How Westwood Became Canada's Largest South Asian Mall
An old school plaza dating back to the 1960s, Westwood Mall in Malton is now in the midst of an extensive redevelopment by Fieldgate Commercial and Plazacorp aimed at solidifying its stature as a hub within the local South Asian community and increasing its reach beyond.
“We bought the mall with the intention of investing some capital into it,” Fieldgate’s Matthew West tells us. He’s snapped here at its new skylit food court, which opens later this month. Phase 1 of redevelopment brought a 95k SF Walmart. Phase 2—just wrapping up now—has seen an old 60k SF Zellers store reborn as The Shops at Westwood Square, a complex of small retail-condo units (versus the rest of the mall, which is freehold lease units), with the food court on the top level, with 27 stalls. This makes Westwood Canada’s largest indoor South Asian mall, Matthew points out.
The retail-condo concept is popular among the South Asian population. “The community wants to have an ownership stake in their businesses,” says Matthew, noting that the smaller retail units at the Shops at Westwood Square (rendered above) are ideally suited for mom and pop shops, which then get to be a part of a tenant roster that includes heavy hitters like Walmart, LCBO and Shoppers Drug Mart, ones they “wouldn’t necessarily have access to in other retail-condo developments.”
Phase 3 of the expansion of Westwood Mall (rebranded Westwood Square) includes a new 10k SF Dollarama; expansion of the existing Freshco, Shoppers Drug Mart and LCBO locations; and construction of new standalone units at the front of the mall for Tim Hortons, CIBC and TD Canada Trust. The revamp will inject new life into an aging shopping centre that Matthew tells us was looking worse for its 40 years of wear. “Investment was leaving it," he says. "What we’re doing here is servicing the community better.”