Brief: Hudson’s Bay Montreal Downsizing, McArthurGlen Outlets Add Luxury Retailers

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Hudson’s Bay Flagship Store in Montreal to be Downsized

The flagship Hudson’s Bay department store at 585 Ste-Catherine Street in downtown Montreal is expected to be downsized amid a sale of the iconic and historic 655,000-square-foot building. That’s according to a French language report last week in La Presse.

The article states that Hudson’s Bay will occupy three retail levels spanning 250,000 square feet on the ground floor, second level, and basement. The new owner will have the option of converting levels three through eight of the building into loft-like office space — something tech firms were keen to secure prior to COVID-19. A building application proposal is also in place for zoning approval to add a 300-foot tower at the back of the store, either for office or residential uses.


The downtown Montreal Bay building opened in 1891 as a Morgan’s store, with an eight level expansion being added in 1923. A rather ugly extension was added at the back end of the store facing Boulevard de Maisonneuve in 1964. In 2016, Hudson’s Bay announced that Saks Fifth Avenue would open a 200,000 square foot store in the back-end extension though plans were subsequently shelved.

CBRE is said to be selling the Montreal Bay building as well as the Vancouver Hudson’s Bay flagship store at 674 Granville Street.


McArthurGlen Designer Outlets in Vancouver Add Upscale Retailers

The McArthurGlen Designer Outlets at Vancouver International Airport continues to go upscale with the addition of several premium brands. That includes UK-based Burberry which will open its first outlet in Western Canada. Other brands either open or soon to open in the Vancouver centre include Max Mara, Blubird, Matt & Nat, Rossignol, and Tory Burch.

Other outlet stores recently opened at McArthurGlen in Vancouver include Aritzia and Herschel Supply Company, which is expanding rapidly with a series of retail partnerships across the country.


The unique looking outdoor outlet mall, located just east of Vancouver International Airport, opened in 2015. The centre spans 240,000 square feet and is planning to add an additional 100,000 square feet of space.

While the Vancouver centre was positioned as a luxury mall, it still has only a handful of brands considered to be in the ‘luxury’ category. The Toronto Premium Outlets in Halton Hills is by far the most luxury heavy outlet centre in Canada with brands such as Gucci, Saint Laurent, Versace, Giorgio Armani, Jimmy Choo, Prada, Montblanc, Burberry, and others. Balenciaga recently opened and soon Moncler and Ferragamo will join them.


Richard Mille and Audemars Piguet Stores Close in Toronto

Last year Toronto-based jeweller Louis Black unveiled separate boutiques for luxury watch brands Richard Mille and Audemars Piguet in Toronto, located on the second level of Mandrake Place at 135 Yorkville Avenue. Both boutiques were the only dedicated spaces for the brands in Canada. To visit the boutiques, one had to be taken upstairs by security to check out some watches priced into the six figures and higher.

Following the death of the owner of Louis Black this spring, the boutiques have closed. It’s unclear if either brand will return to Toronto in boutique form. In Vancouver, jeweller Birks operates a small Richard Mille boutique space at Birks’ downtown Vancouver flagship, and an opportunity may present for Birks to expand the line into Toronto — when we visited the Mille boutique in Toronto last year, almost every watch had been sold


KEEN Footwear Keen on Charity

KEEN Footwear — a family-owned outdoor footwear, clothing, and accessories brand —is furthering its commitment to fighting COVID-19 but donating 100,000 masks and $100,000 worth of footwear to front-line workers and their families this year.

All part of its Together We Can Help initiative, the outwear brand has already converted its production line in its brand-owned factory to make the Harvest Mask, a stylish, comfortable and washable line of face masks made responsibly using upcycled material and contemporary styles to match other beloved KEEN footwear.

Since day one, KEEN has worked with non-profit partners, consciously constructing its products, providing grant funding to grassroots organizations, and activating communities and individuals to protect the places where we work and play. KEEN puts its values in motion to leave the world a better place, and the COVID-19 pandemic has been no different.


Hudson’s Bay Evolves Safety Measures by Introducing CleanSlate UV Sanitizers

As Hudson’s Bay continues to evolve, its in-store health and safety measures are evolving right alongside it. The company has announced the introduction of CleanSlate UV Sanitizers, an innovative technology that uses medical-grade UV rays to sanitize objects like cell phones, wallets, keys, and bank cards, in only 20 seconds.

