Oakville, Oakville Town Centre I
  • Oakville, Rio Can Centre (Dundas Street/Neyagawa)
  • Oakville, Trafalgar Mall -> became A&P, converted to Food Basics, now closed
  • Oakville, Upper Oakville Shopping Centre
  • Pickering, Amberlea Shopping Centre
Eastern Ontario
  • Belleville, Belleville Plaza -> Closed mid-1980s
  • Brockville, downtown, King Street West at Chase -> Now a Shoppers Drug Mart
  • Cobourg, County Fair Shopping Centre -> Converted to a Sav-A-Centre and re-located when development converted into Northumberland Mall in late 1980s.
  • Cobourg, Midtown Mall -> today a No Frills.
  • Kingston, Frontenac Mall -> Converted to A&P, now Food Basics
  • Kingston, King Street, downtown -> Converted to A&P, now Food Basics
  • Orleans, Place d'Orleans Shopping Centre
  • Ottawa, Herongate Mall -> Converted to A&P, now Food Basics
  • Ottawa, Pinecrest Mall -> Converted to Dominion's Warehouse Plus format in the early 1980s
  • Ottawa, St. Laurent Shopping Centre -> Also converted to Dominion's Warehouse Plus format in the early 1980s
  • Peterborough, Brookdale Plaza (Chemong Road) -> closed 1990s
  • Trenton, Dundas Street East, at Byron Street -> Converted to Mr. Grocer, now a Liquidation World
Northern Ontario
  • Sault Ste. Marie, Churchill Plaza -> converted to A&P, now Metro
  • Sault Ste. Marie, Zellers Plaza -> converted to A&P, now Metro
  • Sault Ste. Marie, Station Mall -> converted to A&P, now closed.
Southern Ontario
  • London, Westmount Mall -> converted to A&P, now Metro
  • Sarnia, Northgate Shopping Centre -> converted to A&P, now Metro
  • Windsor, Dougall Ave -> converted to A&P, then Canada's only Farmer Jack location then closed and tried A&P again. Closed again and later became an 'Aren't We Naughty'. A Food Basics opened at the other end of the plaza.
  • Windsor, George Ave/Wyandotte St. E -> closed, later became Hollywood Bingo, now sits empty.
  • Windsor, Huron Church/Tecumseh Road -> converted to A&P then closed down. Later became a Rogers Video & Bulk Barn, now a PetValu & Bulk Barn.
  • Windsor, Tecumseh Mall -> converted to A&P and closed in the mid 1990s. Later became a CIBC bank (now Bluenotes) and a Shoppers Drug Mart.
  • Windsor, Wyandotte Street East, at Laporte -> closed, later became Elias Markets, then Price Chopper, now FreshCo.
  • Windsor, Wyandotte Street West, at Crawford -> closed, later became Elias Markets. Elias opened new store behind this location, which has since closed and is now a Price Chopper. Currently a bingo hall occupies old Dominion space.
  • 174 Wallace Avenue 1919-1924 - residential development
  • Soho and Phoebe Street 1924-1945 - old Weston Bakeryl; now residential neighbourhood Soho Square
  • Rogers Road and Keele 1945-1970s - old York Arsenal; now Value Village store
  • The West Mall 1970s-2008; now Metro Distribution Centre