I figured that we might as well take a detour to a somewhat exotic locale for this strange little mall. In keeping with Canada’s typically crazy mall-building tendencies, the Brookside Mall is one of five (!!) malls serving the greater Fredericton, New Brunswick area. Fredericton is a tidy, attractive little city in central New Brunswick and is the capital of the province. To say this area is remote is a bit of an understatement: Fredericton has only about 50,000 people, and there are almost no suburbs. When you leave Fredericton, you leave–the surrounding areas have almost no population at all. We were really fascinated to find that they actually watch Boston television stations up there–this is a seven hour drive north of Boston!
I saw the Brookside Mall on a road trip up to New Brunswick just about a year ago. This is the lone mall for the northern side of Fredricton, and seems to be emblematic of many smaller Canadian malls: it includes a Zellers, a Sobey’s Supermarket, and a dollar store (in this case, it is the somewhat puzzling “Rossy Fredericton,” which reminded me a bit of Woolworth or Family Dollar).
While not dead, it’s easy to tell from the many vacant storefronts that the Brookside Mall wasn’t really thriving either. It seemed more typical of the kind of malaise that many smaller Canadian malls seem to endure, but quite unlike in the States, the tenants didn’t clear out wholesale. A mall like this one wouldn’t probably even be enclosed in the United States.
Brookside Mall also had kind of an interesting design. From the entrance on Brookside Drive (visible in the above photo) it appeared to be a standard older dumbell-style mall, with Sobey’s and Rossy Fredericton at each end. When using the main entrance, however, you find that there’s a larger hallway that goes straight back, then turns diagonally to the left, and ends at Zellers in the rear of the mall, making the center quite a bit larger than it seems initially. Furthermore, the style of the center (which is more or less laid out like a “V”) lead me to believe that a large empty space in the middle of the V was probably an anchor store of some sort, with entrances by both Rossy Fredericton and Zellers. Turns out I was half right–according to the diagram below, there is an entire wing spanning between Zellers and Rossy Fredericton that was closed off when I was there last year. What a neat floorplan for a smaller mall!
Befitting of its physical remoteness there’s almost nothing about the Brookside Mall on the web, so if you do know something then (as usual) please comment! I did find this leasing page, and a general article about big box development planned for Fredericton and elsewhere in New Brunswick. There’s no satellite imagery of that area, either, though if you feel like you might want to visit the Brookside Mall, here it is. You can zoom out and get a really terrible satellite photo, too, but why would you want to?