North Hill Centre
|Address||1632 – 14 Avenue NW|
|Opening date||June 1958|
|No. of stores and services||100+|
|No. of anchor tenants||2 (major)|
|Total retail floor area||20,000 m2 (220,000 sq ft)|
|No. of floors||1|
North Hill Centre is a shopping mall in Calgary. Alberta. The mall was opened in June 1958 and was Western Canada's largest shopping mall at the time. It was also Calgary's first ever shopping mall, as well as the first Calgary store to offer late-night shopping. The original anchor tenant was Simpsons-Sears., which still operates today in its original location as Sears Canada.
The mall opened at 1632 14 Ave N.W. in June 1958, offering about 30 stores and services. Hailed as the largest shopping centre in Western Canada at the time, it transformed the shopping experience for Calgarians. "It was revolutionary to have a mall and to have late-night shopping and all of that kind of stuff that is just quite normal for us now," said (spokeswoman Paula) Newhold. "The real experience was that it was all in one place - that was the interesting thing."
The original design for the mall called for an exterior strip mall design with a covered walkway.
The first major renovation to the mall occurred in 1973. The mall expanded to include twenty more stores, and an enclosed mall area was constructed amongst the existing stores. The design called for a central corridor with irregularly sized columns and ceiling heights, presenting an inconsistent look to the storefronts in the mall. (Another Calgary shopping centre, Chinook Centre underwent a similar transformation from strip mall to enclosed mall.)
By the 1990s, anchor tenants for the mall were Sears and Canada Safeway (on the east end), along with Super Valu (on the west end), giving the mall the unusual distinction of having two major grocery stores. A small branch of Zellers also operated in the mall until the early 1990s. The site also included a separate building housing the North Hill movie theatre and a bowling alley. The Super Valu store closed in the mid-1990s as its owner retired the brand in favor of big-box Real Canadian Superstore locations, and the spot was filled by a succession of non-chain retailers such as independent furniture stores until work began on a major mall renovation at the end of the 1990s.
In 2000, the mall was again heavily renovated, once again adopting the style of having key tenants accessible from the exterior of the building (some exclusively). The interior of the mall was also heavily renovated. A medical centre was added and a two-tower condominium complex was constructed on the south side. The far west end of the mall that previously contained Super Valu was demolished and rebuilt closer to 14th avenue, and the Canada Safeway, originally located next to Sears, moved into the new building at the mall's far west end. The mall's food court (adjacent to where the Super Valu was) was completely redesigned, though it remained in its original location.
The North Hill Theatre and Fairview Bowling Alley, erected in the parking lot in 1967, had remained in operation until 1999, with the theatre ceasing business operations just after the run of Star Wars: Episode I. The theatre was one of Calgary's last major old-style single-screen movie palaces at the time of its demolition in 2000. The structure was demolished in order to make room for more parking, and to allow the footprint of the mall to expand with the addition of several exterior-access-only retailers. The bowling alley relocated to Pacific Place, a shopping centre on the other side of the city, where it eventually became defunct in the early 2010s.
Although there is some limited covered parking available due to the positioning of the Renaissance condominiums, North Hill is one of the largest malls in the city not to offer any form of underground or parkade parking (there is a parkade but it is exclusive to residents of the condos).