Retail Photo Tour: McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Vancouver

Retail Insider continues its Photo Tour series of Canadian malls to provide a window into shopping centres which may be less frequented lately due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This edition takes us to the McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Vancouver in Richmond, near Vancouver, which was the first designer outlet mall in British Columbia.

The open-air village style centre, which features piazzas, cobblestone walkways, and a variety of historical-looking facades, was architected by Edmonton-based firm Stantec Inc.

The centre is a joint venture between McArthurGlen, Europe’s leading owner, developer, and manager of designer outlets, and the Vancouver Airport Authority, a community-based, not-for-profit organization that operates the Vancouver International Airport.

Location of McArthur Glen Vancouver. Photo: Google Maps
Overall McArthurGlen Vancouver Map. Photo: McArthurGlen
McArthurGlen Concept Rendering. Photo: McArthurGlen

History of McArthur Glen Designer Outlet

The master plan for the shopping centre includes three phases, of which two have been built so far. The design was European-inspired; however, design elements were also inspired by iconic Vancouver architecture such as the city’s first post-office building that was built in 1937, the Vancouver Rowing Club (1911), and the distinctive brick facades associated with the city’s historic Gastown district. The prime location with access to YVR International Airport as well as the Templeton Skytrain public transit hub made the space perfect for the sprawling outdoor European retail pathways.

McArthurGlen Vancouver Map, by Phases. Photo: McArthurGlen Map with overlay by Retail Insider.
McArthurGlen Vancouver Plan (presented in 2015). Markup highlighting Phase 3 by Retail Insider. Photo: McArthurGlen

Access to McArthur Glen Designer Outlet

The shopping centre can be reached by vehicle or by public transport. The Templeton Skytrain station opened in August 2009 in anticipation of servicing the centre as well as light industrial and long term airport parking in the area. Vehicular traffic accesses the centre from Templeton Street which connects to the major Grant McConachie Way that services the airport. Patrons choosing to arrive by road are greeted with single level, 2,000 parking space lot.

McArthur Glen Vancouver Parking. Photo: Geetanjali Sharma

Breaking up the McArthur Glen Designer Outlet

As previously mentioned, the shopping centre is intended to be completed with three phases. For the purposes of this retail tour, we will be proceeding through the centre in the following zones:

McArthurGlen Vancouver Map, by Tour Zones. Photo: McArthurGlen Map with overlay by Retail Insider.

The tour zones include the following (with the corresponding color coding):

  • Phase One Upper (Red)
  • Phase One Middle (Green)
  • Phase One Lower (Blue)
  • Phase Two (Purple)

Phase One Lower Zone Tour (Blue)

Coming from the Templeton Skytrain, the photo tour begins at the bottom left of the overall map.

McArthurGlen Lower Left Entrance. Photo: Geetanjali Sharma
Levi's and Under Armour around seating area at McArthur Glen Vancouver.
Levi’s and Under Armour around seating area at McArthur Glen Vancouver. Photo: Geetanjali Sharma
Row of Retailers circling covered seating area at McArthur Glen Vancouver, including Burberry and Gap FactoryStore. Photo: Geetanjali Sharma

The cobblestone pathway brings patrons between the European clad exteriors lit by lanterns to the first piazza. This gathering place is encircled by a Gap Factory Outlet store, a Banana Republic Factory Outlet store, Burberry, Levi’s, Swarovski, Sunglass Hut, and Under Armour. The Burberry outlet is the only one in British Columbia.

Moving between first Piazza and second Piazza in lower Phase One Zone at McArthur Glen. Photo: Geetanjali Sharma

Continuing along the lower zone of Phase One brings patrons to a second piazza. The popular Nike outlet is one of the retailers circling the piazza along with Icebreaker Merino, Mavi Jeans, People’s Jewellers, Columbia Sportswear, Vans, and Skechers. A food pavilion also is along the south side of the piazza, including Vancouver’s crowd favourite JAPADOG.

Nike has been particularly aggressive with its direct-to-consumer expansion which includes standalone stores and digital channels as the brand pulls out of multi-brand retailers.

