Rideau Centre is one of the largest attractions in downtown Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Spanning over 740,000 square feet, the three-level shopping mall is located along a prime stretch of Rideau Street, one of the capital’s oldest and most famous streets. Appropriately named for the street on which it’s located, Rideau Centre is the fourth largest shopping center in the Ottawa-Gatineau area and one of Ottawa’s main bus transit hubs, which recently underwent a major renovation and expansion to enhance its look and incorporate new features for residents to benefit from.
Three years ago, the mall’s owner Cadillac Fairview Corporation Limited announced a multi-year redevelopment plan to update and expand the 30-year-old shopping center, which has been the largest venture undertaken since the mall’s inception. The $360 million project, which involved intricate planning and execution by various local companies and organizations, included the opening of a new Nordstrom, which replaced former department store, Sears, last year (March 2015); a three-level underground parking garage (October 2015); a 35,000-square-foot, revamped dining hall featuring 16 premium-brand eating establishments, seating for 850 people and a state-of-the-art scullery featuring reusable dishes/glasses and metal cutlery; extensive interior improvements (new tile flooring, glass guardrails, enhanced lighting); and an animated exterior facade, as well as an additional 230,000 square feet of leasable space that will be completed in less than six months (August 2016).
Since Rideau Centre is a major transit hub in downtown Ottawa, the owners also incorporated a new Light Rail Transit (LRT) station, complete with direct connections between the Centre and the station, which should be finished within the next couple of months to conclude the project, according to Frank McGrath, Senior Consultant for Provencher_Roy in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. “Rideau Centre is the largest mall in the area,” McGrath explained. “The goal was to modernize the entire look [of the mall] and complete a major renovation. The previous renovation was done 12 years prior, so the owners wanted to give it a new, modern look and brighten up the entire internal atmosphere of the space so that visitors and people transiting through the building would have a better experience in a brighter environment.”
Enhancing a city staple
The major overhaul involved a trio of architectural firms, since all facets of the mall were considered and adjusted, with McGrath and his team responsible for the majority of the interior renovation. Everything inside of the Centre was completely redone, from the dining hall’s floors to the bathroom walls and mosaic-clad columns that adorn the hallways, but most of the focus was put on new flooring, which features a combination of quartz, granite and more than five different types of porcelain and ceramic tile.
The majority of the flooring — about 225,000 square feet — was comprised of 24- x 24-inch quartz tile from the Trafficstone series from Santa Margherita S.p.A. in Verona, Italy in the color “Florence,” which was supplied by Enmar Consulting, Inc. in Concord, Ontario, Canada. One of Santa Margherita’s classic colors, “Florence” embraces a neutral look with a whitish tint, and mimics the look of terrazzo with a myriad of tiny dark specks scattered throughout. “We were looking for a bright, durable tile that also had a good anti-slip quality,” said McGrath. “Essentially, we were looking for something that was bright and that had a little bit of a speckle to it to hide the dirt because of enormous traffic that goes through the building every day.”
To liven up the entrances and complement the neutral tones of the quartz tile, a combination of 6- x 24- and 24- x 24-inch Cambrian Black granite tiles with a flamed finish from A. Lacroix Granite in Quebec, Canada, were utilized. “The granite was used for the ‘track off’ areas, where people come in from outside with wet shoes [to wipe their feet off],” explained installer James Mannella, president of National Ceramic & Granite, Ltd. in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. “We used granite for the first 40 to 50 feet so there would be a non-slip surface for people to arrive on. Then, it transitions into the quartz floor tile.”
The Cambrian Black granite was also used in various other formats for other areas of the mall, including the stairs and ramps, escalator landings and elevator cabs, column bases, feature walls and wall bases.
In addition to the quartz and granite tile, more than a handful of different types of porcelain and ceramic tile were utilized for other aspects of the Rideau Centre. For the walls throughout the mall and in the corridors, 12- x 24-inch tiles from the Black and White series in “X-White” and from Edimax Ceramiche’s Sands series in “Grey” were utilized — supplied by Ciot in Montreal, Quebec, Canada; and Céragrés in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, respectively. For the bathroom entrances, 1- x 3-inch mosaic tiles with a 3/8-inch thickness from the Cabana Salt series were utilized, which were also supplied by Ciot. Inside of the bathrooms, 4- x-16-inch ceramic tiles with a 1/4-inch thickness from the Gelati series in “Fior Dilatte” and 12- x 24-inch porcelain tiles with a 3/8-inch thickness from Provenza’s Re-Use collection in “Grigio Mercurio” were utilized for the flooring and wall accents — both of which were supplied by Ciot as well.
