UBC Undergraduate Research

Canada’s First Shopping Centre : The Early Evolution of West Vancouver’s Park Royal Janz, Maia


The introduction of shopping centres to the retail environment in Canada in the twentieth century was an idea both innovative and risky. Up until the 1950’s, Canadian retail had been centralized within the urban cores, an organizational trait which would be altered following the addition of Canada’s first shopping centre, Park Royal, in 1950. Park Royal was a thoughtfully crucial component in the success of West Vancouver as a desirable residential neighbourhood situated within the periphery of Vancouver’s cityscape. The addition of regional shopping centres like Park Royal altered the shopping experience for suburban residents by localizing goods and services which had previously only been accessible outside of resident’s immediate areas. Shopping centres were modelled after existing shopping districts in North America which tended to cater towards the automobile-owning middle and upper class consumer. Eventually, the success of the shopping centre could be seen in mass adoption of retail development nationwide. In support of the West Vancouver Historical Society’s next book, this composition will explore the urban development in Park Royal Shopping Centre’s first thirty years of growth.

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