Chinook Centre is the largest enclosed shopping centre in Calgary, Alberta, Canada () containing over 250 stores, a professional building, and a major theatre complex. It is located near the geographic centre of the city on Macleod Trail, just north of Glenmore Trail about south of downtown, and three blocks west of the Chinook C-Train station.
The mall is owned and operated by Cadillac Fairview, one of Canada's largest real estate property managers and developers.
In 1960, with Calgary's population and city limits rapidly expanding, the original section of Chinook Centre was opened on the site of the Chinook Drive-In Theatre. Designed as an open-air complex, the mall was anchored by Woodward's, Holt Renfrew, a bowling alley, and a branch of the Calgary Public Library, in addition to a variety of other higher-end stores. The centre was enclosed a few years later, and quickly became a focal point of social life for affluent Calgarians.
In the mid-1960s, a separate mall, Southridge, was opened across the street from Chinook. Built to be a competing centre with Sears and approximately 30 other stores, Southridge operated separately until 1974, when the malls came under common ownership and an expansion was built to bridge the centres together. The new, much larger mall was renamed Chinook Ridge Shopping Centre, and included a major enclosed parking structure, an office tower, and a food court.
Time Capsule`s cover plate at the 4-storey rotunda
The 1980s saw the addition of a 2-storey wing of specialty retailers leading to a new anchor store (fashion retailer Bretton's), a theatre complex and a food court. This expansion brought the mall's store count to approximately 300.
In the late 1990s, Chinook underwent a massive $300 million renovation, which corrected design flaws and unified the centre, which had become disjointed from numerous rounds of expansions. The complex was completely rebuilt in 3 phases, while remaining open for business during the three-year construction period. The move to larger format retailers reduced the number of stores to approximately 200 and added brand new stores for Sears, The Bay and Zellers. The re-merchandising program was unkind to smaller, locally owned and operated retailers, who were squeezed out by soaring rents and the 'upscaling' of the property. An exception is the mall's signature bowling alley, which remains in its original location today.
On September 29, 2010 a further expansion to the mall was opened, adding of new retail space. The new 2-level wing added approximately 60 new retailers to Chinook, many of which are new to the Calgary market or considered high-end luxury brand stores. New stores include Abercrombie & Fitch, Anthropologie, Apple Store, BCBG Max Azria, Coach, Geox, Guess, Harry Rosen, Hollister Co., Kiehls, Lacoste, Michael Kors, Oakley, Skechers, and Urban Outfitters.
A pedestrian-oriented walkway leading from the Chinook LRT station to the mall is still in the design process. It would allow direct access into the mall over Macleod Trail and help reduce traffic congestion problems at 61st Avenue.
Chinook Centre Today
Chinook Centre is home to three major department stores, 250 stores, and several full service restaurants. It also contains a bowling alley, professional tower, and the city's largest movie theatre complex, the Scotiabank Theatre Chinook (formerly the Paramount), with 16 screens and an IMAX.
The focal point of the mall is a 4-storey high rotunda, with a fibre optic 'constellation' ceiling and a time capsule at the centre's axis, set to be opened in the year 2999. The floor tile in this court resembles a map of Calgary's rivers, the Bow and Elbow, with the time capsule placed where the mall would be located relative to the city.
Chinook Centre also hosts one of the world's largest free pancake breakfasts. This event is traditionally held on the first Saturday of the Calgary Stampede.
Chinook Centre contains a vast food court roughly the size of a football field, containing seating for 900, and offering more than 20 food vendors. The food court contains a variety of artistic "flying machines" which circle above diners on a motorized track, a fairly large carousel and also overlooks 'Scraptor', a tall dinosaur fashioned out of old farming equipment parts.
2012 anchor closures
Chinook will soon be losing two of its longtime anchors, with both Sears Canada and Zellers closing in 2012, with the latter undergoing its liquidation store-closing sale in June 2012. The Zellers location is to be converted into a Target and Nordstrom will move into the space occupied by Sears.
|Scotiabank Theatre Chinook
||Closing October 31, 2012.
||To be converted to Target.
- List of largest shopping malls in Canada
- List of shopping malls in Canada