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Yorkdale Shopping Centre

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Yorkdale Shopping Centre

Yorkdale Shopping Centre
The main entrance to Yorkdale
Location Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Address 3401 Dufferin Street, North York
Opening date February 26, 1964
Developer Trizec Corporation
Management Oxford Properties
Owner Oxford Properties/OMERS (50%)
Alberta Investment Management Corporation (50%)[1]
Architect John Graham Jr.[2]
No. of stores and services 250
No. of anchor tenants 6
Total retail floor area 1,541,725 ft2 / 130,495.9 m2 (soon to be 1,845,725 ft2)
No. of floors 3
Public transit access Yorkdale Station

Yorkdale Shopping Centre (also often shortened to simply Yorkdale) is a large retail shopping mall in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is located several kilometres north-west of downtown Toronto, at the interchange of Ontario Highway 401 and the Allen Road expressway, and on the Yonge–University–Spadina rapid transit line, in the former suburb of North York. The mall contains over 250 stores, including many luxury retailers. It is the fifth largest shopping mall in Canada and also enjoys the second highest sales per unit area of any mall in Canada, after Vancouver's Pacific Centre, with current merchandise sales levels at over $1,100 (CAD)/square foot.[3][4] It is currently owned by a joint venture between the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System through its subsidiary Oxford Properties Group Inc. and the Alberta Investment Management Corporation.[1]


Construction & design

In the 1950s, the department store chain T. Eaton & Co. bought a 40 hectares (99 acres) site at Dufferin Street and the 401 for a new massive, suburban location. In 1958, rival department store chain Simpson's purchased a 8 hectares (20 acres) site to the east and the plan to build the complex was announced that year. Design of the mall was given to the Seattle firm of John Graham Consultants, except for the Simpson's store, designed by John Andrews of John B. Parkin Associates.[2] Howard Lesser was the planning and development consultant. Using Lesser's market research, the developers determined how much floor space to give up to each category of retailer, and chose retailers who would appeal to a broad range of shoppers.[2]

The mall opened on February 26, 1964, under ownership from the Trizec Corporation.[5] Its gross leasable area (GLA) was over 1,000,000 square feet (93,000 m2), by far the biggest in Canada at the time. It was also one of the largest shopping centres in the world. When it opened, Yorkdale was the first Canadian mall to include two major department stores: Simpson's and Eaton's, under the same roof. Before large suburban malls like Yorkdale became popular, most people in the Toronto area did their major shopping downtown. Yorkdale was at the edge of the urbanized city.[2] The new shopping centre had required the construction of the Spadina Expressway, (now called Allen Road) as the developers would not proceed until the expressway was approved for construction.[2]

The mall was constructed with a novel system for its retailers to receive merchandise. While other Canadian shopping centres had their receiving doors located at the back side, Yorkdale was constructed with a one-way, two-laned road for trucks running beneath the centre that leads directly to retailers' basement storages.[5] The design of the mall included a 60-foot (18 m) tall atrium, 40-foot (12 m) wide halls and 27-foot (8.2 m) tall ceilings. The corridors still retain this look and feel although renovations in 2006 replaced the ceilings, windows, and skylights.

Universal Man in front of former Simpsons department store, 2001

Expansions and renovations

In 1999, Yorkdale completed a major overhaul adding a Rainforest Café restaurant, a Famous Players SilverCity movie theatre (which has since been taken over by Cineplex Entertainment), and an Indigo Books and Music store on the north side of the mall, facing Highway 401. The Universal Man statue in the west parking lot was relocated from the base of the CN Tower.

In 2005, a $60 million expansion on the former site of its Eaton's department store increased the size of Yorkdale to 1,404,646 square feet / 130,495.9 m2,[6] and increased the number of stores from about 210 to 260. A highlight of this expansion was the construction of a 60-foot (18 m) high glass atrium running 300 feet (91.4 m) in length, which hangs from an exterior support structure. The expansion added Old Navy, Zara, H&M, Tommy Hilfiger, and Home Outfitters as sub-anchors. This gave Yorkdale the title of the third largest mall in Ontario after Square One Shopping Centre in Mississauga and Toronto Eaton Centre, ahead of Scarborough Town Centre in terms of retail floor space.

