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Malton’s had just 1 major grocery store for years. Now, that’s changing | CBC News



Malton’s had just 1 major grocery store for years. Now, that’s changing | CBC News

Nadine Blagrove regularly takes a 15-minute bus ride from Malton to another city to buy groceries, but the arrival of a new store in her neighbourhood could soon put an end to that routine. 

There is currently just one major grocery store, a FreshCo, serving the Mississauga neighbourhood of Malton — a community of more than 35,000 people. Blagrove says the store is often overcrowded, especially after work and on weekends, and shelves are often picked clean by the time she gets there, forcing her to the bus stop to head to Fortinos in Etobicoke.

“The lineups are so crazy. If we had more than one supermarket then it wouldn’t be so bad,” said Blagrove.

And while there are smaller ethnic grocery stores in the area, Blagrove says they don’t sell everything that a major grocery store would, meaning she can’t check off everything on her list in one go.

That’s why news that a new grocery store is coming to the main shopping centre, Westwood Square, has given her hope. 

A floor plan posted to the website for the property management group Fieldgate Properties indicates the mall’s newest tenant is a grocery store called FreshPro Foodmart, which has another location in Richmond Hill.

The tenant will occupy much of the space left vacant when a Walmart, which had been a go-to destination for groceries for many residents, announced it was leaving in 2021. In the years since, area residents have been advocating to property managers to fill the void with a grocery store, including more than 3,500 people who signed a petition on the issue.

‘Something that the community really needs’

Incoming Mississauga Ward 5 Councillor Natalie Hart and residents say they’ve been told the new store is set to open in the second quarter of 2025.

Neither the property manager nor FreshPro agreed to an interview before deadline, however Jeff Nelson, the spokesperson for the property management firm, told one resident in an email seen by CBC News that demolition work taking place in May and June 2024 is related to the transition.

CBC News has obtained a floor plan of Westwood Mall indicating the new tenant occupying the majority of the footprint Walmart occupied is a grocery store called FreshPro Foodmart. (Fieldgate Property Management)

Hart, who will be sworn in as Mississauga Ward 5 councillor on June 24, says she heard continuously on the campaign trail about the problem of having just one major grocery store accessible to the community and about uncertainty over the future of the unoccupied space at Westwood.

“This is exciting news,” she said. “It’s something that the community really needs.”

Hart says she understands why commercial details were kept under wraps, but hopes information will be more forthcoming now that a lease has been signed so residents hungry for another food option can bank on it.

Residents fighting for a new grocery store for years say they’re optimistic, but a year is a long time to wait.

“We got all excited because we heard something is coming,” said resident Clovalyn Wilson, “What do we do in between?”

Wilson says she wants government to do more in cases where there is a community need to encourage businesses to open sooner.

Access critical for food security: food bank CEO

“Part of food security is food access,” said Meghan Nicholls, CEO of Food Banks Mississauga. “I think our elected officials need to make sure that they’re thinking not just about economic access to food, but even physical access.”

Many who live in Malton have lower incomes than those in other parts of the city, said Nicholls, and some are turning to food banks, food pantries and other services.

“Food insecurity is just exacerbated when there’s not even affordable options to purchase,” she said.

meghan nicholls
Meghan Nicholls, executive director of Food Banks Mississauga says part of food security is food access. (Talia Ricci/CBC)

“We, as a society, have decided the conditions for whether people have food is determined by the market,” said Nicholls. 

Changing that mindset may take beyond the second quarter of 2025 to solve, says Nicholls, but doing so would ensure other communities don’t have the same issues Malton has faced with food access for far too long.

While the wait for the new store continues, Blagrove says she has tried alternatives including shopping online. But just like taking the bus eats into her wallet, many online stores have additional charges for delivery, eroding her attempts to save any cash she can through price matching apps and coupons. 

Her reaction to news of another grocery store: “Next year? I wish it would come a little sooner.”

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