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Mourners lament the 'death' of Target Canada

File photo

The last Target stores in Canada closed over the weekend, after the retail sought bankruptcy protection north of the border in January. As WBFO's Canada correspondent Dan Karpenchuk reports, a mock funeral was held at one store in Toronto which shut its doors for good this past weekend.

A bagpiper played "Hector the Hero" as the mock service began to mourn the end of the American retail giant that high hopes for winning over the Canadian market as Walmart did over the past 20 years.

A few dozen former employees and onlookers watched as a mock priest, complete with vestments and mitre hat, delivered a eulogy.
"Something has been taken away from us too soon, and God knows this too. Target is dead.  That brave revolutionary big box, dead," he said.
Target entered the Canadian market two years ago, opening 133 locations across the country. By the end of 2014, it realized it had taken on too much, had lost more than $1 billion, and with the prospect of losing even more and no turnaround in sight, it filed for bankruptcy protection at the beginning of 2015.

Justin Stephenson is one of the 17,000 now-former employees who have lost their  jobs. Stephenson says Target was not just another retailer and he is sad to see it go.
"Just a happy environment in general. A lot of my friends who worked at Walmart just never had a positive experience there. But working at Target was always a happy and positive environment for me and just the leadership in general just knew what they were doing," Stephenson said.
A week ago, only 37 stores were still operating. by the end of the day on Sunday, the last had shut its doors.         

Analysts have offered many reasons for Target's failure to crack the Canadian market, from poorly stocked shelves and inventory problems to discounts that didn't measure up to what Canadians expected to the growing competition from online shopping.       

The funeral was more street theater than a somber service. But at the end, a candy bar tied to three balloons was sent soaring off into the heavens, a symbolic departure, while a young woman holding a giant rose, an official mourner, wept. Or, at least, pretended to.

WBFO’s comprehensive news coverage extends into Southern Ontario and Dan Karpenchuk is the station’s voice from the north. The award-winning reporter covers binational issues, including economic trends, the environment, tourism and transportation.
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