The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has presented a challenging time for the retail sector in Canada but for the Hillside Centre in Victoria it’s also been an exciting time as the popular shopping centre has welcomed several new retailers and will be introducing two retail giants in the near future.
Kerry Shular, the Centre’s General Manager, said the high profile additions will include a 150,000-square-foot Walmart as well as a 15,000-square-foot Dollarama.
“We have quite a few new retailers actually. The last year and a bit has been pretty exciting for Hillside shopping centre. Like everyone we lost the Sears when they went bankrupt, and since then we have procured a new Walmart for Hillside Centre which is currently under construction. It will open in May of 2022. So that’s very exciting for us,” she said.
“We’ll also be welcoming a new 15,000-square-foot Dollarama within Hillside and that will open in the Spring of 2022. In the last year, we’ve welcomed a number of smaller retailers including an amazing independent BC store called BC Shaver + Hobbies.”
Shular said having Walmart and Dollarama as part of the mall’s offering is going to be a huge draw for the property.
“We know that the Walmart at the Uptown shopping centre in Victoria is in the top 10 in Canada in terms of performance for them. We also know that it’s wholly hated for its parking. When they come to Hillside, you can pretty much drive right up to the front door. I think it’s going to be huge for Hillside and for the neighbourhood and for our customers.”
The Centre, which opened in 1969, is close to 590,000 square feet at the corner of Shelbourne Street and Hillside Avenue. It has about 110 shops and services including Marshalls, SportChek/Atmosphere, Canadian Tire, Shoppers Drug Mart, Thrifty Foods and Bolen Books. The property is owned by the BentallGreenOak Prime Canadian Property Fund.
It also has a 600-seat food court.
The shopping centre is primarily on one level but a newer section was added in 2013 that is two levels on the south end of the property encompassing a two-level Marshalls and a two-level Sport/Chek on that end.
The first OceanWall in Canada, a 12’ x 7’ screen, is located in the upper food court. It offers amazing footage of the Salish Sea with all its incredible inhabitants including orcas, humpbacks, and harbour seals.
Other new retailers recently added to the mall include Local Pizza, Noodle Fans, CinnZeo, Out of Bounds, Ronsons. TELUS has also done a major expansion by doubling the size of its location.
“Like any other shopping centre, we were closed for a period of time. Not completely closed. The mall never closed but most of the retailers closed between March and May of 2020 and we’ve seen a slow recovery since then,” said Shular. “I would say that now our traffic is equal to or very close to what it was pre-COVID and depending on the retailer what you do and how you do it some have fully recovered and some are still in recovery mode. But Hillside has actually fared better than most retail centres I would say.
“We have one of the largest Canadian Tires in Western Canada and again he’s generally in the top 10 in terms of performance across Canada. We’ve got a really good Shoppers Drug Mart. We don’t see their numbers but my understanding is that he’s very happy. Thrifty Foods has just completed a major renovation of their store. It’s like walking into a brand new store.
“With the addition of Walmart and Dollarama and the smaller retailers, we hope that it’s very well positioned for continued growth into the future and we’re pretty happy with where we are.”