Cumbrae’s Queen Street

Cumbrae’s Queen

Chopped, Smoked, Carved, Split, and Stitched

Cumbrae’s Queen adds to the Cumbrae’s family of retail butcher shops in Toronto. Its design is meant to express the unique and deep-rooted culture of this farm-to-table enterprise while creating an intoxicating experience beginning at the sidewalk.

We borrow from the craft of butchery in order to achieve material richness and curated display.

The long narrow space at street level is lined with customized, refrigerated display units and walk-in coolers detailed like gallery vitrines with glare/ moisture resistant glass. The design objective was to create a dramatic exhibition of the exquisite product, without pretention, all while allowing the aroma and texture of Cumbrae’s signature offerings to envelop the space.

The second floor is equipped with a full prep kitchen with a central assembly area terminated by a large, tinted window framed in the shape of a cow much like an oversized branding iron. The abstracted, iconic cow defines the upper front façade articulated by aluminum baguettes that screen the utilitarian kitchen space from the street. At grade, a double-glazed, large glass storefront draws in pedestrians right back to the steamy sandwiches “altar” clad in marble.

Detail - Cumbrae’s Queen Street
Cured, stretched, and stitched pig skin at the prosciutto bar.

The design strategy ultimately borrows from the craft of butchery in order to achieve an environment of powerful display and seasoned, curated richness. Each building material is affected by select ‘operations’ commonly used in the treatment of meat. Materials such as wood, stone, leather, gypsum, and metal are chopped, smoked, sliced, carved, split, charred, and stitched. Familiar materials are rendered supple and fleshy alongside their edible counterparts accentuated with theatre-like dramatic lighting.

Finally, the Cumbrae’s story, that begins at the farm back three generations, is transcribed on the surfaces that line the shopping promenade. Beginning at the entry where striations of the veins of meat are CNC burned into the smoked oak panelling that sits across from the stretched and stitched pig-skin prosciutto counter. At each POS station the names of the original farms that defined each of the three Cumbrae’s generations (Concession 6; Hamilton Place; and, Fitzroy) are highlighted. This distinguishing philosophy that the farm source is primary, is further emphasized by a script of the names of all local Ontario towns that furnish Cumbrae’s along a sinuous overhead frieze of deep, pinned letters.

Cumbrae’s Queen was the recipient of the 19th annual Best of Canada Award from Canadian Interiors for the Retail category.

Project Facts

  • Client


  • Location


  • Size

    3,000 sq.ft.

  • Status


  • Sub-Consultant Team

    Structural — ST Engineering

    Mechanical — S. Charitonos

    Graphic Design — Blok

  • Photography

    Renato Cerisola