As part of our ongoing Photo Tour series, Retail Insider visited Metropolis at Metrotown in the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby, British Columbia, to provide an inside view of the shopping centre with retail insights leading up to the Christmas holiday season.
Owned by Ivanhoé Cambridge, the property is located in the “Metrotown” community and features a retail shopping centre and is accompanied by two Metrotowers office buildings. Metrotown is well-connected to the public transit system with a Translink Metrotown Skytrain station as well as a 24-hour bus loop.
History of Metropolis at Metrotown
For a bit of history on the shopping centre, the core “Metrotown Centre” opened in 1986 on land which previously was a Ford Canada factory and has seen several renovations, including a new wing featuring Hudson’s Bay in 1992.
The “Eaton Centre Metrotown” and “Station Square” shopping centres were built adjacent to “Metrotown Centre” over the years; however, a megamall expansion project in 2005 merged two shopping centres and demolished “Station Square” in 2013 for mixed-use high-rise complexes.
To separate the shopping centre into manageable pieces, we’ll cover the center into four quadrants for each floor. Based on the map above, the quadrants break down to:
- Lower left
- Upper left
- Right/Hudson Bay
Lower Level ‘Lower Left’ Zone Tour at Metrotown
Our photo tour begins at the ‘lower left’ quadrant which is accessed from the ‘back side’ of Metrotown and is the typical access point when arriving from the Metrotown Skytrain station which runs along Central Boulevard. The ‘front face’ of Metrotown on the other side of the shopping centre has ample surface parking facing the main traffic through-fare of Kingsway.
The first, ‘lower left’ quadrant of the Metrotown lower floor is circled in red above. It has a main anchor of FGL Sports-owned Sport Chek which opened in December 2014. A selection of other retailers on our tour which call this area home include:
- Urban Behavior
- Aldo Shoes (related articles include questioning the retailer’s future in ‘Canadian Footwear Retailer ALDO Files for and Obtains Creditor Protection‘)
- Roots (related articles include following the retailer’s multi-year, global expansion in 2019) and
- Nike Store (related articles include Nike to Open Massive Flagship at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre).
Tour of ‘Atrium Court’ at Metrotown
On the border between the zones of our tour, the “Atrium Court” delineates between our ‘lower left’ and ‘upper left’ tour areas. The notable Metrotown retailers which encircle the atrium include:
- Purdy’s Chocolates,
- Samsung (This is the first Canadian retail store for Samsung which opened in the spring of 2012)
- Kiehl’s (related articles include Kiehl’s Canadian Growth Plans for 2017)
- Lush (related articles include the unveiling of the Lush Vancouver downtown flagship in 2017 and the recent COVID reopening plans following a ‘People First’ phased approach) and
- Coach (related articles include revealing Coach ‘Next Generation’ flagships in 2015).
Lower Level ‘Upper Left’ Zone Tour at Metrotown
Continuing the photo tour northward, the ‘upper left’ quadrant of the ground level is anchored by the Real Canadian Superstore and Indigo Books. Other Metrotown retailers within this area include:
- Bentley Leathers (related articles include revealing the launch of a new store concept in October 2019 followed swiftly by announcing restructuring and store closures a month later). and
- Club Monaco (related articles include opening a new store at CF Carrefour Laval in December 2020).
Lower Level ‘Core/Centre’ Zone Tour at Metrotown
Moving our tour into the third section of the Metrotown lower level, the ‘core/centre’ quadrant is densely packed with numerous domestic and international retailers, including:
- Michael Kors (recent articles include unveiling the Yorkdale Flagship in Toronto in December 2018 and opening a massive 3-Level flagship in Montreal in November 2019)
- Arc’teryx (recent articles include Arc’teryx CEO urging apparel industry not to push garment workers overboard in December 2020)
- Little Mountain
- Banana Republic (recent articles include the shuttering of its store at 80 Bloor Street West in Toronto in October 2020 which had operated at that location since 1995)
- Uniqlo: This is the first Uniqlo location in the greater Vancouver area and opened in October 2017.
- Urban Planet (recent articles include parent-company conglomerate YM Inc. scooping up many of the leases from recently departed Forever 21 for Urban Planet and West49 locations)
- Reitman’s (recent articles include Reitman’s obtaining bankruptcy protection in May 2020 followed by Reitman’s permanently shutting all 131 Addition Elle and Thyme Maternity storefronts amid restructuring in June 2020) and
- Walmart is located in the former Target location which Walmart Canada announced taking over the location in June 2018.