The revolutionary tool will be featured at the key entry and exit points in select Hudson’s Bay locations across British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec.

“The health and safety of our customers and associates is at the forefront of everything we do, and we are continually looking at ways to enhance the in-store experience and build trust with our loyal customer base,” said Kerry Mader, Chief Customer Officer, Hudson’s Bay. “With the introduction of Canada’s fastest, most effective UV sanitizers in our stores across the country, customers can feel confident knowing that creating the safest possible shopping environment is our top priority.”

“We are incredibly excited to be working with Hudson’s Bay to provide this enhanced service that gives customers and associates the ability to quickly sanitize their mobile devices and other small items,” said Taylor Mann, CEO and co-founder of CleanSlate UV. “While we are all washing our hands more frequently, we still handle our cell phone continuously throughout the day. Keeping our devices clean helps keep our hands clean. This technology is a fast and easy way to reduce bacteria and viruses and help keep Canadians healthy.”

CleanSlate’s UV Sanitizers are simple to use and proven to be effective in eliminating at least 99.999% of harmful bacteria found on common handheld items. With touch-free device removal and no damaging chemicals, CleanSlate’s technology builds on Hudson’s Bay’s already existing safety protocols put in place to protect customers as they shop


ECCO Joining stackt market Lineup

Danish heritage brand ECCO, will be popping up at Toronto’s stackt market this fall to showcase their latest in footwear, leather technology, and contemporary design.

Stackt market — located right at the intersection of Front Street and Bathurst Street in Toronto’s downtown — will host the ECCO showroom from September 18th to October 29th. Immersing guests into the brand’s DNA, the pop-up promises an experimental and experiential space where innovative leathers meet high-tech craftsmanship.

Taking over unit 4-101, the 285-square-foot shipping container will take-on a Scandinavian feel, finished with soft hues of white, grey and gold, wooden accents, and sleek modern lines. Visitors will walk through ECCO’s AW20 curated lineup of fall and winter styles, with mounted displays of ECCO’s leathers giving a glimpse into the brand’s innovative, technical, and original manufacturing and design processes.

Located towards the back of the container is the ECCO x stackt Workshop which will house a selection of DIY ECCO small leather goods, which guests will have the opportunity to craft on their own. The “Illustrator Series” will take place each weekend from September 19th through October 24th. The ECCO x stackt Workshop will play host to a local illustrator, on-hand to customize the small leather goods. Carefully selected by ECCO, each artist will bring their unique style of illustration to the table.

The limited-edition Tannery Series 001 will also be launching and available for purchase at the pop-up. The unique and one-of-a-kind upcycled sneaker is constructed in recycled leather from ECCO’s tannery innovation labs.

To support their stackt neighbuors, ECCO has collaborated with Courage Cookies, Pearl & Bean, and Belgian Moon Brewery. ECCO is eager to embrace the cultural community that stackt market offers and share their Danish design roots of timelessness and modern functionality with the public. For a complete event calendar and dates of participating illustrators, visit


Toronto’s Fashion Industry Advisory Panel Launches #SupportTorontoFashion Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Lead by City of Toronto’s Fashion Industry Advisory Panel (FIAP), the #SupportTorontoFashion campaign has been created to bring awareness to Toronto’s diverse, talented, innovative, and world-renowned fashion industry.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Toronto’s fashion industry employed 50,000+ people and contributed over $1 Billion in annual wages. And in the face of a global crisis, the industry has shown incredible resilience.

Over the next several weeks, FIAP is celebrating the Toronto Fashion Industry by shining a light on the people, brands, and institutions that comprise this sector, sharing their stories through daily posts on social media.

The campaign aims to:

  • Tell stories of the people, brands and institutions behind Toronto’s fashion sector - past and present
  • Celebrate the success of our fashion industry through the ages
  • Encourage Toronto consumers to learn, share, and shop local
  • Create an online conversation about Toronto’s thriving fashion industry through the #SupportTorontoFashion hashtag

With the support of Mayor John Tory and a panel of fashion industry veterans, the campaign is reaching out to the people of Toronto for extra support.

