Scarborough Town Centre (STC) is the perpetually beating heart of Scarborough. Whether you’re native to the district or not, the middle-class shopping mall is perhaps the one feature of Scarborough that is universally recognized by all Torontonians.
STC has welcomed a myriad of changes over the years that have contributed to its apparent sophistication. What was once home to a Rainforest Cafe, a Stitches, an Urban Behavior and a Sport Chek is now a place that accommodates the likes of Calvin Klein, Michael Kors and Forever 21. Yet, amongst these modifications, the one aspect that is seemingly unchanging about STC is the type of people that go through it.
On a typical day, it is likely to observe these 10 distinct groups or individuals at STC:
1. The Errander
The Errander has one mission: to get in and out as swiftly as possible. Always bustling from store to store, the Errander has no time to browse or window shop, and especially no time to gab with friends. For this reason, the Errander is usually dressed inconspicuously to avoid any undesired social interruptions. Such look is often achieved with a hoodie and sweatpants combination, a cap, earphones in each ear and, if the sun is beaming through the glass ceilings, a pair of knock-off aviators. There are only a couple things on the Errander’s to-do list – grab a bag of milk from Walmart, deposit a cheque at TD bank, and pick up the nephew’s birthday present at the Disney Store. There’s really no reason to stay any longer at the mall than necessary.
2. The Yoga Enthusiast
The Yoga Enthusiast is regularly seen flaunting expensive yoga gear, which may include a pair of yoga Capri pants, a racerback tank, an active wear jacket, and sometimes, a pair of Sanuk sandals. A mixer bottle in hand containing an unknown green goop (that everyone simply assumes is some healthy concoction) completes the entire look. The Yoga Enthusiast typically makes an appearance at STC just to splurge at the Lululemon near the food court. But this attendance is often short-lived, as the Yoga Enthusiast likely has a yoga class to attend to at the YMCA outside the mall or at the Goodlife Fitness inside the nearby Canadian Superstore.
3. The Seniors Squad
It’s around 9:30 in the morning and grandma is nowhere to be found. But there’s no reason to fret because you know exactly where she is – sitting at a table in the upstairs food court by the Second Cup with the rest of her senior crew. Collectively, they are the epitome of retired life. The typical look of a Seniors Squad member involves some sort of retro, metal-framed glasses, all-white Keds and a jean vest over some touristy “I Heart Toronto” t-shirt. Some days they change it up and sit by the Tim Hortons downstairs. Wherever they decide to hold their daily morning meetings, one thing is certain – they always make sure they arrive right when the mall opens.
4. The Tai Chi Troupe
If for some reason you’re at STC early in the morning, you’ll likely find yourself running into a group of people in sky blue shirts performing bizarre movements with their arms. There’s no reason to be disturbed by this; it is just the Tai Chi Troupe, led by Wushu Duan-wei master Peter Kwong. They get together in the mornings by the Scarborough Walk of Fame in front of H&M to practice the ancient Chinese martial art of Tai Chi. And they’re always welcoming new members! STC holds free Tai Chi sessions from Monday to Saturday between 7:30 AM and 9:00 AM.
5. The Weary Workers
Footlocker uniforms, Old Navy nametags, Tim Hortons hairnets and McDonalds visors – these are all characteristic symbols of the Weary Workers. Generally, Weary Workers are individuals that have been working at STC for quite some time. It’s quite obvious that they do not want to be there; emanating a gloomy aura that is noticeable to any passerby. However, they have this uncanny ability to flip on a “customer service” switch when they are occupied with a customer. The Weary Workers are seen to be at the height of their moods at break time, during which they typically grab a bite to eat at the food court or visit their friends who also work at the mall.
6. The Teenage Horde
The Teenage Horde represents perhaps the largest group of the STC population. These teens are often seen roaming the mall after school and in the summer months when school is out. Sightings of the Horde are common by the Cineplex theatre, Starbucks and Ten Ren’s Bubble Tea. There is also great diversity within this group. You’ll see teen types like the flannel-wearing Garage girls, the Hot Topic advocates, the Footlocker fanatics and the snapback-rocking Zumies sk8ters. Other special indicators include gray McCarthy’s pants, Jordans and Goodlife duffles, which are all representative of the Catholic School tribe of the Horde.
7. The Condo Guy
The Condo Guy is characterized by a cool, laid-back demeanor. Since STC is only a few steps away from home, the Condo Guy doesn’t need much preparation for a mall trip – he simply slaps on any Average Joe t-shirt, shuffles into a pair of gym shorts and slides on a $1 pair of Old Navy flip flops and he’s good to go. You’ll find the Condo Guy making his way to and from the mall in the upstairs area by the TTC station entrance. Usually, he’s just at the mall to make a quick Freshly Squeezed or Second Cup run. On other days, he’s getting breakfast for the date he had over at his place the night before.
8. The Constant Commuter
On a regular day, the Constant Commuter never actually enters the mall. Their sole purpose for being at STC is to use the TTC station. Sure, there are odd days when the Constant Commuter needs to pick up something from the mall; but for the most part, those are rare events. Near the end of every month, Commuters aggregate by the machines in the upper level of the station, fighting to get their hands on a monthly metro pass before they run out. The Constant Commuter is also typically seen wearing a messenger bag or backpack, with a lunch bag hanging from one arm and an umbrella in hand.
9. The Inattentive Escalator Rider
Ah yes, the Inattentive Escalator Rider. This individual is either caught in a daydream or just completely unaware of proper escalator etiquette. The Inattentive Escalator Rider is perhaps the Errander’s worst enemy. Whereas the Errander has no time to wait on an escalator, the Inattentive Escalator Rider isn’t in any rush whatsoever. For the most part, the majority of Inattentive Escalator Riders will move themselves or their kids out of the way when they are kindly asked to, but there is still the rare lot of them that may be difficult about it.
10. The Stroller Rollers
The Stroller Rollers are your typical new parents on the block. They are often seen with their kids in strollers or Mall Kart Racers, and their shopping bags are usually hanging from the sides. The basic Stroller Roller is prepared for any baby-related incidents that may occur and carries a bag full of baby supplies wherever they go. Usual sightings of Stroller Rollers occur basically at any store that sells baby goods. This could include the department stores, Walmart, Shoppers Drug Mart, and Baby Gap.
The next time you go to Scarborough Town Centre, make sure to look out for these notable characters. Sure they’re not superstars like Drake, but they play a significant part in making STC the staple that it is!