Rideau Centre

The Rideau Centre (French: Centre Rideau) (corporately styled as CF Rideau Centre) is a four-level shopping centre on Rideau Street in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. It borders on Rideau Street, the ByWard Market, the Rideau Canal, the Mackenzie King Bridge, and Nicholas Street in Downtown Ottawa. Over 20 million people visit the mall annually.[1] It is the largest shopping mall and the main transit hub in the National Capital Region. The Rideau Centre complex has approximately 180 retailers, the 487-room Westin Hotel, a rooftop park, and the Shaw Centre (formerly the Ottawa Convention Centre).

CF Rideau Centre
Rideau Centre at Christmas before renovations in 2004
Location50 Rideau Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1N 9J7
Coordinates45.4243°N 75.6907°W / 45.4243; -75.6907
Opening dateMarch 16, 1983
DeveloperViking Rideau, Eaton's
ManagementBrian O'Hoski
OwnerCadillac Fairview
No. of stores and services180[1]
Total retail floor area1,545,113 sq ft (143,545.7 m2)
No. of floors4
Parking1,590 spaces in two indoor lots and a surface lot
Public transit accessOC Transpo Rideau, STO


During its construction from 1981 to 1982, the construction of the Rideau Centre is speculated to have been largely controversial and widely opposed by local residents & business owners, as a whole block of stores south of Hudson's Bay Company's "The Bay" on Rideau Street would've required demolishing, solely to make room for the new building, and vehicle traffic was most likely to increase substantially upon its completion.[2] The Eaton's department store chain, one of the partners in the development, faced intense local opposition when it attempted to rename the mall the "Rideau Eaton Centre" while it was under construction, eventually backing down as a result of the backlash.[3] The mall was officially opened on March 16, 1983.

On September 26, 2013, Cadillac Fairview began the expansion of the 30-year-old shopping centre. The redevelopment project expanded the Rideau Centre by 230,000 square feet and renovated retail and dining spaces.[4] A key feature of the redevelopment project was a 35,000-square-foot dining hall offering 16 eating establishments, seating for 850 people, and reusable dinnerware, glassware, and metal cutlery.[4] The projected cost of the redevelopment project was CA$360 million.[4]

As part of the renovation, Tiffany & Co., Kate Spade New York, and Stuart Weitzman opened locations in the mall.[5] Large retailers added during the redevelopment included a 153,725 sq. ft. Nordstrom[6] and a 103,874 sq. ft. Simons.[7] Across the street, the Hudson's Bay Company announced plans for major renovations following the announcement of Nordstrom's opening; the 335,000 sq. ft. downtown flagship will be completely overhauled.[8] This expansion has prompted many retailers already in the Rideau Centre to pursue renovations. Stores such as Harry Rosen have undergone major renovations, capitalizing on the Ottawa area's density of high income salaried government employees.[4][5] While the Rideau Centre does not have plans to focus on high-end luxury, the company says that the city is more of an “aspirational luxury” marketplace, one step removed from shops such as Louis Vuitton and Prada.[9] Aside from the retail and interior space additions and renovations, the redesigned centre included significant façade enhancements along Rideau Street including a refurbished Charles Ogilvy heritage façade. The interior renovation included new quartz flooring, enhanced lighting, glass guardrails and improved amenities.[4] The two pedestrian bridges crossing Rideau St were taken down, with one being demolished and the other renovated. The expansion at the Rideau Centre opened to the public on August 11, 2016, bringing the total retail floor area to over 969,000 sq. ft.[10]


Rideau Centre security and maintenance staff have been the subject of a number of controversies. In 2002, security staff handcuffed and detained two men for carrying an Israeli flag to enforce a mall rule prohibiting political signs.[11] The men claimed that abusive comments were made towards them as Jews, but a police investigation was unable to sustain the allegations of anti-semitic abuse.[12] In 2011, security staff handcuffed and detained a man who was attempting to cancel a gym membership.[13] The man was released when police arrived, and the Rideau Centre's tenant GoodLife Fitness suffered a media backlash over the incident.[14][15][16] That year, nine people, including a former Speaker of the House of Commons and other dignitaries, were trapped for more than an hour and a half in the mall elevator.[17] A former Senator criticized the Rideau Centre for its slow response time.[18]

On the morning of June 8, 2016, the Rideau Centre was evacuated after a sinkhole opened up on Rideau Street.


The Rideau Centre and the adjacent National Defence Headquarters building are served by OC Transpo's Mackenzie King Transitway station, which is served by several major bus routes.

Since September 2019, the Rideau Centre features two direct connections to the Rideau O-Train station, served by Line 1.

See also


  1. "Rideau Center located in Ottawa, Ontario (location, hours, store list)". Shopping Canada. 2016-04-18. Retrieved 2016-04-28.
  2. https://www.historynerd.ca/2018/11/18/the-bay-on-rideau-from-above-1981/
  3. Ottawa, The (2006-04-16). "Sens, Habs rivalry may have to do". Canada.com. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2016-04-28.
  4. "Rideau Centre Launches $360 Million Redevelopment Project". Cadillac Fairview. Retrieved 2015-11-12.
  5. Dube, Danielle (February 9, 2015). "3 high-enders coming to Rideau Centre". Ottawa Sun. Retrieved September 22, 2018.
  6. "Nordstrom opens at Rideau Centre - Retail - Ottawa Business Journal". Obj.ca. Retrieved 2015-11-12.
  7. "Simons department store prepares for August opening in Gatineau". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 2015-11-12.
  8. "Hudson's Bay Initiates Unprecedented Store Renovations". Retail Insider. Retrieved 2015-11-12.
  9. "Rideau Centre GM gives update on redevelopment project - Local - Ottawa Business Journal". Obj.ca. Retrieved 2015-11-12.
  10. "Rideau Centre welcomes 25 new retailers". Retrieved 2016-08-12.
  11. "Wednesday, April 24, 2002 Israeli backer slams mall cops - Pushed, cuffed, locked up and insulted because he's Jewish?". IMRA. 2002-04-24. Retrieved 2016-04-28.
  12. "American Jewish Year". Books.google.ca. p. 314. Retrieved 2016-04-28.
  13. "Attempt to cancel gym membership turned violent, client says - Ottawa - CBC News". CBC News. 2011-01-12. Retrieved 2016-04-28.
  14. "Gym Guards Beat Man To Pulp When He Tried To Cancel – Consumerist". Consumerist.com. 2011-01-12. Retrieved 2016-04-28.
  15. Adami, Hugh (January 23, 2011). "Strong-arm tactics leave a bad taste". Archived from the original on August 26, 2014. Retrieved October 6, 2011.
  16. "Goodlife Fitness". Archived from the original on July 7, 2012. Retrieved February 13, 2012.
  17. "Dignitaries trapped in elevator". Archived from the original on 2012-07-29. Retrieved 2012-02-08.
  18. "580 CFRA News Talk Radio :: Homepage". Cfra.com. Retrieved 2016-04-28.
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