Metropolis at Metrotown
Metropolis at Metrotown's entrance facing Central Boulevard and the SkyTrain station.
|Location||Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada|
|Developer||Ivanhoe Cambridge / Cal Investments|
|No. of stores and services||450|
|No. of anchor tenants||16|
|Total retail floor area||1,783,005 sq ft (165,646.6 m2)|
|No. of floors||3|
Metropolis at Metrotown (commonly referred to as simply Metrotown, and formerly known as Metrotown Centre, Eaton Centre Metrotown or Metro as an abbreviation) is a shopping mall complex in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada. With over 450 shops and services, the anchors are Hudson's Bay, Sears, Target, Toys "R" Us, T & T Supermarket, Sport Chek/Atmosphere, Chapters, Forever 21, H&M, Home Outfitters, Old Navy, Real Canadian Superstore, Urban Behavior, Winners/Homesense, Zara and Cineplex Entertainment. It is the largest mall in British Columbia, and the 2nd largest in Canada. The mall is connected by a skyway to the Metrotown Station on the SkyTrain rapid transit system. Two office buildings are part of the complex, with a third under construction.
Metrotown Centre first opened in 1986 — attached to a new Hudson's Bay Company department store, and a Sears Canada department store operating at that location since the early 1950s — on land that had previously held warehouses, other light industry, and a supermarket, and which was adjacent to the former Vancouver Interurban Rail line (now the route for the SkyTrain). The mall has been expanded and renovated several times, and has contributed to the rapid growth of the area's population.
Two additional shopping centres were constructed adjacent to the original Metrotown—Eaton Centre and Station Square. These three different malls were connected by skyways, as were the two office towers known as the Metrotowers. In 1998, Eaton Centre added Metropolis, a collection of stores aimed towards younger shoppers, including SilverCity, Claire's, Off The Wall and CHQ (replacing the Playdium), as well as several Asian-themed businesses. For teens there is Icing, Old Navy, and HMV.
The name Metropolis came to apply to Eaton Centre once its main tenant, Eaton's, shut down. In 2005, a major expansion project ended that saw Metrotown and Metropolis combined into one single megamall, as well as the addition of many new stores and Western Canada's largest food court. Following this expansion, the two malls became one entity under the name "Metropolis at Metrotown". Station Square, however, has not been included in this combined megamall, and as of 2013, it is under the process of being demolished to make way for a new high-rise complex, to be named after Station Square.
Metrotower III, located immediately south of the other two office towers, began construction in the summer of 2008. It had been on hold, but as of 2012 is again under construction.
The word "Metrotown" has now come to apply to the parts of Burnaby that surround the mall, particularly the commercial and residential areas for several kilometres east and west along Kingsway. Previously, this neighbourhood was referred to as West Burnaby. Since the mid-1980s, the neighbourhood has undergone extreme "densification", thus reflecting the official community plan for the area, created and adjusted in anticipation of SkyTrain construction. Some businesses across Burnaby's nearby western municipal border, in the City of Vancouver's Collingwood neighbourhood, use the Metrotown name, even though most residents would consider them outside of the region covered by the term.
The Metrotown neighbourhood is also home to a number of smaller shopping centres. Although connected to Metropolis by a skyway, Station Square has remained separately managed. Another shopping centre, the Asian-themed Crystal Mall, opened near Metropolis in 2000, although it has no direct connection. Old Orchard Centre, is yet another shopping centre located nearby that is considered part of the Metrotown district. Old Orchard Centre predates all of the other shopping centres in the neighbourhood and is a strip mall, as opposed to an enclosed mall. It features a Marketplace IGA grocery store, Subway restaurant, a Shoppers Drug Mart, and numerous other local and chain stores.
Planning for Metrotown
Although it didn't develop until the 1980s, Metrotown has held a major role in plans for managing Vancouver's growth since the 1970s, with the adoption of the Greater Vancouver Regional District's (GVRD) 1976 Livable Region Plan. Under this plan, Metrotown was expected to become a satellite location for offices relocating from downtown Vancouver. But regional plans were very general and more localized plans were needed to make development a reality. As a result, the first concept plan for Metrotown was created by Burnaby in 1978.
According to Laura Tate, a doctoral student at the University of British Columbia, there were at least five ways in which both the City of Burnaby and the GVRD tried to help Metrotown succeed as a Regional Town Centre:
- Through various efforts at assembling land to help development;
- Actively soliciting private sector office construction and public sector office relocation to the area;
- Helping the provincial government buy needed land for building a Skytrain station in the area;
- Changing parking practices; and
- Discouraging a competing proposal for a mega-mall elsewhere in Burnaby by the developers of the West Edmonton Mall and the Mall of America.
- Map of Burnaby Metrotown area with its mega malls and outdoors recreation facilities for shopping, entertainment and parks ( Metrotown-Metropolis-Crystal malls / Central Park)
- Laura Tate, Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation, University of British Columbia School of Community and Regional Planning, forthcoming