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A former Canadian hockey institution begins a new life as home to Loblaws

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It's not a lineup to get into a hot new nightclub. It's a lineup to get into the new Loblaws store inside the historic Maple Leaf Gardens.

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Hundreds of customers lined up for hours to get an early-morning peek inside the new Loblaws store at Maple Leaf Gardens. Twenty-foot ceilings give the site, which was once the home of the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team, a grand feeling.

Peter Power/The Globe and Mail/Peter Power/The Globe and Mail

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Women from the cafe inside Loblaws bring hot drinks to the people waiting in line outside the new Loblaws store in the old Maple Leaf Gardens building on Carlton Street in Toronto. The store opened its doors to the public at 8 a.m.

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Ace Bakery entices shoppers with the smell of artisan-style breads inside Loblaw's new Maple Leaf Gardens location. The store borrows a leaf from Whole Foods Market, although at generally more affordable prices.

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Shoppers are framed by a towering wall of cheese at Loblaws new flagship store in downtown Toronto. The selection includes a 100-pound wheel of stilton, one of only 100 in the world.

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Cupcakes, anyone? The patisserie at the new Loblaws store inside Maple Leaf Gardens features 19 different varieties.

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Perhaps the biggest attraction at the opening of the new Loblaws store was Galen G. Weston himself. Mr. Weston, executive chairman of Loblaw Cos. Ltd. and star of the grocer's commercials, signed autographs for shoppers who, at one point, formed a long line to meet him.

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Hockey history is front and centre at the new Loblaws location inside Maple Leaf Gardens.

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Loblaw is trying to reclaim its reputation as a foodie haven with its newest store, which features a meat aging room.

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A customer steps on the red dot at what was centre ice in the old Maple Leaf Gardens, the former home of the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team. With its newest store, Loblaw has paid tribute to the building's heritage.

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Toronto's hockey history has been baked into the new Loblaws store inside Maple Leaf Gardens. Memorabilia has been laminated onto the tabletops in the public seating area of the store.

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