The renovation project continued into 2006 and 2007. This renovation matched the earlier sections of the mall to the style of the 2005 expansion. Key elements of this project included new public washrooms, opening of a Moxie's Grill & Bar restaurant, and new sliding automatic doors at all entrances.[7] An advertising campaign, branded as "Change It Up!" was launched in conjunction with the renovation and redevelopment, winning a MAXI Award from the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) in 2007.[8]

Expansion continued in the second half of the decade. In April 2008, Yorkdale opened a Michael Kors store. Later additions included Armani Exchange, bebe, Crate & Barrel, BOSS store, and a Tiffany & Co.

In January 2011, Yorkdale announced another expansion, adding another 145,000 square feet (13,500 m2), sufficient for 40 store fronts, and 800 underground parking spaces.[9] The expansion would also relocate and double the number of seats at the food court, improve public access, and landscape portions of the property.[9] The expansion, costing $35 million, was opened in the summer of 2012, and completed in November 2012. The existing food court was relocated to a new location on the third level of the former Eaton's department store. The new food court, named "Dine on 3" covers 45,000 square feet (4,200 m2) and features 18 different eateries. The area of the former food court was redeveloped into a new wing, which housed new stores including a Microsoft store and a Tesla Motors dealership. The new parking garage was built below the wing.

In April 2013, Yorkdale announced a $330 million expansion, which will add an additional 298,000 sq ft (27,700 m2) of retail featuring a 188,000 sq ft (17,500 m2) Nordstrom store. The expansion project began in January 2014 and is scheduled to open in Fall 2016.[10] In June 2013, Sears Canada announced the closing of their store at Yorkdale.[11]


Two stabbings occurred at the mall in 2008. In the first half of 2013, two shootings occurred at the mall. The first one took place in the external surface lot late on a Saturday night in March 2013, leaving one man dead and one man injured.[12] In May 2013, a man was injured by shots fired into the Joey restaurant at midnight on a Friday night.[13] Yorkdale upgraded its security with a new $3.4 million video surveillance system that went into service in March 2014. The new system provides full 360-degree surveillance of the mall and the parking lots. It also includes licence plate recognition technology at parking entrances.[14]


Retail mix

Yorkdale's management has focussed on attracting high-value retailers, especially those selling clothing and accessories. These include Versace, Bulgari, Burberry, Cartier, Chanel, Prada, Kate Spade, Tory Burch, Cartier, Moncler and Jimmy Choo.

Yorkdale places a requirement on each tenant to renovate regularly. When each tenant renews its lease with the mall, they are required to renovate their store.[5]

Canadian firsts

Apple Store at Yorkdale (relocated to new wing in 2012), the first Apple Store in Canada
Microsoft Store

Yorkdale has been the point of entry into the Canadian market for many widely known international retailers. Stores that have opened or plan on opening their first Canadian store at Yorkdale include:[15]

According to the International Council of Shopping Centers, more than 30 American retailers contacted mall management, wanting to open their first Canadian stores in Yorkdale after Crate & Barrel revealed that their first store outside the United States would open here in 2008.[8]

Anchor stores


Indigo Books, Music, and Café at Yorkdale

Former anchors

  • Eaton's — Opened in 1964, the location was acquired by Sears Canada in 1999 after the decline and bankruptcy of the Eaton's company. The store was completely renovated in 2000, and reopened as part of Sears' upscale "Eaton's" experiment. Eaton's, however, proved to be unprofitable, and the store was once again closed in 2002. Sears itself temporarily occupied the location from 2002-03 while its current store was undergoing expansion. The space has since been renovated as a new mall corridor consisting of large multi-level stores such as Old Navy, Zara, H&M, Tommy Hilfiger, and Home Outfitters as sub-anchors, completed in 2005.
  • Simpson's — Opened in 1964. In 1978, Simpson's was acquired by the Hudson's Bay Company. The Yorkdale location continued to operate under the Simpson's name as an upscale brand of the Hudson's Bay Company. The upscale brand was unsuccessful and in 1991, the Yorkdale location as well as all other Simpson's stores were converted to the traditional Hudson's Bay department stores.
  • Dominion — A grocery store chain, operating under the Food Emporium banner. Holt Renfrew has occupied this space since the 1990s.
  • Famous Players — A six-screen theatre was located in the area west of the bus terminal and was demolished after the 'SilverCity' complex opened in 1999. Yorkdale originally housed a small two-screen theatre when the mall opened, which later expanded to three screens, and once again in 1986 to six screens. The original two-screen theatre, known as "Yorkdale Theatres", was the first dual auditorium facility of its kind in Canada when the mall first opened.[22]
  • Sears[21] — Was originally constructed for The Bay. When the Hudson's Bay Company merged Simpson's and The Bay, the Simpson's location was rebranded as the Bay and the Bay's store was sold to Sears. For a short period from 2002–03, the Sears store was located in the former Eaton's location as the current store was expanded and renovated. (190,000 sq ft./17,651.6 m2)[16] The store closed on March 9, 2014.[23]

