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.
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 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.
The tour begins at Entrance 2 of Oshawa Centre near the mall’s normally busy Tim Hortons location.
A large Aritzia store spanning 5,684 square feet is located across form the mall’s Uniqlo location.
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.
The crowds were thick before Christmas Day at Oshawa Centre, including in front of the popular Lululemon store.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.