Vacant Target Canada locations inspire Tumblr page

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WINNIPEG — It has been months since Target closed up shop in Canada but the company’s presence can still be felt across the country.

In all 133 stores were shut down. It is retail space that will eventually be leased out again, however a Winnipeg academic is finding inspiration in the vacancies.

“It’s hard to go to any shopping area in any major Canadian city and not see these empty spaces,” said Andrew Burke, an associate professor at the University of Winnipeg.

Burke, who teaches a cultural studies course, captured an empty Target in the St.James area of Winnipeg back in April and posted it to his Instagram. He had no idea what he had started.

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“It was more or less a nice photo,” Burke said, adding he gave it the caption of Abandoned Targets of Canada #1. ” I didn’t think of it for a couple of months. then I took one of the Grant Park location in July and so I thought, let’s continue with the title.”

After he posted the second picture friends of his started sending him similar images from across the country.

Once he had half a dozen he started up a Tumblr page and then even more pictures started to be shared.

“I was kind of fascinated with this moment in time of Target Canada in which was only two years and how it was going to disappear eventually, ” Burke said. “These stores will all be something else and I was interested in this process of documenting something that was going to disappear.”

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As of Tuesday he has posted pictures from 38 former Target Canada locations and hopes to eventually upload a picture of every location.

“It is one of those things that will depend entirely on the kindness of strangers.” Burke said. “There is no way I can travel across the country to take pictures of all of them so how far the project goes depends in part to how kind people are.”

Burke admits he didn’t shop at Target Canada all that often when it was around.

“Part of the experience and part of the desire was having to go to get it but then when it’s on your doorstep that desire dissipates a little so maybe I was the same way,” he said.

He also feels it is important to highlight this moment in time in retail history.

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READ MORE: Bye bye Target Canada: Last bits of inventory go to auction

“It happened in earlier moments, with the disappearance of Zellers and the disappearance of Woolco some of these spaces the Targets are in there is a whole history of retail there and even retail failure there so it is interesting to visit these spaces for that reason,” Burke said.

If you want to submit an image of a former Target in your neighbourhood you can email Burke at

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