Welcome to the Hood' Canvas Cannabis!

Liberty Village is always pleased to welcome new businesses to our neighbourhood. In February, we look forward to the opening of Canvas Cannabis inside the Liberty Market Building – the first cannabis store in LV and the first independent retail cannabis store with a solo female owner!  

Photo Courtesy of Forrec Architects 

Helene Vassos is the owner of CANVAS Cannabis, with existing retail locations in the Danforth and Mount Dennis areas.

After a rewarding 30-year career in the non-profit healthcare sector, Vassos is on a mission to help shape Ontario’s corporate-dominated cannabis industry.

We connected with the dynamic entrepreneur to get a better understanding of Canvas Cannabis and her newest location: 

“I was considering retirement when the idea to enter the lottery for an opportunity to open a retail cannabis store sprouted. I had gone into cannabis stores in the past and felt that they weren’t warm or inviting, and I thought that as a woman, I could capture a casual elegance that other stores lacked. There was this amazing new industry unfolding in front of me and I very much wanted to be part of it and help lead the way as both a woman and business owner.

The goal has always been to set CANVAS apart by building a brand that offers a warm, sophisticated and fresh outlook on the boutique cannabis experience. Each of our locations is located in an urban setting, with customer engagement and service as our primary focus. We design our stores to facilitate both one-on-one customer experiences and servicing seasoned connoisseurs who prefer an express shopping experience.  

Photo Courtesy of Forrec Architects 

I feel privileged to help lead the way in this ever-evolving industry, as both a woman and business owner.  Women bring a different perspective and creativity into their work – and this has been reflected in the look and feel of our stores. But I think it’s the perspective that I offer as a business owner that’s most important to the success of CANVAS.  There’s a prevailing concern that cannabis store ownership in Ontario is being overtaken by a few big corporate players whose focus is the bottom line.  At CANVAS, I have my boots on the ground and the decisions are made by me at the store level without having to go to a board of directors to get approval.  This allows me to bring fresh ideas and a new image to the retail cannabis world, grounded in a spirit of inclusivity and collaboration and where the only bottom line that matters is the responsibility owed to staff, customers and neighbours. 

We cater to a varied clientele,  so it was important to us that the demographics of our team follow suit.  We have about 30 employees positioned across our three locations and are hiring additional staff for our Liberty Village location from applicants who live in the village.  

With most of our staff falling between ages 22 and 35, in many ways, I have taken on the role of a mentor. It’s important to me that we create an environment where our young employees feel their voice matters. So often, young people go unheard or underappreciated, but the truth is that this industry is being built for them. The cannabis retail market is still in its infancy. One day, it will be inherited by my young employees, so it’s important to me that I give them the tools they need to be industry leaders. 

For me, success will have meant that we are fully embraced by our neighbors as members of these communities, that we have been able to live up to our mandate of providing unparalleled customer care and service, high-quality cannabis products at an affordable price, and that we have done what we can to pave the way for the continued growth of Canada’s legal cannabis industry. 

No one could have predicted that a global pandemic would become a part of CANVAS’ growth plan.  We’re taking every precaution that we can to keep customers safe, offering online sales and curbside orders and pick-up. We installed a protective Plexiglas shield at the doors to create a barrier between customers and staff during their curbside pick up, are stocked with hand sanitizer for customers and ensure social distancing through visible markers and signage. Operational hours will be 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. and staff will be wearing masks at all times.  

Canvas looks forward to contributing to Liberty Village!”

Photo Courtesy of Forrec Architects 

Connect with CANVAS Cannabis!

Website: https://www.canvascannabis.ca/

Instagram: @canvas.cannabis

Facebook: @canvasretail 

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