The top 10 malls in need of a makeover in Toronto
There is no shortage of decent shopping malls in Toronto: sleek, glittering temples to capitalism, stomping grounds of bargain hunters, vibrant centres for local communities. And then there's the others - typically marked by half-empty hallways, drab (or nonexistent) food courts, gross-coloured tile, and Cash For Gold carts.
While the latter do often provide a necessary function in their communities, particularly those with limited funds or mobility, it doesn't mean a coat of paint wouldn't do them a world of good.
Here are my picks for the top malls in need of a makeover in Toronto.
Agincourt is a pretty popular hangout spot for the over-75 crowd, but if you're in the mood for a leisurely browse (that doesn't involve a Wal-Mart or a No Frills), you're out of luck - and the dingy, dismal atmosphere won't entice you to spend any more quality time with the local grandmas.
Years ago, Centerpoint was known as "Towne and Countrye Square". While it's not the worst spot in town to shop (it's one of the city's largest malls), it's seen a major decline over its days of fancypants extra vowels. Its anchor tenant, a Hudson's Bay location, is outshone by the downtown locations - but even that's better than the gaping void left by Target.
There was a time, way back in the 1970s, when the combination of mud brown and institutional tan was considered visually appealing, and the Galleria Mall is a poorly-lit (if well-trafficked) holdover from those heady days. There are some signs of development, however - most notably the new Planet Fitness gym.
It's perpetually a ghost town inside this shopping centre at Lawrence West station, where bargain-basement shoes and cell phone stores abound; their one saving grace might be the Cosmetics Warehouse, which carries all the discontinued $2.99 lipsticks you can handle.
East York Town Centre
Acoustic tiles, fluorescent lights, and an over-reliance on ramshackle-looking temporary fixtures: Though East York Town Centre does its job to keep locals fed and clothed, it ain't much to look at, and the recent vacancy left by Target didn't help. (Time will tell as to whether the incoming Costco will bring more traffic to the area or drive the mall further into the ground.)
The goofy name of this north-end strip mall does not inspire a ton of confidence (apparently it's actually shaped like a peanut), and neither do most of the stores. While there are a few bright spots - Allan's Pastry Shop and the original Mr. Jerk, for example - it's essentially Fairview Mall's sketchy kid brother.
Shoppers World Danforth
This Danforth and Victoria Park mall/plaza is due for a reinvention (and not just because of the recent vacancy left by Target). Thankfully, community activists are hoping to convert the empty space into a social enterprise that benefits local communities.
This Scarborough mall has its regular visitors - mostly seniors looking for something to do, grocery shoppers, and folks hungry for dirty burgers from Burger Palace - but the drab, dated decor definitely isn't winning them any new fans. (There's also the space left vacant by a Target store that didn't even manage to open before the chain went under.)
The LCBO and Beer Store might be the biggest draws among the no-name stores in this Etobicoke shopping centre (though, if you ask the locals, they'll probably tell you that LCBO isn't so hot either).
Toronto's only dead mall opened in 1973, took a downturn after its Wal-Mart store closed in 2003, and eventually shut down entirely ten years later, with a No Frills, a flea market, a dental office and a restaurant its only tenants. It's been shuttered since then as the owners push to redevelop the land into a residential area. It looks like the bulldozer for this one.
Did I miss any? Leave your picks for malls in need of a makeover in Toronto in the comments.
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