Downtown Retailing in Canada's VETCOM Markets
By Andrew Murray and Dr. Tony Hernandez
This research report provides a snapshot of the retail activity of a selected set of major retail chains within the downtowns of Canada’s six largest metropolitan markets. The VECTOM markets represent Canada’s six largest urban markets with populations over 1 million. Within each of these markets, you will find an immense diversity of social classes, incomes, ethnicity, lifestyles and business formats at the heart which lies a downtown. Over the last century, downtowns have acted as the hub for the trading of goods and services, housed iconic department stores and seen vibrant retail streetscapes evolve, even while experiencing several transformations tied to successive types of urban structure and transportation. Despite the historical critical mass of downtown retail activity, the proliferation of the automobile in the post WWII era led to the widespread suburbanization of the Canadian retail system (Simmons, 2012). The height of this suburbanization saw an era of power-center development, typified by the clustering of large-format (big-box) retailers throughout Canada’s suburbs (Hernandez, Erguden, & Murray, 2012).