Canadian Tire Expanding Large Format ‘Remarkable Retail’ Store Concept as it Marks 100 Years [Interview]


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Retail giant Canadian Tire, celebrating its 100th birthday this year, is launching two new stores under its Remarkable Retail concept.

The stores in Ottawa and Welland are each over 100,000 square feet and part of the company’s Better Connected Strategy – a $3.4 billion, multi-year strategic investment to create better omnichannel customer experiences.

The Carlingwood store in Ottawa, at 135,000 retail square feet and the largest Canadian Tire store in Canada, opened September 15. It was a relocation of an existing Canadian Tire store.

Canadian Tire Carlingwood (Image: Canadian Tire)
Canadian Tire Carlingwood (Image: Canadian Tire)

The Welland store, near the downtown core, will be opening later this fall and it’s the largest expansion the retailer has ever done in its history, nearly doubling in size from 64,000 retail square feet to nearly 120,000 retail square feet. It will be the third largest Canadian Tire store across the country. 

The second largest Canadian Tire store in Canada is at Edmonton South Commons at about 133,000 square feet which opened in about 2015-2016.

Jason Kane, Vice-President of Store Planning and Design for Canadian Tire and Party City, said Canadian Tire stores today range in size from about 5,000 square feet to the three major ones. An average store is about 60,000 square feet.

Jason Kane

Canadian Tire said it is investing $1.2 billion to better connect its digital and physical channels, modernizing and creating a more contemporary experience for customers and making the Triangle brand a trusted source for the products and services customers need.

“These investments and new stores first and foremost are connected to our overall Better Connected Strategy that we announced earlier this year in our Investor Day and this is a program where Canadian Tire has a multi-year strategic investment program of $3.4 billion that’s really designed to create better omnichannel customer experiences across our entire business and within that $3.4 billion investment plan there’s just over $1.2 billion that’s focused on investing in our store network and that is really all about connecting and modernizing our stores so we have a great modern contemporary experience and that we’re really bringing together the physical and the digital to deliver on the services that customers are looking for us today,” explained Kane.

“Guided by our most advanced analytical insights on demographics, market trends, and loyalty data, the new concept will deliver an enhanced customer experience through an expanded assortment and seamless omni-channel shopping options, including Click & Collect, Curbside Pickup, and deliver to home,” said the company.

Carlingwood Canadian Tire (Image: Canadian Tire)

“These stores are large, with more than 100,000 square foot of retail space, and are focused on delivering a ‘wow’ experience to customers by showcasing the breadth and depth of Canadian Tire’s product assortment and bringing meaningful brand experiences to life.”

According to Canadian Tire, Remarkable Retail store highlights include:

1. A modern, clean store design, with both stores spanning an impressive retail square footage;

2. Enhanced In-Store Technology creating a simplified and seamless customer experience through Scan & Buy and Electronic Shelf Labels;

3. Seamless omnichannel capabilities, with Welland hosting a 12-car, 5,000 square-foot enclosed order pickup drive-thru area, and Carlingwood featuring a six-car covered canopy pickup area;

4. A transformed Seasonal Centre, with world class four-season capabilities that is directly connected to retail that can be used for live goods and other products; and 

5. Enhanced Auto Service capabilities using the latest service and diagnostic equipment and an expansion of tire and parts assortment to better service customers’ needs.

Canadian Tire in Welland (Image: Canadian Tire)

The retailer has just over 500 stores across the country.

Kane said the company’s $1.2 billion investment into its store network will update over 200 stores across the country. 

“Customers are going to see that investment come to life in a store experience we call Concept Connect and Concept Connect is not only expanding the size of stores and re-merchandising them through these projects, it’s also ensuring that we can evolve our presentation of our assortments to make sure that it’s becoming more localized, more relevant, really leaning in and showcasing our own brands and making sure we’re growing key strategic businesses for us such as pet, garden centre, and also baby and kids, at the end of the day. So those are some of the big drivers of this pipeline to change investment and change the shape of retail for our brand across the country,” said Kane.

The intervention of 200 stores represents more than 50 per cent of the company’s total square footage across the country.

“So it’s a very significant transformation between now and the end of 2025,” added Kane.

“Remarkable Retail, these two stores (Ottawa and Welland) are what I would say ultimately the best and biggest version of Canadian Tire’s brand experience and there’s a handful of these stores too that we’ve opened and a small development pipeline for the future, but these are really about showcasing the best that Canadian Tire can be across all the different ways we want to support and serve customers.”

Canadian Tire Carlingwood (Image: Canadian Tire)

The next Remarkable Retail store is slated for Calgary in 2025. It will be in Deerfoot Meadows and the relocation of a nearby store, and will include elements of sustainability.

Kane said Welland “is quite a transformation” as it broke ground in the Spring of 2021 to begin the expansion process there. 

Here are some key facts about the Welland store:

  • The store has over 1,150 items on display to allow customers to see the breadth and depth of Canadian Tire’s product assortment;
  • There were 3.8 million data points considered when allocating space at a SKU level, and the store has a fully customized retail floor layout;
  • This store features network-leading omnichannel pickup capabilities, including a 12-car Order Pickup drive-thru area, in addition to eCommerce lockers;
  • The warehouse features equipment and design including over 550 feet of conveyors, with half of it being automated, advanced product sortation capabilities, new wearable technology to improve efficiency, and the ability to hold over 170 full truckloads of product.

Here are some key facts about the Carlingwood store:

  • Canadian Tire broke ground on the Carlingwood store in the fall of 2019;
  • The Carlingwood location also features the second largest Canadian Tire warehouse in the country, capable of holding 1,200 skids;
  • The warehouse is built to optimize capacity and efficiency, featuring four levels with eight total freight lifts, over 850,000 lbs. of warehouse racking and the ability to hold over 165 full truckloads of product;
  • The new tire warehouse can fit 10,552 tires – if you stacked all the tires that would be taller than three CN towers;
  • All Customer and Employee washrooms are Gender Neutral;
  • More than 1,300 drawings of the retail space, warehouse, electrical, architectural, and mechanical features of the store have been completed since 2018
Cottonwood Centre Canadian Tire (Image: Cottonwood Centre)

Also recently, Canadian Tire completed a relocation project at the Cottonwood Centre in Chilliwack, BC. The new store has just over 93,000 square feet of retail space, more than double the size of the old store and is part of its Concept Connect strategy. 

The store features: a six-car Auto Service Drive-in, supported by 12 service bays that have the latest equipment; a 12,000-square-foot Garden Centre; and a dedicated Order Pickup area with a covered canopy.

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.


  1. The store in Welland is a pleasant shopping experience now, and the welcome and question desk upon entry is a great idea. The wide aisles and low modern shelving looks great and you can see where all the departments are. Great lighting.


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