The region will likely have a chance to observe both in planning and development the transformation of two of the earliest shopping malls in western Canada – Oakridge in Vancouver and Brentwood in Burnaby.   (Oakridge, developed in 1956, was the first open-air mall in Vancouver; it was preceded by Park Royal in West Vancouver, which in 1950 was the first in Canada.)

Oakridge and Brentwood will be fascinating case studies, given their respective sizes, ages and aspirations – even down to the shape of their sites:


Oakridge has already gone through extensive analysis and proposals for redevelopment in the last decade – most of which have been discarded for yet another, and more dramatic, reconsideration, as indicated in a July Council report here:

Ivanhoe Cambridge (the owners of Oakridge Centre) has recently entered into a partnership with the development company Westbank to jointly and collaboratively pursue the redevelopment of the Centre.

The project proponents (Ivanhoe Cambridge and Westbank) have identified a number of new and enhanced development aspirations that have emerged since the adoption of the Oakridge Centre Policy Statement in 2007, and which they believe merit a fresh look at the redevelopment of the site.

(Specifics on page 9).

Vancouver Council has approved the new planning process, which will likely take years; Burnaby has already reached the rezoning stage (tonight).  The scale will be different too: Brentwood proposes 70-storey towers.  Don’t expect anything like that at Oakridge.

But there is one common fundamental: both are being driven by the arrival and presence of rapid transit.  Which, come to think of it, makes them interesting comparisons with Guildford Mall in Surrey, currently undergoing redevelopment.

Only Guildford, given the nifty new interchange at 152nd Street and the absence of any serious transit, will be almost entirely car dependent.