Canada’s renowned circus troupe is pitching a permanent presence in the city, but don’t expect acrobats to entertain you as you’ll be doing most, if not all, of the hard work.
Cirque du Soleil has announced that it is partnering with Canadian commercial property owner Ivanhoe Cambridge to open family entertainment centres at the company’s malls across the country.
The first location of the so-called CREACTIVE will open at Vaughan Mills in the Greater Toronto area in September 2019.
Each indoor activity centre will be about 24,000 sq. ft., with a range of acrobatic, artistic, and other Cirque du Soleil-inspired recreational activities, including aerial parkour, bungee jumping, wire and trampolines, juggling, circus track activities, dance, mask design, and more.
It is based on a similar entertainment centre concept created for the Club Med locations in Punta Cana, Dominion Republic, and Opio, France. However, these entertainment centres at the resorts are all located outdoors.
Negotiations are underway between Cirque du Soleil and Ivanhoe Cambridge on the opening of further CREACTIVE locations elsewhere in Canada.
“Our fans regularly express their wish to experience Cirque du Soleil from an insider’s perspective, to peek behind the curtain and imagine themselves stepping into our artists’ shoes,” said Marie-Josée Lamy, Cirque du Soleil Producer of CREACTIVE, in a statement.
“With CREACTIVE, we make that possible by inviting families to jump on stage, offering them another way to explore our creativity beyond our live shows.”
Although the new CREACTIVE attractions serve to inspire a new generation of acrobats and contortionists, it is the latest example of malls and stores becoming more experiential – such as entertainment facilities and programmed events and activities – in order to compete against the rising climate of online retail.
Possible CREACTIVE locations at other Ivanhoe Cambridge properties could possibly include Tsawwassen Mills in Metro Vancouver and CrossIron Mills in the Calgary area. Both malls in Western Canada are owned by the developer and carry the same large format, suburban mall concept.
“We are thrilled to invest in the first CREACTIVE centre and to work hand-in-hand with Cirque du Soleil to inspire new areas of escape with infinite possibilities,” said Claude Sirois, President of Retail at Ivanhoe Cambridge.
“CREACTIVE is perfectly aligned with our vision for the future of retail: to join forces with the right partners to offer innovative experiences for the benefits of local families and communities. This collaboration is a terrific illustration of our efforts to transform the retail experience for our discerning guests.”
As a case in point on the future of experiential retail, Toronto is already home to Nations Experience’s model grocery store in the Stockyards District. This 155,000 sq. ft. store location includes a food court, mall-like space for restaurants and retail, and a 30,000 sq. ft. entertainment area with arcade games and an indoor children’s playground. Nations Experiences intends to expand its concept across the country.
And just last month, Ivanhoe Cambridge also announced a new 36,000 sq. ft., 550-seat Time Out Market location at Montreal’s Eaton Centre, which will open in 2019. The chain of international markets – currently found in Lison, New York, and Miami – features a food hall with numerous restaurants, bars, cafes, and shops.
Aside from its CREACTIVE entertainment centres within Club Med and Ivanhoe Cambridge properties, Cirque du Soleil has also partnered with Grupo Vidanta and Goddard Group to build a Cirque du Soleil theme park in Nuevo Vallarta on the west coast of Mexico. The park is expected to open in 2020.