BRIEF: Kimberlite Diamonds Opening 1st Store, Danier Opens Flagship, Hermès Ready for Vancouver Construction

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By Helen Siwak, Retail Insider Brief Editor

Danier Leather Continues Canadian Store Expansion with 2nd Downtown Toronto Store at CF Toronto Eaton Centre: After seeking credit protection in February 2016 and closing 76+ stores that were in operation, Canadian fashion brand Danier Leather was purchased and quickly relaunched in the fall of that year. With the first location, under the new owners that opened in Oshawa Centre, the company proceeded to launch eight more Ontario locations in quick succession in Ontario and Manitoba. Store number nine has opened at CF Toronto Eaton Centre with on Level 2 between Thomas Sabo and Uno de 50, and across from Free People and M Boutique, in a retail space that formerly housed multi-brand pop-up concept ‘HiO’. 

The CF Toronto Eaton Centre Danier spans about 2,400-square-ffeet, making it the largest store in the company to date. It’s also the second downtown Toronto location for Danier, after it opened a unit last year in the city’s Financial District. Retail Insider will be featuring a more in-depth story on Danier’s progression as the revived brand continues to expand with a mix of leather goods and fashions. Opening at CF Toronto Eaton Centre is a smart move in terms of exposure — the shopping centre is the busiest in North America with more than 50-million annual visitors, and it’s also one of Canada’s most productive centres in terms of sales per square foot

Danier continues to work with David George of brokerage NorthWest Atlantic to secure new locations, ideally in the 1,500-square-foot to 2,000-square-foot range, located in major shopping centres and outlet centres. 

Granville Street location (via Twitter)Granville Street location (via Twitter)

Granville Street location (via Twitter)

Kimberlite Diamonds Launching with ‘Go Big or Go Home’ Philosophy of Bling: Launched in 1996, China’s Kimberlite Diamonds is opening its’ first North American flagship at 2828 Granville Street on Friday, July 6th. The 2,012-square-foot space on South Granville was formerly occupied by Rogers Cellular and is next door to M.J. Jewellers, who have been creating custom jewelry for over 30 years at their location.

CEO Kellan Dong will be on hand to welcome VIP invitation-only guests to view ‘The Moon Goddess’ haute masterpiece necklace with a 25.05-carat main moon-shape diamond with a total weight of 108 carats.

Chief Designer Zhu Wenjun will attend and present live art of her signature masterpieces. Kimberlite’s pieces are structurally different from traditional diamond pieces in that they are organic in shape and tend to be larger, contouring the neck, shoulder, and décolleté.

At a jewelry show in May at Shanghai’s Oriental Pearl Tower, Kimberlite presented 100 pieces of high-end jewelry on 100 models, in 100 luxurious evening gowns, with 100 singers and 100 dancers. This company defines ‘go big or go home!’ philosophy of bling.

Kimberlite Diamonds is one of China’s top five jewelry brands and is known for their curated classic and contemporary brand jewelry collections. According to their website, the company has 700 locations in China.

Vancouver-based Cutler designed the new store, and Peregrine is creating many of the fixtures. We look forward to seeing the finished product.  


Art Deco Flagship Property Opportunity in Montreal, QC: Sometimes a building comes along with so much character and presence that you cannot help but get excited about.  I am speaking of 1181 Sainte-Catherine Street West in Montreal, QC. This magnificent property was built in the 1920s but was recently upgraded to the highest standards, offering both old-school charm and modern amenities.

This 14,076-square-foot leasing opportunity is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful spaces on Sainte-Catherine Street and is ideally situated in the heart of Montreal’s most vibrant destination. The street is home to all the major retailers, as well as the finest restaurants. 

The property was purchased by Maurice Fefer in 1978 and recently completed a major $1.5-million renovation of the premises, with upgrades both inside and out. From the street, 1181 Sainte-Catherine stands out as a stylish art deco building with architectural details and abundant windows. Inside, the space is infused with natural light and double-high ceilings. The premises is column-free for the first 100-feet and offers 19-foot clearance at the mezzanine. It’s the perfect backdrop for a marquee brand or company looking to make a statement.

