Story and images by Tara Oades
Already known as the largest mall in Durham Region, the Oshawa Centre will soon be making a name for itself outside of Durham once its new 230 million dollar expansion is completed in the next three years.
The expansion will be located on the east side of the mall and will be taking over the Zellers store and surrounding parking lot. The expansion will add about 60 new stores and the food court will be moved to the new section of the mall with seating for 1,000 people. A common hallway will connect the two sections.
According to the website of property manager Ivanhoe Cambridge, once the redevelopment is completed, the Oshawa Centre will be the company’s largest mall in Canada, beating out Vaughan Mills and Fairview.
“I am really excited for this expansion,” says Jade Fennell, a Durham College student and Oshawa resident. “I have lived in Oshawa my entire life and the mall is finally getting good. I was jumping for joy when they brought Victoria’s Secret and Sephora so I’m praying they will bring a Forever 21 and Artizia, it will be nice to visit my favourite stores without travelling to Toronto.”
No announcements have been made about what stores will be coming to the Oshawa Centre, but the added space will open some doors.
“Over the years the mall had to turn down many big retailers because there just wasn’t enough space,’ says Sheryl O’Neil from Oshawa Centre’s customer service. “Now that there is space, who knows what will come? A lot of people are interested in finding out.”
Ivanhoe Cambridge is currently encouraging the public to post their suggestions through the Oshawa Centre Facebook page. If enough people want a certain retailer to be part of the expansion there is a higher chance that it could be added.
This is a big step for the Oshawa Centre since it opened more than fifty years ago in 1956. Since then many stores have been added, the most popular so far being Victoria’s Secret and Sephora, which both opened in 2012. Many of the businesses have changed or upgraded, such as Sears, which was renovated in 2012, and Teaopia, which was bought out by the American company Teavana last year.
“I’ve been working at this mall when the movie theatre was still here,” says Stephanie Campanili, a Sears employee. “I think it’s great that they are expanding. Not only is it exciting that it’s bringing so many new stores, but it will also bring jobs and opportunities to so many people in Durham Region.”
Just last year the new Victoria’s Secret location at the Oshawa Centre brought around 100 new jobs to individuals in Durham Region. Many residents are anticipating the opportunities the new expansion will bring to students and everyone else looking for a job close to home or school.
The expansion will also help keep people in Durham Region instead of travelling to Toronto or Vaughan to shop at the stores that aren’t currently offered at the Oshawa Centre. The expansion may take three years, but many people think it will be worth the wait.
“It’s about time the mall is undergoing a renovation and not just individual stores,” says Andre Clarke, a Whitby resident and Oshawa Centre shopper. “People always need jobs and with Durham Region growing so rapidly I’m surprised it didn’t happen sooner.”
When the expansion is completed it will add an extra 75,000 square feet of hang out, shopping, and time-wasting between classes space for people to enjoy.