Get out your funny money

TORONTO — How’re you fixed for Canadian Tire cash? If you’re traveling down the 401, it could come in might handy.

Canadian Tire has been given the green light to build and operate 23 fuel stations and convenience stores along Ontario highways 401 and 400.

That announcement comes on the heels of the Ontario government finally announcing that a company called Kilmer Service Centres will be redeveloping and operating the centers, which have been closed for almost two years.

Kilmer in turn has contracted Canadian Tire to sell fuel and associated merchandise at the travel centers.

"Automotive is a key differentiator for Canadian Tire and a competitive advantage," said Michael Medline, President of Canadian Tire Automotive.

"These highways are the busiest in Ontario. We estimate the sites will generate six million incremental transactions a year and will help us develop new and longstanding relationships with customers."

Medline would also like it if drivers take the Canadian Tire dough they get at the fuel stations and then spend it in nearby towns.

"There are 78 Canadian Tire stores serving communities in close proximity to the new service centers," continued Medline. "And, there is great value for consumers and the company in offering Canadian Tire Money that can be redeemed within minutes of getting off the highway or at any of our 479 stores across the country."

Seven sites are currently under construction and, by the end of 2012, the plan projects 20 sites will be open for business.

The upgrade will cost about $300 million and create more than 2,000 service-center jobs. When they’re done, the travel centers will offer an assortment of fast food ranging from A&W to Yogen Fruz.

Host Kilmer is a partnership between U.S.-based HMSHost and Canada’s Kilmer Van Nostrand Co. Limited, a family-owned company with diversified interests in private equity, infrastructure, brownfield development and the sports and entertainment business. 

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