The Upper Canada Mall, in Newmarket, Ontario, keeps adding new retailers to service the growing population in the area.
Following the addition of Structube, the shopping centre is gearing up to add a new LCBO store and Winners by the end of this year as well as opening an expanded Aritzia store at the beginning of 2023.
“Upper Canada Mall is looking forward to meeting the needs of our rapidly growing community by welcoming an array of new and exciting retailers in the coming months,” said Leah Walker, General Manager, Upper Canada Mall. “Together with our new retailer Structube, which opened earlier this year, we will be able to provide access to multiple categories connecting our shoppers with a well-rounded retail experience.”
The new LCBO store will be 10,262 square feet and Winners will be 43,287 square feet. The Aritzia store is expanding from its current 4,035 square feet to 15,755 square feet and also adding its A-OK Cafe concept to the store.
“A few of these new Aritzia flagships have an actual cafe that is operated within the store in order to elevate the shopping experience. It’s a part of the Aritzia family but it’s almost a shop-in-shop type of experience where they have a storefront which can operate on its own but also you can walk into the store from their cafe,” said Walker.
“The addition of LCBO, Winners and the expansion of Aritzia is going to drive additional traffic of course and will have a significant, positive impact to the property. We anticipate that we’re going to add over a million new shoppers to the centre. But in addition, and more importantly, from the guest experience when they’re coming to the centre, they’re really looking to have a lot of these brands closer to home. And we’re really bringing that experience to the shopping centre so they can have that.
“Upper Canada is a one-stop for our community. You can come here and you’ve got access to so many different brands and it’s what the customers are asking for. When we look at our market requests, and we have conversations with the customers on the brands they want at Upper Canada, the Winners banner has been one for years they’ve been requesting and we’ve been able to bring that to our customers.”
The expanded Aritzia is also meeting consumer demand and the presence of an LCBO store within a shopping centre is unique.
The mall, which has been around for almost 50 years, is 996,183 square feet and encompasses 210 stores, including a large collection of fashion, lifestyle and food labels and brands – the finest in home decor and technology. It includes Apple, Michael Kors, Zara, Aritzia, Uniqlo, Market & Co. (food market), and a newly renovated Sport Chek. In Fall 2018, Upper Canada introduced Market & Co., Canada’s first food market concept within a shopping centre environment. The 40,000-square-foot immersive space features an assortment of fresh foods and take-away options, two full-service restaurants, and Kitchen & Co., a state-of-the-art demonstration kitchen that hosts events, cooking classes, activations and pop-ups.
Upper Canada Mall is co-owned by Oxford Properties and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and managed by Oxford Properties Group. Oxford is owned by OMERS, the defined benefit pension plan for Ontario’s municipal employees.
“We have been very successful in maintaining and attracting new tenancies even during the COVID experience. We have very low vacancy at this point. When you walk within the shopping centre, every single storefront is animated. So our leasing team has been working together either to bring a short-term experience in to ensure that when the customer comes they have access to a new shopping experience that they didn’t have before because it’s a new brand that hasn’t been at the shopping centre or even during the COVID experience we have been expanding the different stores that are already in place, bringing in new tenancies,” said Walker.
“So overall it’s a very, very vibrant shopping experience when you come into the shopping centre.”
The mall has also just opened Envy + Grace, a womenswear retailer, also clothing store Pseudio is opening soon. The Laura store relocated recently to provide space for Envy + Grace and also aligned Laura in an area that is high traffic and in front of a court.
“We’re realigning our current tenancies to make sure that it makes sense for their brands and also bringing in some new players as well,” added Walker.
“We have some new food uses as well. When customers are coming to Upper Canada Mall, they’re really looking for the whole experience. We have a new tenant within Market & Co. called Mango Like Desserts and we also have Saint Germain opening in the Fall.”
Walker said the York Region, where Upper Canada Mall is located, has been identified as the fastest growing municipality in Ontario.
“We’re currently at a population of 1.3 million in our neighbourhood and that’s anticipated to sit at two million by 2051. As Oxford is looking at what our offerings are at Upper Canada, we’re keeping all of that in mind as we continue to grow and serve the community around us and what they’re asking for,” she said.
“When we’re looking at what the consumer is asking for, you have a lot of transplants from the downtown urban core coming up to us and saying ‘I still want that same experience that I had when I was downtown but I don’t want to go downtown’. That’s really the crux behind what Oxford is doing and what the brands are that we’re looking at when we grow our offerings here at Upper Canada.”