Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Geography & Environmental Studies


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Russell Muncaster

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


In the past to ensure that the economic vitality of existing and future commercial areas were and would be maintained, a regulatory system was developed by both the Regions and Municipalities in Ontario. Their Official Plans were designed to create a hierarchy of retail commercial areas based upon the perceived need to provide adequate retail facilities to consumers without having excess retail space, thereby creating a retail structure that provided access to goods of all types to consumers with minimum transportation costs. However, the distribution of goods and services providers is constantly changing. It is commonly feared that this process has been hastened by the success of new format retailers entering the Canadian market. Downtowns, commercial ribbons, and shopping centres no longer look like they once did. Their mix of retailing, service, and industrial uses have fluctuated and shifted over time. In an attempt to add empirical data to these apparent trends, this paper documents the shifting commercial mix within 52 traditional commercial nodes in the urban area of Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambridge between 1989 and 1999. Apparent shifts in the commercial composition of the nodes will be noted and compared with the location of new format retailers into the study area. The results indicated that traditional commercial nodes were experiencing changes in their commercial mix over the study period. However, a statistical relationship between this change and the location of New Format Retailers was not supported by the data. The implications of these results regarding how municipalities set out to define roles for traditional commercial nodes as well as new forms of retailing are discussed.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season