Transportation access

Yorkdale is accessible by private automobile, rapid transit and commuter buses. Parking is free, and includes a total of 7,200 spaces. The spaces are a mixture of above-ground surface lot, an above-ground parking garage and an underground garage. The mall is located next to the interchange of Highway 401 and Allen Road, as well as the nearby Dufferin Street, and all three major routes have road connections dedicated to serving the mall. Yorkdale Road forms the perimeter of the north and east sides of the mall. The Yorkdale subway station on the Spadina line is located just east of the mall. An intercity bus terminal is located east of the mall. It is a terminus for GO Transit commuter buses. The transit facilities are connected to the mall by a pedestrian bridge.

See also


  1. ^ a b "AIMCo 2011 Annual Report".  
  2. ^ a b c d e Plummer, Kevin (February 25, 2012). "Historicist: Yorkdale Mall and the Aesthetics of Commerce". Retrieved 2014-06-06. 
  3. ^ Real Estate Weekly Newsletter
  4. ^ a b Flavelle, Dana (April 4, 2007). "Yorkdale attracts top U.S. retailer".  
  5. ^ a b c "Many happy returns", The Globe and Mail, Plan Electric Company did the major electrical work for the Centre including the Eaton's Store and numerous others under the direction of its president, Sid Cohen. February 21, 2004
  6. ^
  7. ^ Yorkdale is Changing it up!
  8. ^ a b "Presenting the 2007 MAXI Award Winners". International Council of Shopping Centers. Retrieved December 23, 2007. 
  9. ^ a b "Yorkdale Mall to add 40 stores, 800 parking spaces in $220M expansion".  
  10. ^
  11. ^ Sears Canada to close two, possibly three, Toronto area stores | Toronto Star. Toronto Star (June 14, 2013). Retrieved on July 26, 2013.
  12. ^ "One person dead after double-shooting at Yorkdale mall | Toronto Star". 2013-03-30. Retrieved 2013-10-30. 
  13. ^ "Yorkdale mall shooting sends man to hospital | Toronto Star". 2013-05-11. Retrieved 2013-10-30. 
  14. ^ Gerster, Jane (March 21, 2014). "Yorkdale Mall upgrades security in wake of shootings". Toronto Star. 
  15. ^ a b c d e f "Yorkdale Mall enlists Wayne Gretzky and the band Train to promote expansion".  
  16. ^ a b c d e f "Yorkdale Shopping Centre: Ground Level Floor Plan". Oxford Properties. Retrieved May 24, 2008. 
  17. ^ "Yorkdale welcomes Canada's first Crate and Barrel". Yorkdale Shopping Centre. Archived from the original on August 15, 2007. Retrieved January 2, 2008. 
  18. ^ "GEOX takes off in Canada by opening its first two Canadian stores".  
  19. ^ Patterson, Craig (25 October 2013). "White House Black Market opens first Canadian store". Retail Insider. Retrieved 6 July 2014. 
  20. ^ Patterson, Craig (2 January 2014). "Tumi to open 2nd Canadian store at West Edmonton Mall". Retail Insider. Retrieved 6 July 2014. 
  21. ^ a b c d "Yorkdale Shopping Centre: Building Facts". Oxford Properties. Retrieved January 26, 2008. 
  22. ^ "Yorkdale Shopping Centre General Info: History". Yorkdale Shopping Centre. Archived from the original on October 22, 2007. Retrieved February 25, 2008. 
  23. ^ Sears pulls out of up to 3 Toronto malls - Toronto - CBC News. (June 17, 2013). Retrieved on July 26, 2013.

External links

  • Official Yorkdale website
  • Yorkdale store directory
  • Oxford Properties Group

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