Those who’ve followed True North Bricks for some time probably know that I run things out of Montreal. However, I find myself in the Toronto area frequently. On my last visit in August 2023, the Yorkdale Shopping Center LEGO® Store was closed for renovations. I recently found myself back in the area, and I decided to go and see what the newly renovated store looked like. While many aspects received pleasant aesthetic and functional updates, one area in particular left me quite turned off. I find myself wondering if the Yorkdale refresh is a taste of something coming to all Canadian LEGO® Stores? If so, my stops there are about to become far less frequent…
Let’s start with the good stuff. I found the Yorkdale LEGO® Store felt refreshed. It didn’t have the same been-there-done-that vibe of most other LEGO® Stores I visit. In fact, I found the aesthetic fairly similar to the Rockefeller Center flagship store I visited in New York a year ago. Of course, Yorkdale has none of the bells and whistles of New York… and is nowhere near the same size. But the colours, fixtures, displays, Build-a-Mini, and the TV ad display in the window all gave me New York vibes. Build-a-Mini was a definite improvement. The open top bins make it far easier to find parts you are looking for.
The sad new PAB wall…
What really turned me off was the Pick-and-Build wall. It was tiny. I estimate the new PAB wall is about 1/3 the size of the original. On top of that, several containers were empty. If you’re like me, the PAB wall is the main reason you visit the LEGO® Store. I love checking what new pieces grace the bins. I spend a lot on those cups (soon to be boxes). However, the selection at Yorkdale was small and uninteresting. Apart from some conifers, there was nothing on the wall that I wanted and little room for anything more interesting. PAB got a serious downgrade in the Yorkdale refresh… to the point I’m not sure I will stop there again knowing other stores in the area still have the “old” style of wall.
The Rockefeller Center LEGO® Store in New York left me feeling that same way last year. The PAB wall was also smaller than the last time I had visited, and featured a similar set up to the Yorkdale store. I sincerely hope this new PAB wall is not a taste of what’s to come in all LEGO® Stores in the future. It will just push me to shop more from home or other retailers. You can see more from my tour of the store in the video below. What do you think? Let me know in the comments or reach out on social media.
Until next time,
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