TORONTO - Mac's Convenience Stores Inc. is promising to invest $54 million dollars to build 27 new convenience stores in Ontario if it is granted the right to sell alcohol in Ontario.
"(The new stores) will provide some much needed competition to the government monopoly and private sector cartel that currently control alcohol sales in this province," Tom Moher, vice-president of operations of the central Canada division of Mac's, said on Monday.
The chain — owned by Alimentation Couche-Tard (TSX:ATD.B) — made a pitch for selling booze to the Toronto Region Board of Trade on Monday.
Tom Moher said he is becoming more optimistic ever that the Ontario government will allow convenience stores to sell alcohol in the "not-so-distant future."
"The province continues to be open to the dialogue and discussion, so that's very encouraging," Moher told reporters after his speech.
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Canada is a beer nation, so it's a relief that those symbolic 2-4's will still be available for Victoria Day. The Beer Store duly obliges in offering customers over 350 types of beer, and some select locations will have extended hours on Sunday. (Check your local store for details.)
Several branches of the Vineyard Estates have now converted their name under the banner of the Wine Shop., and some locations will be open through Monday, so check the stores near you.
Dial-A-Bottle delivers everything from beer to liquor to cigarettes and pop to people’s doorsteps in various locations across Southern Ontario, but LCBO spokeswoman Heather MacGregor said those service providers also get supplies from places like the LCBO. “What that looks like, what type of product is available, what types of lines they’ll encounter will be the same for them as it will be for everyone else,” she said.
With more than 160 stores mainly in Southern Ontario and other outlets located in North Bay, Sudbury, Thunder Bay and Sault Ste. Marie, the Wine Rack announced that it would remain open leading up to and during the labour strike. Thirty Wine Rack locations will be open on Monday in tourism designated locations across the province.
While the Steam Whistle brewery is located in the heart of the downtown Toronto, customers from Hamilton to Oshawa, and as far north as Aurora and Whitchurch-Stouffville can get home delivery of bottles, cans, and draught kegs made all week long. The Toronto brewery remains open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, while closing at 5 p.m. on Sunday. Free complimentary beers are still available through the weekend and on Monday when the brewery is open from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. with tours offered every half hour.
Mill St. Brewery underwent an expansion of its Toronto Distillery district location earlier this year and added The Beer Hall. Customers can go to its retail store at the same location this weekend, open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday. The Brew Pub remains open until late for those looking to come back for more later on in the night. The Brew Pub also has an Ottawa location, which is also open through Monday.
Situated near the U.S. border, the Taps Brewing Company in Niagara Falls brews on site and offers a variety of natural beers starting at only $4.65 a pint. They are open throughout Victoria Day weekend, from 12 p.m. to midnight on Sunday, and from 12 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Monday.
The Old Credit Brewing Co. Ltd in Mississauga crafts three distinct beers — Amber Ale, Pale Pilsner and Holiday Honey — in small batches and is open on Sunday and Monday from 12 pm. to 5 p.m. On Tuesdays to Saturdays, the brewery at 6 Queen St. West is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Amsterdam Brewery was recently presented with six trophies, including the Gold award, and Beer of the Year for its Spring Bock brew, at the 10th Annual Ontario Brewing Awards. Its retail operations will remain open over the course of the weekend, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday.
The Clocktower Brewhouse consists of a main brewery and four restaurants around Ottawa that are all open over the weekend holiday, from 10:00 a.m. to 2 a.m. on the weekend and 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. throughout the week and on Victoria Day. However, a spokesman says that the hours could extend later.
Another brewery located on the U.S. border — this one with Detroit — the Walkerville Brewery’s retail outlets in Windsor are open from Thursdays to Saturday from 11 a.m to 7 p.m. On Sundays, they will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The brewers are legally allowed to open from 9 a.m. and operate until 11 p.m. because they are located in a tourism-heavy district, but they have yet to decide whether to open on Victoria Day.
The new stores would be built in Toronto, Brampton, Grey Bruce County, London, Ottawa, the District Municipality of Muskoka and other locations within two years of allowed to sell alcohol, Moher said.
He estimated the expansion would create up to 170 full-time jobs and each store would cost about $2 million to build.
However, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said in June that the government is not considering the prospect of booze sales in convenience stores.
Wynne's announcement came after Finance Minister Charles Sousa said he wouldn't rule out allowing convenience stores to sell alcohol.
However, Sousa also said there are no plans to change the structure of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario — one of the largest purchasers and retailers of alcohol in the world — which turned over $1.65 billion to the province last year.
The Crown corporation is expanding its reach by setting up what it calls Express outlets inside 10 grocery stores, as well as adding more retail stores, Sousa said.