Someone found a bunch of retro shopping bags from closed Toronto stores

Mar 29 2023, 4:56 pm

Someone just found a ton of retro shopping bags from old closed Toronto stores in their basement, and they’re a major blast from the past.

If just seeing the old logos for stores like Shoppers,¬†Eaton’s, Suzy Shier and Coles doesn’t give you nostalgia, you might feel like you’re in a time warp when you see some bags from old stores that are now defunct and long gone like BiWay, IGA and Music World.

biway store toronto

Old bag from Super Carnaval grocery store (Photo by JP de Silva/Facebook)

JP de Silva posted photos of all the bags he found to a Facebook group.

“As a marketing geek, I find these retro bags from various Toronto stores really interesting. The logos, fonts, colours, taglines, sizes, shapes, changes from one year to the next…all really cool to me,” de Silva wrote.

“They’re also a time capsule for the stores no longer around and of my childhood! In particular, the Super Carnaval grocery store was one of the first anchors of Malvern Town Centre. Their ‘fill your own pop bottle’ dispensary with many varied flavours was memorable.”

biway store toronto

Shoppers Drug Mart bag from the past (Photo by JP de Silva/Facebook)

de Silva was born and raised in Toronto and is Filipino, and he says it’s part of his cultural background not to throw things away so quickly.

biway store toronto

Old shopping bag from IGA (Photo by JP de Silva/Facebook)

“As some people use cookie tins for sewing stuff, we re-use plastic bags for everything from garbage, carrying my running shoes to the gym, and storing old magazines,” de Silva tells blogTO.¬†“We even use margarine containers to store used cooking oil or take home food after a family party.”

biway store toronto

Suzy Shier bags don’t look like this anymore¬†(Photo by JP de Silva/Facebook)

His family simply still had all these bags because they hadn’t used them yet, and they were still being kept in the dark corners of a basement, where de Silva found them while de-cluttering.

biway store toronto

Retro bag from bookstore Coles (Photo by JP de Silva/Facebook)

“I began to notice how many of the stores the bags came from are no longer around, and this made me nostalgic. For example, the Consumers Distributing bag reminded me of the times I ogled at all the toys in their catalogue and was already dreaming of what I wanted for my birthday and Christmas,” says de Silva.

“Or the RJ McCarthy bag where I got my first high school uniform. Going into grade nine, it felt like such a grown-up thing to do, but I was so much younger compared to now, and my life was just starting. Collectively, these bags are like a time capsule of my life growing up in Toronto, and just seeing them brings back a flood of memories.”

biway store toronto

Music World is no longer around (Photo by JP de Silva/Facebook)

As a marketer, de Silva also found the various logos and evolving taglines interesting.

He is actually thinking he’ll likely part with most of the bags but might keep a few and even wonders if they might be worthy of inclusion in some sort of local museum as part of an exhibit about retail history.

biway store toronto

Several Eaton’s bags were found in the basement (Photo by JP de Silva/Facebook)

He does keep some other small collections, mostly more typical things like records, cassettes, CDs, sports cards and comics but does also have a small collection of matchboxes from defunct Toronto places.

If you’re one of those people that has a big bag full of bags under the kitchen sink, don’t worry if people call you a hoarder: you might just be making them nostalgic with your collection one day.

Amy CarlbergAmy Carlberg

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