Yorkdale Shopping Centre opened its doors and the old Toronto Telegram marveled: "The 100 stores and shops of Yorkdale are all air-conditioned and if the cooling systems... were making ice cubes, they could produce a single stack 55 miles high every hour on the hour...", "...Just marvelous, say the ladies after a Tely tour!"
Yorkdale generated a tremendous amount of excitement. Before Yorkdale, everyone did their major shopping downtown. Yorkdale was at the edge of town, with nothing around it. Its gross leasable area was over a million square feet, by far the biggest in Canada. The shopping centre had 40-foot-wide malls and 27-foot mall ceilings which was, and still is, rare.
Yorkdale was a curiosity that lured shoppers from across Ontario. At one time, 14 traffic officers were needed to help direct traffic. Ring roads and feeder roads were unique at the time and people needed help to understand the parking setup.
The centre pioneered a number of shopping concepts in Canada which shoppers have since come to expect at every large centre. Extended night shopping -- especially at Christmas -- was originally initiated to relieve traffic jams, caused by thousands of cars leaving Yorkdale at 9:00PM sharp. In 1964 Yorkdale had achieved a number of firsts:
- The first dual-auditorium theatre
- The largest furniture store in any Canadian Shopping Centre
- The largest restaurant in any Canadian Shopping Centre (Encore Noshery)
- The first "bazaar area" with a unique grouping of kiosks
- The first professional offices grouping of non-retail
1970 & 1971
Even at this time, shopping centre developers from Germany, France, Switzerland, Britain and Holland included Yorkdale on their North American tours of forward-looking centres to study. Not long after it opened, Yorkdale was generating benchmark sales of over $200 per square foot (today, with a gross leasable area of 1,600,324 square feet it generates $865 per square foot, an exceptional figure in the industry).
Eaton's and Simpsons were under one roof for the first time in history. Dominion stores and Kresges were original major tenants.
Yorkdale Shopping Centre was 1.2 million sq. ft. when it opened in 1964 with 110 stores. It cost $44 million to build. On April 13, 2005, after more than a year of construction, Yorkdale unveiled its $60 million expansion. It was one of the largest redevelopments of a Canadian shopping centre. Designed to capture the spirit of an upscale urban shopping streetscape, the new phase include multi-level H&M, Old Navy an Zara stores.
Already a fashion destination, Yorkdale now offers our shoppers an even more exciting array of retailers including Coach, Sephora, Mango, Lululemon, Billabong, and the first Apple Store in Canada. Today, with more than 40 new stores and 180,000 sq. ft. of new retail space, Yorkdale is 1.6 million sq. ft. and has more than 240 stores and services. A 60-foot-high glass atrium running 300 feet in length soars above a portion of the expanded area of the centre. The structural glass roof which hangs from an exterior support structure, is the first of its kind in Canada an the largest in North America.
After more than four decade, Yorkdale continues to celebrate being at the centre of the fashion and making a visit to Yorkdale a better shopping experience than ever.