Retail Photo Tour: Oshawa Centre in Oshawa Ontario During COVID-19

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Retail Insider continues its Photo Tour series of Canadian malls to provide a window into shopping centres which may be less frequented lately due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This edition takes us to the Oshawa Centre, the largest mall in Durham Region and the largest in Ontario east of Toronto with 215+ retail stores and public services.

History of Oshawa Centre

Oshawa Centre opened in 1956 as a shopping plaza before being enclosed in 1968. In 2016, Ivanhoe Cambridge opened a $230 million renovated and expanded wing of the mall, which added 60 stores to the mall footprint.

There’s a future expansion coming, but our goal is to share a current walk through of a December 2020 tour during the COVID19 pandemic.

Google Map of Oshawa from Toronto with Oshawa Centre Highlighted

Above: A map showing the location of Oshawa Centre, which is the largest shopping centre between Scarborough Town Centre to the west and CF Rideau Centre way over in Ottawa.

Oshawa Centre Leasing Map (Level 1) November 2020 Ivanhoé Cambridge
Oshawa Centre Leasing Map (Level 2) November 2020 Ivanhoé Cambridge

Oshawa Centre is going through a construction phase, which will provide additional brands, services, and customer experiences to enhance the shopping enjoyment. In 2017, the second phase of construction started, with an additional 60,000 square feet of redeveloped space including the old food court area and adding new stores.

December 2020 Walk-Through

Friend of Retail Insider, Norman Katz of Maple Leaf Displays, had an opportunity to stop into Oshawa Centre mid-December 2020 in order to share the sights of what the mall looks like during the COVID19 pandemic. The mall was remarkably busy, as explained in the Toronto Star on Sunday: “Oshawa Centre has perhaps never seen so many Toronto shoppers as it did in the week before Christmas, when 13,409 Torontonians descended on the mall — a 155 percent increase compared to the same week last year”.

We want to provide historical context to these images, as they were taken prior to an upcoming 28-day lockdown in the province of Ontario beginning December 26. In a traditionally busy holiday season, you’re going to see social distancing and masks.

Oshawa Centre Entrance Two. Photo: Norman Katz/Maple Leaf Displays

The tour begins at Entrance 2 of Oshawa Centre near the mall’s normally busy Tim Hortons location.

A large Aritzia store at Oshawa Centre. Photo: Norman Katz/Maple Leaf Displays

A large Aritzia store spanning 5,684 square feet is located across form the mall’s Uniqlo location.

UNIQLO Oshawa Centre. Photo: Norman Katz/Maple Leaf Displays

We reported on the UNIQLO opening back in 2019, which added a 12,200-square-foot location to the centre in between Zara and Victoria’s Secret.

Lululemon. Photo: Norman Katz/Maple Leaf Displays

The crowds were thick before Christmas Day at Oshawa Centre, including in front of the popular Lululemon store.

Zara. Photo: Norman Katz/Maple Leaf Displays

Zara operates a 26,350-square-foot one level store in the mall featuring a whopping 440 feet of mall frontage on three sides, the most of any Zara store in Canada.

Danier and Browns Shoes. Photo: Norman Katz/Maple Leaf Displays

Danier leather, which was relaunched in 2016 under new ownership, continues to operate a handful of stores across Canada including the Oshawa Centre location. Iconic Montreal-based Browns Shoes, which has stores across the country under the Browns, B2 and Browns Outlet banners, also has an attractive store in the mall.

Bonlook. Photo: Norman Katz/Maple Leaf Displays

Montreal-based optical retailer BonLook has been opening stores across Canada over the past several years. The value-priced retailer is competing against other national and international chains that are also offering prices lower than we’ve seen in years past amid disruption.

Garage, Torrid, Guess, Champs. Photo: Norman Katz/Maple Leaf Displays

More retailers at Oshawa Centre include Dynamite-owned Garage (which filed for creditor protection last year), women’s plus-sized retailer Torrid, Guess, and Champs Sports.

Food Court at Oshawa Centre. Photo: Norman Katz/Maple Leaf Displays

The mall’s attractive food court, which was updated during the mall’s multi-million dollar renovation, was quiet amid restrictions prior to the full lockdown of Durham on December 26.

NYX Cosmetics. Photo: Norman Katz/Maple Leaf Displays

The NYX Cosmetics brand announced in November 2020 that they would be pulling out of Canada. Reitmans, located next to it, is also undergoing a restructuring amid challenging times.

Hot Topic, Call it Spring. Photo: Norman Katz/Maple Leaf Displays
WLKN and Journeys. Photo: Norman Katz/Maple Leaf Displays

Montreal-based youthful fashion retailer WLKN has a store at Oshawa Centre. The company has six stores including Oshawa Centre, Vaughan Mills near Toronto, Upper Canada Mall in Newmarket north of Toronto, CF Carrefour Laval near Montreal, Promenades Gatineau near Ottawa, and Carrefour de l’Estrie in Sherbrooke Quebec.

Photo: Norman Katz/Maple Leaf Displays
Photo: Norman Katz/Maple Leaf Displays

We had a very interesting photo walk around the Oshawa Centre, and we hope you enjoyed coming along with us. Don’t forget to check out the other in-depth photo tours that came out at the end of 2020.

Dustin Fuhs
Dustin Fuhs
Dustin Fuhs is the Editor-in-Chief of Retail Insider, Canada's most read retail trade publication. He has over 20 years experience in the retail, marketing, entertainment and hospitality industries. He has worked with Retail Insider since October 2020 in a number of roles, including associate publisher of the Retail Insider magazine. Dustin was named as Editor-in-Chief of Retail Insider in 2022. Dustin was named as a RETHINK Retail Top Retail Expert in 2024.

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