The shopping mall was once a symbol of American life. It brought multiple stores together in a warm, friendly environment. As US communities began to sprawl and drift further from city centres, the first unified malls were built and quickly became a mainstay of suburban living. They were based on Austrian-Jewish architect Victor Gruen’s idea of trying to capture the feel of a European marketplace or the Greek agora and offered more than just shops.
But the mall of the future is less about shopping and more about experiences. And it’s being driven by a perfect storm of trends, including an increasing focus on experience over brand, increased sustainability concerns that drive consumers toward mixed use developments that combine work and home with fewer cars and more public spaces and a rising middle class in Latin America and Asia with a strong association between consumption and pleasure.
For example, the gorgeous open-air Ala Moana Mall in Honolulu has more than 350 shops and restaurants but it also features beautiful koi ponds and water features throughout the complex that makes you feel like you are still on the ocean as you shop. And, of all the malls featured here, it might just be the most naturally beautiful.
So grab your walking shoes and your credit card, and get ready to spend the day at these eight Toronto malls.