Richmond is the perfect place for a hearty dose of retail therapy. And if you’re looking for bargains this holiday season, you’ll want to check out this destination shopping hub.

McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Vancouver Airport combines European-style storefronts with famous—and sometimes enticingly rare—brands. With over 70 stores to explore, reductions on regular prices range from 30 to 70 per cent off. And if you’re a deal-hunting newbie, or you haven’t visited in a while, now is a great time to head on over.

McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Vancouver Airport
McArthurGlen is busy gearing up for the holiday season. | Photo: ​John Lee

New stores

McArthurGlen, launched in 2015, has been busy building a grand expansion phase this year. Construction is now complete, and a host of fresh stores have opened in recent weeks—with more to come before the end of 2019 and also by spring 2020.

Newly opened stores include Adidas, The North Face, Old Navy, Jimmy Choo, and Stuart Weitzman. There have also been recent additional openings for London clothing label AllSaints; natural beauty and skincare brand L’Occitane; and luxury watch specialists Movado. On our recent visit, Canadian clothing brand Rudsak was also just about to open.

McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Vancouver Airport
Fall colours at McArthurGlen. | Photo: ​John Lee

But that’s not all. An additional 17 stores are scheduled to launch before Christmas, with five more in 2020. They will add to a healthy roster of existing favourites that already includes Coach, Colombia, Armani, Polo Ralph Lauren, and dozens more—including Lindt, where shoppers were scooping up chocolate gifts and treat-filled advent calendars for Christmas when we dropped by.

McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Vancouver Airport - Photo: John Lee
The Lindt store is always busy in the run-up to Christmas. | Photo: ​John Lee

Black Friday

Apart from Boxing Day, