News   Feb 21, 2020
 2.9K     0 
News   Feb 21, 2020
 1.2K     0 
News   Feb 21, 2020
 1.3K     0 

Dead/Decaying Malls of Greater Toronto

airplane-dude

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Oct 25, 2010
Messages
197
Reaction score
0
Location
Mississauga - Erin Mills
Does anyone know what's going on at the Woodbine mall? More and more stuff is closed, and a friend who works at one of the stores there, says that the ownership is not renewing store leases! Meaning they don't want stores there to stay open? He thinks they'll tear the mall down.

But having said that, the Bay there is undergoing renos, and the Zellers is listed as one of the stores to be converted to a Target. So that doesn't make sense.
 

sixrings

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Aug 19, 2009
Messages
4,298
Reaction score
1,410
blow it up. we need less malls anyways and this mall was a eyesore.. That being said I liked the kids area. It kinda reminded me of west edminton mall how they tried to make it more of an experience then a mall with the inclusion of rides and a water park. Id love to see more of that kinda stuff at places like Yorkdale.. The only thing I am jealous of vaughn mills being a Yorkdale shopper is their bowling alley and go kart track..
 

junctionist

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
May 1, 2007
Messages
8,373
Reaction score
1,519
Location
The Junction, Toronto
For a city with so many Modernist-era malls, to see a mall from the 1980s like Woodbine Centre is interesting. It's as though it was built in obliviousness to the rise of New Urbanism and renewed interest in walkable main street shopping, and as if nothing had changed since the 1960s except a cheap veneer of Postmodern style had been applied. Yet Fantasy Fair shows there was some awareness, with its kitschy faux-traditional commercial streetscape.
 
Last edited:

spider

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Feb 4, 2008
Messages
1,214
Reaction score
1
For a city with so many Modernist-era malls, to see a mall from the 1980s like Woodbine Centre is interesting. It's as though it was built in obliviousness to the rise of New Urbanism and renewed interest in walkable main street shopping, and as if nothing had changed since the 1960s except a cheap veneer of Postmodern style had been applied. Yet Fantasy Fair shows there was some awareness, with its kitschy faux-traditional commercial streetscape.
What?

It's a shopping Mall for God's sake, not a monument to anything, just a shopping mall.
 

JasonParis

Moderator
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 22, 2007
Messages
5,949
Reaction score
736
Location
Corktown
For a city with so many Modernist-era malls, to see a mall from the 1980s like Woodbine Centre is interesting. It's as though it was built in obliviousness to the rise of New Urbanism and renewed interest in walkable main street shopping, and as if nothing had changed since the 1960s except a cheap veneer of Postmodern style had been applied. Yet Fantasy Fair shows there was some awareness, with its kitschy faux-traditional commercial streetscape.
The Promenade is really the only other GTA mall of the same era.

What? It's a shopping Mall for God's sake, not a monument to anything, just a shopping mall.
You could say that about all commercial architecture, but that hardly means there's no value. Also I don't think he was suggesting Woodbine Centre as a "monument" anyway.
 

adma

Superstar
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 23, 2007
Messages
16,538
Reaction score
1,125
What?

It's a shopping Mall for God's sake, not a monument to anything, just a shopping mall.
Methinks that junctionist's words went over your head. Which begs the question: if you're going to be such a philistine re the built environment (suburban or not), what are you doing in Urban Toronto?
 

adma

Superstar
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 23, 2007
Messages
16,538
Reaction score
1,125
For a city with so many Modernist-era malls, to see a mall from the 1980s like Woodbine Centre is interesting. It's as though it was built in obliviousness to the rise of New Urbanism and renewed interest in walkable main street shopping, and as if nothing had changed since the 1960s except a cheap veneer of Postmodern style had been applied. Yet Fantasy Fair shows there was some awareness, with its kitschy faux-traditional commercial streetscape.
Well, as such, it's more common than it seems--I mean, not just Promenade, but Erin Mills, Markville, Oakville Place, Mapleview in Burlington all had something similar going. The Valley Girl era, you know. And the "obliviousness" may also have something to do with its likely being designed to accomodate additions that never happened. (Another common feature among such 80s malls: pidgin-Eaton-Centre "galleria" roofs, meant as a relief from the concrete/brick-bunker-aesthetic that marked 70s examples like Sherway). Heck, you can argue that it all still lives in SUV-scaled form at Vaughan Mills.

