Posted on April 09, 2014

60 Years of Metrotown, and It's Only Just Beginning

We're not the only ones celebrating a 60 year anniversary this year: so is the home to what is now Metropolis at Metrotown, Canada's second largest shopping centre (West Edmonton Mall is the largest). It seems 1954 was a big year.

Of course, it wasn't called Metropolis at the time. It started off with a modest one-storey Sears store on the north east corner of the block, right next to wholesale grocer, Kelly-Douglas. It actually wasn't even called Metrotown either: that term was officially adopted for the neighbourhood in 1974 after city planners selected it as Burnaby's de facto town centre, beating out Lougheed and Brentwood neighbourhoods for the job. 

But, 1954 was the beginning. Since then, commercial and residential real estate development at Metrotown has had its ebbs and flows, but the neighbourhood has only kept growing. By the early 1970s, Sears was overshadowed by two walkway-linked malls, Eaton Centre and Metrotown Centre, which would one day engulf the existing Sears and and become what is now the impressive mall that stands today.

When SkyTrain was built in 1986, Metro Vancouver's first light rapid transit system connecting the suburbs to downtown Vancouver, the plan to turn the community into a true commercial hub really began coming to fruition due to the station just steps away. The two side-by-side malls began merging into one, attracting major retailers to the development. It eventually took on its new identity: Metropolis at Metrotown.

Today, Metropolis at Metrotown - by far the largest landmark in the area - houses over 400 retailers on the nearly 40-acre plot of land bordered by Kingsway, Grand Boulevard, Nelson, and McKay. Big names such as The Bay, Winners, Chapters, and Home Outfitters capitalize on the mall's 25 million+ annual visitors. In recent years, Metropolis has even attracted a trendier group of retailers and shoppers alike, housing stores such as Aritzia, Oak + Fort, Apple, Boys' Co, DAVIDsTEA, and Club Monaco. And the original Sears is not only still standing, but Sears Canada is planning a $1 billion redevelopment of the site which will add commercial and residential towers atop a 100,000 sq. ft. flagship store.

To say that Burnaby's Metrotown is getting bigger and better is a vast understatement. This is a community that has grown with the times and has truly become what urban planners could only have dreamed of in the 1970s. With our own five-tower development, Station Square at Metrotown, currently under construction a mere 200 feet from Metropolis, we like to think that this is just the beginning.

For more information on current Metrotown real estate opportunities at Station Square, please visit www.stationsquare.ca