News & Research

Cannabis Retail Stores Are Finally Opening in Ontario on April 1st (No Foolin’!) (Updated: July 19 2019)

cannabis • March 30, 2019

Where to find (most of) the 25 retail locations opening across the province and what to expect when you get there

On April 1st, 2019, Ontario will finally see the first legal cannabis retail stores opening for sales to the general public.

One thing is pretty certain: with just 25 stores initially planned for a province with a population of 14.32 million people, there are going to be some serious line-ups.

Up until now, the Ontario Cannabis Store website has been the only channel for residents of this province to purchase non-medical dried flower, oils and capsules (edibles and concentrates won’t be available until after October 17, 2019).

All the product sold online through the OCS, as well as all the cannabis to be sold through Ontario’s new, privately-owned brick-and-mortar stores starting on April 1st, has been grown by Cannabis Act License Holders.

Unfortunately, cannabis grown at GreenSeal Cannabis Co.’s production site in Stratford, Ontario will not immediately be available for Ontario consumers to purchase when stores open on April 1st.

All the cannabis we’ve produced to-date has been snapped-up to be sold in other provinces by our distribution partners.

The good news is, GreenSeal has recently launched our much-anticipated Flower Room 2, which means we have more than tripled our production capacity.

In fact, due to our multi-tiered growing format and LED lighting optimization, GreenSeal is probably capable of growing more cannabis per-square-foot than any other producer in the world.

The more cannabis we produce, the more chance there is for our product to find its way to retail store shelves in Ontario sometime in the future (keep a close eye on our website and social media for any announcements!).

For those looking to locate the retail cannabis stores included in Ontario’s year-1 roll-out, we’ve provided a complete list below.

Although the province’s plan was for 25 stores to open on April 1st, some will not have completed the required public notice period by that date.

At least a couple of prospective stores had not even applied for retail store authorization at the time of this publication.

If you’re not sure whether a cannabis storefront is legally licensed or not, look for this logo at the door (and the inevitable long line-up!).

We’ve organized our list based on the 5 regions the AGCO (Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario) used for the cannabis retail license lottery.

This includes the East Region (where 5 licenses were awarded); West region (which had a quota of 7 stores); the Toronto Region (where Canada’s largest city will be served by 5 stores); the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) Region (with 6 stores); and last but not least the North Region (where 2 stores have been licensed).

We’ve indicated which stores should be open and which ones will not quite be ready on April 1st, and we will provide updates to this post whenever any pending stores come online. [Scroll to the bottom for updates from the AGCO on the status of store openings].

Here’s a handy interactive Google Map indicating where most of the legal cannabis stores in Ontario will be located:

East Region (5 stores)

All five of the stores approved by the AGCO in the East Region are in two cities: Ottawa and Kingston.

For those who live in or near Belleville, Peterborough, Barrie, Cornwall, Cobourg, or Brockville: sorry, but it looks like you’re going to have to wait until next year for an authorized retailer in your community.

Superette
1306 Wellington St. W.
Ottawa, ON

Located on the corner of Wellington St. W. and Warren Ave., Superette chose its location in an upscale, highly-walkable neighbourhood in the nation’s capital. Be prepared for parking issues and traffic on April 1st and the period immediately after it opens. Vegan customers will be delighted to know there is not just one, but two, vegan bakeries nearby to load up on snacks.

SpiritLeaf
27 Princess St., Suite 101
Kingston, ON

SpiritLeaf already runs several cannabis retail stores in Calgary, Edmonton and Medicine Hat in its home province of Alberta, as well as one in Regina, Saskatchewan. SpiritLeaf partnered with one of the lucky winners of the retail license lottery to set up the Kingston store on Princess St. in the city’s historic downtown. SpiritLeaf has announced plans to create an “experiential hub” within the Kingston store in partnership with Up Cannabis (the brand associated with Kingston’s famed hometown band, The Tragically Hip). Similar inner-hubs are planned for all the stores in the SpiritLeaf chain.

Fire & Flower York St. Cannabis
129 York St.
Ottawa, ON

Fire & Flower is another retail store chain originating in Alberta (it also has two stores in Saskatchewan). York St. is located in the popular Byward Market area of Ottawa, but Fire & Flower ditched its plans to use “Byward Market” in the store’s name after receiving stigma-driven resistance from municipal groups concerned about tarnishing the historic area’s family-friendly image.

Fire & Flower Brock St. Cannabis
75 Brock St.
Kingston, ON

We should get used to seeing Fire & Flower stores in Ontario (since the company plans to eventually max-out on the government’s limit of 75 locations). In addition to the Ottawa store, the company is also establishing its “education-based retailing” model in downtown Kingston (only a few blocks away from the city’s SpiritLeaf location).

Hobo Recreational Cannabis Store
391 Bank St.
Ottawa, ON

Bank St. is located in Ottawa’s Centretown district near Gladstone Avenue. The third cannabis store in Ottawa is backed by a large Westcoast hospitality company called the Donnelly Group, which operates dozens of restaurants, pubs, bars, cafés and trendy barbershops in B.C. The Donnelly Group plans to open another 8 Hobo stores in B.C.

West Region (7 stores)

Western Ontario is a hotbed for cannabis cultivation (after all, it’s where GreenSeal Cannabis Co. resides!).

But our hometown of Stratford, as well as other nearby communities like Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambridge, will have to wait for cannabis retail to come to our communities.

For now, western Ontario residents will have to go to London, Hamilton, or the Niagara region to access legal cannabis through a licensed storefront.

Central Cannabis
666 Wonderland Rd. N., Unit 6B
London, ON

Central Cannabis is located in a West-end plaza at the corner of Oxford St. and Wonderland Rd. (considering the street address, wouldn’t “Cannabis Wonderland” have been a great name choice?!?). The realtor boasted the location sees up to 30,000 vehicles passing by per day, so this could be a very busy location. The owners have partnered with a company called Ontario Cannabis Holdings to bring the project to life in time for the April 1 target.

The Niagara Herbalist
33 Lakeshore Rd., Unit 15
St. Catharine’s, ON

The Niagara Herbalist was the first company to apply for a Cannabis Retail License in the west region and was among the first three in Ontario to get approval. Located in a strip mall in the Niagara-area city of St. Catharine’s, the store’s neighbours include places to buy chicken wings, get a haircut, or obtain hearing aids.

Tweed
1025 Wellington Rd., Unit A-2
London, ON

Tweed is the cannabis brand owned by Canopy Growth (the world’s largest cannabis company). Canopy has joined forces with a giant in the retail industry – Quebec’s variety store juggernaut Couche-Tard – in a three-way partnership with the unnamed lottery winner. The store is located in a south London plaza on Wellington Rd. Canopy also runs retail cannabis stores under the Tweed banner in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Newfoundland/Labrador.

Choom Cannabis
7555 Montrose Rd., Unit E3
Niagara Falls, ON

“Choom” is the Hawaiian nickname for cannabis (and the name of the Vancouver-based company partnering with one of the West region’s license lottery winners). Niagara Square is the former location of a now-closed shopping mall (so there should be no shortage of parking!). The new cannabis store will no doubt breathe some fresh life into this once-bustling area off the main strip of Niagara Falls. The location should be particularly popular with tourists and Americans travelling across the nearby border.

J. London
691 Richmond St., Suite 5
London, ON

J. London is located right next to what was once an illegal dispensary (it has since been shut down after being raided multiple times over the past year). The 100% legal retail store will be operated by an individual named Ranjit Basra in a former tanning salon.

Canna Cabana Hamilton
1317 Barton St. E., Unit H09
Hamilton, ON

Canna Cabana is another cannabis retail store chain originating in Calgary. The company has partnered with owner Steven Fry (a graduate of nearby McMaster University business school who worked in procurement for Hamilton Health Sciences) to renovate a 2,500 square-foot space in an east Hamilton shopping plaza.

Hello Cannabis Store
57 Cootes Dr.
Hamilton, ON

Located in a small commercial plaza in the west-Hamilton community of Dundas, the Hello Cannabis Store is situated next to a Beer Store. For medical cannabis clients, there is also a Hello Cannabis medical dispensary located in a neighbouring plaza. Considering 80 illegal dispensaries were once operating in Hamilton, the city’s two legal retail stores (located at opposite ends of town) should prove extremely popular.

