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Supermartifacts / The Artifacts of Steinberg

[Steinberg logo]

The Steinberg (or Steinberg's) supermarket chain was founded in Montréal by Ida Steinberg in 1917. By mid-century, Steinberg had emerged as the leading grocer in Quebec. The company also took part in an aggressive expansion to Ontario (expedited through the acquisition of Grand Union's Canadian operations), and was among the first chains to locate stores in modern shopping centres.

In 1969 Steinberg converted the bulk of its Ontario stores to a discount format and rebranded them as Miracle Food Mart, while maintaining the Steinberg brand in Quebec. Regardless of which name it did business as, Steinberg had a reputation for innovation and expressive store architecture, and maintained it well into the 1970s.

Steinberg began to falter competitively in the 1980s, and its operations began to succumb to infighting among Steinberg family shareholders over business decisions. In 1990 the Miracle Food Mart division in Ontario was sold to A&P, who converted most of the stores to their own banner (and later still, Food Basics). The rest of the company was dismantled over the next two years, with Metro and Provigo taking over most Quebec locations in 1992. So endeth the tale of Steinberg.

Unless noted otherwise, all photos on these pages were taken by Andrew Turnbull.

[Steinberg store] [Steinberg store]

301 Oxford St. W., London, ON

The Westown Shopping Plaza (later Cherryhill Mall) in London, ON featured Steinberg's as an anchor when it opened in 1960. The store was later converted to Miracle Food Mart, A&P, and Metro, and survives in operation today...though it's been expanded and renovated so severely over the years that scarcely a trace of Steinberg remains.

[Steinberg store]

1080 Adelaide St. N., London, ON

Opened as Steinberg circa 1960; converted to Miracle Food Mart in 1969. Divested to the Oshawa Group in the 1980s, and later Price Chopper and Fresh Co.

[Miracle Food Mart store]

1299 Oxford St. E., London, ON

Opened as Miracle Food Mart in the early 1970s; later A&P and Food Basics. This is a mall store with access only from the interior corridor. Note the unusual concrete exterior detailing, which is evocative of the brutalist aesthetic of the era.

[Miracle Food Mart store]

1491 Ernest Ave., London, ON

Opened as Miracle Food Mart circa 1980. Note the concrete wedges underneath the windows, similar in theme to the detailing of the Oxford St. store.

[Miracle Food Mart store]

509 Commissioner's Rd. W., London, ON

This was the last new Miracle Food Mart location to open in London, hailing from the latter half of the 1980s. It features a stairstep facade and an unusual octagonal floorplan, reflecting both the site constraints and Steinberg's penchant for out-of-the-ordinary stores.

[Steinberg mug]

And now for something entirely different! Here's a coffee mug I happen to have, commemmorating Steinberg's 70th anniversary in 1987. The company wouldn't survive beyond its 75th.

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Last update 1 September 2018.