Lower Level ‘Right/HBC’ Zone Tour at Metrotown
The final area on the tour of the lower, ground level is the right side of the map which is anchored by department store retailer Hudson’s Bay. Other retailers residing in this area include:
- Steve Madden (related articles include launching a new concept store called Shoo in Canada in 2015)
- Change Lingerie: This location is 1,045 square feet and was opened in 2018
- Oak + Fort (recent articles include a product line expansion as its store network grew in May 2019)
- MUJI Canada: Metrotown is MUJI’s fifth Canadian location and first location in western Canada which opened in August 2017 and was expanded from a 7,770 square foot store and will grow to an impressive 12,305 square feet in 2018
- Uncle Tetsu.
Completing all four areas of the lower, ground level at Metrotown at the Hudson’s Bay, the retailer spans both the lower and upper levels. Much of the shopping centre has the open atrium spanning the length of each quadrant.
Upper Level Food Court at Metrotown
Moving up to Metrotown’s upper level, it follows the same footprint noted as the tour visited the lower level. Some of the main anchor tenants stretch both floors, including the Hudson’s Bay department store. The upper level wing next to Hudson’s Bay hosts a food court which was part of the megamall expansion project in 2005.
Upper Level ‘Centre/Core’ Zone Tour at Metrotown
After walking from Hudson’s Bay and across the glass bridge through the centre of the Metrotown food court, the photo tour arrives at the ‘centre/core’ section of the shopping centre. This section on the upper level mirrors the density on the lower level below, including:
- Mountain Warehouse (related articles include Mountain Warehouse continued expansion plans in Canada announced in January 2014)
- Little Burgundy
- Swarovski (related articles include continued expansion plans in Canada announced in January 2018 and the opening of its first Canadian Crystal Studio retail location at CF Sherway Gardens in Toronto in October 2020)
- Saje Natural Wellness
- Lululemon (related articles include the overhaul to its 1st Store in 2017 and the opening of its first menswear location in December 2016
- Kate Spade (related articles include continued expansion plans in Canada announced in March 2016)
- Aritzia (related articles include photos/videos of the re-opening of the Toronto/Mink Mile flagship in February 2019)
- Apple (related articles include the opening of the CF Toronto Eaton Centre in its new location in December 2019)
- Armani Exchange
- Boys’ Co. (related articles include Boys’Co relocating Vancouver flagship from downtown Vancouver to Coquitlam in July 2018)
- Sephora (related articles include Sephora opening largest Canadian location in Vancouver in November 2014)
- Dynamite and Garage (related articles include Groupe Dynamite Files for and Obtains Creditor Protection Amid Pandemic Struggles in September 2020)
- Aldo (related articles include questioning the retailer’s future in ‘Canadian Footwear Retailer ALDO Files for and Obtains Creditor Protection‘) and
- L’Occitane En Provence (related articles include unveiling a first-of-its-kind digital experience flagship in Toronto in December 2017).
Upper Level ‘Upper Left’ Zone Tour at Metrotown
The second-last stop on the photo tour is the ‘upper left’ quadrant on the Metrotown upper floor, which is anchored by Winners/Homesense and Old Navy. Other retailers in this quadrant include:
- Old Navy and The Gap (related articles include Gap Canada Donates Over $3 Million of New Clothing to Canadians in Need in July 2020)
- Carter’s OshKosh
- Fresh Slice Pizza
- Rocky Mountain Soap (related articles include a retail expansion announced in July 2017)
- Pandora (related articles include Pandora Jewellery Launches First-in-Canada Concept Store in Montreal in July 2020)
- Plenty (related articles include opening its first store outside of BC in August 2013)
- OOMOMO (related articles include announcing a Canadian expansion in April 2018)
- Montecristo Jewellers and
- Weekend By Max Mara (related articles include the downtown Vancouver ‘Max Mara’ relocation in January 2020).
Upper Level ‘Lower Left’ Zone Tour at Metrotown
The final area on Metrotown’s upper floor is the “lower left” quadrant above where the tour began. The major anchor tenant for the area will be Zara (construction signage shown below) with other retailers including:
- MAC Cosmetics (related articles include MAC Cosmetics Continues Expansion, Opens 100th Canadian Store in June 2016)
- Colton’s Couture: This location featured in a Retail Insider Brief when it opened in January 2018 becoming the retailer’s third store
- RW&Co (related articles include Reitmans President Discusses Diversity Campaign & Company’s Restructuring Post-Filing in August 2020)
- Indochino (related articles include launching virtual consultations during the COVID-19 pandemic in May 2020)
- Tommy Hilfiger
- Hot Topic
- Ever New and
- Jack & Jones.
Zara is expanding in the mall to encompass about 40,000 square feet over two levels. It will be certainly one of the largest Zara stores in Canada when it opens next year.
We had a very interesting photo walk around Metropolis at Metrotown, and we hope you enjoyed coming along with us. Don’t forget to check out the Yorkville photo tour in Toronto that came out earlier this month.