A new focus for Markham

New shopping centre and plaza provides new retail and public space for Markham's Asian community

by James 31 October 2012
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    Located in the City of Markham, immediately north of Toronto, The Remington Centre will be the largest Asian-directed retail shopping centre outside of Asia when completed, and has been described by The Toronto Star as “... a Times Square for the Asian-Canadian market."

    This project deals specifically with a number of issues inherent in the intensification of the suburban hinterland of the Greater Toronto Area. At its most basic, it represents the demolition of an existing suburban strip mall surrounded by vast, poorly laid out, paved areas of surface parking with minimal landscaping, and its replacement with a modern, crisply detailed, energy efficient, enclosed multi-storey mall.

    It also represents a revitalisation of what has become 'centre ice' to a significant majority of Greater Toronto’s Asian community into a centre that significantly raises the bar in the quality of the retail and public spaces that it contains (comparable to the higher quality retail shopping malls of Hong Kong and Shanghai) and provides a recognisable opportunity for community cultural events in the programmed interior and exterior public spaces, developed in consultation with Markham’s Asian community.

    The site’s location almost immediately on top of a soon-to-be major transportation node allows for intensification not only of the retail space, but also for the addition of significant residential use, which is provided in two high-rise towers. These will act as a beacon to the site, and as a marker to the public plaza below, which in turn identifies a gateway to the City of Markham.

    Internally, the 800,000-sq-ft building contains retail units of sizes varying from 125 to 5,000 sq ft, organised around a series of themed courts, which vertically interconnect the floors, and which are horizontally connected by major pedestrian malls surmounted by clerestorey glazing, providing maximum natural daylight penetration to the interiors of the large floor plates. The building is anchored at the mid-point by a two-level performance/stage space, and a major public plaza is provided at the south end of the site that includes a water feature which will be utilised as a skating rink in winter, and as a performance space in warmer months.

    The project will include what will be the largest geothermal installation in Canada when completed, which coupled with other energy-efficient mechanical and electrical systems will provide a net energy reduction of between 34% on an energy costs basis and 43% on a consumption basis compared to conventional systems.

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