Here’s how to #SupportTorontoFashion:

  1. Follow @SupportTorontoFashion on Instagram
  2. Like, and tag your peers in the comments on posts from our feed.
  3. Share this graphic (also attached) and use the hashtag #SupportTorontoFashion on your social channels to show your support of the industry. BONUS: Tag Toronto fashion industry professionals, brands, institutions, storytellers - anyone local and deserving of a shoutout - when you share.
  4. Post about Toronto people, brands, places and institutions in the fashion industry and tell their stories (or your own story!), using the #SupportTorontoFashion hashtag for a chance to be featured and profiled on our account.
  5. FORWARD this email to your network - including students, professionals, fashion insiders, media and anyone you think might take an interest in the cause.

Brill Communications Hosts its First in-Person Media Preview Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Abiding by COVID safety standards, boutique fashion and lifestyle public relations agency Brill Communications recently welcomed media guests into their Brill Bubble for a socially distanced event.

The event — which was the first in-person, multi-brand preview since the COVID-19 pandemic began — was a huge success and vitally important for an industry that is typically built on social interaction pillars like media dinners and showroom visits. Aptly named the ‘Brill Bubble’, the agency was eager to host something in-person for its brands and the media.

“We’re Zoomed-out,” says Desia Halpin-Brill, Founder and President of Brill Communications. “For being an industry that is so digitally-savvy, some things just don’t translate the same over a video call.”

Brill’s clients are mostly retail based and as they settle into the new normal, there is clear excitement surrounding the possibility of upcoming in-person events and launches introducing Fall/Winter collections.

“The PR industry serves as a good indicator of retail health and a socially distanced preview is a great way of getting in-person feedback that serves as a guide moving forward, a litmus test of sorts,” says Halpin-Brill. “Our historic three-story brownstone building located at 125 John street with a separate and private street entrance provided a starting point to executing a safe and socially distanced event.”

“We weren’t too sure what to expect when we sent out the invite to our media. However, we found the majority of people were super excited to attend and pining for some ‘mask-to-mask’ interaction –albeit with many new regulations and precautions.”

Keeping safety a top-priority, Brill Communications took all measures to create a space that felt comfortable and pandemic-appropriate. A Brill preview usually takes place over one day, but with social distancing and gathering limits top-of-mind, the Brill Bubble spanned across two days with appointments scheduled in half hour intervals. Upon arrival, each guest was given a custom Brill-branded mask made by Canadian designer Mayer Man and were directed to follow Brill Bubble markers on the floors to ensure a minimum of two-meter distancing at all times.

Hand sanitizer was offered at each brand vignette and surfaces were wiped-down after each guest passed through. While attendees are typically treated to F&B and grazing tables at a Brill preview, the agency opted for takeaway lunch boxes containing some local favourites, including Nadège sandwiches and Courage Cookies.

“While the future of in-person events is unclear, one thing is for certain: there comes a point when we need to accept and adjust to the new normal. Our industry has had many changes and hurdles to adapt to over the years and Brill Communications is confident that if safety procedures are implemented and followed, along with some creative branding, innovation, and COVID-friendly rituals, there is a way to continue regular industry practices while respecting new protocols and standards.

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  1. It’s always been just a matter of time going back to 2008. Selling off the Hudson’s Bay Company piece by piece, brand by brand. No wonder the push for privatization again. It is shameful and using the pandemic is an easy excuse for the change in business. If he would only focus on the CUSTOMERS that are loyal. Beautiful heritage sites across Canada now will be sold off, down sized and left empty.

  2. Perhaps McArthur Glen Vancouver can gain enough luxury momentum to lease similar brands as Toronto Premium Outlets in the future third phase. I like the direction its heading. Architecturally its much more beautiful than TPO and much more conveniently accessible. I have experience shopping at both.

    • I agree there. It took a few years for the Toronto outlets to get the roster of luxury brands. I look forward to visiting Vancouver’s retail in a few months when things are hopefully under control COVID-wise.

  3. Oh well, hope the new owner will show more concern for the condition of the building exterior than Hudson’s Bay Company ever did, granted there’s not much else to do about the brutalist Boulevard de Maisonneuve addition short of demolition. And I also hope that as a tenant, HBC would finally give its downsized space a makeover befitting a flagship location, or is it still considered one?


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