Thanks to COVID, I haven’t been in a mall since I got my hair cut at Market Mall right at the start of all this (mid-February I think). And man…I miss malls.
That might seem like the most frivolous thing to say, I know. People are sick, people are dying, people are losing their jobs and businesses, and I miss malls?
Malls aren’t just OMFG SHOPPIGN!!!!!!!!1!1! for me. They represent normality in a lot of different ways. My dad and I always went to the Palouse Mall on Saturdays. He’d give me $20 and an hour to go wander off and spend it before we met up again and went home. When I moved to Vancouver, I made malls my destinations on my walks (which started my “Canadian Mall” series on my blog) and would always take the bus back home. In Calgary, malls have still been a common destination on my walks, especially North Hill, Brentwood, and Market Mall. And, of course, walking to Westbrook Mall is my absolute favorite walk in the whole city.
So yeah. Malls have always been a big part of my life, and not just for the shopping aspect (in fact, most of the “shopping” I do at malls is at the grocery stores, haha).
So I guess when I say “I miss malls” I’m really just saying that I miss normality. But saying “I miss malls” makes it more concrete.
Holy crap, it’s a Canadian Mall post! I haven’t done one of those in like 40 years. Today I’ll blog about Core Center (or I guess Core Centre, since it’s Canadian), though this isn’t the first time I’ve been here. Technically Nate and I went here on our second date. So yeah, sometime last December was the first time I was here, haha.
Mileage from home to mall:
- It’s got a little inside garden (okay, a big inside garden) that’s very peaceful and cool to look at, especially with the water features. There’s usually someone in there playing piano, too, so it’s nice.
- It’s downtown and thus is a nice intermediate point for our longer walks that take us through downtown but to a destination a ways away.
- Part of the mall is structured so that if you’re on one of the higher floors and are looking across the way to the other side of the mall, it looks like you’re looking at the outside of another building. It’s a weird little illusion, but it’s pretty cool.
- It’s tucked away rather unassumingly in a building downtown, which makes it impossible to find for people like me. It’s a good thing Nate knows where it is. I also never would have found this on my own, just because it doesn’t look like a mall from the outside.
- They close the bathrooms in the food court on the weekends. What.
Hey look, it’s one of those Canadian Mall posts. I haven’t done one of those in quite some time, have I? Anyway. Today Nate and I walked down to Westbrook Mall, a mall down kind of in the southwest part of the city.
Mileage from home to mall (one way; from Nate’s house, not mine):
- A nice little quiet mall. It wasn’t very crowded at all.
- There’s a Walmart, apparently. I either didn’t see it or just wasn’t paying attention.
- Like most malls, the parking lot is a death trap for pedestrians.
- There were no super special standout stores. It’s a small mall.
- The walk was good, though!
So it occurred to me as I was wandering around downtown Vancouver this afternoon that I’ve walked to all the major malls in the city, but I never gave you guys a ranking.
Like you care, but you know I dig the rankings.
From least favorite to favorite, I bring you Canadian Malls: Vancouver Style!
14. Brentwood Town Centre
Most pointless mall ever. Seriously. It’s like taking the Palouse Mall and removing all the interesting stores, leaving you with Zales, Hallmark, the information center, and that area that turns into the Hickory Farms store during Christmas.
13. Central City
This one’s in Surrey. Do you value your life? Don’t go to
Surrey. The fact that this has a freaking college attached to it perplexes me enough so that this isn’t in last place.
12. Lynn Valley Centre
I don’t really know how this qualifies as a mall, but it is in North Vancouver, which explains the creepy aura about it. Totally not worth the trip up there, unless you’ve got a car. Even then, though, it’s iffy.
11. Lansdowne Centre
There really wasn’t much to this mall, and it’s all the way in Richmond. But it did have a clean Zeller’s, which is like witnessing a miracle, and the Bed Bath and Beyond clone store I walked through seemed pretty freaking awesome.
10. Granville Island
If you can get past the throngs of people that are there pretty much 24/7, the Island is pretty funky. I dig the massive fresh market, but the throngs get to me pretty quickly.
9. Kingsgate Mall
Ah, good old Kingsgate Mall. My grocery depot. Another really small mall, but it’s in a good location, has a grocery store, and has alcohol. What more is necessary when it’s on the bus route home?
8. Capilano Mall
Another pretty “meh” mall apart from the giant Walmart with the McDonald’s as its heart. It’s also all the way in North Vancouver, so it’s really not worth the walk and/or bus ride unless you are morally against the mall on Grandview Highway.
7. Pacific Centre
Apple store + H&M makes for a good mall in general, but there really isn’t anything else in the Pacific Centre worth noting. It’s location is nice, though, and is surrounded by more entertaining things in downtown Vancouver.
6. Oakridge Centre
Poor little Oakridge Centre, being only a mile away…totaly gets overlooked as a place I’ve walked to, haha. It’s a decent mall. Apple store, Safeway, and cinemas for those who enjoy such frivolity. Its proximity to the SkyTrain is both good (“hey! I can get on the SkyTrain right from the mall!”) and bad (“all the SkyTrain traffic has taken over the seats on the bus! How do I get home?!”).
5. Richmond Centre
Apple Store! Late hours! Quiznos! You’re livin’ wild if you go to the Richmond Centre. I still don’t see the logic of having a mall within
literally 300 steps of another mall. At least it’s close to the Skytrain so you can hightail it out of the party zone when all the other malls have closed and you’re still shopping at 6 PM.
4. Real Canadian Superstore
Ah, the love child of Walmart and Costco. I really dig this place, and am glad London seems to think its smaller city needs double the number of RCSSs that Vancouver has. This place gets super extra bonus points because everything’s so cheap. Example: box of awesome granola bars = $4.99 at Safeway. Same box of awesome granola bars = $2.15 at Real Canadian. Yayzorz.
3. Coquitlam Centre
Despite this being 4 billion miles away, it’s huge and has a lot of awesome stores. Assuming you survive the parking lot, this is a super enjoyable mall.
2. Metropolis at Metrotown
This mall? It has a Real Canadian Superstore INSIDE OF IT. It also has a soft pretzel shop, which made my mom super happy when she came up and we hung out at Metropolis. It’s another massive mall, but it’s a lot closer and easily accessible via SkyTrain.
1. Park Royal Centre
GIANT MALL. I really like Park Royal. It’s got an H&M, and HMV (which is like a Hastings), and a Whole Foods. It’s also about 12 miles away and you have to walk through Stanley Park to get there, so it’s a good destination for walking on Saturdays. Completely unrelated side note: Vancouver
has the biggest slugs I’ve ever seen.
Also this: here is a map of my knowledge of Vancouver before I started walking (aka, back when I was on Dunbar):
And here is now:
And today I walked 19 miles.