Long before it became the dominant shopping malll in Greater Moncton, it was a humble marsh that served as an outdoor skating rink in winter, in what was then a rural area with a shipbuilding heritage.
All that changed in the 1960′s.
Originally it was intended to open in 1969 to compete with Highfield Square. The first company that won the contract to fill in the marsh went bankrupt shortly after pouring the slab, unable to cope with the high-cost of filling in the marsh. Sears was the first store to open in1970 (in it’s current location) and years it stood alone for a few years, attached to an empty slab. Construction resumed in 73 and the mall finally opened in 1974.
Its anchor stores were Sears, Woolco and the Dominion Food Grocers. The mall ended where the food court is today and Dominion was the tenant of that space. Opposite Dominion was a Consumers Distributing and the food court at that time was where the current second cup is and it consisted of only a handful of foot outlets.
The atmosphere was styled from the period, gloomy yellow lighting, solarius on the roof in the food court, and dark ceramic bricks, very common design for the 1970′s. It had about 40-50 stores, some of which include: Radioland, Tip Top, Jack Fraser, Rolly’s Cafeteria, Rolly’s Lounge.
The new mall managed to sway consumers away from boutique shopping on Main Street, having a lasting effect on downtown shopping. Prior to Champlain Place and Highfield Square, Downtown Moncton was the shopping district. With outlet stores such as Eatons’, Woolworth, Zellers, Reitmans, The Met, Palace Grill, Lounsbury’s, Fines Female Apparel, Colpitts, Betty Rubins and many more. None of which exist downtown today.
As the City of Moncton loses its last remaining mall, Highfield Square, we wanted to take a look back at the last mall standing in Greater Moncton.
Champlain Place is named after Samuel de Champlain, a famous French explorer of the region.
Unfortunately, we don’t have any old photos of Champlain Place, if you have any we would love to share them.
Photo Credit: Vintage Photo and Frame Limited.