Target Canada won’t open its first store north of the border until the spring of next year, but the company has been making itself felt in the country’s retail markets for months now.

In its latest promotional campaign, the Minneapolis-based retailer is taking over a ritzy Toronto boutique hotel -- the Templar Hotel -- and rebranding it, temporarily, as the Hotel Target. The retailer plans to open a Filmmakers’ Lounge, where industry insiders and members of the media can hobnob, reports PR In Canada.

The company will also join the CBC in co-hosting a late-night party on Saturday night, hosted by Jian Ghomeshi from Q, dubbed Q After Dark. The party will be for actors, musicians and “tastemakers,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

It’s all part of making the brand a part of Canadian shoppers’ psyche, Target Canada spokesperson Lisa Gibson told Strategy Online.

Obviously TIFF is one of the largest events in the city, and right now our activations are all about bringing the brand to life,” she said. “It is really about educating people about what Target is all about. We are all about doing a variety of things that are going to surprise people, and do something a bit unique.”

Target Canada this week is partnering with Quebec style icon Mitsou Gelinas to bring multimedia content to Montreal Fashion Week, in a campaign designed to give Quebecers an idea of what to expect from Target stores. The fashion industry event runs this week.

Earlier this year, the retailer opened a one-day pop-up store in downtown Toronto featuring clothes from designer Jason Wu. The store’s product line sold out in a matter of hours.

But the company has also been fielding negative publicity surrounding its expansion into Canada, particularly its decision not to keep on the 10,000 employees at the Zellers locations across Canada that are being turned into Target stores.

Most recently, Target’s Canadian headquarters in Mississauga, Ont., was the site of a union-organized protest meant to challenge the company’s decision to hire all new staff for its new locations.

Target Canada maintains it’s not laying anyone off because Zellers employees aren’t Target employees.

There will be no transfer of any Zellers assets, systems, technology, goodwill or employees to Target,” Gibson told HuffPost Canada last month.

The company says Zellers employees are welcome to apply for jobs at Target.

Related on HuffPost:

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  • Protest At Target Canada Headquarters

    Ontario Federation of Labour President Sid Ryan speaks at the Target Canada protest in Mississauga, Ont.

  • Protest At Target Canada Headquarters

    Kevin Shimmin, an organizer for United Food and Commercial Workers local 175, speaks to the crowd at the Target Canada protest.

  • Protest At Target Canada Headquarters

    UFCW local 175 organizers Greg Penner and Joe Pereira don their protest shirts.

  • Protest At Target Canada Headquarters

    Zellers employee Angela Rankine wants to know if she'll still have a job when Zellers locations become Target stores.

  • Protest At Target Canada Headquarters

    Protesters walk towards Target Canada headquarters in Mississauga, Ont., to deliver a petition asking the company to retain Zellers employees.

  • Protest At Target Canada Headquarters

    Protesters at the Target Canada demonstration, Mississauga, Ont.

  • Protest At Target Canada Headquarters

    Protesters at the Target Canada demonstration, Mississauga, Ont.

  • Protest At Target Canada Headquarters

    Protesters at the Target Canada demonstration, Mississauga, Ont.

  • Protest At Target Canada Headquarters

    Protesters at the Target Canada demonstration, Mississauga, Ont.

  • Protest At Target Canada Headquarters

    A copy of the petition protest organizers handed to Target Canada.


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  • Bloomingdale's

    The iconic American upscale retailer is in talks with Hudson's Bay Company to become a "store within a store" at HBC locations in Canada. The move is seen as an attempt by The Bay to fight off the possible arrival of Nordstrom's (see next slide).

  • Nordstrom

    One of the most prominent competitors to Bloomingdale's, Nordstrom announced in September, 2012, that it plans to open locations in Cadillac Fairview-owned malls in Calgary, Ottawa and Vancouver. The stores will open in former Sears locations.

  • Marshalls

    Discount retailer Marshalls entered the Canadian market in March, 2011, and recently announced an expansion of six new stores in Ontario. At least a dozen of its 750 stores are now located in Canada.

  • Lowe's

    The home improvement retailer began moving into the Canadian market in 2007, with a store in Hamilton, Ontario. It has since expanded to 31 locations in Ontario and Alberta.

  • J. Crew

    Ritzy fashion chain J. Crew opened its first Canadian location in the summer of 2011, and immediately ran into public anger about the U.S.-Canada price gap. Shoppers complained that J. Crew's Canadian prices were about 15 per cent higher than in the U.S.

  • Target

    The arrival of Target to Canada in 2013 is easily the most hotly-anticipated retail arrival since Walmart came north of the border in 1994. The discount retailer is planning more than 100 stores across the country, having taken over a significant number of Zellers locations. But the store is currently engaged in a labour dispute, as it tries to keep former Zellers employees from unionizing in the new stores.