Billings Bridge Shopping Centre
|Location||2277 Riverside Drive East|
|Opening date||October 1954|
|Management||20 VIC Management Inc.|
|Owner||Capital City Shopping Centre Ltd.|
|No. of stores and services||87|
|No. of anchor tenants||2|
|Total retail floor area||488,000 sq ft or 45,300 m2|
|No. of floors||2|
|Website||Billings Bridge Shopping Centre|
The Billings Bridge Shopping Centre is a mall located in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. It is a medium-sized community mall with about 90 stores. Roughly 7.5 million people visit the mall every year and sales were about $527/sq foot. When built it was the first strip mall in Ottawa, although it has since become an enclosed mall.
It is located immediately south of the Rideau River on the corner of Bank Street and Riverside Drive, beside a large athletic facility, the RA Centre. The anchor stores are Walmart and Your Independent Grocer.
It opened in 1954 as "the first one-stop shopping destination to serve all of the City of Ottawa" according to its owners. At 65,750 sq ft (6,108 m2) it was Ottawa's first strip plaza. When it was built it had only six stores, of which only Reitmans remains to this day. CIBC and Fairweather were also very early tenants which remain.
Twenty stores in the mall were staying open past 6 pm on weekdays, the required time of closure by City of Ottawa by-law. As of 1956, the six units that took the municipality to court lost their appeal in court.
The mall opened an expansion in November 1961, and another in March 1962, the latter bringing it to 33 stores. This made it one of Ottawa's largest shopping centres. The parking lot also expanded from 500 spots to 1400. The 1962 addition added an Ogilvy's department store, the first in a shopping centre, Steinberg's, and a Woolworth's. A 1961 Ottawa Citizen article covering a mall expansion claimed "the new centre by its accessibility to through highways, will become not only one of the largest shopping plazas in the district but one of the finest in the country."
Ottawa department store Ogilvy's opened a location at Billings Bridge in the 1962 expansion. Ogilvy's was replaced by Robinson's, which was replaced by discount retailer Zellers in 1996, by Target Canada in 2013 and Walmart Canada in May 2016.
It did not become an enclosed mall until 1972 and a twelve-storey office tower was added during an expansion in 1975.
In the late 1990s, a "remerchandizing program" brought in a number of new stores to replace old ones and "provide the proper tenant mix to suit this particular trade area and the shopping centre's customer base." In 1998–99 extensive renovations were carried out at a cost of $7 million; they added a new glass two-storey atrium as a main entrance, a modern food court, and an "updated look". In July 2006, another major renovation programme was started which expanded the mall by 25,000 sq ft (2,300 m2).
In 2004 Brian Card, president of Corporate Research Group argued, "Billings Bridge's proximity to public transit, office buildings and growing population centres has helped it to withstand competition from big-box power centres when other shopping centres have been hard-hit."  A 2005 article by Ottawa Business Journal quoted 'experts' saying that the "lack of a major anchor department store has kept it from becoming a regional centre." In 2004 Barry Nabatian, general manager of Market Research Corporation, argued that the South Keys Shopping Centre had taken the role as 'regional mall' in the south of Ottawa, as it was larger, more popular, and had higher sales/sq foot. Today the mall is considered a 'community' shopping centre.
On October 2, 2017, a shooting took place inside the mall following an altercation.
Billings Bridge is named after Braddish Billings, an original settler of Ottawa. The bridge carrying Bank Street over the river, near the site of the current mall, came to be known as Billings' Bridge as it led to his property.
- "Billings Bridge Plaza Property Description" (PDF). 20 Vic Retail. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
- Goff, Kristin (4 September 2004). "Billings Bridge turns 50: From 1950s Strip Mall to Landmark". Ottawa Citizen.
- "Look Back: Retailers cash in on lucrative local market". Ottawa Business Journal. 6 January 2005. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
- "Billings Bridge comfortable with community role". Ottawa Business Journal. 6 September 2004. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
- "Appeal Court Decision Enforces Early Closing". The Globe and Mail. 20 April 1956. p. 1.
- Walshe, Olga B. (19 March 1962). "New stores achieve ultimate in modern design trends" (Newspapers.com). The Ottawa Journal. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
- "Ogilvy's: All departments are represented" (Newspapers.com). The Ottawa Journal. 19 March 1962. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
- "Steinberg's Limited" (Newspapers.com). The Ottawa Journal. 19 March 1962. p. 22.
- "Woolworth's ad" (Newspapers.com). The Ottawa Journal. 19 March 1962. p. 21.
- "UPDATE: Four Ottawa Targets to open in 2013". Ottawa Business Journal. 12 July 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
- "Billings Bridge". Ottawa Business Journal. 8 September 1999. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
- "Archive of Billings Bridge Plaza Property Description" (PDF). 20Vic Retail. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
- "New leg of Transitway opens near Billings Bridge: 1.8-km section should aid service to southeast Ottawa". The Ottawa Citizen. 3 November 1996.
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