On July 9th, Vancouver and Canada opened its first designer outlet mall - the McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Vancouver Airport. On its first day, it attracted so much attention that it actually caused flight delays (of course, that may be due to some poor infrastructure and planning, but that's probably for another type of blog).
I managed to check it out last Friday after work, and this was my experience -
I left downtown Vancouver at approximately 7:30 p.m. via the Canada Line from Waterfront Station, and it took me about 25 minutes. The outlet is advertised as being 'across the street' from Templeton Station but that is sort of mis-leading (at least for me) - as you're riding the SkyTrain in anticipation to see this new outlet at the train's destination, you see the outlet AS you're riding the train, and then watch as is slowly gets smaller in the distance as the train keeps moving. When you finally stop, you think "OK, I see what they mean by across the street..." BUT, it's actually the parking lot of the outlet that you're across the street from. From a marketing standpoint (and I know marketing and real estate quite well), I can see how they're spinning it. Now you're set to walk across the parking lot, which is about 5-7 minutes away. (Don't me wrong, it's not a big deal but just not what I expected)
Across the street from Templeton Station
Distance to outlet from 'across the street' of Templeton Station
Your guide to the outlet
The design of the outlet is really, really nice. Compared to everything in Vancouver it's unique and the outdoor feel is really refreshing. I was SO pleased to see that there is a Cole Haan shop as those are my favourite shoes, and of course, as expected, a massive line outside of Coach. You will hear the planes and they fly quite low, making it super loud, but you know, I don't mind it so much, I think it's kind of neat =)
This is just the opening of Phase I so there are still more stores to come, including a Gucci outlet! Hurray! Currently though, I am a bit disappointed by their 'deals'. I only had time to visit 5 stores - Banana Republic, GAP, Ecco, Cole Haan, and Coach (yes, I stood in that line) and nothing impressed me that much in terms of style or pricing. In Cole Haan, their deals were 50% off regular price, but their regular prices started at $300-$350 - this is vastly different from the deals I see in the States. In Ban
ana Republic and GAP, there were deals ranging from 40%-70% off regular price and no clearance section (maybe it's too new to have one yet). Ecco was relatively reasonable but I didn't like any of their styles. Coach, similar to what I see now in the States only had made for factory items, no section for boutique items, and the quality was poor.
I'm willing to give the outlet another shot and look forward to the opening of more stores, and also taking more time to see the ones I missed, but I don't think I'll be back any time soon. It definitely is a great alternative to having to drive to the States, but if their variety and 'deal's continue to be like this, I rather make the trip because even with the poor exchange rate, gas money, and time, I still feel like I'm getting a better deal, if not a better range in variety.