Burlington Mall undergoing a $60 million upgrade - adding restaurants and services and community events.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

July 16th, 2108



While Burlington’s city council gets ready to decide just how high the second tower opposite city hall is going to be the Burlington Mall folks on Guelph Line at Fairview continue with the refurbishment of the Mall that is celebrating their 50th anniversary.

The Burlington Mall has gone through a rough patch – every mall in the country shared this experience when the Zellers leases were sold and the brand disappeared. Target came into the Canadian market – they didn’t last all that long.

Mall managers across the country realized that their business model was in the process of going through a profound change. Amazon and dozens of other on line operations were taking away a lot of the business the traditional bricks and mortar stores had enjoyed.

West elevation

Architects rendering of the Mall when it is completed.

Mall marketing managers had to begin to find ways to bring people back to the malls and give them reasons for spending more time and making the mall more of a destination.

Heidi McGaw GM

Heidi McGaw – Burlington Mall’s General Manager – all the problems land on her desk.

Heidi McGaw, General Manager of the Burlington Mall worked with her team and put together a re-development program that brought a large food store – Denninger’s and a class act bookstore Indigo to the mall.

Winners and Starbucks were also added to the client list. There is a patio outside the Starbucks location.

There is a new section of the mall was created to house family restaurants.

McGaw has been in real estate management for more than 20 years and has seen it all.

Her role at the Burlington Mall is to differentiate that operation from the other large Mall in the city.

restaurant section“The loss of the Target operation allowed us to be creative. A major specialty food operation is not traditional for a mall. The space we created for the five restaurants is also not what malls have done in the past. The approach to restaurants has been a food court. The change we are bringing about is five different restaurants – Mr. Greek, 5 Guys and Blaze Pizza”.  Two others that McGaw wasn’t prepared to identify will be announced soon.

The retail mix will include more in the way of services (travel, health) and home décor. The Burlington mall doesn’t see itself as a fashion destination.

There are plans to work with the Joseph Brant Hospital and Burlington Green and make them part of the community that is being created at the mall.

There is the 24 hour Good Life gymnasium operation which many appreciate.

Curved corridor

Architects drawing of a spruced up mall with new seating areas and comfortable seats.

The seating in the concourse areas, which are very wide, will be much more inviting. Gone are the plastic and hard bench look and feel. The chairs are of a modern design, well upholstered and comfortable looking. Mall.

Every Christmas Santa arrives in a helicopter – the mall has been doing this for quite a while. They are now reaching deeper into the community and bringing some of what goes on downtown up to the Fairview location.

SoM group

Sound of Music performers kicking up a storm in one of the Burlington Mall concourses. Part of the reaching out to the community that the Mall will be doing.

Two of the acts that were part of the Sound of Music put on a performance in June.

The Annual Terry Fox Run will have a team made up of Mall merchants. Craig Gardner, organizer of the event this year, told the Gazette he would be working with the Mall management to let people know more about the history of the Terry Fox run and what it has meant for Burlington.

Some of the Terry Fox fund raising may be done at the mall.

With the new tenants there was also a new branding that will be revealed to the public early in August.

Fisher Farm - aerial view

The Fisher Farm that was sold to a real estate developer who built the Burlington Mall 50 years ago.

The Burlington Mall opened 50 years ago on land that was once known as the Fisher Farm. There are still hundreds of Burlingtonians who remember working on that farm. There are those that remember attending the Fisher elementary school that was on the west side of Guelph Line north of the underpass.

McGaw mentions that $60 million is being invested in the upgrades. We think we’ve got it right but retail is a constantly changing business – our approach is to be nimble and be able to react quickly to the changing needs of our customer base.

The Grand reveal will take place in August.

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6 comments to Burlington Mall undergoing a $60 million upgrade – adding restaurants and services and community events.

  • Maggie

    I love the idea of new restaurants. I’m not a huge fan of food courts and I often like to order a beer with my meal. I remember when I was a kid going the mall with my mother and having lunch at the long gone Hearth Restaurant.

  • Jesse Bell

    Article incorrectly says Winners is new but it just moved. Love the new Dennigers. A community centre might be nice for isolated seniors or young people. Cudos to the new development! It is great to have everything in one place rather than driving around. Please think about adding food trucks.that would be a draw.

  • Francis Mackan

    Perhaps the owners of the Mall, who want to be community minded per the above article, would allow the return of the weekly Classic Car Cruise night on Thursdays or Fridays, and the spring carnival. Both big fundraisers for the Lions Clubs, who put that money back to community use. and both events that draw shoppers to the mall.

    • Philip Waggett

      Great idea but any night other than Friday or Wednesday. It was highly disruptive of the Farmers Market.

  • Philip Waggett

    According to Jack Dennison’s reelection newsletter (has the election period legally started?), the Burlington Mall is “underdeveloped” and the is space for residential high-rise! And this from a councillor whose latest election ploy was to vote against a 17 story highrise on Brant Street having previously voted in favour of a 22 story monstrosity. I can only conclude that Jack isn’t content with ruining Ward 2, he would like to do the same in Ward 4. In addition, he also sees Marilu’s/Eastway as a suitable site for more of the same development.

  • Lynn Crosby

    I love the new Denningers and Indigo and can’t wait for a Five Guys. I think they’re doing a wonderful job with the mall. I still miss Eaton’s though 🙂