Significant Events that Shaped Edmonton’s Commercial Real Estate Market

Last week we wrote an article on how much Edmonton’s retail market has changed (yet stayed the same) over the past century.

To expand on the topic, we researched and chronicled a number of significant milestones in Edmonton’s history.  It’s not an understatement to say that the following events helped form the very fabric of our city:

1904 – HBC opens first store in Edmonton (same year Edmonton officially became a city)
1926 – Woodward’s opens first store in Edmonton
1929 – Eaton’s opens first store in Edmonton
1955 – Edmonton’s first shopping mall (Westmount Shopper’s Park) opens
1974 – Canadian Tire opens first store in Edmonton*
1978 – HBC buys Simpsons, merged operations in 1989.  Quickly converted stores to the HBC brand
1978 – HBC buy Zellers
1981 – Heritage Mall opened at the corner of 23 ave and 111 street
1981 – West Edmonton mall opened
1985 – First Costco location opens in Edmonton
1993 – Woodward’s declares bankruptcy
1994 – Walmart purchases Woolco Canada and converts stores to the Walmart brand
1994 – Home Depot opens first Western Canadian location in Edmonton
1998 – Kmart sold to Zellers (HBC)
1999 – Eaton’s enters bankruptcy
2001 – Heritage Mall closed
2011 – All Blockbuster stores in Canada closed down
2012 – Simons opens first location outside of Quebec in West Edmonton Mall
2012 – HBC begins closing down Zellers as a brand
2013 – Target opens stores across Canada
2015 – Target Canada enters bankruptcy
2015 – Canadian Tire opens largest company store in south Edmonton
2017 – Sears Canada enters creditor protection and shuts down all stores (final closure was 2018)
2020 – Amazon set to open a 1M square foot facility just outside city limits

We hope this can become an ongoing repository of important dates that shaped Edmonton.  If you would like to contribute, please send us a note.

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* We haven’t been able to track down the exact year.  We even read through Canadian Tire’s book “Living the Canadian Dream” and couldn’t find any confirmation on when exactly the first store was opened in Edmonton.  We found an archive which shows a number of legal documents were executed in Edmonton circa 1974, including a title / deed sale.  We found an annual report from 1976, which mentions Calgary as a new market that year.  We’re assuming Edmonton came between 1974 and 1978.

A few of the large retailers own a number of other brands.  For example, Canadian Tire also owns Mark’s, Pro Hockey Life, Sport Chek and Atmosphere, and HBC owns the Hudson Bay, Home Outfitters and Sak’s Fifth Avenue.

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Much of the dates above were sourced from the book Retail Nation by Delicia Belisle.  Other references, in no particular order:





Our Team

Chad Griffiths

Chad Griffiths

Partner, SIOR, CCIM

Chad is a partner with NAI Commercial Real Estate and focuses on the Greater Edmonton area. Chad entered the industry in 2004 and has completed over 400 commercial transactions with clients ranging from small, local companies to large institutional owners. Chad has been a top 15 producer with NAI Canada-wide since 2013.

Ryan Brown

Ryan Brown

Partner, BCom, SIOR

Ryan is a partner with NAI Commercial Real Estate in Edmonton and is currently ranked nationally as one of NAI's top advisors. Having executed in excess of $100 Million worth of sales transactions and over 2 Million square feet of lease transactions, Ryan has developed a firm understanding of asset evaluation and an aptitude for building design, functionality, and long-term practicality.

Darcie Bouteiller

Darcie Bouteiller


Darcie is a licensed Commercial Real Estate Agent in the Province of Alberta with a focus on the Edmonton market and its surrounding areas. Darcie accomplishes custom solutions for her clients through her personable nature and results driven attitude. Darcie can help if you are looking to invest in commercial real estate or are looking for representation for a sale or lease transactions.

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