In March I updated Price Taggers  on the latest news from the “all things mega” mall development at Tsawwassen Mills, located on arable farming land and the flood plain east of the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal.  As you can see in the photo above, this thing is huge.

The Delta Optimist has just published this article  when the local paper had  a tour of the 1.2 million square foot mall, which will feature 200 stores and 16 anchor tenants. This mall is situated on land controlled by the Tsawwassen First Nation, and is located at the corner of Highway 17 and 52nd Street. The developer is Ivanhoe Cambridge of Oakridge Mall fame, and the intent is to have a “fashion-oriented” centre with a 1,100 seat food court area.

Over 2,000 construction jobs created the mall  and 4,500 permanent jobs are anticipated upon mall completion. I spoke to one electrician who said the mall has supplied him with three years of work. Coast Salish art work by many of the  Tsawwassen First Nations band members is also being installed.


The mall is based upon CrossIron Mills Mall in Calgary as well as Toronto’s  Vaughn Mills. In both of these cases there is not very good transit and the malls are close to large populations. The difference here is that the Metro Vancouver population may just use the internet for their shopping, or drive another twenty minutes to the border to shop in the United States. Will people shop on their way to the ferry? Do you think this mall will be successful?

With a scheduled opening for October 5 planned, I have been watching the Walmart site which is still-well, a pile of sand.  Let’s see what four months will bring.




  1. “The mall is based upon CrossIron Mills Mall in Calgary as well as Toronto’s Vaughn Mills. In both of these cases there is good transit and the malls are close to large populations.”

    There absolutely is *not* good transit to Cross Iron Mills. In fact, I can’t find any transit at all. It even stumps the almighty Google:

    “Sorry, we could not calculate transit directions from “Calgary, AB” to “CrossIron Mills Outlets Mall, 261055 Crossiron Boulevard, Rocky View, AB T4A 0G3″”

  2. I think of the basic checklist for making a good built environment and I don’t see a single box checked. Close to people? No. Comprehensible access? No. Human scale? No. Meaningful form? No. Relationship to, well, anything? No. WTF?

  3. I’ve got my popcorn out so I can enjoy seeing what happens here. It’s either going to flop spectacularly within a few years or I’m going to have to seriously question some of my basic assumptions.

    It may be that since it’s Tsawwassen First Nation land they can entice tenants with really cheap rents. But enticing customers is another matter. I’ll make a trip out there just from curiosity, but I can’t see why I’d go out there on any sort of regular basis.

  4. Their major miscalculation was McArthur Glen opening up a year before them. I predict bust for T-Mills

    1. Why ? It is right off a major throughfare called SFPR, and on route to a major island. Plus Surrey is growing. If they offer decent stuff at decent rates it will fill with customers. Very few vehicle accessible large malls in MetroVan. Very few !

      1. McArthur Glen is right off a major throughfare called the Canada Line, and on route to two major destinations (The Airport & Downtown).

        “If they offer decent stuff at decent rates it will fill with customers”

        -Perhaps. The secret most people don’t know about outlet malls is they are not purcahsing goods that didn’t sell in the main retail stores the first time round, they are actually buying inferior quality goods purposely made for outlet malls.

        “Very few vehicle accessible large malls in MetroVan”.

        -Huh? Every mall in Metro Van with the exception of Pacific Centre has ample free parking.

      2. 100,000 people in downtown can walk to a wide choice of retail, including malls. The same applies to several hundred thousand more who live within a 10-minute walk of a short transit trip to the town centres where shopping abounds.

        The comparison to Calgary’s so-far-out-it’s-crazy Crossiron Mills is completely appropriate. There is a vast difference between CM and say the Chinook Centre which is surrounded by city and has a gravitational pull of its own that potentially leads to high density development and more rapid transit connectivity in future.

        Tsawwassen Mills is being set up for failure. That will be sad especially for the indigenous landholders and investors who were sold a lemon.

  5. Crossiron Mills Mall is in a totally car-only location on the edge of Calgary. Waaaay out. I actually knew someone at work who drove her daughter to her shoestore job there …and she was coming from downtown Calgary. This went on for several months.

    Her daughter finally bought a car.

    There’s public transit that gets you there. I believe the mall offers a free bus occasionally from one of the transit stations.

    I am not aware of any cyclist wanting to bike out there …at all.

  6. Plenty (enough) folks in the area south of Vancouver have a car, money and the desire to spend it.

    We will also – in time – see more residential development down there in the Boundary Bay flats, west, east and north of this mall, plus a new highway to Abbotsford & Langley paralllel to the US border, plus growing Delta, Langley, Surrey and Richmond, with 1M+ more people in the next 25-30 years. Plenty of shoppers.

    Plus, depending on US-Can $ exchange rate folks from US shopping in Canada !

    Maybe one day we’ll extend the CanadaLine all the way to the ferry, with a stop close to this new mall. Then they will call this mall “visionary”.

    1. “Maybe one day we’ll extend the CanadaLine all the way to the ferry, with a stop close to this new mall. Then they will call this mall “visionary””

      …assuming it’s managed to survive the 100 years it’ll take for all your predictions to come true…

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