Remember, too, that the rise of New Urbanism, at least when it came to defining built form in the 'burbs, was really post-80s--and when it came to "suburban malls" in Toronto, it didn't really arrive in full until the Don Mills rebuild...
 

GenerationW

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Jun 3, 2009
Messages
2,476
Reaction score
57
Methinks that junctionist's words went over your head. Which begs the question: if you're going to be such a philistine re the built environment (suburban or not), what are you doing in Urban Toronto?
One thing he's not doing is getting banned for suggesting Rob Ford is about to be assassinated.

Get off your pedestal.
 

Towered

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 24, 2007
Messages
4,254
Reaction score
1,915
I was going to say as well that "new urbanism" was hardly on anyone's radar in the early 80's when Woodbine Mall was conceived.
 

junctionist

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
May 1, 2007
Messages
8,373
Reaction score
1,519
Location
The Junction, Toronto
I was going to say as well that "new urbanism" was hardly on anyone's radar in the early 80's when Woodbine Mall was conceived.
It was in the 1980s that it emerged as a movement, but many of its tenets were being developed since Jane Jacobs published The Death and Life of Great American Cities. At the same time, a renewed focus emerged on revitalizing or maintaining the vitality of urban shopping districts. A mall built to Modernist specs in the 1980s was quite dated, whether or not it was noticed in the mainstream.
 

adma

Superstar
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 23, 2007
Messages
16,538
Reaction score
1,125
And the 80s manifestation of incipient "New Urbanism" tended to be more along the lines of Eaton Centre wannabes or festival marketplaces: intended emblems of urban reclamation that all too often wound up being emblems (and all too often failed ones, at that) of the self-conscious suburbanization of the urban core, instead. The actual New Urban-esque successes of this period (like, say, Granville Island in Vancouver) are so exotically rare as to be archetypal rule-proving exceptions...
 

uptown

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Nov 13, 2010
Messages
101
Reaction score
0
A few hours west down the 401 there's the Galleria Mall in Downtown London; a two-storey affair complete with marble flooring and vaulted skylights. Last time I was in London the only tenants in the mall were a call centre and a library branch.
 

ShonTron

Moderator
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 24, 2007
Messages
10,106
Reaction score
3,062
Location
Ward 13 - Toronto Centre
London Galleria is interesting. The Central Library (which is quite nice) is the old Bay Store, closed soon after the Eaton's closed in 1997 or 1998. The Eaton's is now the Rainbow Cinemas. Much of the mall was given over to office and institutional use and is therefore useful, yet not in its original purpose. Interestingly, Galleria is a po-mo expansion of the old Eaton Galleria, a smaller indoor mall built in the early 1960s that had one of the four blocks.

Part of the problem is that downtown malls in smaller cities hardly worked, especially in places like London where suburban malls, with ample, free parking were more attractive to a suburbanized population. Sarnia, Guelph, Kitchener, Peterborough, Brantford all learned that lesson the hard way. London was especially over-malled. Eaton's collapse (partly brought about by its downtown mall projects, supported by the province, which were total failures) caused these marginal malls to empty quick. Many had cinemas as well, a good idea until the big-boxed megaplexes took over, all in the suburbs.

If that's your kind of thing, Hamilton's Jackson Square/Hamilton City Centre is the place to be. The wholesale clearance of six blocks of downtown Hamilton, and the replacement with a giant, indoor shopping mall was to be the saviour. Instead, it is a dank relic of early 1970s mall architecture, though the food court was renovated; the mall has some life to it compared to many of its contemporaries.

The old Eaton store, adjacent to Jackson Square was demolished and replaced by a pomo mall separate from Jackson Square but linked to it. The Eaton's became a Liquidation World and much of the mall became city offices.

Guelph pretty much got rid of its mini-Eaton Centre, but Kitchener, Sarnia, Brantford and Peterborough still have them.
 
Last edited:

Top