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Victoria Dining Guide

Victoria Dining Guide

Wondering where to dine in Victoria? I LOVE trying new restaurants, and I've been compiling my BIG list of favourite eateries for more than a decade. Click the fork-and-spoon image to read my Victoria Dining Guide.


What’s New at Victoria’s Uptown Shopping Centre?

I’m curious about something, readers. Do you like the new Uptown centre? Do you shop there regularly?

If you’re reading this article, I would LOVE for you to post your comments on this blog about Victoria’s newest shopping complex. Is the Uptown replacing Victoria’s traditional downtown shopping? Or is this just another mall to you?

I have mixed feelings about the Uptown myself. I’m liking it more as landscapers continue to add new plants and lessen the feeling of sterile urbanity. The new waterfall by the exterior staircase to the upper level, just outside the Walmart entrance, is also a pleasing feature.

But the traffic situation is maddening. The counter-intuitive street accesses and exits and the logjam underground parking situation make me want to scream. The fact that the Uptown has to employ staff to direct traffic in and out of its parkade is a clear sign that planners failed to visualize the awful congestion here.

I know some of you—lots of you—must be visiting Uptown, because whenever I go there, I feel drawn into a jaw-clenching adult version of musical chairs. Only once you’re inside the walled city of commerce can you see that there is no available parking, and there is no way out but the way you came in. Even more maddening, to get to the secondary upper parking lot, you must leave the complex altogether and drive completely around to the opposite side to re-enter!

Don’t imagine you’ll do better on foot, either. I made the mistake one afternoon of trying to walk around the outside from Future Shop to Best Buy.  The exterior is like an impenetrable Fort Knox with vast stretches of windowless, doorless concrete. It’s as if it never occurred to the architects that a tiny human might try to approach on foot.

But putting my traffic rants aside, what’s attracting all these shoppers to Uptown?

New tenants are popping up monthly in the complex. At first, it was all whopping warehouse outlets and mall chain stores: Walmart, Future Shop, Best Buy, Shoppers Drug Mart. But over time, smaller, quirkier shops are trickling into the Uptown mix to add some variety and a more personal shopping experience.

I wrote a fun blog about my delicious visit to the Candy Cures store — the first one in Canada. And Victoria’s own Noodle Box now has an eatery in Uptown.

Most recently, I made my first visit to Qoola Frozen Yogurt Bar in Uptown, and I will definitely be back for their tangy, refreshing, not overly sweetened desserts. The self-serve concept (careful: you pay by weight!) allows you to dispense flavoured or unflavoured frozen yogurt from wall spigots and heap on your choice of a toppings from a veritable buffet: from walnut pieces and assorted fresh fruits to gummy bears and chocolate-peanut-butter chunks. Yum!

What else does the Uptown have to offer? I’ve broken out the shops into various categories below to help shoppers assess the expanding list of options. Clothing stores dominate the space so far with fashions for women, men, and children.

The official Uptown website is You can also find out about new store openings, sales, holiday hours, and so forth by following Uptown on Facebook or via Twitter @UptownShopping.

UPTOWN SHOPPING CENTRE, 3440 Saanich Road, Victoria, BC. Confirmed tenants as of February 19, 2012









  • BCAssessment
  • Consumer Protection BC

* All photographs courtesy of Uptown

WHERE is Uptown?

It’s surprisingly difficult to pinpoint a single address for Victoria’s new Uptown shopping complex because of its sheer size. Occupying the former site of the old Town and Country Mall, Uptown is bordered on its three largest sides by Douglas Street, Saanich Road, and Blanshard Street.

Google Maps locates the Uptown at 3440 Saanich Road, and the largest anchor store in the complex, Victoria’s new Walmart Supercentre, claims 3460 Saanich Road as its resident address. But you’ll find other big-box tenants using the Uptown’s interior address, such as Future Shop at #200-3450 Uptown Boulevard.



25 comments to What’s New at Victoria’s Uptown Shopping Centre?

