Designer Outlets to Open at YVR July 9

The new open-air mall aims to keep Canadians north of the border.

The new open-air mall aims to keep Canadians north of the border.

Though Robert Thurlow, general manager of McArthur Glen Designer Outlets, insists that his shopping centre is a whole different beast than Seattle Premium Outlets, the comparison is inevitable. Both have big brands (think Armani, Coach and Guess), sweet deals (up to 70 percent off), and no roof.But when McArthur Glen opens Phase 1 on July 9 right by YVR (its first North American location after nine successful European ventures), with 240,000 square feet of shopportunities, the one big benefit will be clear: no more slogging through the border to get your J. Crew spree on. “The exchange rate in our favour, helping us keep that Canadian shopper and to bring Americans over. It’s win-win,” says Thurlow during a site June 18 site visit. Phase 2—another 140,000 square feet—opens in 2017.McArthur Glen’s art and architecture are another element that sets the centre apart from its cross-border competitor, he suggests. Inspired by European villages, the open-air promenade is lined by quaint brick façades and wrought-iron everything. It’s a Disneyfied mashup of German, Italian, and French architecture, a vibe that feels more Vegas than Vienna but with nods to an authentic sense of place sprinkled in. The front entrance, for example, is inspired by the Hotel Vancouver, and elsewhere in the maze of shops, you’ll stumble across Whistleresque designs and a Rowing Club doppelgänger.Inside these uncanny little storefronts, you’ll find some made-in-Vancouver cred as well: Gastown concept store Secret Location is opening a second location here; Kitsilano’s Bibo Trattoria has a presence in the food court—sorry, that’s “European Food Hall.” Hawker’s Market will run each weekend in the grand plaza for a limited time, and Caffè Artigiano has set up permanent residence in a grand solarium, surrounded by a sprawling patio.For many of the fashion outlets that made it through the “rigorous application process,” the McArthur Glen outlet is a first foray into Western Canada. Ports (sleek minimalist pieces from Italy), Mountain Warehouse (Britain’s answer to NorthFace), Polo Ralph Lauren (no explanation necessary), and Robin’s Jeans (high-end luxury denim from L.A.) are all new to town.It’s not just about the shopping, notes Thurlow. The centre is designed with a sweeping central piazza that will host concerts and events throughout the year. With the Canada Line’s Templeton Station only a three-minute walk, the McArthur Glen team is hoping to attract plenty of locals popping by for the deals or the experience. “You should feel like you’re in a village,” says Thurlow. “We’re expecting people to come visit just to look around. But we’d prefer they shop.” 

The solarium which will house Caffe Artigiano

Hotel Vancouver-inspired entrance.

Open-air storefronts liken the outlet to its Seattle counterpart.

An artist’s rendition of the completed McArthur Glen Outlets.