How CF Shops at Don Mills Reflects Leading Shopping Centre Trends

Date:

Share post:

Toronto’s CF Shops at Don Mills has created a unique and innovative shopping experience, reflecting the trend among top malls to increase food/beverage and entertainment components. What’s resulted is a unique outdoor community centre that has also seen a number of ‘firsts’ to its premises, including new retailers as well as the country’s first exclusively all VIP cinema by Cineplex. Landlord Cadillac Fairview is also investing heavily in enhancing the public realm, and a substantial amount of housing is also being added to the property through partner residential developers. 

The upscale Toronto property is addressing a shopping centre trend identified by many entities, including the International Council of Shopping Centres, by expanding offerings to include more than just stores. At one time in Canada, it was enough for a landlord to fill a mall with fashion and accessory tenants to attract shoppers and be successful. In a new age of e-commerce and the tendency for consumers to seek-out experiences, successful malls are increasingly adding entertainment and dining options to the mix that cannot be replicated online. 

PDF MALL DIRECTORY, PROVIDED BY CADILLAC FAIRVIEW.
CF Shops at Don Mills – Image Courtesy Cadillac Fairview

The open-air CF Shops at Don Mills opened in 2009, replacing a previous enclosed shopping centre on the site. The new centre quickly gained popularity among locals in adjacent neighbourhoods, which is significant — Cadillac Fairview has identified nearby residential areas to be among the wealthiest in Canada, with most boasting easy access to CF Shops at Don Mills. 

The centre has the reputation of attracting first-to-market retailers. Director of Leasing Nick Iozzo revealed that CF Shops at Don Mills saw the opening of sporting goods retailer Salomon‘s first store in North America in the spring of 2009, Anthropologie‘s first Canadian store (also in 2009), art photography retailer YellowKorner‘s first Canadian location, Mark McEwan‘s first grocery store (worth a visit), and online retailer Well.ca‘s first brick-and-mortar location. Frank + Oak‘s first shopping centre store opened at CF Shops at Don Mills several months ago, spearheading a partnership with Cadillac Fairview that will see the Montreal-based brand open in multiple centres across Canada. As well, Cineplex’s first stand-alone VIP cinema opened at the centre in August of 2014, and Vancouver-based restaurant chain Joey opened its first eastern Canadian location at the centre in early 2010. Mr. Iozzo said that there are more ‘firsts’ on the way for the centre, with several lease deals close to being finalized. 

Food and beverage is also an important component of the centre, Mr. Iozzo explained, with a substantial number of shoppers surveyed saying that they also came to the centre for a meal or drink. This is partly a result of the centre housing a number of popular restaurants, with the centre boasting one of the highest percentages of food retailers in any Canadian mall. Notable restaurant tenants include Taylor’s Landing, Bier Markt, Joey, Jack Astor’s, Mark McEwan’s Fabbrica, Glow Fresh Grill & Wine BarPanera Bread and others, primarily focused in part of the mall near the centre’s town square. 

CF Shops at Don Mills – Image Courtesy Cadillac Fairview

Entertainment will play a bigger role at the centre, said Mr. Iozzo, with several deals in the works and discussions underway. One concept is fitness-based, and another could see a hybrid of “food, fun and entertainment”.

Cadillac Fairview has earmarked over $20 million for continued improvements to the centre, which will include improved accessibility and wayfinding signage. An enhanced ‘Entertainment Zone’ along O’Neill Road (the outdoor centre has city-named streets) will also soon include widened sidewalks, widened patios, cobblestone paving and an overhead catenary lighting system. A second entertainment zone is being added to the junction of Leadley Lane and Karl Fraser Road, to continue to attract visitors. Parking improvements to the centre will include a 1,000 stall parkade accessed through a new pedestrian entry off of Karl Fraser Road, with several new tenants to line the pathway. New Illuminated digital signage will allow drivers to know how many of the 2,900 parking spots are available throughout the centre, for convenience. 

CF Shops at Don Mills – Image Courtesy Cadillac Fairview

Other improvements will include new street-scaping with widened sidewalks, upgraded furniture and seating areas, cobblestone roadways, outdoor sound system and landscaping along the walkways to introduce more green space. A new water feature at the central ‘Aggie Hogg Gardens’ will also welcome visitors when completed this fall. In the winter, patrons will be able to bring their ice skates to the centre’s skating oval, helping make the outdoor centre a year-round destination. 

