Thinking inside the box: Pop-up events reimagine big, empty Target store

An empty Target store located at the Centre on Barton will play host to five pop-up events this summer as a way to engage the community and make use of the space.

Later this summer, you can ride a bike inside the old Target store on Barton St.

The Centre on Barton Target store closed its doors January 2015. The space has been empty since. But now a group aims to make use of the space in five pop-up events this summer. (Google Maps)

Currently sitting at the Centre on Barton is an empty 50,000-square-foot Target store, a viable space people are now looking to make use of.

The once big-box store has been vacant since its closing January 2015.  

It will now play host to five temporary pop-up events throughout the summer.

Each pop-up will target various activities with the goal of determining community interests.

Once you're standing in a space that's this large, your imagination just goes wild.- Lyna Saad 

Triovest, the company managing the Centre on Barton has asked Scadding Court Community Centre (SCCC) to lead the study dubbed, 'Right on Target.'

Senior Manager at SCCC and Right on Target project manager, Lyna Saad says the space has great potential and hopes it can be used as a community asset.

"Once you're standing in a space that's this large, your imagination just goes wild," said Saad.

She said artists are "dying" to paint murals on the massive walls.

Big box store, big concepts 

According to Saad, each pop-up event will have one big anchor with smaller, supporting activities to coincide.

The first event is set for next Thursday, featuring a synthesizers meetup and projection mapping.

Later dates will see a community playdate, indoor cycling day with workshops for seniors and toddlers, and night market with small businesses looking to sell their goods.

The initiative will work as a study to determine the best use of the space, based on community needs and wants.

At this point, Saad says all ideas are welcomed and encouraged.

"There are a lot of community groups that would benefit from a space like this," said Saad.

According to Saad, they are hoping to plug into what already exists with community groups and events that may need locations.

Looking for ideas 

Two open house events were held Thursday for people check out the empty store in hopes of inspiring ideas for how to use the space and potential pop-ups.

This is an opportunity for partners, stakeholders and residents to purpose uses and ideas.

An empty Target store will host five pop-up events over the summer, including an indoor cycling day. The Right on Target project is looking to make the best use of the 50,000 square foot building. (Centre on Barton )

"The more people who give input, I think the better it will be," said Saad.  

She says the door is open if they have the capacity to do it themselves.

City councillor backs plan 

The city is behind the idea.

Coun. Sam Merulla of Ward 4 is supportive of the idea. He's been working with the group for some time.

Merualla says this proposal suits the neighbourhood in amplifying, highlighting and contributing to a positive effect to the neighourhood.

"It's an engagement process with the community to determine the next steps to utilizing the square footage at that particular location," said Merulla.

"I strongly support and look forward to working with them accordingly."

At this point, Saad can't predict the longevity of the project.