When Target entered the Canadian retail landscape in 2013, I was excited. I had hoped that the cross-border shopping experience would be replicated with affordable, unique items not easily found at the competition. Thus on opening day, I was there. Something felt amiss though. I overheard several people comment on how it was just a "new Zellers". It would get better, I thought, but it never really did. The brand had overextended themselves and underestimated the Canadian marketplace.
On January 15, 2015, Target Canada announced it would be filing for bankruptcy and closing all of its retail operations. It would be the first of many retailers to make this announcement in the coming months.
On March 29, 2015, with five days left until closing, I photographed the death of Target:
Check out the Winter 2014 issue of Designer Magazine to read an article I wrote on being deployed to Vietnam:
While in Winnipeg over the summer, I learned that a locale from my youth was slated for demolition. Fort Richmond Plaza was a mall near the University of Manitoba servicing the southern suburbs, including my 'hood St. Norbert. Anchor tenants Safeway and Zellers shared space with retailers as diverse as a a jeweller to a Chicken Delight to several hair salons that doubled as social clubs for the elderly. Most of these businesses moved out long, long ago, leaving a building that was nearly vacant for the better part of a decade.
Despite south Winnipeg becoming a hotbed of development over the years, Fort Richmond Plaza never changed. It's interior bleak; the mall was perpetually stuck in 1983. This is why I liked it. This is why I'll miss it. Walking through those doors was like entering a time machine back to my childhood. I recall my mother buying me my first Barbie there. In high school, this is where the truancy officer would have found me (if they ever bothered to look).
Prior to its demolition, a security guard granted me access to photograph the abandoned structure. I hope to continue this "Small Town Mall" series in the future, as these former hubs of commerce disappear from the retail landscape.
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Brian Donald Clague photographed January 11, 2014: