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Building makeovers: Coffee served in grand locations

Nespresso Boutique Bar makes a modern, luxurious statement in Toronto's Yorkville; Dineen Coffee Co. offers up old-world ambiance at Yonge and Temperance

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The new Nespresso Boutique Bar in the Yorkville area of Toronto is the second Nespresso bar to open in Canada, following the original Montreal location which was unveiled in 2009. The Swiss company took its time to find a Toronto location that reflected the Nespresso brand, and feels its unique outlet fits in with Louis Vuitton and other high-end retailers in the Bloor Street and Avenue Road area.

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Over a period of nearly a year and a half, Nespresso remade the dated, clunky Cumberland Four Cineplex. The two-storey, open-concept facility now has a floor-to-ceiling glass facade that replaces the concrete theatre front that faced Cumberland Street.

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The high-end fixtures and fittings were designed by renowned Italian architect Goring & Straja in Milan and transported to Canada with the aim of giving Canadian coffee lovers a European coffee experience. “The first time I arrived in the boutique, and to be honest I’ve seen over 100 Nespresso boutiques in my life, . . . I was very impressed,” says Jacques Demont, president of Nespresso Canada.

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The 14,122-square-foot leased retail space has seating for 47 guests on specially-designed ‘egg’ chairs and Favh sofas which were designed by Denmark’s Fritz Hansen, whose firm creates furniture for all Nespresso boutique bars worldwide.

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A variety of wood gives the space its golden look. The vaulted space in the bar area features American oak, while the boutique area is clad in multilayer rosewood veneer. “This space is really particular thanks to the lights because of the height and that’s what’s impressive here. For instance, the Paris boutique, it’s more intimate and this one is more about light and space,” says Caroline Desvaux, Nespresso Canada brand manager.

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Customers to the boutique can choose to sample any of the 21 Nespresso grand crus in a variety of drink forms and indulge in a food menu designed by chef Jean-Charles Dupoire of Toronto’s Loire Restaurant.

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Down on Yonge Street, Dineen Coffee Co. offers a more old-world style of coffee-house ambience. Located in the Dineen Building, which was originally built in 1897 and is now a heritage building, the retail space is situated at the corner of Yonge and Temperance streets.

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The coffee shop is well positioned to capitalize on a convergence of customers from the financial district, tourists and gym-goers. “Taking on a huge challenge like Dineen without the location that we have would have been a very tall order,” says David Fortier, co-owner of Dineen Coffee Co.

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Mr. Fortier and his two partners looked for unique fittings that could be repurposed for their leased space, giving it what he describes as “Parisian style with a bit of new-world flair.” This chandelier which originally hung in the Royal York Hotel was found in an antique store and downsized for the shop.

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Dineen Coffee Co., which opened this year, was established to give patrons the space to escape the hectic city. “It was designed so that you can sit back and relax and enjoy your coffee, your sandwich or your treat and soak in the design and the atmosphere,” Mr. Fortier says.

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Here, Raymond Aucoin speaks with barista Simona Wong. The owners paid a lot of attention to craftsmanship. “Toronto is a special place. And we’re buying into it; we wanted to make sure that that’s reflected in the coffee shop because you don’t get a lot of that in Toronto.”

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Sugeidy Nunez, a barista, at Dineen's sit-down espresso bar. “Why can’t we have a fantastic independent coffee [shop] where people greet you and know your name and know exactly what you’re looking for?” Mr. Fortier asks. Read more about Toronto’s new and grand coffee spaces at the link below: Coffee spaces that say stay and linger, not drink and go

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