Cirque du Soleil opening its first entertainment centre at Vaughan Mills

Jun 25 2018, 8:10 pm

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.

“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.”

Vaughan Mills is, of course, already home to a 34,000 sq. ft. Legoland Discovery Centre, which has proven to be quite a successful draw for families since its opening in 2013.

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.

“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.”

Negotiations are underway between Cirque du Soleil and Ivanhoe Cambridge on the opening of further CREACTIVE locations elsewhere in Canada.

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.

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.

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