The 15,700-square-footage breakdown:

  • Ground Floor: 4,488-square-feet,

  • Mezzanine: -850-square-feet,

  • 2nd Floor: 4,468-square-feet,

  • 3rd Floor: $1,573-square-feet, and

  • Basement: 4,320-square-feet.

This flagship opportunity stands out and is sure to be of interest to brokers and prospective tenants seeking a high profile and a very high-traffic location with fabulous co-tenants, including Victoria’s Secret, Browns Shoes, Claires, BMO and more.

Sainte-Catherine Street West is a shopping destination known around the world, and this stunning property will put the right brand on the map. For leasing information, contact Tony Flanz at the Think Retail Team.

Future Hermès flagship at 701 Burrard Street in Vancouver. Photo: 'Granville Street' via TwitterFuture Hermès flagship at 701 Burrard Street in Vancouver. Photo: 'Granville Street' via Twitter

Future Hermès flagship at 701 Burrard Street in Vancouver. Photo: ‘Granville Street’ via Twitter

Hermès Prepares to Commence Construction of Vancouver Flagship: French luxury brand Hermès is expanding its Canadian operations. Last November, it opened a spectacular two-level flagship at 100 Bloor Street West in Toronto, with more than 6,000-square-feet of retail space in a leased space spanning nearly 13,000-square-feet. 

Vancouver certainly will not be left out, as Hermès prepares to start construction on a two-level flagship that will anchor the southwest corner of West Georgia Street and Burrard Street in the city’s ‘Luxury Zone’. Hermès will replace several retail spaces, including a Bell Mobility retailer, Montblanc, the Chevalier men’s store and the Suki’s hair salon upstairs which ended up securing a new space in the same building. 

Hermès’ Canadian President, Jennifer Carter, was said to have been recently staying at the Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Vancouver (which will be closing in January of 2020) to finalize some details on the new space, which is expected to feature a magnificent facade and interior. And next to the new store on West Georgia Street, as well, will be a ‘real estate trade’ of sorts — Starbucks and Birks-owned jewellery retailer Brinkhaus are said to be trading places with new stores, giving Brinkhaus the closer space to the massive new Hermès, which will feature about 100-feet of street frontage along West Georgia Street, as well as an additional 35-feet along Burrard Street just north of Tiffany & Co.’s recently expanded flagship

Muskoka Inspires Mindham Fine Jewelry to Build a Jewel Cabin: Myles Mindham, designer and founder of Toronto jewelry studio Mindham Fine Jewellery, and long-time summer resident of Muskoka, ON, is launching the Jewel Cabin in the heart of Port Carling. Known for his Toronto atelier with more than 25 years in business, the designer has a high recognition level for his exquisite work in multiple themes, including Hardwear, Genesis, Love Links, and Magical Woodlands.

The Jewel Cabin will feature collections created exclusively with Muskoka in mind, ranging in price from $200 to $5,000. In addition, outside brands such as Verdura, the legendary New York City jewelry house, luxury timepieces from Franck Mueller, and Gold and diamond designs by Heather Hogarth, of HH Designs, will be stocked. Clients will also have access to repair services.

The Jewel Cabin will be located at 99 Maple Street and will cater to summer vacationers who flock to Canada’s most admired lakeside destination.


Judith & Charles Hitting-Up Halifax in Their Canada-wide Expansion: With an anticipated launch in September 2018, the new store at 5421 Spring Garden Road in Halifax will see Judith & Charles continue their brand expansion into Atlantic Canada.

The 1,176-square-foot upscale store will adhere to the brand’s “less is more” aesthetic and showcase clean lines, matt marble floors, curated lighting, and a neutral palette. Art and ideas are engrained in the philosophy of Judith & Charles, with each store exhibiting works by Canadian artists. The store’s first official exhibition will feature the work of Montreal-based artist, David Umemoto.

Having recently opened on Granville Street in Vancouver as well as a flagship in downtown Montreal, Judith & Charles are known for providing a retail experience that embodies their time-honoured vow to offer women style and comfort they can count on season after season. There is no kowtowing to trends at Judith & Charles. The designs are sophisticated yet comfortable and suitable for business and easily transitioned to dress casual with a bit of accessory styling.

Street-front retail is a new focus for Judith & Charles, which until 2014 operated stores exclusively within malls. In the spring of that year, Judith & Charles opened a store at 2207 West 4th Avenue in Vancouver’s Kitsilano area, and the retailer has been steadily moving ahead ever since.  

Blubird Flies Down Alberni and Lands in Strellson’s Former Nest: Blubird, a curated luxury contemporary fashion boutique specializing in women’s wear launched a new 2,200-square-foot flagship boutique one block west of their flagship location at 1108 Alberni Street in downtown Vancouver. The official grand-opening last week was wall-to-wall with customers, bloggers, and fashionista galore.

Blubird joins the expanding hub of upscale shopping in downtown Vancouver at the western end of Vancouver’s ‘Luxury Zone’ across the street from the Shangri-La Hotel and around the corner from Versace and Saint Laurent.

Blubird’s owner, Vestis Fashion Group, is led by Founder and President, Catherine Guadagnuolo, who felt that it was time to rebrand and relocate after 10 years. Blubirds’ clientele had matured in the past decade from Juicy Couture to Red Valentino, and were demanding higher quality garments and in-store experiences.

The family-owned boutique, stocks designers and labels from fashion capitals around the world including Milan, Paris, New York and LA, many of which are unique and exclusive to the Vancouver stores. Each season, Blubird buyers travel the world sourcing the hautest new looks.

Formerly occupied by Strellson men’s wear, the new Blubird location has floor to ceiling glass windows, high ceilings, modern decor, and design.

Vestis Fashion Group Inc. is a Vancouver-based, family-owned, luxury brand retail company founded in 1985. Brands under the Vestis umbrella are Granville Street’s Max MaraWeekend Max Mara in Oakridge CentrePomellato in CF Pacific Centre, and Blubird. 

The 745 Thurlow Street building where Blubird is now located is owned by bcIMC and is managed by QuadReal —  Larissa Jacobson negotiated on behalf of the landlord. CBRE’s Martin Moriarty and Mario Negris coordinated on behalf of the tenant. 

Many of the fixtures in the new store were manufactured by Vancouver-based Peregrine, which has worked with some of the country’s leading retailers and restaurants. [See Peregrine’s ‘Cool Project’ page for Blubird]

PHoto via CostarPHoto via Costar

PHoto via Costar

Remenyi House of Music in Toronto to Close? According to a report in Costar, Remenyi House of Music recently sold its iconic 18,873-square-foot building at 210 Bloor Street West, located a few steps away from the prestigious retail strip on the other side of Avenue Road. Costar reports that the purchase price was about $25-million, which positions the site for potential redevelopment. The retailer has occupied the well-located space since 1979, which faces the University of Toronto and Royal Ontario Museum.  

Toronto’s land prices have been escalating for some time, and at $250/buildable square foot, buyer Tribute Communities might expect to construct a tower spanning about 100,000-square-feet. Given the size of the site, that could result in a building as tall as 25-30 floors, though this is more speculation at this time. A tower here would be less than 40-feet in width, though the location warrants some impressive density to take advantage of the views. 

Noah Schwartz of Lennard Commercial Realty is said to have listed the space. 


Helen Siwak is the publisher of Magazine, a freelance content creator specializing in retail and luxury lifestyle. She is a regular content contributor to Boulevard Vancouver (English & Chinese), Retail-InsiderBLUSH Vancouver, and has lifestyle blogged for StyleDemocracy and Daily Hive. When not writing, she is attending fashion events, traveling, and advocating for animal/human rights.

Article Author

Helen Siwak
Helen Siwak is the founder of EcoLuxLuv Communications, publisher of Folio.YVR Luxury Lifestyle Magazine, and specializes in the Luxury Lifestyle niche. She is the West Coast Correspondent for Retail-Insider and has a vast freelance portfolio including Montecristo Magazine, Boulevard English & Chinese editions, and Indulge.

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