Adding to the existing centre are a number of new condominium towers. The centre already features two residential buildings (‘Flaire‘, ‘Reflections‘ and ‘LivLofts‘) and soon, six more towers will join them under the ‘Rodeo Drive‘ name umbrella. When done, an estimated 4,500 residents will live in 2,800 residential units on the CF Shops at Don Mills site, adding a captive audience to an already successful shopping destination. 

CF Shops at Don Mills will continue to pull-in shoppers from an increasingly widening catchment area, which also includes a substantial number of corporate head offices. Within a two kilometre radius of the centre, head offices for Four Seasons Hotels, Home Depot Canada, Sony Music, McDonald’s Canada and Tesla Canada attract daytime visitors seeking out CF Shops at Don Mills’ fitness, food, services and fashions. 

*All images were supplied by Cadillac Fairview.

Craig Patterson
Craig Patterson
Located in Toronto, Craig is the Publisher & CEO of Retail Insider Media Ltd. He is also a retail analyst and consultant, Advisor at the University of Alberta School Centre for Cities and Communities in Edmonton, former lawyer and a public speaker. He has studied the Canadian retail landscape for over 25 years and he holds Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws Degrees.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

More From The Author

RECENT RETAIL INSIDER VIDEOS

Advertisment

Subscribe to the Newsletter

Subscribe

* indicates required

Related articles

Royalmount in Montreal Announces Major Retail Tenants and Food Hall Ahead of August 2024 Grand Opening [Interview]

The highly anticipated development will include a mix of luxury brands and other retailers, foodservice businesses, and entertainment unlike anything that Montreal has seen.

Home Société Group Expands Ontario Footprint with Opening of 1st Standalone MUST Stores in Toronto and Mississauga [Interview/Photos]

The Quebec-based home furnishings retailer says it plans to open stores across the country after launching its MUST nameplate in Ontario this month.

Lower Income Households in Canada Struggling to Afford Groceries Despite Increased Trudeau Government Spending [Op-ed]

Sylvain Charlebois discusses a concerning trend showing lower-income Canadians are going hungry as food prices rise.

Apple and Alo Yoga to Open Flagship Stores at Ste-Catherine and De la Montagne Intersection in Montreal 

The brands will anchor a key corner in the downtown core that is also anchored by Holt Renfrew Ogilvy, spelling confidence in downtown ahead of the opening of Royalmount in August. 

Anatomy of a Leader: Shashi Behl, Founder of Joydrop

She discusses her career as an entrepreneur over the years, and how she founded the unique jewellery brand Joydrop which has seen commercial success.

Canadian Consumer Report by Adyen Reveals Key Insights on Shopping Trends, Payment Preferences, and Technological Advancements [Interview/Feature]

With trends like buy now, pay later options, demand for faster checkouts, and the influence of social media on purchasing, retailers must adapt to meet evolving consumer expectations says the study.

SUKOSHI MART Opens Its Largest Store Yet, Elevating the Asian Beauty and Lifestyle Shopping Experience

The Asian beauty and lifestyle retailer has been expanding across Ontario, and has entered the Ottawa market with its first store.

Toronto-Based Brasa Peruvian Kitchen Targets New York City as it Plans Canadian and US Expansion

The concept began in 2021 as a ghost kitchen, followed by physical locations. The now popular chain is planning to open about 100 locations on the continent.

Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto Blows Other Canadian Malls Out of the Water in ICSC Productivity Rankings 

The centre is nearly $1,000 higher than the next shopping centre ranked in terms of sales per square foot, with a VP attributing it to the mall’s location, tenant mix and overall operations. 

Calgary Retail Leasing Market Thrives Amid High Demand and Diminishing Supply: JLL Report

Population growth and a positive outlook for the oil industry are supporting long-term prospects, according to the report.

Spanish Luxury Brand Loewe Enters Canada with 1st Standalone Store at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre [Photos] 

The brand entered Canada through Nordstrom several years ago, and is now expanding in a big way with its first flagship storefront carrying Loewe’s entire product assortment. 

Upscale Vancouver-Based Sushi Restaurant Chain ‘Hello Nori’ Unveils Ambitious Global Expansion Plans [Interview]

The company has plans on expanding throughout Canada and into global markets with its popular hand-rolled sushi in elevated dining spaces.