Pacific Mall

Coordinates: 43°49′35″N 79°18′23″W / 43.82639°N 79.30639°W / 43.82639; -79.30639

Pacific Mall is an Asian shopping centre located in Markham, Ontario, Canada. It is located on the northeast side of Steeles Avenue and Kennedy Road, right across the municipal border from the City of Toronto, on the site formerly occupied by Cullen Country Barns. Pacific Mall is surrounded by an existing shopping plaza, including the Market Village, and together they encompass over 500 stores and are served by both indoor and outdoor parking areas with over 1,500 parking spaces combined. It has two floors and an underground level that leads to an underground parking lot. Designed by Wallman Clewes Bergman Architects, their first proposal was modified by the aesthetic expectations of the Town of Markham. Pacific Mall first opened its doors for business in 1997. The Chinese name, "太古廣場" (Tai Gu Guang Chang), is derived from Pacific Place in Hong Kong. The mall has a total of 270,000 square feet (25,000 m2) of retail space.

It was developed by local developers Sam Cohen and Eli Swirsky.

Pacific Mall is one of the largest indoor Asian malls in North America, second to Aberdeen Centre in Richmond, BC . It is located in Markham, Ontario, a town in York Region, where much of the population is of Chinese descent. Pacific Mall is a very popular location for Chinese and other Asian shoppers. On statutory holidays, such as Christmas Day, the mall attracts a significant number of non-Asian and/or non-Greater Toronto Area visitors.

Pacific Mall incorporates a traditional Pacific-style market. This Asian shopping centre has over 450 mini-shops selling a large variety of retail goods, as well as specialties such as herbs and ginseng, Asian fashions, flowers, accessories, CDs, DVDs, audio hi-fi, cell phones, prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses, furniture, toys and stationery, and entertainment. It is also a well-known place for computer and car enthusiasts alike. There are a variety of places to buy Asian food and drinks in the mall.

There is a clinic and dentist's office on the second floor, along with an area containing many restaurants and shops. The corridors on the main floor are named after streets in Hong Kong; this is where the majority of shops are located, and any major events take place. In the basement, there are bathrooms, a view of the underground parking lot, and other shops. There are elevators and escalators in the building.

As an official Canadian Tourist Attraction, the mall is exempt from the Retail Business Holiday Act and is open year-round including statutory holidays. Pacific Mall also hosts festivals and celebrations for the community.

Problems and concerns
Pirated merchandise

Pacific Mall and neighbouring Asian malls are known for their proliferation of pirated video games, movies, music and other entertainment media. In May 2005, over $800,000 worth of pirated DVDs were seized by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

On July 13, 2006, the RCMP raided a number of stores in the Pacific Mall and other locations associated to the manufacture of counterfeit video game software, seizing a large quantity of games and shutting down a major illicit software manufacturing facility.

In the week of August 8, 2008, thirty-three separate businesses were observed to be openly selling counterfeited merchandise in the mall, primarily counterfeit DVD movies.

On February 6 and 7th, 2009, the RCMP raided a number of stores in the Pacific Mall and other locations within the mall being used for the manufacture of counterfeit movie DVDs, seizing over 49,000 DVD movies, 217 DVD burners and over 100,000 blank DVD discs. Four subjects working within the mall were charged with multiple counts under the Copyright Act, also with Possession Of Property Obtained by Crime, and Fraud.

On March 16, 2009, the RCMP Federal Enforcement Section teamed with the York Regional Police Service and commenced uniformed foot patrols in the shopping malls located in south Markham - Pacific Mall among them, in an effort to combat the widespread sales of counterfeit items in the malls.

The crackdown by police has limited the number of English-language movies, but the same stores still offered pirated Mandarin/Cantonese/Korean/Japanese movies and television dramas.

Traffic congestion

The mall is also a major contributor to traffic congestion in the area. It is not uncommon on a Saturday afternoon for all parking spots immediately surrounding the mall to be occupied, which can be frustrating for drivers who are inexperienced in navigating the Pacific Mall area. A few years after Market Village opened, it was already known to suffer from slow parking turnovers; local drivers seeking parking were known to trail shoppers exiting the plaza. Though Pacific Mall itself contains an underground garage facility, that was the only new parking added to the area, and it was not enough to offset the significant increase in demand to the area's already busy lots.

Unlike most other malls which were planned with increased amounts of traffic projected in the future, Pacific Mall lacks the infrastructure to deal with its large amount of traffic. The road layout of the mall was designed only with Market Village in mind and was never intended to handle the volume of traffic it does today. Steeles Ave is a major arterial spanning across Toronto, Pacific Mall contributes to the already large volume of traffic in the area. The stretch of Steeles between Kennedy and Midland, containing a majority of other stores, is slow moving. A similar problem exists on Kennedy Road just north of Steeles, as the left-turn lanes frequently overflow and block through traffic.

Recently the municipality had lengthened left-turn lanes, added islands, and installed additional traffic lights. This has helped the problem.

Future expansion

On June 30, 2006, Pacific Mall and Market Village announced plans for a major expansion to the south shopping complex in south Markham. An additional 400,000 square feet (37,000 square metres) of retail space, a luxury hotel and a multi-level parking structure are to be constructed. The project is expected to begin in a year or two, and would bring the combined size of the malls (which includes neighbouring Remington Centre to about one million square feet. However, that plan was delayed until late 2009 and is set to open in the early 2010s.

The expansion is necessary to compete with the new rival mall Splendid China Tower on the opposite side of Steeles Avenue East.

Incidents
February 2009 Shooting

On February 20, 2009, Kit Chen 'Daniel' Cheong, 26, was shot when gunfire broke out in the mall around 8:45pm ET. Cheong was in the XSITE cell phones store where he was shot in the head. He was rushed to Sunnybrook Hospital, but was pronounced dead on February 21, 2009. Critics and private investigators say it was due to an unfortunate cellphone deal in which he refused to let the perpetrator return his cell phone. Others have noted that it was due to mistaken identity. The primary suspect in the case, Bryan Valentine Gardner, was caught on security camera installed in Pacific Mall, and was eventually arrested in London, Ontario on September 2, 2010, approximately 18 months after the incident.

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