Nike Outlet at McArthur Glen. Photo: Geetanjali Sharma

Phase Two Tour Zone (Purple)

Officially opening in August 2019, Phase Two of McArthurGlen Vancouver opened four years after Phase One completed. The new expansion featured 84,000 square feet which was part of the intended, original plan disclosed in 2015. The new phase continued the outside, open-air European concept to provide a seamless continuation along cobblestone walkways lit by lanterns.

Phase Two Tour Zone at McArthurGlen Vancouver. Photo: McArthurGlen Map with overlay by Retail Insider.

Approaching the large, open air piazza from the south, we passed Adidas, Old Navy, Soft Moc, La Vie En Rose, and the North Face.

The North Face at McArthur Glen. Photo: Geetanjali Sharma
Wayfinding at McArthur Glen.
Wayfinding at McArthur Glen. Photo: Geetanjali Sharma

Continuing to the north half of Phase Two, on the cusp between the south and north sections was Australian jeweller Michael Hill and a location for luxury watch brand Movado.

Michael Hill and Modova at McArthur Glen
Michael Hill and Modova at McArthur Glen. Photo: Geetanjali Sharma

The final, expansive piazza for Phase Two on the tour is circular-ish with an open area in the centre.

Large piazza on opening day in August 2019 at McArthurGlen Vancouver. Photo: Fuhrious Construction.

The retailers encircling the piazza included some luxury design labels such as Max Mara, Stuart Weitzman, Tory Burch, and Jimmy Choo. This is a particularly pricey section of the mall — Italian luxury brand Max Mara operates a handful of stores in Canada, and the Vancouver franchise is owned by Vestis Fashioni Group. Tory Burch recently opened four outlet stores with other locations in Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, and Toronto. The Jimmy Choo outlet store is one of two in Canada, with the other at Toronto Premium Outlets.

Max Mara, Blubird and Aritzia at McArthur Glen. Photo: Geetanjali Sharma

Between Aritzia and Starbucks was construction signage blocking access for patrons. This would be the future entrance to the future Phase Three which details on its construction and opening have not been released.

Future Phase Three Entrance from Phase Two at McArthur Glen
Future Phase Three Entrance from Phase Two at McArthur Glen. Photo: Geetanjali Sharma

Exiting the large piazza from Phase Two, we continued along the cobblestone walkway passing other high caliber retailers including Canadian brand Roots, Montreal-based vegan leather brand Matt & Natt, Jack & Jones, AllSaints, L’Occitaine, Aldo, and Aritzia. L’Occitane recently filed for bankruptcy protection with most stores to remain open, and Aldo also shocked many when it announced a filing last year.

Walkway in Phase Two at McArthur Glen
Walkway in Phase Two at McArthur Glen. Photo: Geetanjali Sharma

Phase One Middle Zone Tour (Green)

Returning for the rest of the photo tour to Phase One, the centrepiece of the planned development is the centre piazza for McArthur Glen Vancouver.

Phase One, Middle Zone Tour at McArthurGlen Vancouver. Photo: McArthurGlen Map with overlay by Retail Insider.

The centre focal point piazza has a massive sculpture called SEI by artist Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas. The 12-meter-long sculpture was revealed as part of the Phase One opening in 2015 and has 8.5 tons of stainless steel, copper, granite, and marble. The contemporary piece towers four meters high with a copper underbelly.

SEI statue at McArthur Glen
SEI statue at McArthur Glen. Photo: Geetanjali Sharma

The retailers surrounding the SEI statue include several heavy hitting luxury brands including Giorio Armani (plus the lower-priced Armani Exchange attached), Mackage, Kate Spade, Brooks Brothers, Ted Baker, Maje, Sandro, Michael Kors, Ports 1961, Ted Baker, UGG, and Lacoste. Montreal-based Mackage, which recently opened a Manhattan flagship, has been expanding its direct-to-consumers stores globally. Sandro and Maje have also opened stores across Canada in recent years.

