Dufferin Mall: The Little Shopping Centre That Could

The site of Dufferin Mall used to be a racetrack.


While Yorkdale Shopping Centre and the Toronto Eaton Centre may get most of the glory when it comes to malls in Toronto, Dufferin Mall has maintained its own personality and appeal.

In this episode of Then&Now, Toronto historian Morgan Cameron Ross looks back at the beloved shopping destination and its transformation over the past several decades.

While Torontonians may know the spot along Dufferin St. just south of Bloor St. as Dufferin Mall, a hundred years ago, that area was actually the Dufferin Park Racetrack, which Ross says was run by Abe Orpen who had "ties to Al Capone and the criminal underworld" because of his connection to illegal gambling.

Following the closure of the track in the 1950s, we now know as Dufferin Mall began to take shape, with the construction of an outdoor shopping place known as the Dufferin Plaza Shopping Centre.

The plaza was eventually converted into an indoor shopping mall during the 1970s, and further changes would come in the early 2000s when it got a substantial facelift.

But even with the work that has been done on the mall over the years, there has been a desire for more changes with recent calls for the shopping centre to get its very own movie theatre.

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