  • Kayley

    Thanks for the post! I definitely didn’t know all of the stores in that mammoth complex. Next time there’s a sale at Jacob, I might just pop down. 🙂

  • Kayley

    Spoke too soon! Turns out if you like Jacob on Facebook, you can send your friend (or yourself) a 25% off coupon good for this week!

  • anitabean

    Ah, very good scrimp-sleuthing, Kayley! 25% off is a significant discount, and this is great timing to get yourself something fresh and fun for spring. Let me know if you make a find! 🙂

    I’ve only recently begun to explore some of the deals a person can get by “befriending” companies on Facebook. My favourite recent deal was a social-media discount for Facebook and Twitter friends of the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas. I got a better room rate through their Facebook page than anything advertised on Travelocity, Expedia, Priceline, or the Paris Hotel’s own main website pages.

    It pays to make connections! 🙂

    Cheers, Anita

  • rowena

    There will soon be a new shop called urban bebe across from future shop. And recently there have been signs for uptown loyalty cards available from customer service.

  • rowena

    Correction – the new shop will be rock bebe,

  • ellen

    Until recently I lived within walking distance of Uptown. I tried several times to walk there, or drive, park and wander around as appeared to be the intent of the planners. It doesn’t work. I now live downtown and will never look back. Uptown? Cool concept, poorly executed. Downtown? Still rocks after all these years.

  • jeanie

    Interesting post, because I find Uptown very forbidding, and difficult to navigate which seems counter-intuitive to shopping center design. Aside from that, my husband has mobility issues and the place is very difficult if not impossible for him to get round. I wonder what the fortress design was supposed to accomplish? Thanks for raising the issue. We will stick with downtown.

  • Thanks so much for your feedback, Jeanie. I am very interested to hear what others think and feel about this new complex. I appreciate your thoughts.



  • Hi Ellen,

    Thanks for your thoughtful comments. The Uptown project seemed to hold such promise in the early planning stages. But I must agree with your assessment. “Cool concept, poorly executed.” What will its fate be over the next decade, I wonder?



  • Thanks for the inside scoop on this new store, Rowena!
    It looks like a pretty cool shop.



  • rowena

    Here’s the link to the loyalty rewards program: There’s also a new health/spa open(ing) called BioSundara, next to Urban Barn.

    I think that Uptown is very car oriented. It’s not terribly hard to navigate the underground parking, from my perspective, but I drive there every day so I’m definitely biased. It’s certainly no worse than the underground parking at Mayfair Mall. They’ve recently started adding speedbumps to the underground parking which is helping to “remind” people to keep their speeds down and that they have to stop at intersections before proceeding.

    Where things get tricky is exiting the complex. I agree that the Oak St. exit is overutilized. This may simply be a Phase II construction access issue. They recently had to shut down the Carey Road exit to accommodate cranes and other equipment.

    I think that downtown vs. Uptown is a non-issue. The master plan for Uptown is for a live-work style community, with mixed residential and commercial properties. Right now it’s all commercial, but once they start building residential properties the foot traffic will boom. Uptown is designed to encourage people to “stay inside” – hence the inward-facing nature of most of the stores and the early attempts to add a courtyard feeling with nice paving stones, waterfalls, booths, etc.

    I think Jeanie’s post about mobility is right on target. The sidewalks within Uptown are too narrow for the existing foot traffic already. Someone using a mobility aid like a walker, wheelchair, or scooter will definitely feel stressed trying to accommodate other people while still making their way about the shops. Also, look closely at the places where the sidewalk *does* widen and you’ll find stalls where people can abandon their Walmart shopping carts – another hazard to avoid.

    Uptown, to me, has the feeling of the Cambie Corridor in Vancouver in the lead-up to the Olympics – an unfinished, in-progress vision of a future community and a right pain in the arse to navigate.

  • Fabulous feedback, Rowena. Thank you!

