By K. Taylor, Aurora ON. It’s nice to hear good news. Good news on a Friday night with a glass of wine in hand is even better. Good news on a fine Friday night with a glass of wine and the sun warming your week-worn face would be best, but we shouldn’t get greedy now.
I read this evening that Canadian Tire is coming to the east side of town, filling the void left when Target hustled out of town. You remember Target? The Americans that fled the country faster than the Yankees back in 1812? Yeah, them. Although to be fair back in Laura Secord’s day it took over three years. Target was sent scurrying home in less than two. I guess we canucks are tough customers.
Two years really is such a brief amount of time. One can still remember so clearly the brand’s arrival in 2013, greeted with only slightly less fanfare than the birth of Prince George that same summer. “Target is coming!” was the oft-repeated, breathless refrain. “They’re coming!” Days were counted. Dewy-eyed faces were fanned. Pearls were clutched.
Never previously having passed through a door graced with that red spot inside a circle I was somewhat immune to their coming. “Is it really that exciting?” I’d naively asked.
I was assured it was.
There has been much debate as to why Target failed so dismally here. Actually, scratch that; there’s been a fair bit of consensus. The dirt cheap prices never did materialize, and as for the shelves, well there was a whiff of Old Mother Hubbard in the air.
But I actually suspect Target never had a chance, that no one could live up to the hype. They were forbidden, out of country fruit; good for a little frizzle of excitement; the chill of a thrill down the spine when you indulged in a little retail therapy. They were the holiday romance.
And then they became the holiday romance that tried to move in with you. That scuba instructor who was so very charming and exotic on the beach is suddenly lacking rather largely in the lustre department when he‘s sprawled on your couch, picking his toenails and stuffing his face with cheesies. Sure he‘s still a nice guy, but where are the moonlit waves? Those exquisite cocktails?
The same goes for Target. It was no longer your cheeky destination for a sneaky pair of slinky sandals. Now you’re in the market for toilet bowl cleaner.
Step in Canadian Tire. Canadian Tire never pretended to be exciting or sultry. It was always the rather practical neighbour who‘s name you can‘t quite remember. Sexy? No. But if your pipes burst, guess who’s there to help?
I personally think Canadian Tire is the perfect fit for the empty store. For a start, it has Canadian right in the name. And they happen to sell that toilet bowl cleaner if you’re so inclined. Plus: Canadian Tire money! When you get a chance try googling items bought with Canadian Tire money. How’s that for exciting? The most I ever bought using our second currency were some plants for the garden, but perhaps I will start saving again. Is there anything more Canadian? Perhaps a double-double, but that‘s all.
It will be handy to have Canadian Tire in the neighbourhood, but mostly I’m just happy to have the space filled. I suppose there was not much danger of the building sitting idle; Aurora has too much money on hand. But empty storefronts are sad sights; dusty windows hung with shifting, limp papers. The buildings themselves seem to sigh and slump, as if to say “but we tried so hard …” You can feel the defeat in the empty sign, the old letters gone but their dingy outlines stubbornly, tauntingly not going anywhere.
So I’m glad the lease has been taken over. And I’m glad it was Canadian Tire that took it. And perhaps you’ll see me in there one day picking up toilet bowl cleaner. I’d better go now and count my money; one colourful five cent bill at a time.