Illustrated picture. Photo: Mixi
Illustrated picture. Photo: Mixi

One interesting phenomenon is the strength of Canada’s downtown shopping centres when compared to those in the U.S. Of the top 30 most productive malls in terms of sales per square foot, three are in downtown cores—that includes the CF Toronto Eaton Centre in Toronto, CF Pacific Centre in Vancouver and CF Rideau Centre in Ottawa. Furthermore, four of the top ten busiest malls in terms of annual visitors are in Canadian downtowns—CF Toronto Eaton Centre, Montreal Eaton Centre, CF Pacific Centre and CF Rideau centre all scored highly. In the U.S., none of the country’s leading shopping centres are in downtown cores outside of New York City.

List of 10 Largest Shopping Malls in Canada Today

1. West Edmonton Mall, Alberta – 3,200,000 square feet

2. CF Toronto Eaton Centre, Ontario – 2,098,754 square feet

3. Square One Shopping Centre, Ontario – 1,904,595 square feet

4. Yorkdale Shopping Centre, Ontario – 1,841,961 square feet

5. Metropolis at Metrotown, BC – 1,795,326 square feet

6. Scarborough Town Centre, Ontario – 1,593,248 square feet

7. Park Royal Shopping Centre, BC – 1,501,405 square feet

8. CF Carrefour Laval, Quebec – 1,403,947 square feet

9. Les Galeries de la Capitale, Quebec – 1,348,381 square feet

10. Vaughan Mills, Ontario – 1,270,163 square feet

Which are the 10 Largest Shopping Malls in Canada Today?

1. West Edmonton Mall, Alberta – 3,200,000 square feet

Photo: Wells Gray Tours
Photo: Wells Gray Tours

West Edmonton Mall is the largest mall in North America, with plenty of activities and attractions conveniently located in one location. Pamper yourself with some well-deserved shopping and indulge in items from global chains to one-of-a-kind brands. Its dining selection is equally as varied, offering over 100 coffee shops, fast food options, and full-service restaurants.

So whether you’re after a simple snack or a family dinner, you’d be spoilt for choice with the array of options. And it does not stop there! If shopping is not on your itinerary, there are many other activities and attractions one can enjoy here: an ice rink that’s open all year round, an underground aquarium, a waterpark, bowling alley, and more. The mall also has accommodation options just a few steps away, only adding to the wonderful convenience of having everything in one place.

2. CF Toronto Eaton Centre, Ontario – 2,098,754 square feet

Photo: Pantages Hotel
Photo: Pantages Hotel

CF Toronto Eaton Centre, better known as Eaton Centre, is an unmatched shopping stop in Toronto. It’s home to some world-renowned brands as well as independent and unique stores. Such a vast selection ensures it caters to every type of shopper and occasion.

It’s beautifully designed glass atrium gives the mall a lot of natural lighting, making your visit even more pleasant. Perfect for wandering solo or with families, for retail therapy, or simply for a good meal, Eaton Centre is a must-visit when you’re in Toronto.

3. Square One Shopping Centre, Ontario – 1,904,595 square feet

Photo: Epic Investment Services
Photo: Epic Investment Services

Known simply as Square One, this mall is next in line for large complexes after West Edmonton. Apart from the wide selection of shops, the complex also contains a Food District - a collection of cuisines for all types of palettes! The mall has plenty of entertainment facilities to bring out your more playful side. The Rec Room consists of virtual reality, video and redemption games and Playdium has over 40,000 square feet (3,716 square metres) worth of entertainment such as mini-golf, go-karting and many more!

4. Yorkdale Shopping Centre, Ontario – 1,841,961 square feet

Photo: TripAdvisor
Photo: TripAdvisor

As one of the largest malls in all of Canada, Yorkdale is naturally home to an impressive number of shops, making it the absolute go-to for serious shoppers in Canada.

With over 250 stores, it is at the forefront of fashion. It’s no surprise why it also generates the largest number of sales in the country. The mall also offers various shopping services such as hands-free shopping, personal styling, and group tourist privileges.

5. Metropolis at Metrotown, BC – 1,795,326 square feet

Photo: Retail Insider
Photo: Retail Insider

British Columbia’s largest mall, Metrotown offers more than 400 stores and services-everything from big brand names like Banana Republic, H&M and the Disney Store, to small wine shops and a Build-a-Bear Workshop-as well as a Silver City multiplex and CHQ, one of the largest and most popular video arcades in Western Canada. The mall’s Grand Court often hosts special events, including art shows and concerts.

6. Scarborough Town Centre, Ontario – 1,593,248 square feet

Photo: Toronto Neighbourhoods
Photo: Toronto Neighbourhoods

The Scarborough Town Centre (STC) is a shopping mall in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Central to the Scarborough City Centre in the former city of Scarborough, it is adjacent to Scarborough Centre station, the Scarborough Centre Bus Terminal and the CTV Toronto studios (9 Channel Nine Court). Opened in 1973, the mall is the fourth largest shopping mall in Canada and third in Toronto by retail space.

The mall is served by Highway 401 and can also be reached through a turnaround ramp on McCowan Road, Progress Avenue, and Brimley Road. The TTC's Line 3 Scarborough also has a station adjacent to the mall, Scarborough Centre, opened in 1985 with service running southwest to Kennedy station on the Bloor–Danforth line and east to McCowan Station.[2] Scarborough Centre is Toronto's east end's most important transportation hub. In addition to Line 3, Scarborough Centre is a busy terminal for a number of TTC bus routes, as well as GO Transit.

Scarborough Town Centre currently includes Hudson's Bay, Walmart, and Cineplex Cinemas as its anchors. The mall itself and most of the land surrounding it are owned by OMERS (the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System) pension fund under their Oxford Properties division.

7. Park Royal Shopping Centre, BC – 1,501,405 square feet

Photo: Retail Insider
Photo: Retail Insider

Park Royal Shopping Centre, also known as Park Royal, opened in 1950, is a shopping mall located in West Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Park Royal was Canada's first covered shopping mall. Park Royal currently markets itself as five star shopping and has undergone significant changes to attain this. The shopping centre was originally anchored by Woodward's.

The Centre was started alongside the Guinness family's British Properties developments nearby, and was named after the London suburb of Park Royal where a Guinness brewery stood. The Guinnesses sold it in 1986.

The mall is physically divided into two locations by Marine Drive, a major thoroughfare on the North Shore. The two sides are aptly named North Mall and South Mall, and are connected by 2 main intersections: Main St - Marine Drive, and Taylor Way - Marine Drive, as well as an overpass next to Shoppers Drug Mart. The North Mall is the original part of the mall, and had the anchor store Woodward's (on the East end) and Woodward's Food Floors (on the West end). Expansion to the South Mall occurred in the 1962 with a further development in the mid-1970s. The expansion in the 1960s added SuperValu and Eaton's as the anchor stores on the South Mall. Further expansion in the mid-1970s added a second floor to the mall and the Hudson's Bay store.

In the 1980s when Woodward's closed, The Bay moved into the location previously held by Woodward's, and the Food Floor was converted into a Government Liquor Store, London Drugs and Rogers Video (now closed).

8. CF Carrefour Laval, Quebec – 1,403,947 square feet

Photo: Tourisme Laval
Photo: Tourisme Laval

CF Rideau Centre attracts over 20 million visitors a year. This complex consists of over 180 retailers, Westin Hotel, a rooftop park, and Shaw Centre. Centrally located in the heart of downtown and open seven days a week, including most holidays, Rideau Centre is the go-to mall for your favourite stores all year round. It’s food options won’t disappoint either, with an 850-seat dining hall and 16 premium eateries, you’re bound to find a delicious meal for any occasion

9. Les Galeries de la Capitale, Quebec – 1,348,381 square feet

Photo: Magazine Prestige
Photo: Magazine Prestige

In a stylish place like Quebec City, you’re sure to find some great shopping-and you’ll definitely find it at Les Galeries de la Capitale, the city’s largest mall with 1.5 million square feet and more than 300 retail outlets. But you’ll find more than stores-the mall also offers le Mega-Parc, one of Canada’s largest indoor amusement parks, with roller coasters, a Ferris wheel and an ice rink, plus an IMAX theatre with the largest screen in Canada.

10. Vaughan Mills, Ontario – 1,270,163 square feet

Photo: Centres commerciaux - Ivanhoé Cambridge
Photo: Centres commerciaux - Ivanhoé Cambridge

If finding high-end stuff at bargain prices is every shopper’s dream, then Vaughan Mills, one of the few true factory outlet malls in Canada, is a dream come true. Here, you can snap up designer fashions for a fraction of their original retail price at places like Holt Renfrew Last Call, Michael Kors Outlet, Hugo Boss Factory Store and Juicy Couture.

Investing in today’s shopping centre

CANADA’S shopping centres continue to see gains in overall productivity, outperforming those in the U.S. And with this success, landlords are investing heavily to create compelling gathering places, and adding ‘experiences’ to create multi-use community centres.

Retail Council of Canada’s 2018 Canadian Shopping Centre Study looks at Canada’s top malls in terms of annual sales per square foot as well as annual visitor count. And it’s the first edition of the study that has compared sales numbers from the year prior. The study also discusses what makes some of the top centres successful, providing details of what landlords have planned over the next few years.