The Canadian cannabis industry has been growing at a very fast pace over the last couple of years. The market offers incredible business opportunities, which is why there’s a growing number of retail CRE investors looking to seize them.

Just recently, Toronto got its first recreational cannabis store. Aegis Brands that now operates a chain of recreational cannabis dispensaries. Aegis and its investors saw Toronto as an excellent first location for expanding into Ontario, which is no surprise given the market’s consistent growth. Ontario province is a great place to be creative and try out shared retail services at the same location.

From Coffee to Cannabis Coffee

Formerly known as Second Cup Ltd., Aegis Brands was a coffee retailer with more than 350 cafés across Canada. However, the company suffered some losses in recent years, diving into debt and ending up with some bankrupt franchises.

Seeing how the retail cannabis market kept growing, the company decided to grow beyond coffee and enter the cannabis space. That’s when it changed its name to Aegis Brands and created a new vision for providing cannabis consumers with the right experience they need.

That vision sparked the inspiration for the name of the chain’s retail cannabis dispensaries – Hemisphere Cannabis Co. The name suggests a way to help cannabis consumers find what they’re looking for, whether they’re first-time users or they’ve been shopping for cannabis for a while. The environment they have created will match customers desire with a personalized experience. 

Aegis Brands opened its first Toronto retail cannabis coffee shop at the same location of its Second Cup café.

Aegis Brands like many other retail and retail CRE investors are finding that mixed use has value. Aegis Brands chose not to exit the coffee sector but to add value at the same location. Soon after announcing their new vision they acquired Bridgehead Coffee, a coffeehouse chain headquartered in Ottawa. The parent company is not stopping here. They are still looking for mixed-use opportunities in cannabis, coffee and foodservice spaces.

More Hemisphere Retail Stores To Come

Aegis Brands is pretty serious about investing in the retail cannabis sector in Ontario, as it already has new Hemisphere Cannabis Co. stores in the works.

At the moment, it plans to open three more stores in Toronto, as well as establish a presence in Ajax, Ottawa, and Orleans. You can expect the new retail locations to open in the coming months.

Steven Pelton, the CEO of Aegis Brands, said in a press release: “Given our unparalleled access to top-tier real estate assets across the country, and the incredible shared services that Hemisphere will be able to tap into as part of the Aegis network, we truly believe the potential for this brand is limitless.”


Despite going through a rough patch with its cafés, Aegis Brands now seems to be on the right path to success. The retail cannabis industry in Canada is only going to continue to grow, so the company’s new strategy is definitely a lifeboat that will keep the business afloat. Of course, only the future will tell, but it’s looking quite bright at the moment.

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