Yorkdale Shopping Centre

Coordinates: 43°43′32″N 79°27′10″W / 43.725599°N 79.452696°W / 43.725599; -79.452696
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Yorkdale Shopping Centre
The north entrance in 2008
Coordinates43°43′32″N 79°27′10″W / 43.725599°N 79.452696°W / 43.725599; -79.452696
Address3401 Dufferin Street
Toronto, Ontario
M6A 2T9
Opening dateFebruary 26, 1964; 59 years ago (1964-02-26)
DeveloperTrizec Corporation
ManagementOxford Properties
OwnerAIMCo (50%)
OMERS (50%)[1]
ArchitectJohn Graham Jr.[2]
No. of stores and services250
No. of anchor tenants6
Total retail floor area1,845,725 sq ft (171,473.5 m2)
No. of floors2 (main level for retail, underground level for shipping/receiving, food court is on 2nd/3rd floors, The Bay and Restoration Hardware occupy four floors in their respective anchor spaces)
Parking4 lots, 4 parkades, 1 valet
Public transit access Yorkdale
Bus interchange Yorkdale Bus Terminal
Toronto Transit Commission Buses

Yorkdale Shopping Centre, Yorkdale Mall, or simply Yorkdale, is a major retail shopping centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Located at the southwest corner of the interchange between Highway 401 and Allen Road, it opened in 1964 as the largest enclosed shopping mall in the world.[3] Yorkdale is currently the third largest shopping mall in Canada by floor space and has the highest sales per unit area of any mall in Canada,[4] with current merchandise sales levels at roughly CA$1,905/square foot.[5] At 18 million annual visitors, it is one of the country's busiest malls.[6] Many international retailers have ventured the Canadian market initially at Yorkdale.

Yorkdale is currently owned by a joint venture between the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System through its subsidiary Oxford Properties Group and the Alberta Investment Management Corporation.[1]


Construction and design[edit]

The Void located near Hudson's Bay retains the original design

In the 1950s, the department store chain T. Eaton & Co. bought a 40-hectare (99-acre) site at Dufferin Street and Highway 401 for a new massive, suburban location. In 1958, rival department store chain Simpson's purchased a 8-hectare (20-acre) site to the east and the plan to build the complex was announced that year. Design of the mall was given to the Seattle firm of John Graham Consultants, except for the Simpson's store, designed by John Andrews of John B. Parkin Associates.[2] Howard Lesser was the planning and development consultant. Using Lesser's market research, the developers determined how much floor space to give up to each category of retailer, and chose retailers who would appeal to a broad range of shoppers.[2]

The mall opened on February 26, 1964, under the ownership of the Trizec Corporation.[7] Its gross leasable area (GLA) was over 1,000,000 sq ft (93,000 m2), by far the biggest in Canada at the time. It was one of the largest shopping centres in the world. When it opened, Yorkdale was the first Canadian mall to include two major department stores: Simpson's and Eaton's, under the same roof at a cost of CA$40 million ($345 million in 2021 dollars[8]).[9] The mall had the shape of the letter L and was bordered in its extremities by Simpsons and grocery store Dominion, while Eaton's was at the junction of the two corridors.[10] Yorkdale was the first major suburban mall constructed in Toronto. Located at the edge of the urbanized city,[2] the new shopping centre was dependent on the construction of the Spadina Expressway, later renamed Allen Road after Metro chairman William R. Allen, as the developers would not proceed until the freeway was approved for construction.[2]

The mall was constructed with a novel system for its retailers to receive merchandise. While other Canadian shopping centres had their receiving doors located at the backside, Yorkdale was constructed with a one-way, two-lane road for trucks running beneath the centre that leads directly to retailers' basement storages.[7] The design of the mall included a 18-metre (60 ft) tall atrium, 12-metre (40 ft) wide halls and 8.2-metre (27 ft) tall ceilings. The corridors still retain this look and feel although renovations in 2006 replaced the ceilings, windows, floors and skylights.

Expansions and renovations[edit]

The Universal Man statue was relocated to the west parking lot of Yorkdale in 1994.

