Parkway Mall; Saint John, New Brunswick

Abandoned Luncheonette at Parkway Mall in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada

This is going to be post number 112,495 where I apologize for the quality of the pictures taken with my old camera phone! Sorry! Eventually you’ll get tired of hearing me apologize for this (I know I’ve gotten tired of doing it), but you’ll forgive me when you see gems like these. Even when kicking it VGA-res style like it was still the grunge era, you can tell that the Parkway Mall in Saint John, New Brunswick is a gem. And guess what? It’s kind of in the middle of nowhere. So I probably won’t be back. This is what we get then.

Another thing about this mall: I don’t know anything about it and the good ol’ interweb won’t bail me out this time. I can say this: Saint John is a city of about 70,000, making it the largest in the province of New Brunswick. It’s very much a northern coastal city; it’s a sprawling blue collar city filled with oil tanks and paper mills and shipping ports, and it’s quite unlike most comparable New England cities. Saint John is also notable because–like many Canadian cities–it seems to have about one mall per every 10,000 residents. I saw five of these, but I may have missed two more! Don’t worry, I’ll post some fuzzy pics of those others someday. Eventually.

Parkway Mall is a relatively small center located at the intersection of McAllister Dr. and Westmorland Rd. on Saint John’s east side. It’s located directly across from McAllister Place, the city’s largest shopping mall and the reason I was in the area in the first place. Parkway Mall didn’t come up on my radar beforehand, and came as a very pleasant surprise. Despite being in the middle of the city’s most active retail district, these pictures illustrate that, as of when they were taken in June of 2005, the center had very little left operating inside. If I remember correctly, there was a shoe store and a dollar store, and “The Bargain! Shop,” which only had an exterior entrance.

As you can see, this one is a true dead mall gem. That sad little luncheonette in the center of the main mallway is my favorite; I can only imagine that when it was built, it was probably a really cool place. Those purple and blue stripes look like something I would’ve had on some cheap sneakers about 20 years back, too. The Parkway Mall is simply amazing, and worth a stop if you’re ever in the area (which is admittedly pretty unlikely). If you know any of the history of the mysterious Parkway Mall, please comment!

Parkway Mall in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada Bargain Shop at Parkway Mall in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada Food court at Parkway Mall in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada

Parkway Mall in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada Abandoned Luncheonette at Parkway Mall in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada Play It Again Sports at Parkway Mall in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada

27 Responses to “Parkway Mall; Saint John, New Brunswick”

  1. I’ve never been inside Parkway Mall, but I’ve gone past it before and I did some research on it last year that I used for a term paper on shopping mall development in New Brunswick (if anyone wants a copy, drop me a line!).

    It opened in 1973, and I know there was a movie theatre there for the first few years. A 1986 Canadian shopping mall directory listed Zellers, The Met (cheap Woolworth-type discount store) and Save-Easy (a Loblaw-owned supermarket that has since mostly retreated to very small towns) as anchors.

    The mall likely did a thriving business until 1998, when Zellers moved into the former K-Mart at McAllister Place. Save-Easy, which became a SuperValu for a short time, closed sometime around then too. The former Met space is probably the Salvation Army store in the pictures. The Bargain Shop is likely the former SuperValu, as the blue trim is reminiscent of their 1990s store design.

    I’m not sure if you got to Prince Edward Square or Loch Lomond Mall, but they’re just as desolate these days…

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    Alex Scott Reply:

    @JP,

    Hi I found your name on a website. It says that you once did a term paper on Parkway Mall. I am doing some reseach on the mall for a book. I was wondering if you still had it?

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  2. I would like to add a little bit of extra info, if I may.

    The cinema was located in the hall where the laundromat used to be, which was the rear mall entrance closest to Majors Brook Drive. It had actually been operational until mid-1994, when it’s owner, Empire Theatres, decided to build what was originally Exhibition 7 Cinemas(now Empire Studio 10 Cinemas) across the street from Parkway.

    There also was a Microplay video game store in that same hall until 2001 or 2002, when they were losing money in game sales in that part of town to Toys R’ Us. In addition, there were stores like Jay Set, the Baptist Bookroom, & Sheila’s Skin Care Clinic.

    In the part of the mall that used to have Zellers in it, there was a branch of the CIBC and a Book Mart next to each other, and on the other side, was a video arcade that closed in late 1995-early 1996. The main hall of Parkway used to have a travel agency, a specialty foods place, a Shoppers Drug Mart that closed in 2000(at the same time that a SDM closed in Loch Lomond Mall/Place) for it’s current Westmorland Road-Consumers Drive corner location, & a Family Shoe Shoppes store, in addition to a computer store, & a Rentown/EasyHome.

    In the hall leading to the rear mall entrance was a community internet access centre & a Play It Again Sports location, pictured above. There was also, for a time, a Captain Sub fast-food restaurant, and there is still(as of Nov. 11, 2006) the Chuckles Pub.Although Vision Care is still where it’s always been.