Toronto Region (5 stores)

Canada’s biggest city will be served by only 5 legal cannabis retail stores in year-one. Three are located on or immediately adjacent to Yonge Street in the heart of downtown, while the other two are both located along the trendy Queen St. West shopping strip. Glaringly absent are any locations in Kensington Market, which means residents and visitors to this area (well-known as “cannabis-friendly” during decades of prohibition) will have to wait until the next round of licenses.

Ameri
20 Cumberland St.
Toronto, ON

Located just off Yonge Street within the eastern border of the fancy, high-end Yorkville district, Ameri is taking over a space formerly occupied by an unaffiliated grey-market “medical” dispensary. The three-storey brick building sits directly across from the Cumberland Terrace shopping centre right next to the popular Toronto watering hole The Pilot.

The Hunny Pot Cannabis Co.
202 Queen St. W.
Toronto, ON

Named after lottery winner Hunny Gawri, the Hunny Pot is a 3,000-square-foot retail space located right across the road from Toronto’s cannabis culture mecca The Friendly Stranger. This is super-convenient for people who want to load up on accessories like papers, grinders, and bongs after purchasing cannabis from the Hunny Pot.

Nova Cannabis
499 Queen St. W.
Toronto, ON

Nova Cannabis is yet another chain of stores originating in Alberta, where it currently operates 5 locations (4 in and around Edmonton, and one in Calgary). Nova is owned by Alcanna Inc., and 25% of Alcanna Inc. is owned by the Licensed Producer Aurora Cannabis.  Queen West regulars will recognize the 2-floor, 3,800 square-foot Nova Cannabis location between Spadina and Augusta as the previous home of American Apparel.

Tokyo Smoke
333 Yonge St.
Toronto, ON

Tokyo Smoke will be located just north of the city’s busy central Yonge/Dundas Square hub, in the former HMV flagship building. The site is a super-prominent, massive multi-floor location right on the Yonge Street strip. Like Tweed, Tokyo Smoke is a chain owned by Canopy Growth, with an existing cannabis retail location in Manitoba and a few coffee-shops-waiting-to-be-turned-into-cannabis-shops in Toronto.  The mandatory Public Notice period for Tokyo Smoke won’t be over until April 2, so it’s unclear when it will actually be opening its doors to the public.

Canna Cabana Toronto
435(B) Yonge St.
Toronto, ON

The aforementioned Canna Cabana chain is also setting up a shop in Toronto in a former California Sandwiches site on Yonge St. just south of College St. The location is conveniently located on the Yonge St. subway line. The required Public Notice period for Canna Cabana Toronto doesn’t end until April 9, so we won’t be seeing this location opening its doors until at least a couple of weeks after April 1st.

GTA (Greater Toronto Area) Region (6 stores)

It was really surprising when several of the municipalities surrounding Toronto (including Markham, Pickering, Mississauga, and Richmond Hill) opted-out of allowing cannabis retail in their communities. It’s even more surprising that so far only 4 of the possible 6 GTA locations are currently proceeding through the authorization steps required by the AGCO, especially since there are stiff penalties for lottery winners who don’t open their doors by April 1st.

RELM Cannabis Co.
103-4031 Fairview St.
Burlington, ON

RELM Cannabis is opening in a storefront that’s been vacant for years on Fairview Street near Walkers Line. The commercial plaza in which it’s located also includes a driving school, yoga studio, flooring store, and paint shop. (Sorry, that’s all we got!)

Updated July 19, 2019: Tokyo Smoke (formerly the Fabulous Leaf)
575 Laval Dr., Suite 400
Oshawa, ON

Located in a busy south Oshawa plaza near the Stevenson Road 401 exit, the neighbours of this Tokyo Smoke location include Starbucks, Dairy Queen, and Walmart. Tripsetter Inc. is listed as the store’s owner, which is an operator of specialist day tours (we’re predicting cannabis tours for the future). As of July 19, 2019, the plan is to open this location on July 22.

