Friday, January 05, 2007

Retro Retail Video - Polo Park Shopping Centre

Polo Park Shopping Centre (1979)

Here's a dandy 1979 Christmas TV commercial for the Polo Park Shopping Centre, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, which opened in 1959. Their Wikipedia entry is here. No, this mall isn't in America, but I'll loosen the focus once in a while for cool videos like this (and/or photos). As I always say, in the end, a groovy mall is a groovy mall...

Oh, and I also couldn't resist sharing a nice little graphic (left) from their website, just because it looked so dang cool. Actually, it kind of puts me in mind of the '70s style of retail advertising illustration...and I always appreciate that kind of trip. My hat's off to the artist behind it!

Polo Park has just launched a major $30 million renovation project (uh, they're calling it "makeover madness", which they proclaim is "taking over Polo Park!"), the ongoing updates of which can be found here, as well as here, for an overview on the pending changes to the shopping, centre.


Blogger higgy04 said...

Now here is a mall I have actually frequented once back in 1992. I guess the mall went through a renovation sometime between 1979 and 1992 and the article says they are planning another renovation.

Some infomation I remember about the mall, Sears (or Simpson-Sears as shown in the ad) was located in the south end of the mall and Eaton's was at the opposite end. I'm not sure where Holt Renfrew was located let alone World of Cheese. I know there was, or still is a Safeway and there used to be a Bretton's in the mall. I like the cheesy 'Dating Game' background music that was used in the ad. LOL!

I enjoyed looking at the really cool Christmas displays throughout the ad and I don't seem to remember anything like that in any of the malls I used to visit back in Ottawa.

Polo Park Mall is in the west end of Winnipeg next door to Canad Inns Stadium, home of the CFL's Blue Bombers and the 2006 Grey Cup championship (the CFL's equivalent of the NFL's Super Bowl). I remember seeing the Eaton's sign in the background during field goal and convert attempts when the far endzone camera was on. Also next door to the mall was the old Winnipeg Arena where the NHL's Jets played before they left for the Arizona desert to become the Phoenix Coyotes.

Fri Jan 05, 10:26:00 PM  
Blogger Lloyd said...

This post on Polo Park mall brings me back to one of the most enduring mall memories that I've ever had. Perhaps someone who reads this can get more information on my memory. A photo would be wonderful!

Here's my experience:

I am not from Winnipeg, but in 1970 I visited Polo Park and was fascinated by what I saw: Two large grocery stores (i.e. competitors) right next to each other in the mall but with NO WALL between them (except for some sort of removable divider put up at night). That's right, one could walk between the two stores with extreme ease, although they were joined at the "front" (i.e. on the cash register side), but nevertheless together formed one very large retail space.

This must have been some sort of bold 60ish retailing experiment, obviously never to be repeated. It certainly left a strong impression with me.

Anyone else remember this?

Sun Jan 07, 12:44:00 AM  
Blogger BIGMallrat said...

I'm still trying to forget the World of Cheese!

Mon Jan 08, 04:42:00 PM  
Anonymous RetroWinnipeg said...

To answer some of your questions:

Polo Park underwent a major renovation in 1986 that added a 2nd story to the mall, with new renovations underway. The Sears, recently renovated, is still where it is, and Eaton's became bankrupt and became Sears's version of eatons before that failed too. It is now The Bay. The Safeway is still there too. Never seen another grocery store there (born in 1986).

Winnipeg Arena got the wrecking ball in 2006, replaced with the MTS Centre downtown.

I have not seen the Magic Mushroom Slide in my lifetime.

Thu Jan 11, 11:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember Polo Park. It's one of the first fully enclosed malls in North America. I got a job at Sbarro in their shiny new food court when they renovated in 1986. I lasted a week and swore I'd never work in fast food again. I'm glad to hear the mall is getting a face lift – that '80s postmodern style didn't age so well. I think the original underground bowling alley is still there though. I don't remember the mushroom slide but I do remember the World of Cheese. Anyone remember Kresgie's? It was like a smaller version of K-Mart. Bright fluorescent lights, cafetera, the whole store smelled like a deep fryer. The Gap is there now.

Fri Nov 16, 11:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having grown up in Winnipeg, our family would go to Polo Park occassionally. Kresge's was always a favourite stop, mostly because of the cafeteria.
Does anyone remember the art nouveau in front, kind of looked like a serrated knife inside a masonry circle? We used to call it the alligator.

Sat Oct 03, 01:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ceasars Restaurant - anyone have pictures of that place

Sat Mar 19, 12:44:00 PM  

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