Row of Retailers circling the SEI statue at McArthur Glen Vancouver, including Ports, Maje and Mackage
Row of Retailers circling the SEI statue at McArthur Glen Vancouver, including Ports 1961, Maje and Mackage. Photo: Geetanjali Sharma
Armani Outlet at McArthur Glen
Armani Outlet at McArthur Glen. Photo: Geetanjali Sharma

Moving onto the the last large architectural piazzas is in the left (or west) side of the middle zone of Phase One. This is one of the dramatic entrances welcoming patrons into the outlet centre with Caffe Artigiano taking up residence in the centre of the piazza.

Large Plaza with Caffe Artigiano in the middle at McArthur Glen Vancouver
Large Plaza with Caffe Artigiano in the middle at McArthur Glen Vancouver. Photo: Geetanjali Sharma

The retailers encircling the large plaza include Polo Ralph Lauren, Club Monaco, Cole Haan, Tumi, Boss, Coach, and The Cosmetics Company Store.

Polo Ralph Lauren at McArthur Glen Vancouver
Polo Ralph Lauren at McArthur Glen Vancouver. Photo: Geetanjali Sharma

Phase One Upper Zone Tour (Red)

The last area of McArthurGlen Vancouver is the north end of Phase One with several retailers residing in this tour zone.

Phase One, Upper Zone Tour at McArthurGlen Vancouver. Photo: McArthurGlen Map with overlay by Retail Insider.

With coffee in hand from Caffe Artigiano, the photo tour moved north to enter the left (or west) end of the upper zone. Passing Guess and Calvin Klein, another entrance is accessible at this point and it is the beginning of the row of retailers.

Looking back at Caffe Artigiano en route to northern section of Phase One at McArthur Glen Vancouver. Photo: Geetanjali Sharma
Reaching the Western edge of the Northern section of Phase One was Tommy Hilfiger at McArthur Glen Vancouver. Guess and Calvin Klein were also nearby. Photo: Geetanjali Sharma

Standing at Tommy Hilfiger in front of one of the entrances from the parking lot, the channel European corridor of retailers continues to the end of the Phase One. The first main retailers are Fossil and The Body Shop.

North Corridor in Phase One at McArthur Glen Vancouver.
North Corridor in Phase One at McArthur Glen Vancouver. Visible is Fossil and The Body Shop. Photo: Geetanjali Sharma

The retailer row has several retailers including Herschel Supply, Guess Accessories, Zwilling, Mountain Warehouse, Naturalizer, Rossignol, Samsonite, Rebok, Puma, and Geox. Herschel’s outlet store is a first for the company, and Naturalizer is expected to close soon given that all North American units will shutter.

At the very end of the retailer row is a square courtyard which brings us to the end of our photo tour. Still within the north end of Phase One, this square courtyard includes Carter’s | OshKosh, Lindt, ASICS, Ammolite & Jade, and Desigual. At one time, Spanish fashion brand Desigual had stores across Canada and were operated by J.Michaels which quietly shut down last year.

Carter's | OshKosh at McArthur Glen Vancouver
Carter’s | OshKosh at McArthur Glen Vancouver. Photo: Geetanjali Sharma

Similar to in Phase Two, between Lindt and Carter’s | OshKosh is the future entrance to Phase Three which was currently blocked off for patrons.

Blocked off future entrance to Phase Three from existing Phase One at McArthur Glen Vancouver
Blocked off future entrance to Phase Three from existing Phase One at McArthur Glen Vancouver. Photo: Geetanjali Sharma

This concludes our retail photo tour of McArthur Glen Designer Outlet. We had a very interesting photo walk around and we hope you enjoyed coming along with us.

Phase One walkway at McArthur Glen Vancouver
Phase One walkway at McArthur Glen Vancouver. Photo: Geetanjali Sharma

Article Author

Lee Rivett
Lee Rivetthttps://retail-insider.com
Lee Rivett, based in Vancouver, supports the digital distribution and technical backend operations of Retail Insider. This includes providing technical support for the editors during the digital publication cycle, streamlining virtual tools for the cross-country team and a variety of other duties which keeps the publication running smoothly.

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