Appeals to Non-Shoppers and Shoppers Alike
Shopping is not something that ever makes the top of my must do list. Like a lot of guys, my shopping plan is to make a list, go to the store, and exit as quickly as possible. Occasionally I need to feel the arctic fleece, or smell the leather, so I go to the store. Now if shopping involves looking at tech stuff, cameras, or RV’s, then more browsing is required, but that’s about it. So, I was surprised that I had a great time at Tsawwassen Mills, a new outlet shopping center in Tsawwassen BC.
I decided to visit the mall, after checking online to find they have a Bass Pro store, with fishing gear, boats, and lots of outdoor stuff. My wife, a dedicated shopper, happily joined me for the one hour drive from our home in Chilliwack.
Christmas was coming, and we had a couple of people on my very short Christmas list that are outdoors types. I thought, if I could find gifts at Bass Pro and get the list done in a hurry that would be a plus. The Bass Pro store is 148,000 square feet. I had heard it was impressive. The Bass Pro store looks outdoorsy from the outside.
The entrance has massive doors leading into an entrance with a huge stone fireplace. It could be a lodge in the wilderness if you use your imagination. The store has a domed ceiling that runs from the entrance, the length of the store, to a 15,000-gallon fish tank.
Painted sky blue, with clouds, the ceiling features flocks of geese, and ducks suspended in flight.
The sides of the dome are lined with artificial outdoor habitat and the mounted animals that live in those habitats, mountain sheep, bears, bison, and deer are all on display. I must say it was a work of art.
The huge fish tank has a stock of nice trout and I was wondering if they would notice if I grabbed a rod and took a couple of casts. Both my wife and I found items for ourselves as well as many items on our gift list for others.
Uncle Buck’s Fishbowl and Grill
Attached to Bass Pro, Uncle Buck’s Fishbowl and Grill offers a bowling alley, restaurant, and bar. All of which you need to see to believe, very cool. I am not a bowler but it would be fun to bowl here.
After checking out Uncle Buck’s, we went on to explore the rest of Tsawwassen Mills. The 600 million dollar development contains 200 retail outlets in 1.2 million square feet. The mall was built in cooperation with the Tsawwassen first nation on their land. First nations inspired art and designs incorporated into the mall make it a delight to just stroll around and see the art.
I had to take photos of this beautiful mall along with a whole host of people snapping away on cell phones and notepads. Christmas decorations with a sparkling dome of lights and large decorated trees adorned the main mall entrance.
The food fair covers a huge area in the center of the mall, with lots of seating. Easy to navigate, well placed mall directories help to locate stores.
The plan was to have dinner before making the trip home, and Montana’s and Boston Pizza both have restaurants here. The ribs at Montana’s were good. Although a bit disorganized having only been open a week, Montana’s provided a great finish to a fun shopping day.
Location of Tsawwassen Mills
The mall is not close to major population areas, but it is within a 30 to 40 minute drive of the suburbs and the U.S. border. The low Canadian dollar gives U.S. shoppers about a 30% advantage. Plus the choice of stores includes some that have not been available in Vancouver before.
There is a shuttle from the Victoria – Vancouver ferry terminal to the mall. The shuttle makes Tsawwassen Mills a viable shopping alternative for Vancouver Island residents. In addition, if you want to stay over for a couple of days the mall has established deals with local hotels, to stay and shop, and receive a $40 gift card to use at the mall.