    A slight correction to an earlier post by JP: The Bargain Shop used to be a BiWay store, after BiWay left McAllister Place in 1996. BiWay closed in Parkway in 2001, in which Bargain Shop took over that space. The SuperValu(and previously Save Easy:Warehouse Foods) was located where the NuBody’s Fitness Centre and Dollarama are currently. In addition, the space where Value Village and The Bargain Shop are used to be the Met Store, until about 1996-1997.

    But ever since stores started leaving, the number of stores in the internal portion of the mall has shrunk to just 4 total. A hair salon opened in the former Book Mart location, but it may be doubtful if that can remain there, given the state of the mall now.

    Parkway’s future may be that of Place 400, Prince Edward Square, and Loch Lomond Place before it; transition to a call centre in it’s internal portion. However, the stores which have no internal entrances have seemed to do well for themselves, despite what’s happened inside the building. Although the front parking lot, on the McAllister Drive side, seems to be used during the Christmas season as overflow parking for stores across the street, in Exhibition Plaza, and the parking lot on the side near Wal-Mart seems to be used the same way for stores in Wal-Mart Plaza, as well as McAllister Place.

    I hope this info helps.

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  3. To add one last piece of info to my previous post, the Jade City Restaurant used to be called Smitty’s. Beside Smitty’s used to be the Black Bull Lounge, but that lounge closed about 2-3 years ago.

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  4. Was down in Saint John today…took a few more (somewhat low-quality) exterior shots of Parkway Mall and a few other malls around town and put them up on my photobucket space at http://s110.photobucket.com/albums/n92/JPKirby/ (well not quite yet, they’re uploading as I type this). Got some vidcaps to put up within the next few days too.

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  5. We have a Play It Again Sports in my hometown.

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  6. I remember when this mall used to be “the place to be” in Saint John. This was before McAllister Place expanded and Wal-Mart came to town. There were no strip plazas surrounding it just Parkway and McAllister Mall in its smaller version across from it. It had a department store on each end, a grocery store, the movie theatre and an array of speciality stores down the center. One of the the shops was a little ice cream shop. Basically it was a one stop shopping type of place. McAllister expanding seemed to be the first big blow to it, then Wal-Mart, then the strip malls. Each new addition to our current “retail district” took a blow to Parkway Mall. Its actually sad seeing it now and thinking about how it used to be.

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  7. I agree with what Charlene said. I remember this mall from way back in the 70′s and 80′s when it was a great place. There was Thrifty’s (which sold cool jeans in the 70′s when we all wore Lee, anyone else remember those? LOL), there was Smitty’s, Shoppers, The Met, Zellers, The theater, shoe shops, CIBC, the picture above of the luncheon place was always busy! We’d go there for coffee and see so many people we knew cruising through the mall. I remember Christmas time and seeing Santa in the mall with the line up of kids waiting to have their picture taken. There would be craft tables and lots of things going on. How sad that I recently came back to Saint John and went into Parkway Mall to see a ghost of a mall. Nothing is left. It’s very sad. I sure miss the old way this city was. That mess out there now is horrid. All the stores crammed into one place and try to drive through it! No thanks! I’ll shop online instead of going there.

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  8. [...] 1. Parkway Mall Arcade – This place was the sh*t. It had all the latest games and all the f*ckin baddest kids. I mean, I had to convince my mom to go in this place. For some reason, in the late 80’s, bad guys hung out at arcades. Not sure why really, but there was always sh*t going down in arcades. I remember playing Virtua Fighter, Splatterhouse, Double Dragon II and Gun.Smoke there. Don’t act like you don’t remember this place. [...]

  9. I must add i remember the big Santa display with the big bear. The good old days of parkway mall.

    also this quote “[Parkway’s future may be that of Place 400, Prince Edward Square, and Loch Lomond Place” from Ronald Mears is 100% correct.

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  10. my family lived in st john from ’91-’93. i remember parkway mall as somewhat empty already at that time coz most people were hanging out at mcallister place. parkway mall had a cinema (where i saw beverly hillbillies), zellers and that bagel place (i cant remember the name) but they served great bagels. i even rode the kiddie rides on my last christmas there. its so sad to see the photos that it’s almost a dead mall. st. john was a quiet, friendly and laid back town when i was there. i really miss the place. it’s quite sad if they didnt keep the town the way it was.

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  11. I used to work in a Radio Shack that was located in Parkway Mall in 85-86. It was located near the centre of the Mall.

    The food kiosk pictured at the top was ran by the Villager Restaurant which had a restaurant located near the centre of the Mall, as well.

    Gem Photo was also a significant store in there for several years. In the early 80′s (I can remember 1983) they also had a Gem Electronics store. It was located beside the Laundramat, across from the cinemas.

    The Liquor Store used to be around the back of the building from where it is now. And The Met was at the front of the Mall where the liquor store and Fabricville are now.

    There had also been a Radioland near the Met.