The remaining porcelain tile was used to enhance one of the main areas of the mall, the dining hall. The walls were created using 12- x 22- and 12- x 36-inch porcelain tiles from Atlas Concorde’s Marvel series in “Calacatta Extra” and complemented by different-sized glass mosaics from the Cabana Salt series — all of which were supplied by Ciot. For the flooring, 4- x 24-inch porcelain tiles with a 3/8-inch thickness from the Unicolour series in “Black,” “Extra White” and “Light Grey” were used, which were supplied by Olympia Tile in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
A vigorous installation
The installation, which began in February of 2014, required up to 40 installers during certain phases and didn’t present any unusual problems, according to Mannella. The only “complication” McGrath and Mannella faced was due to the Centre’s floor plan, which was easily worked out onsite, given both companies’ expertise and experience. “The mall is on a diagonal, with a triangular floor plan, so some things were 45 degrees or more off. Thus, we faced some challenges with the alignment and with tile going from one section to another,” explained McGrath. “However, we worked that out onsite with the help of Jim Mannella and his crew. They were fantastic; it’s a very good crew to work with. They’re fantastic artists — what we would call ‘artisan’ in French. His crew knows the trade.”
The crews from National Ceramic & Granite, Ltd. were also responsible for conditioning old terrazzo in some areas of the mall to accept the new quartz tile, laying an extensive amount of new quartz tile atop existing tile in select areas such as the dining area and bathrooms, setting smaller mosaic tiles vertically on columns throughout the mall, as well as installing a 20-foot-wide x 75-foot-long strip of porcelain tile in a herringbone pattern to visually distinguish the dining area from the rest of the mall. All Mapei products were utilized to complete the installation, including Mapecem® 100, Mapelastic™ HPG, Ultraplan® 1 Plus, Primer L™, Primer T™, Ultraflex™ 2, Ultralite™ mortar, Eco Prim Grip™, Granirapid System and Ultracolor® Plus.
Although the renovation is still in progress, with completion expected in the next couple of months, McGrath has been working closely with Mannella and his expansive team of installers for the last two years, where he has had a site architect on the premises at least four days every week to ensure everything goes according to plan. “It’s almost complete,” said McGrath. “We’re [just] finishing the final center court, which is at the junction with the expansion and which will be opening up in August 2016. We finished all other mall renovations, except for that part, which is at northeast corner.
“The users are happy and the owners are very happy,” McGrath went on to say. “It’s been a success. And revenues have probably gone up since the renovation, which makes all of the tenants happy.”
Rideau Centre renovation and expansion
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
ARCHITECTS: Provencher_Roy, Montreal, Quebec, Canada (interior);
B+H Architects, Toronto, Canada (expansion)
INTERIOR DESIGN: GH+A, Montreal, Canada
FACADE CONCEPT DESIGN ARCHITECT: BBB Architects, Ottawa, Ontario,
TILE INSTALLER: National Ceramic & Granite, Ltd. in Montreal, Quebec, Canada
TILE SUPPLIERS: Enmar Consulting, Inc., Concord, Ontario, Canada (24- x 24-
inch quartz tiles from the Trafficstone series from Santa Margherita S.p.A. in
Verona, Italy); A. Lacroix Granite, Quebec, Canada (6- x 24- and 24- x 24-inch
Cambrian Black granite tiles with a flamed finish); Ciot, Montreal, Quebec,
Canada (12- x 24-inch porcelain tile from Black and White series in “X-White,”
12- x 24-inch porcelain tile from Edimax Ceramiche’s Sands series in “Grey,” 4-
x-16-inch ceramic tiles with a 1/4-inch thickness from the Gelati series in “Fior
Dilatte,” 12- x 24-inch porcelain tiles with a 3/8-inch thickness from Provenza’s
Re-Use collection in “Grigio Mercurio,” 1- x 3-inch mosaic tiles with a 3/8-inch
thickness from the Cabana Salt series, 12- x 22- and 12- x 36-inch porcelain
tiles from Atlas Concorde’s Marvel series in “Calacatta Extra”); Céragrés,
Montreal, Quebec, Canada (12- x 24-inch porcelain tile from Sands series in
“Grey”); Olympia Tile, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (4- x 24-inch porcelain tiles
with a 3/8-inch thickness from the Unicolour series in “Black,” “Extra White”
and “Light Grey”)
INSTALLATION PRODUCTS: Mapei, Deerfield Beach, FL (Mapecem® 100,
Mapelastic™ HPG, Ultraplan® 1 Plus, Primer L™, Primer T™, Ultraflex™ 2,
Ultralite™ mortar, Eco Prim Grip™, Granirapid System and Ultracolor® Plus)