The Mall Comes Crumbling Down

and the mall comes cumbling down...

“Une bonne journée j’vas y retourner
Avec mon bulldozer
Pis l’centre d’achat y vas passer
Un mauvais quart d’heure”

– La rue principale, par Les Colocs

Soft snow blanketing the ruins of a demolished mall: just the thing I need to spark a bit of holiday cheer after a couple dreary days of Christmas shopping.

While Cavendish Mall is not nearly as deserted as other dead malls across North America, one of the anchor stores had been empty since Eaton’s closed in 1998. Last summer, the town of Cote St Luc released plans to demolish 40% of the structure – and take over a good deal of the parking lot – in order to build new homes (Andy Riga maps the site on on Metropolitan News). The town has also given the mall permission to build an 8-story home for seniors atop the remaining commercial space. There is already a CLSC on site.

The bad news is that the failed suburban-style mall (built 1973) will be replaced with a bran new suburban-style housing development – the kind of thing I thought we’d left behind in the last millennium.

Cavendish mall redevelopment plans

The plan calls for 111 units including townhouses, semi-detached, and single-family dwellings – despite the fact that the block is currently flanked with mid-rise apartment buildings. The planners have even put in winding, dead-end suburban streets, ensuring that the new residents will have to walk something like 5 blocks to reach transit on Cavendish (I’m hoping there’s some kind of pedestrian infrastructure planned).

The mayor of Cote St Luc has said that the new development aims to provide affordable housing for families (although I have a hunch that what may be affordable by CSL standards would still be prohibitive to most Montreal families).

But the good news is that the lousy development choices of the past are not set in stone. Malls can come down, and with the right kind of vision, they can make way for something better.


  1. I hope there will be a pharmaprix in some part of this project to bring the ugly-street concept to life in a part of Montreal that needs it. Pharmacrap rules the ugly-street movement in montreal.

  2. Ooouuh. There goes a part of my childhood…

    When we grew-up in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, a week would not be complete without the weekly trip to Steinberg’s (or Dominion). First, we went to Plaza Côte-des-Neiges OR accross at the Dominion (which had a convenient Pascal hardware right next to it for my father and I), but then we started to go to the Cavendish Mall, where the Steinberg’s was merged with the Miracle Mart for an orgy of consumption that could only bedazzle a 12 year old…

    Then we moved out of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, never to return to the Cavendish mall.

    I went back there some years ago, on a bike ride. Of course, there was no more Eaton’s, and the Miracle Mart was long gone, then. But the mall was still there, as I somehow remembered it, but the kinds of non-chain stores made it somewhat tacky (like Plaza Côte-des-Neiges is nowadays).

    And now it comes down. Oh well. That’s kinda stupid as I gather that when they complete the Cavendish overpass to connect it with St-Laurent, it would become a prime commercial real-estate location; at least, more prime than low-density housing would warrant…

  3. just for clarification, it’s not the entire mall that is being knocked down, just the Eaton’s side. According to the press release, it is about 40% of the mall’s area.

  4. You’ll find a great group on Facebook called “My Cavendish Mall”. We have hundreds of members who enjoy reminiscing about of the old mall. Come check us out and be a part of it. :)

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