Building Magazine


Toronto and Montreal share top spot as Canada’s most expensive retail strip, according to Colliers International Report

Toronto’s Bloor Street and Montreal’s Ste. Catherine Street are Canada’s most expensive retail corridors where merchants pay an average lease rate of $300 per square foot, according to Colliers International’s recently released 2010 Global Retail Report. Surprisingly and despite the frenzy of shopping by locals and tourists alike, the 2010 Winter Olympic festivities in Vancouver were not enough for the city’s marquee retail stroll — Robson Street with its average rate of $200 per square foot — to knock Toronto and Montreal’s premiere retail streets from their perch at the top of the list. 


Jim Smerdon, Director of Retail and Strategic planning with Colliers International said the retailers themselves set the lease rates according to the importance of the location. “The hallmark of strong retail streets is a blend of the size of the market, things like accessibility and parking, and a host of intangibles such as the history of the street as a commercial destination.”


For most Canadians, and most Canadian retailers, the prospect of paying rent of $200 or $300 per square foot is perhaps beyond comprehension, but the Colliers report shows that Canada’s most exclusive streets are a bargain compared to the world’s priciest in places like Paris, New York, Hong Kong and London where rates per square foot exceed $1,000.



City, Street

Average Lease Rate *


Paris, Champs Elysees



New York, Fifth Avenue



Hong Kong, Russell Street



London, Bond Street






Montreal, Ste Catherine Street



Toronto, Bloor Street



Vancouver, Robson Street


* rates are in USD per square feet


“Regardless of what is happening in suburban shopping malls and on secondary streets, there’ll be strong demand for the number one retail street in most markets,” adds Smerdon. “When you look at who the retailers are on these streets in Canada, for the most part they’re many of the same stores we see in regional shopping centers, but with a higher volume of sales and in high street locations, they are willing to pay significantly more rent to be there.”  


Colliers International’s National Leader for Retail, Drew Keddy, said the Canadian economy has performed relatively well in light of this global recession tempting foreign investment in the retail industry. “The fundamental strength of the Canadian economy has many international retailers looking to Canada for new locations.  Some of those will bolster our high streets, while others will be looking for more ‘pedestrian’ retail space, if you’ll pardon the pun.”

Have your say:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *