- Don Mills Centre
The Don Mills Centre was a shopping centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It was located on a 44-acre (178,000 m²) commercial site, at the southwest corner of Don Mills Road and Lawrence Avenue East in the planned community of Don Mills. There were at least 98 stores during the height of the mall's existence. The majority of the mall was closed and demolished in summer 2006 for redevelopment as the Shops at Don Mills.
E.P. Taylor of Argus Corporation originally bought the land for a brewing plant, but decided to make the site the focal point of the 2,100 acre (8.35 km²) planned community. Initial construction of the Don Mills Centre began in 1954. In 1955, a strip plaza was opened with a Dominion Supermarket, Kofflers Drug Store (the first Shoppers Drug Mart), Brewers Retail and a dozen other retailers.
Don Mills Centre was primarily intended to serve the local community, centrally located within walking distance of many rental units built around the core of the community. It quickly became a regional centre, drawing people from North York, East York and Scarborough. It also served as a meeting place for students from the nearby Don Mills Collegiate Institute.
As the Don Mills district was developed, the Don Mills Centre expanded to serve the increasing population. Eaton's opened one of its first suburban department stores in 1961. By 1965, the Dominion supermarket had relocated into a larger store at the south end, Zellers moved in and an outdoor mall expanded to 65 stores.
By the mid 1960s, other amenities had been added to the site, such as a post office, curling rink, movie theatres, hockey arena, service stations and a 15-storey office building.
In 1978, a major renovation was undertaken to enclose the mall. The mall was expanded from 400,000 to 462,000 square feet (37,000 to 43,000 m²). The number of tenants grew from 87 to 120. In 1986, the under-utilized curling rink at the south-west corner of the development was demolished. A four-storey office building and a small outdoor plaza were built in its place. In 1989, the service station at the north-east corner of the site was demolished, and replaced by a six-storey office building with retail on the ground floor.
After its closure in the 1990s, the lower level of the Eaton's store was converted to a Sears Canada outlet store, which later closed. The store once again stood empty for some time until it was leased by a sporting goods store, National Sports. The store then left the site after two years and was replaced by a patio furniture store and a used car dealership.
Demolition and redevelopment
The owner of the mall, Cadillac Fairview, proposed a redevelopment of the site to include a lifestyle centre, condos and office space. The redevelopment plans originally called for a phased redevelopment, keeping different portions of the mall open at different times to ensure its continuity as a shopping centre. However, plans changed and the centre was demolished, and the first phase of an urban village consisting of 100 retailers and services opened on April 22, 2009.
In May 2006, the majority of the mall closed, apart from Metro, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, the TD Canada Trust bank building, the Royal Bank of Canada building, and Anthony's Restaurant. Other stores remained open until the end of June. In July 2006, the former Eaton's store was fully demolished. The Don Mills Civitan Arena which is owned by the City of Toronto is still open to the public as the redevelopment is ongoing.
Home Hardware, has re-located to 49 The Donway West , on the south side of the Mall property, where The Beer Store, Blockbuster Video and Royal LePage Realty have always been located. Shoppers Drug Mart and CIBC built new locations on the north-east corner of Lawrence Avenue East and The Donway West . The Shoppers Drug Mart opened in late April 2007, its 1000th store, and the CIBC Branch opened at the same time. As of early October 2008, Jack Astor's had re-opened, the new mall is now open.
Dominion (now Metro), the Canada Post building and the Royal Bank Building are the only reminders of the old mall.
Former anchor tenants of the Don Mills Centre included:
- Home Hardware
- Eaton's - became Sears Canada clearance centre and later as National Sports
- Zellers - closed
- Dominion - now Metro
Royal Bank building
- Spacing Votes: Don Mills Centre redevelopment stirs conflict October 26, 2006
- Don Mills Friends: Concerned Residents for Maintaining the Indoor Mall
- Feisty Don Mills activist refuses to accept the writing on the mall Globe and Mail, December 16, 2006
- Photos of Don Mills Centre prior to closure
List of shopping malls in Toronto and the Golden Horseshoe City of TorontoAtrium on Bay • Bayview Village • Cedarbrae Mall • Centerpoint Mall • College Park • The Crossways • Dufferin Mall • Toronto Eaton Centre • Eglinton Square • Empress Walk • Fairview Mall • Hazelton Lanes • Honeydale Mall • Landmark* • Lawrence Plaza • Lawrence Square • Manulife Centre • Parkway Mall • PATH • Queen's Quay Terminal • Scarborough Town Centre • Sherway Gardens • Shoppers World Danforth • Shops at Don Mills • Splendid China Tower* • Woodbine Centre • Yorkdale Peel Region York Region Durham Region Halton Region City of Hamilton Niagara Region Simcoe County Waterloo Region Wellington CountyThe largest mall in each area is bolded. *Ethnic malls
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