The Centre on Barton

The Centre on Barton is an outdoor shopping centre in the Lower City of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. The centre is located on Barton Street East bounded by Ottawa Street North in the western-end and Kenilworth Avenue North on the eastern-end. It was formerly known as the Centre Mall. It was a "plaza" for many years before being closed in as a "mall" and access to the stores was available through a front and back door of the plaza. In 2008, the mall was rebuilt back to an outdoor shopping centre.

The Centre on Barton
Sign for the Mall
Location1275 Barton Street East
Hamilton, Ontario
L8H 2V4
Opening date1955


The Centre Mall was built in 1955 and was one of the first shopping malls in North America. The mall had 1 floor (two of the anchor tenants had 2 floors).

The Centre Mall used to be the site of the Jockey Club racetrack but in the years after the Second World War the push for Hamilton's eastward expansion had completely engulfed the Jockey Club property. On 26 September 1952 the racetrack was sold. The site then became the Greater Hamilton Shopping Centre.[1]

Reconstruction project

The Centre Mall owners announced the plans for a 23-building power centre, named The Centre on Barton, on the property of Barton Street East. The cost had originally been estimated to be around the $100-million mark and the project eventually took up 700,000 square feet (65,000 m2) of retail space. This was the largest redevelopment project in the history of Hamilton's east-end. The buildings on the property are grouped around the edge of the property and create a pedestrian-oriented design rather than a commercial island in a sea of parking.[2] The overhaul roughly took about two-and-a-half years to complete but the bulk of the work had been done by the end of the summer of 2008. Some new buildings were completed before the enclosed mall was torn down.[3]

The redevelopment of Centre Mall transformed the entire neighbourhood from Ottawa Street to Kenilworth Avenue. The $100-million investment in the mall boosted Ottawa Street North – already the city's No.1 tourist destination. The garment district became a holistic home decor destination area, with lighting, antique, design & glass stores. The Ottawa Street Business Improvement Area had the most applications and grants under the commercial property improvement program in 2007 with 33, and it had an effect on the property values and real estate activity in the district.[3]


  1. Henley, Brian (1993). Hamilton our Lives and Times. The Hamilton Spectator. ISBN 0-9697255-0-7.
  2. "Centre Mall owners plan 23-building super centre" (Press release). The Hamilton Spectator. 2007-09-27.
  3. "New lease on life for Ottawa St" (Press release). The Hamilton Spectator, Lisa Grace Marr. 2007-11-24.

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