In 1984, Yorkdale expanded with 75 new stores bringing an additional 153,000 sq ft (14,200 m2) to the mall.[11] It expanded again in 1986 to reach 1,300,000 sq ft (120,000 m2), having now more than doubled its number of stores from when it first opened.[12]

In 1991, the Simpson's store was converted to a The Bay store after Hudson's Bay Company purchased the Simpson's chain in 1978. An existing The Bay store, that had joined the mall in November 1988, was sold to Sears Canada in the process.[13][14]

The Universal Man statue in the west parking lot was relocated from the base of the CN Tower to accommodate the construction of the Rogers Centre (then known as SkyDome) in 1987 and relocated to Yorkdale in 1994.

In 1999, Yorkdale completed a major overhaul, adding a Rainforest Café restaurant, a Famous Players SilverCity movie theatre (which has since been taken over by Cineplex Entertainment), and an Indigo Books and Music store on the north side of the northeast corner of the mall, facing Highway 401.

In 2005, a CA$60 million expansion on the former site of its Eaton's department store increased the size of Yorkdale to 1,404,646 sq ft (130,495.9 m2),[15] and increased the number of stores from about 210 to 260. A highlight of this expansion was the construction of a 18-metre (60 ft) high glass atrium running 91 metres (300 ft) in length, which hangs from an exterior support structure. The expansion added Old Navy, Zara, H&M, and Home Outfitters as sub-anchors. This gave Yorkdale the title of the third-largest shopping mall in Ontario after Square One Shopping Centre in Mississauga and Toronto Eaton Centre in downtown Toronto, ahead of Scarborough Town Centre in terms of retail floor space.

High glass atrium running 91 metres (300 ft) completed in 2006

The renovation project continued into 2006 and 2007. This renovation matched the earlier sections of the mall to the style of the 2005 expansion. Key elements of this project included new public washrooms, the opening of a Moxies Grill & Bar restaurant, and new sliding automatic doors at all entrances.[16] An advertising campaign, branded as "Change It Up!" was launched in conjunction with the renovation and redevelopment, winning a MAXI Award from the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) in 2007.[17]

Expansion continued in the second half of the decade. In April 2008, Yorkdale opened a Michael Kors store. Later additions included Armani Exchange, Crate & Barrel, BOSS, and a Tiffany & Co.

In January 2011, Yorkdale announced another expansion, adding another 145,000 sq ft (13,500 m2), sufficient for 40 storefronts, and 800 underground parking spaces.[18] This new wing took the space of the southwest parking lot. The expansion also relocated and doubled the number of seats at the food court, improved public access, and landscaped portions of the property.[18] The expansion, costing $35 million, was opened in the summer of 2012, and completed in November 2012. The existing food court was relocated to a new location on the third level of the former Eaton's department store. The new food court, named "Dine on 3", covers 45,000 sq ft (4,200 m2) over two floors and features 18 different eateries, including A&W, KFC, New York Fries, Subway, and the second Ontario location of Chick-fil-A[19] (after the first at One Bloor in downtown Toronto). The area of the former food court was redeveloped into a new wing, which housed new stores including a Microsoft Store, DavidsTea, and a Tesla showroom, as well as a larger Apple Store. The new parking garage was built below the wing.

The Dine on 3 food court was opened in 2012 and renovated in 2023

In 2012, Holt Renfrew expanded to the west by adding 18,925 sq ft (1,758.2 m2) to the existing 65,047 sq ft (6,043.1 m2) as part of another increase to the mall floor space.[20]

In April 2013, Yorkdale announced a CA$330 million expansion, which would add an additional 298,000 sq ft (27,700 m2) of retail, featuring a three-level 188,000 sq ft (17,500 m2) Nordstrom store and a Uniqlo store. This project involved the closure of the Rainforest Café (at Yorkdale since 1999), as well as the demolition of the multi-level parking garage at the southeast of the complex bordering Yorkdale Road. The project began in January 2014 and the new wing opened for business in late 2016.[21] Rainforest Café has since been replaced with an expansion of Sport Chek.

In June 2013, Sears Canada announced the closing of their store at Yorkdale.[22] The former Sears space was renovated to house Sporting Life and RH, both of which opened on October 19, 2017.[23] The wing also includes Uncle Tetsu's Cheesecake bakery, a CIBC branch, a relocated Starbucks, Landwer Café, and high-end restaurants.[24]

The Milestones Grill and Bar restaurant, located near Hudson's Bay, was closed in 2016. It was then announced that the American restaurant chain The Cheesecake Factory would open its first Canadian location in the mall.[25] The location was renovated and expanded to accommodate the new restaurant and it opened to the public in November 2017. From its opening until the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the restaurant experienced wait times of up to three hours.

In 2017, Oxford Properties submitted an application to the City of Toronto for a block zoning plan to guide future development of the site. In the first phase, new buildings would be constructed along the Dufferin Avenue frontage, incorporating a boutique hotel, a cinema and new retail, with future phases being built on the north parking lot, to incorporate residential and office uses. In March 2019, the City launched a study on the re-development of the parking lots and other areas of the mall property to improve traffic as well as mixed-use for the site to include residential and retail use.[26] If approved, the re-development would result in parking being moved underground. However, some residents in the neighbourhood are opposed to the development.[26]

On June 26, 2020, the Microsoft Store closed as part of its parent's winding down of the chain.[27] From late 2020 to 2022, Nissan Studio occupied the space that was formerly the Microsoft Store and serves as a showroom for the Japanese automaker's vehicles, not a dealership.[28] In 2023, this space is occupied by Alo Yoga.

Most of the stores in the central section of Yorkdale are closed for renovation during the second half of 2023.


Two stabbings occurred at the mall in 2008. A security guard was shot in the chest, saved by his kevlar vest, confronting two teenaged robbery suspects, intervening in a dispute with the two with another in the parking lot in April 2009. Both suspects were arrested.[29] In the first half of 2013, two shootings occurred at the mall. The first one took place in the external surface lot late on a Saturday night in March 2013, leaving one man dead and one man injured.[30] In May 2013, a man was injured by shots fired into the Joey restaurant at midnight on a Friday night.[31] Yorkdale upgraded its security with a new $3.4 million video surveillance system that went into service in March 2014. The new system provides full 360-degree surveillance of the mall and the parking lots. It also includes licence plate recognition technology at parking entrances.[32] In August 2018, Yorkdale Shopping Centre was shut down after a spate of gun violence erupted at one of three Starbucks locations (since the renovation to Indigo during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are two Starbucks locations in Yorkdale). Though nobody was seriously injured, it caused major delays on major TTC routes.[citation needed] On August 29, 2021, Yorkdale Shopping Centre went into lockdown following a shooting inside the mall. One suspect was arrested.[33]



Cartier and Holt Renfrew in Yorkdale

The department stores at the mall are RH, Hudson's Bay and Holt Renfrew. Junior anchors include Uniqlo, Muji, Sporting Life, and Indigo Books and Music.

Retail mix[edit]

Shops and the entrance to the Dine on 3 food court in Yorkdale

When first opened, Yorkdale had a large number of clothing retailers along with large department stores in the mix of stores. Yorkdale was the first Canadian mall to include two major department stores: Simpson's and Eaton's, under the same roof. Eaton's went bankrupt in 1999 and its space was redeveloped into a new wing that opened in 2005.

Since the late 1990s onward, Yorkdale's management has focused on attracting luxury brand retailers, especially those selling clothing and accessories, as well as high-end electronics, a strategy also adopted by Sherway Gardens, owned by rival mall operator Cadillac Fairview.[34] These include Versace, Bulgari, Burberry, Cartier, Chanel, Gucci, Prada, Kate Spade, Tory Burch, Moncler, Jimmy Choo, Apple, and Bose before Bose closed most physical retail operations, including its Yorkdale location. Yorkdale has also attracted American and international retailers seeking to expand to Canada. Yorkdale bought out the lease of Sears in 2014 to reallocate that space for higher-priced department stores.

Yorkdale places a requirement on each tenant to renovate regularly. When each tenant renews its lease with the mall, they are required to renovate their store.[7]

Canadian firsts[edit]

Yorkdale has been the point of entry into the Canadian market for many widely known international commercial enterprises. Companies that have opened or plan on opening their first Canadian store at Yorkdale include:[35]

Tesla Motors opened their first store in Canada at Yorkdale. The mall has been a point of entry into the Canadian market for several international enterprises.

According to the International Council of Shopping Centers, more than 30 American retailers contacted mall management, wanting to open their first Canadian stores in Yorkdale after Crate & Barrel revealed that their first store outside the United States would open in Yorkdale in 2008.[17]

Yorkdale's Nordstrom was the fourth location in Canada, opening after the locations at the Toronto Eaton Centre, Calgary's Chinook Centre and Ottawa's Rideau Centre. In 2023, Nordstrom announced their exit from the Canadian market and resulted in the closure of their Yorkdale location. Yorkdale's Uniqlo store was the second of its kind in Canada when it opened in late 2016, a month after the first Uniqlo opened at the Toronto Eaton Centre the previous September. Yorkdale's Lego Store is the second one in Canada after the first opened at Fairview Mall.[21][45][46]

Temporary exhibits[edit]

The Friends Experience in Yorkdale Shopping Centre

Since 2019, Yorkdale uses otherwise vacant retail space in the centre of the mall for paid-admission temporary exhibits with gift shops. In 2019, this space was used for a replica of Santa's workshop during the holiday season. During 2020 and 2021, this space was used for the Marvel Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. exhibit amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2022, this space was used for the Friends Experience exhibit. In the first half of 2023, this space was used for The Office Experience exhibit.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "AIMCo 2011 Annual Report" (PDF). Alberta Investment Management Corporation. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 21, 2012. Retrieved October 4, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d e Plummer, Kevin (February 25, 2012). "Historicist: Yorkdale Mall and the Aesthetics of Commerce". Torontoist.com. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
  3. ^ "Yorkdale Shopping Centre Opened as World's Largest Enclosed Shopping Mall".
  4. ^ "These Are Canada's Most Money-Making Malls". HuffPost. Retrieved March 31, 2016.
  5. ^ "Oxford Properties - Property Overview". Retrieved March 14, 2019.
  6. ^ Farooqui, Salmaan (November 17, 2017). "Not a piece of cake". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved November 19, 2017.
  7. ^ a b c "Many happy returns", The Globe and Mail, Taylor Woodrow was the main contractor with Charles Waggett VP as the head construction manager. The project was finished on time and under budget. Plan Electric Company did the major electrical work for the Centre including the Eaton's Store and numerous others under the direction of its president, Sid Cohen. February 21, 2004
  8. ^ 1688 to 1923: Geloso, Vincent, A Price Index for Canada, 1688 to 1850 (December 6, 2016). Afterwards, Canadian inflation numbers based on Statistics Canada tables 18-10-0005-01 (formerly CANSIM 326-0021) "Consumer Price Index, annual average, not seasonally adjusted". Statistics Canada. Retrieved April 17, 2021. and table 18-10-0004-13 "Consumer Price Index by product group, monthly, percentage change, not seasonally adjusted, Canada, provinces, Whitehorse, Yellowknife and Iqaluit". Statistics Canada. Retrieved April 17, 2021.
  9. ^ Bradbeer, Janice (September 15, 2016). "Once Upon A City: Yorkdale Mall brought shopping into the 20th century". Toronto Star. Retrieved September 18, 2016.
  10. ^ "This is what Yorkdale looked like in the 1960s and 70s".
  11. ^ "The amazing history of the Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto".
  12. ^ "YORKDALE STILL HAS MAGIC TOUCH: Facelift helps mall lure new shoppers, ring up more sales". Financial Post. Toronto. March 2, 1987. p. 44.
  13. ^ "Corporate style shifts: boardrooms to boats". Toronto Star. Toronto. January 8, 1988. p. E7.
  14. ^ "Retail shakeout puts new life into Sears". Toronto Star. Toronto. July 29, 1991. p. D1.
  15. ^ "Oxford Properties". www.oxfordproperties.com.
  16. ^ "Yorkdale is Changing it up!". Archived from the original on October 9, 2007.
  17. ^ a b "Presenting the 2007 MAXI Award Winners" (PDF). International Council of Shopping Centers. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 23, 2008. Retrieved December 23, 2007.
  18. ^ a b "Yorkdale Mall to add 40 stores, 800 parking spaces in $220M expansion". Toronto Star. The Canadian Press. January 25, 2011. Retrieved January 25, 2011.
  19. ^ "The lineup for Toronto's new Chick-fil-A at Yorkdale spans two floors". www.blogto.com.
  20. ^ "Holt Renfrew Expanding Yorkdale Store in Toronto". July 28, 2012.
  21. ^ a b "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on April 17, 2013. Retrieved June 14, 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  22. ^ "Sears Canada to close two, possibly three, Toronto area stores". Toronto Star. June 14, 2013. Retrieved July 26, 2013.
  23. ^ "Sporting Life Founder Discusses National Expansion Plans". Retail Insider. October 25, 2016.
  24. ^ "Retail Profile: Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto (Summer 2021 with Photos)". August 6, 2021.
  25. ^ "Cheesecake Factory Announces 1st Canadian Location at Yorkdale". RETAIL INSIDER. April 13, 2017. Retrieved March 17, 2019.
  26. ^ a b Mar 14, Michael Smee · CBC News · Posted; March 14, 2019 4:00 AM ET | Last Updated. "Why Yorkdale's sea of cars may soon be sinking underground | CBC News". CBC News.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  27. ^ "Microsoft Stores are closing as services move online". www.insauga.com.
  28. ^ "Nissan Studio - Yorkdale Shopping Centre - Fashion & Services in Toronto". yorkdale.com. Archived from the original on January 23, 2021.
  29. ^ "Mall guard shot in scuffle". Toronto Star. April 17, 2009. Retrieved July 7, 2023.
  30. ^ "One person dead after double-shooting at Yorkdale mall | Toronto Star". Toronto Star. March 30, 2013. Retrieved October 30, 2013.
  31. ^ "Yorkdale mall shooting sends man to hospital | Toronto Star". Thestar.com. May 11, 2013. Retrieved October 30, 2013.
  32. ^ Gerster, Jane (March 21, 2014). "Yorkdale Mall upgrades security in wake of shootings". Toronto Star.
  33. ^ Fox, Chris (August 29, 2021). "One suspect in custody after shooting inside Yorkdale Shopping Centre". CP24. Retrieved August 30, 2021.
  34. ^ "Mall Wars: Yorkdale vs. Sherway: Inside the big-bucks battle for our disposable income". Toronto Life. November 25, 2013.
  35. ^ a b c d e f "Yorkdale Mall enlists Wayne Gretzky and the band Train to promote expansion". Toronto Star. November 13, 2012. Retrieved November 16, 2012.
  36. ^ "Yorkdale Shopping Centre: Ground Level Floor Plan" (PDF). Oxford Properties. Retrieved May 24, 2008.
  37. ^ Flavelle, Dana (April 4, 2007). "Yorkdale attracts top U.S. retailer". Toronto Star. Retrieved April 5, 2007.
  38. ^ "Yorkdale welcomes Canada's first Crate and Barrel" (PDF). Yorkdale Shopping Centre. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 15, 2007. Retrieved January 2, 2008.
  39. ^ "GEOX takes off in Canada by opening its first two Canadian store". Marketwired. Archived from the original on February 25, 2009. Retrieved February 1, 2008.
  40. ^ "J. Crew to open first Canadian store". CBC News. Retrieved March 31, 2016.
  41. ^ "John Varvatos - YorkdaleYorkdale Shopping Centre - Fashion & Services in Toronto". yorkdale.com.
  42. ^ Patterson, Craig (October 25, 2013). "White House Black Market opens first Canadian store". Retail Insider. Retrieved July 6, 2014.
  43. ^ Patterson, Craig (January 2, 2014). "Tumi to open 2nd Canadian store at West Edmonton Mall". Retail Insider. Retrieved July 6, 2014.
  44. ^ "The Cheesecake Factory to open Nov. 21 at Toronto's Yorkdale mall". The Globe & Mail. October 19, 2017. Retrieved October 19, 2017.
  45. ^ "UNIQLO Announces 1st Canadian Store Opening Dates [With Renderings]".
  46. ^ "A sneak peek inside Yorkdale's huge new wing, with Nordstrom, Uniqlo and a Canada Goose flagship". Toronto Life. October 21, 2016.

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