Smok
20 Kingston Rd. W., Unit B003A
Ajax, ON

Smok is located in the Harwood Centre, a shopping plaza in Ajax’s Applecroft neighbourhood that also includes a Best Buy and an Old Navy. The owner is an individual named Alexander Altman who has not announced any industry partnerships.

Ganjika House
186 Main St. S.
Brampton, ON

Ganjika House is located just around the corner from the Brampton Mall. The lottery winner (who previously owned and operated a coconut water bottling company) has partnered with Origin House, a cannabis brand and products company.

Pioneer Cannabis Co.
1200 Brant St., Unit B-004
Burlington, ON

Pioneer Cannabis Co. is the result of a collaboration between the Licensed Producer WeedMD and the popular take-out franchise Pita Pit. This location will be among of the last of the initial 25 lottery winners to open its doors. As of the latest update (July 19, 2019) it had yet to open its doors.

360 Cannabis
2933 Queen St. E., Unit E5
Brampton, ON

Brampton’s second cannabis retail store, 360 Cannabis is the final retail store among the 25 lottery winners to apply for authorization. It had not opened as of this post’s latest update (July 19, 2019)

North Region (2 stores)

Although Northern Ontario is a huge geographic region, the only city where its residents and visitors will be able to access a legal cannabis store will be Sudbury. Uncannily enough, there will be two stores in Sudbury, so if one is busy you can go check out the other one!

Canna Cabana Sudbury
2019 Long Lake Rd.
Sudbury, ON

Located in Sudbury’s Four Corners business district in the South End, the third Canna Cabana store on this list is owned by a company called Saturninus Partners. They’ve also partnered with High Tide, a cannabis accessory and lifestyle company.

Highlife
1299 Marcus Dr.
Sudbury, ON

Highlife has 17 accessory stores throughout Southern Ontario, but the Sudbury location will be the first licensed to also sell cannabis. It’s located in an old shoe store near the Silver City cinemas in the New Sudbury neighbourhood.

The dawn of the Ontario cannabis store era

On Monday, April 1st, adults in Ontario will be able to go to a store and purchase dried cannabis flower, cannabis oils, and cannabis capsules for the very first time in history.

But they had better be prepared to stand in line for it!

Once all 25 stores are up and running, the only question is: who will be the first person to visit them all?

If you have any tips for those planning to visit one of the new cannabis store locations, please let us know in the comments below!

Updates from the AGCO:

JULY 19, 2019: The AGCO has published an interactive map that shows the location and the status of cannabis retail stores in Ontario. This map will be updated regularly as the AGCO authorizes and approves additional stores to open. The following stores have been approved to open as of June 26, 2019:

Although the AGCO has authorized these stores to open as of July 19, the operators will determine their own opening day and operating hours as permitted in the Regulation.

The Niagara Herbalist (St. Catharines)

Ganjika House (Brampton)

The Hunny Pot Cannabis Co. (Toronto)

Superette (Ottawa)

Central Cannabis (London)

SpiritLeaf (Kingston)

RELM Cannabis Co. (Burlington)

Fire & Flower York Street Cannabis (Ottawa)

Brock Street Cannabis (Kingston)

Hobo Recreational Cannabis Store (Ottawa)

Nova Cannabis (Toronto)

Ameri (Toronto)

J London (London)

Canna Cabana (Sudbury)

Canna Cabana (Hamilton)

Canna Cabana (Toronto)

Smok (Ajax)

Highlife (Sudbury)

Tweed (London)

Choom Cannabis (Niagara Falls)

Hello Cannabis (Hamilton)

Tokyo Smoke (Toronto)

 

Openings Still Pending:

Pioneer Cannabis Co. (Burlington) – Public Notice Period Ended

Tokyo Smoke (Oshawa, formerly the Fabulous Leaf) – Public Notice Period Ended, plans to open July 22, 2019

360 Cannabis (Brampton) – Public Notice Period Ended

View this infographic to see how the public and store customers will experience Ontario’s regulations related to authorized cannabis retail stores. (Also available in an accessible format).

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