December 2, 2023

The Yorkdale Refresh… A taste of things to come?

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…

Yorkdale refresh store front
The new store front following the Yorkdale refresh.

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.

Yorkdale refresh PAB wall
The Yordale refresh brought a serious downgrade to the PAB 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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8 thoughts on “The Yorkdale Refresh… A taste of things to come?

  1. The PAB wall is a huge disappointment and I hope it wouldn’t happen to other stores in Toronto 😦

  2. Not sure why the top seven bins are empty, maybe too high for customers to reach, but that photo shows 35 elements available to choose from. Our store (Ottawa) has 72 bins in the old style wall. I don’t know how many were in Yorkdale’s old wall but that would certainly equate to a considerable downgrade.

    1. I never counted the bins on Yorkdale’s original wall… But it was probably at least the same size as the Ottawa wall. The top bins were high up. I could reach them, but a stepping stool would be needed to get parts from deep within them. Still, they look silly empty.

  3. I totally agree with you the PAB wall is the main reason I visit Lego stores. I was just in Boston visited two stores great selection of bricks. They will hurt there sales with this poor display!

    1. It is really an odd choice to downsize… Whenever I talk to staff at the LEGO Store, the impression I get is that PAB is quite popular.

  4. The PAB wall is NOT the main reason for 99% of the people who visit the LEGO® Store. . .

    1. Perhaps it’s not the reason most people go to the LEGO Store… But I question your assertion about 99%. AFOLs love the pick-and-build wall, and they make up more than 1% of the clientele at the LEGO Store. I already know from many that the downgraded wall is a disappointment.

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