Champlain Place

Long before it became the dominant (and now the only) shopping mall 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 in 1970 (Where TD offices are today). 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 consisted of only a handful of food 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.

Champlain Place is named after Samuel de Champlain, a famous French explorer of the region.