One block east of Toronto’s Pape subway station, situated on Greektown’s famous Danforth Avenue, you’ll land at the city’s easternmost cannabis retail store (to-date), Canvas Cannabis.
Canvas opened doors to customers in mid-December 2019, becoming the sixth legal store to open in Toronto proper.
It’s the first cannabis store east of Yonge St., and the first in Ontario owned and operated by a female sole proprietor.
Owner Helene Vassos worked in the nonprofit health sector before entering the cannabis space and chose to keep her venture independent and separate from bigger cannabis brands.
Happy, curious customers are doubly excited about the new store down the block, and as Greektown’s first true neighbourhood cannabis retailer, Helene notes that her customer base is as diverse as its surroundings. Customers range in age from young adults, moms and daughters, to groups of 75-year-old ladies frequenting the store on a regular basis.
While its predecessors populate busy tourist attractions along Yonge or across Queen West, Canvas is a cannabis store firmly situated in a vibrant Toronto community. The bright neighbourhood cannabis store services east-enders and exudes the same warm and welcoming energy as its proprietor.
Past the black and white brick exterior and an ID check by a security guard posted at the door, customers walk into a bright, natural space where pops of green punctuate wooden displays arranged with products.
A display case featuring a large tree provides an eye-catching centrepiece, hosting everything from dry flower smell jars to grinders to stash containers.
Professional, knowledgeable staff are on hand to answer questions and guide customers, but guests are also able to browse the store and digital menu on their own if they’re looking for an independent shopping experience.
Staff are trained under the CannSell certification program, undergo daily orientations on new products, and share knowledge among over 20 employees for an informed and up-to-date customer experience.
Products and pricing
Dry flower, prerolls, and oils are well-represented from all major cannabis brands, but since Canvas opened just in time for the rollout of 2.0 products, consumers will also find an ever-growing range of vaporizers, edibles, and topicals to choose from.
Prices in-store differ from the OCS website by mere cents, and in some cases, Canvas’s prices are actually a bit cheaper than the OCS. If you’re in the neighbourhood, a stop at Canvas could save you in shipping time and fees.
Unlike many cannabis retailers, Canvas has opted out of digital tablets, sticking to a large rolling digital menu on the back wall to show available products.
Ancillary items and accessories are unique here, with colourful vase-bongs, grinders, and geometric, utilitarian glassware from brands like BRNT, Krush, and GRAV.
What you should know
Due to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, vaporizers and cartridges cannot be displayed to customers, however, staff are able to explain which products in this category are available for purchase.
Vassos says the store currently gets busy between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., cools, then gets busy again after work hours and into the night. As the city’s only store in the east end, this shop is sure to get some foot traffic.
Canvas is easily accessible via the TTC’s Pape station or Danforth Avenue at Eaton Avenue. The entrance to the store has no steps, and there is street parking.
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