Here’s Half Of Your New Safeway, Cathedral

Such a lovely parking lot.The swooping arch of Cathedral’s modernist Safeway will soon be no more. Thursday night, staff moved the grocery store’s stock into the section that has been built over the last several months, and yesterday morning the new half officially opened for business. That clears the way for demolition of the 13th Avenue icon.

I checked the new store out for the first time a few hours ago. It was a little disorienting.

01interiorSWWe tend to shop in small batches every day, so I’ve been to the old Safeway an awful lot over the six years we’ve lived here. I’m pretty at home there.

The interior of the new building looks almost identical to the interior of the Safeway near my dad’s place. So there I am, walking around what looks like my dad’s Safeway but it’s staffed by all the people I know from my Regina Safeway.

I couldn’t help thinking, “What the hell are all you people doing in Edmonton?”

03cakesAnyway, the new section of the store seems to be quite a bit bigger than the old one and there’s a bunch of new items on the shelves. The aisles are wider and the checkouts are easier to maneuver. But yeah, while I think P3 Architecture has done a pretty decent job of distinguishing the building’s exterior from the blander suburb design of, say, my dad’s Edmonton store (while operating within the constraints of the Safeway-mandated box-store slab design), the interior doesn’t distinguish itself very much.

I’m not complaining, exactly. I’m just saying I find that, like I said, disorienting.

Wait, have I just written a review of a Safeway store?

I think I have.

04pottiesSWI’ll give the new section of the 13th Ave Safeway three and a half very generic prairie dogs out of five. (And really, who can tell prairie dogs apart? Except maybe other prairie dogs.) Maybe they can bump that up once the rest is open.

Meanwhile, for those already feeling nostalgic for the old Safeway’s doomed arch, check out Mysteria Gallery. Last I was by there, there was a Heather M Cline painting in the front window of the old building from before construction began. It’s great and I’d have bought it if I could afford it.

Author: Paul Dechene

Paul Dechene is 5'10'' tall and he was born in a place. He's not there now. He's sitting in front of his computer writing his bio for this blog. He has a song stuck in his head. It's "Girl From Ipanema", thanks for asking. You can follow Paul on Twitter at @pauldechene and get live updates during city council meetings and other city events at @PDcityhall.

7 thoughts on “Here’s Half Of Your New Safeway, Cathedral”

  1. Paul, you have to post a photo of all the brick on the exterior — unlike any suburban Safeway I’ve ever seen. I love the brick!!!

  2. I must say, I was angry when they decided to motor ahead with their suburban big-box style store (despite already having a really cool example of mid-century architecture that they might have renovated instead, and wouldn’t that be better? and blah, blah, blah…). Then I started to cheer myself up with the prospect of a better produce section and maybe a better selection of cheeses and whatnot. Now, I just want them to rip the band-aid off. This slow peel is excruciating.

  3. Better???!!! Really??! Look at the construction! The cornerstones are made of styrofoam! The windows are fake!! Theatrical lighting .. The brick is being pasted onto stryofoam, too.

    Then look at the real wood arched beams, the honesty of the posts that hold up the roof, the straw that is the insulation, that is still in great shape….. and the perfect Safeway Red….. even when red the paint is peeling off the arch….

    I cannot bear to go in. Please let me know if the food is better….

  4. The interior is exactly like any other revamped Safeway in Western Canada. Currently, it’s also extremely claustrophobic, with its partition walls.

    Okay, Indy 500, I’ll bite. What else, exactly, in Cathedral “needs to go bye bye[?]”

  5. Kind of funny, all the concern about keeping the old sign, look, etc. and then Sobeys buys them and most likely will rebrand all stores as Sobeys anyways.

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