The Centre is a major shopping centre located east of the junction of Circle Drive and 8th Street in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. It is currently anchored by Zellers, SportChek, Safeway, Rainbow Cinemas, the Centre Cinemas, Petcetera, Shoppers Drug Mart and Dollarama. Until 2002-2003, Canadian Tire and Wal-Mart were also part of this mall. They both moved to the big box development of Preston Crossing. The Centre boasts more than 90 shops and services, 9 fine art galleries in Centre East, and a 2-level temperature controlled underground parkade.
The Centre (originally branded as The Centre at Circle and 8th) was created in 1995 through the amalgamation of Wildwood Mall (built in 1977) and Circle Park Mall (built in the mid-1980s, but see below), which were separated by Acadia Drive. When both malls were bought by Devan Properties Inc. (now Morguard Corporation), the malls were connected by an underground link under Acadia Drive (after the city rejected a proposal that would have resulted in Acadia being closed to traffic). The two "sides" of the mall are now known as "Centre East" and "Centre West". In 2009, the vacated Zellers location in "Centre West" was demolished, making way for the city's first Best Buy retail store, opened in 2010.
The Centre was created by the merging of two established shopping centres:
Opened on April 25, 1977, Wildwood Mall (now Centre East) was only the second proper enclosed mall on the east side of Saskatoon. Its original anchor tenants were Woolco, a discount department store, and Dominion, a grocery store. The closure of Dominion in the 1980s resulted in a series of unsuccessful renovation attempts. A food court was added but sat mostly vacant. The remainder of the former Dominion space was initially occupied by a home video rental business (Jumbo Video, which closed after a couple of years), then after 1992 by Pinder's Drugs (later Shopper's Drug Mart). In 1994, Woolco became Wal-Mart, around the time discussions regarding amalgamation with Circle Park Mall began in earnest. During the mid-1990s, the Wildwood Mall had a large number of vacancies and came close to dead mall territory before the two malls were joined. The two movie theatres now situated on the west side of Centre East were built as part of the amalgamation and take up the area previous held by Dominion and the later food court/Pinders sites.
County Fair Plaza and Circle Park Mall
Centre West was first constructed in the early 1970s as County Fair Plaza. It was not a true shopping mall, but a collection of two major stores (a Zellers and Canada Safeway), along with a few smaller shops including a Pinder's Drug Store (later Shopper's Drug Mart) location. Its construction predated the development of the Wildwood neighbourhood to the south, and for years the Plaza was virtually the only major building in the area. In the mid-1980s, the mall underwent a major expansion and refit which saw the addition of some 60 stores, including a new anchor (Canadian Tire), a food court, and expanded Zellers and Safeway locations. The revamped building was renamed Circle Park Mall.