Mall metamorphosis: 11 projects reimagining Ontario shopping centres

Developers are eager to see what can be done with Canada’s aging shopping centres.

The Square One District is a massive shopping centre redevelopment underway in Mississauga. – Oxford Properties

Those who grew up before the rise of Amazon, Ebay and even Craigslist likely spent many hours hanging out at the mall with friends. Without cell phones or the internet, what else was there for a teenager to do?

These spaces weren’t just a place to shop. They were a social hub. But even before the COVID-19 pandemic, many shoppers were already shifting to online purchases.

With many of these aging malls now decades old, developers have seen a massive opportunity to completely reimagine these sites or augment them with a new vision.

During the past few years, this trend has been particularly strong in Ontario. Though, as evidenced by projects like the 4.3 million square-foot redevelopment of Vancouver’s Oakridge Centre, it is not confined to the East.

Nevertheless, this week, we are zooming in on the wave that is happening in Ontario. Let’s explore the most significant mall and shopping center redevelopment projects currently planned or in progress across the province.

Sherway Gardens Mall

Hariri Pontarini Architects

In 2021, developers revealed a master plan to redevelop the 30-acre Sherway Gardens site at The Queensway and The West Mall in Etobicoke. Mall owner Cadillac Fairview joined forces with real estate developer DiamondCorp to propose over 6,200 residential units in 15 new buildings ranging in height from 17 to 45 storeys, as well as over 14,000 square metres of new retail and office uses.

Scarborough Town Centre

Oxford Properties Group

The Scarborough Town Centre is the fourth largest mall in Canada and developers have been working since 2016 on plans to transform the site. Oxford Properties Group and Urban Strategies proposed initially building two towers, each taller than 50 storeys. Later phases would transform the site’s 21 blocks of mostly parking into mixed-use buildings.

Square One Shopping Centre

Oxford Properties

A contender for the largest redevelopment on this list, Square One Shopping Centre in Mississauga launched in 2020. Oxford Properties‘ multi-decade plan calls for the creation of the Square One District which would create 18,000 residential units and keep the mall intact. It includes 37 towers (nope, that’s not a typo) which essentially would create a downtown core for the city.

Galleria Mall


The Yelp reviews for the Galleria aren’t exactly flattering and BlogTO has called it the city’s “most derelict mall”. The space is set to get a major refresh. Almadev is working with Hariri Pontarini Architects on the redevelopment of the Galleria Mall, starting with a rebuilt community centre and two new mixed-use towers. The entire project is expected to take 10 years and produce a total of eight towers.


Petroff Partnership Architects

SmartLiving, a subsidiary of SmartCentres REIT, has crafted a plan with Petroff Partnership Architects, to replace an under-utilized portion of the Yorkgate Mall’s surface parking lot with a 22-storey tower. SmartLiving eventually hopes to build out the entire Yorkgate Mall site over the next decade.

Jane Finch Mall


The Finch West LRT isn’t just bringing transit. It’s transforming a Toronto community. The Jane Finch Mall and its owners have begun the planning process for the future of the site, exploring options that could include a mix of housing, retail, and community amenities.

Yorkdale Shopping Centre

Hariri Pontarini Architects

Oxford Properties has something massive brewing at Yorkdale Shopping Centre. Plans include 19 towers ranging from 12 to 50 storeys in height. If approved, the project create 7,935 units of housing, three public parks and a multi-purpose amenity space.

Centrepoint Mall

Morguard Corporation

It might be best to zip down to Centrepoint Mall’s while you still can. It’s days may be numbered. Plans have been submitted to transform the site into a 40-building community. Morguard Corporation‘s vision for the North York mall would create 18 towers, four mid-rise towers and 16 low-rise structures. Towers would range from 22 to 50 storeys.

Dufferin Mall


Toronto’s storied Dufferin Mall, lovingly teased by locals as “The Dirty Duff”, could soon see some massive changes. Primaris Management is partnering with Quadrangle Architects and Urban Strategies to create a master-planned community that will extend the existing mall and introduce new uses to the site. It would add four residential towers, the tallest reaching up 36 storeys.

Atrium on Bay

Hariri Pontarini Architects

Atrium on Bay Expansion is a proposed 34-storey mixed-use rental building designed by Hariri Pontarini Architects and Adamson Associates Architects for KingSett Capital. The proposal was presented to the Toronto Design Review Panel in March, 2023. It would replace a portion of the decades-old Atrium on Bay complex which has office and retail tenants.

Agincourt Mall

North American Development Group

North American Development Group is currently working with Toronto officials to progress their plans to massively transform the Agincourt Mall in Scarborough. The first phase of the multi-phase plan includes two towers while future phases include eight more towers, retail and parks.


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