Editor’s note: This feature story was published in fall 2014. For up-to-date info, refer to our Centura Tile store listing.
Founded in 1933, Toronto’s Centura Tile is one of the biggest names in the Canadian tile business, operating 14 locations across the country. The company celebrates its roots with an expanded flagship designed by Kneider Architects, and sets itself apart from other uptown tile shops by taking a high-fashion approach to showing such upscale European lines as Mirage, Atlas Concorde and Italgraniti. Call it the Saks of Castlefield and Caledonia – too big to be a boutique, too grand to be a box store.
A front wall of two-storey windows soaks the entire 929-square-metre showroom in natural light, letting the haute ceramics look their best. Rather than the labyrinthian set-up popular with other stores, Centura Tile has opted for an open-concept layout that plays up the expansiveness of its space. The central floor area features rows of accessible display boards that outline sizing and pricing of perennial favourites. PMA’s Purestone, for example, has a lux, sandy look to it, but rings in at a great price point: only $11.00 per square foot for matte tiles measuring nearly a foot.
Taller display boards line the perimeter like mannequins and highlight the latest trends, which include large-format tiles that create seamless-looking floors and intricate mosaics of unconventional shapes (think Arabesque lanterns). Also in vogue: digitally printed tiles that mimic the look of wood, stone and marble. The advantage to going faux: porcelain doesn’t require as much maintenance as natural materials.
SHOP HERE FOR: Everything from traditional square and subway tiles to intricately patterned hexagons and precious stone panels.
BEST BET: Refin Ceramiche’s Frame Majolica features designs that look like something you might see in an understated kaleidoscope. The blue, grey and gold-patterned tiles can be arranged in that artfully mismatched look, popular for dramatic floors and feature walls.