Downtown Hamilton mall to close for good next month


Published November 18, 2022 at 11:50 am

The few remaining merchants in City Centre mall in downtown Hamilton know their end date.

It has been known for some time that the shopping centre with the old city hall clock tower looming over the intersection of James St. North, Wilson St. and York Blvd. is not long for the world.

The space was purchased in 2019 by IN8 Developments, which plans to build four residential condo towers there over the coming years.

The City of Hamilton has given conditional approval to the project, which is on the same block as FirstOntario Centre — also due to be refurbished by HUPEG (Hamilton Urban Precinct Entertainment Group). A noise study, which is a major step before final approval, was already carried out last summer.

On Friday, CBC Hamilton reported that City Centre, which is attached to the Jackson Square mall, will close on Dec. 26 — Boxing Day. Demolition of the mall could start before the end of February 2023.

Downtown Hamilton mall to close for good next month

City Centre had a chequered history as a retail space. It opened in 1990 as the Hamilton Eaton Centre, a venture between Cadillic Fairview (which owns Lime Ridge Mall on Upper Wentworth St.) and Eaton’s, a Canadian department store. But the anchor tenant did not even make it to the millennium since the Eaton’s chain went broke in 1999.

The sale to IN8 also presaged the effect that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on retail and personal services. Crunch Fitness had a gym in City Centre, but it did not survive the pandemic, with the chain choosing to focus on its other Hamilton locations.

Earlier this year, an American YouTuber fascinated with “dead malls” visited City Centre. The vlogger offered praise for the unique, natural light-welcoming architecture of the mall but noted the mall had seen brighter and busier days. The extra space also meant City Centre was sought out by film and TV productions.

Hamilton City Hall was on the site from the late 19th century up until 1960, when the current one was opened at 71 Main St. West after being designed by Stanley Roscoe.