Tuesday, June 14, 2011

County Fair Mall - Fort Erie

After savaging Fort Erie's downtown, known as Bridgeburg Station, County Fair Mall thrived through the 1970s and 80s as being the single largest shopping destination in town. Zellers, A&P, Radio Shack, Shoppers Drug Mart and even a movie theatre were housed in a an attractive, convenient-to-all-roads location, not too far from the Peace Bridge for those who needed to pick up some Smarties or Red River Cereal before crossing the border.

Alas, the trend toward outdoor plazas and an explosion of growth along the adjacent Garrison Road (old Highway 3) led tenants to leave one-by-one. The movie theatre barely made it to 1985, Radio Shack moved across the street, A&P became Food City, then IGA, then it and Shoppers Drug Mart left for the International Gateway Village plaza about 1km west at Concession Street and Garrison. Giant Tiger briefly occupied the old A&P/Food City/IGA space, but Walmart, which moved into town in the late 90s, took most of the town's discount dollars for itself, leaving Zellers the sole original retail tenant. Recent visits to the store show more staff than customers, with the exception of the pharmacy, which appears to be one of the few attractions for American shoppers.

Whether Target's expansion into Canada will even include this location is a big question (Update: It didn't). Whether this piece of near-dead retail real estate will survive if it doesn't is an even bigger one (Update: It didn't).

Photos taken on June 11, 2011 at Garrison Road and King Street in Fort Erie, Ontario.

December 30, 2012 Update:

Zellers closed, only a shell remains. Practically all vendors have left with only ScotiaBank, the local MP and an insurance broker keeping their lights on. A junk vendor attempts to capture whatever money travels between the main doors and the bank, with little success

July 26, 2014 Update:

It's over. ScotiaBank relocated to the enormous parking lot of the Walmart/NoFrills plaza at Garrison and Thompson Roads, the insurance broker moved to another plaza down the road, the doors are now locked.

Of course, it wasn't always this way. Fortunately, the Fort Erie Public Library is also the town's historical archive. Linked above are numerous photos from the mall's origins in the 70s to it's late 90s heyday. 


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just a correction... the theatre in the mall lasted until 1989 or possibly 1990. Sad to see what happened to the only real mall in town. Thanks for the pics and the memories.