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  12. Was The Bargain! Shop an old Woolworth’s, because Woolworth sold many a store to them.

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  13. No…the Woolworths in Saint John was uptown on King Street until it closed in 1994. It is (or at least was) also a Bargain Shop.

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  14. The old Zellers Spot now houses a Wacky’s, Fabricville, Office Outfitters, and ICT Call Centre. (Which is supposed to expand to the old CIBC spot.

    The old Movie Theatre, Reitmans and, Baptist Book Room spot is under renovations to become a trade school (division of CompuCollege.)

    Also Cora’s is supposed to be moving in, and rumors to a Robin’s Donuts in the old Captain Sub spot.

    Also I remember that there used to be the Fundy Cable store, and Blacks Clothing on the main hall. And a shoe repair place next to Super Value. Also be for Captain Sub and Ice Cream place used to be on the cornor.

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  15. I remember the Chesley Place complex now called Place 400. Does anyone remember when it opened? It had a Family Fun Factory, an eaterly, a bowling alley, a theatre, and several small shops.

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  16. Shoppers was located where the Salvation Army is now.

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  17. Oh, and to add some more…that island type snack bar used to be in every mall in SJ at one point, but I am almost positive that is the only one left in the city.

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    Ronald Mears Reply:

    @Jen M,

    Actually, Jen, that diner island was ripped out last year.

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  18. Very nice shots of the mall! Being an urban explorer with an interest in old shopping malls it is very interesting to the inside of that mall. I was in St John a few times so check things out and this mall did catch my eye. Sadly upon getting closer it seemed so dead I didnt even think it would be open. Thats what i get for not even trying to tug on the doors! Y

    With that said you should check have checked out Halifax Nova Scotia. If your ever in the neighborhood you would be excited to know we have a few soon to be gone shopping malls including one with a vintage bay store that even has the old “Hudsons Bay Company” signage.

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    Jacqueline Reply:

    @Gravijiga, Hey Gravijiga – what malls are you referring to in Halifax?

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  19. I used to live near here and visited the Parkway about 2-3 times a week back in the late ’80′s and early 90′s. It was indeed a happening place. The little ice cream spot was the best in the city – you could get a huge cone for really cheap (something like 30 cents). I went to see tons of movies in the old theatre and I can remember the lineups being out the door. They also had quite a few live acts there, I remember a magician named Karma performing there once near the food court.

    The Met and the Zellers were really what kept the mall alive at the time. I still recall going out to eat at Smitty’s every Friday night and heading over to the Book Mart to check out the magazines afterward. Good times.

    In my opinion, the Parkway really started going downhill when they opened the Sears across the street and I still recall the huge renovations in McAllister place, when they put in the food court and expanded the whole place. I used to feel sorry for Parkway because I knew it would never survive next to the huge mall.

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  20. Hi all. I’ve lived in Saint John all my life and to me Parkway mall has always sucked ass. The movie theater that was there at one time was great so was the arcade. Like most of the outdated malls in the city here, the only thing keeping Parkway Mall, Lochlomond Mall, and Prince Edward Square Mall open, is the fact that they all have at least one call center operating in them. If not for the call center’s the malls would be closed. They should be closed anyway.

    Oh yeah. Saint John Sucks the Big One.

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  21. Unlike most of you, I’m not as surprised that the mall is still open, as I am surprised that the mall is still there. I was around when it was built in the seventies. Anyone who was there in the beginning will remember how it used to get stuck on it’s piles and shake violently when it got loose, like an earth quake. The mall is actually floating like a ship and is anchored on pole pilings. It would ride up and down with the water table, and sometimes it would get stuck.

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  22. This was the place to be in the 80′s before Mcallister Place expanded. I would go shopping with my mom as a kid and would always hit Parkway and Mcallister place. I loved going to Book Mart to look at the sports mags. My mom would always buy me a tiny pizza from the open eatry in the mall,mmmmmm!

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  23. Back in the day when parkway mall was built it was booming. I remember the Zellers there at one end and Met at the other. the Liqour store was inside in the middle. Shoppers was there as well. there was a movie thearter. There were nice little shops and barber station inside. it had it all at one time. I also worked in the mall when i got older and yes it would move with the water tides. Scarey sometimes. Now without the call centre and the Compu-College, Liqour store and fabricville, companies just keep coming and going. I think it either needs to be closed and reconstructed or a new mall all together.

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  24. I rember being at the Grand Opening of Parkway Mall in 1973 as a 6 year old kid. They did a big balloon drop and the balloons had tickets inside to win prizes from the various retailers in the Mall. I was too little and my parents wouldn’t let me participate but my sister who was 12 got a balloon with a ticket for an Iron from the hosewares department at Zellers.

    My family got our groceries there each week and going to the mall was a highlight. The grocery store made the most awesome cinnamon buns (anyone have the recipe?) And I’m pretty sure that it was that movie theatre where I saw Star Wars in 1977 when it came out.

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