On September 18, the giant old Pacific Centre at Howe and Robson—which locals nicknamed “The Urinal” for its hideous white tiles—will reopen as a glossy modernist shrine to commerce with a massive new Nordstrom store at its core. The 230,000-square-foot three-floor space is the Seattle-based luxury retailer’s third and largest Canadian location (Calgary and Ottawa outposts opened in 2014 and 2015, respectively).
The city has been buzzing about its arrival, not only because it will make over a corner sorely in need of one and create more than 1,000 new jobs, but because it’s a designer playground. Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen, Valentino and Céline are just a few of the high-end labels inside. And with exclusive collaborations, like a line of workwear from Montreal-born street-style star Caroline Issa, there are loads of pieces you can’t find elsewhere on the West Coast.
But for shoppers who don’t have $710,095—an average Vancouverite’s astounding net worth these days—more affordable brands abound, including Canadian darlings Tanya Taylor and Smythe. Plus, the Pop-In store-within-the-store curated by Olivia Kim (a former brain behind Opening Ceremony) is stocked with a rotating selection of high (limited-edition Rolexes one time) and low (tees from Drake’s OVO collection the next).
Flooded with light and jammed with extras, it’s a space you can get lost in: there’s Sugarfina, a candy shop filled with grown-up sweets; Bistro Verde for haute tacos, burgers and pastas; and Habitant for cocktails (should you need a stiff drink while considering your next investment piece); as well as blowout and nail bars. In the age of click-to-cart shopping (though Nordstrom has that, too), there’s something comforting about a sprawling IRL store that invites you to stay a while.
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