    Cheers, Anita

  • Lee Chambers

    While I find that the exterior resembles a WWII battleship, I’m holding off judging the complex in its entirety until its entirely finished. I’m hoping that phase II will open up movement throughout the complex & that phase III will offer some interesting work/live options. Here’s hoping.

  • Thank you, Lee, for your thoughtful contribution the discussion.

  • megan

    I am someone who hates shopping downtown! I can hardly wait until more shops open at Uptown as I do like shopping there already. I don’t find the parking as difficult as others seem to. It is no worse than driving downtown and trying to find a space and then paying for parking! I also love that it is in Saanich!

  • Ashley

    Most of the stores at uptown are over priced other than Wal-mart…. They need to bring a H&M and Forever 21 to uptown!!!! Also so far parking is a pain makes me stay away.

  • Desiree

    I honestly can’t stand Uptown. Getting into the place is a nightmare and the only reason I really ever go there is for Walmart. All the other stores are basically ones you can go to at one of the other malls, and the other malls have more stores anyway. I never really understood the concept of outdoor malls either. Do I want to walk from store to store during the winter? Absolutely not. Maybe during the summer it’s alright but I also just don’t like the look of the place anyway.
    Plus I’ve heard many of the smaller stores are majorly struggling too.

  • Haley

    Hahaha apparently someone else doesn’t like it too! Just found this on fb

  • Tricia

    I was talking to a friend who works for the city and he said the fact that they haven’t announced the new stores for Phase 2 yet is a pretty bad sign. Most likely means they are having a hard time getting businesses to go there.

  • Diane

    thanks for the post, I don’t like Uptown. I’m not a fan of Walmart and there aren’t really any shops at Uptown that interest me. The clothing stores are high end and over priced and a bit strange in a Walmart Future Shop Best Buy centered complex. The food options aren’t great cupcakes, coffee, candy, ice cream MacDonalds or Noodle Box. I’d visit Noodle Box or the Mexican food truck on the roof more than likely. I really liked the set up at the beginning. It is similar to one in White Rock that I have visited and I liked how it was designed but traffic flow doesn’t seem to have been taken into account in the Uptown mall and it can be difficult to get in and out of. I must say though it is better than it used to be before the development that parking lot was a nightmare. That is my two cents

  • Erin

    hi there!
    I think that Uptown has potential and I am looking forward to its completion 🙂 I originally found the parking and access tricky, but now that I live nearby and have become more familiar I find it easier, and once the other access areas (that are blocked due to construction) open up it will be way better!! I love the green space they have created with the fountain and benches, and it is nice to see a balance of chain stores and local ones. As a newer resident to Victoria I see positive aspects to shopping downtown and “uptown”. Everyone always seems to resist change, but with time I think that Uptown will gain more support. I have heard that they are getting a Forever 21 and H&M this fall, awesome!! They will also be getting a personal shopping room!! So excited to see what happens with it 🙂

  • Cheryl

    I live in Duncan, having moved from Victoria because I couldn’t find affordable housing for my son and myself after my divorce. I vowed I would return to Victoria as often as possible afterwards because I missed being there so much. That is until the big ship parked on the corner, part of the monstrosity that became the Town and Country Mall. It is an eyesore, makes me feel claustophobic, is an all intrusive to the skyline. It is the first thing I see on my approach into Victoria. It has been a long time since I visited Victoria and the new look of Victoria is a big reason. It is losing it’s natural appeal, putting big business and commerce first (and in my face), in my humble opinion. Such a shame.

  • Alexi

    Great analysis. I’m a huge fan of the Uptown center myself. From what I’ve heard, an H&M is gonna be coming soon, which will be the first in Victoria. They’re just working out insurance issues right now, but it should be open in the spring! So excited for that.

  • Thanks for your enthusiastic thumbs up for Uptown, Alexi. I think a lot of people are keen to see H&M come to town. Their website says the Uptown location will open on Feb. 21, 2013.

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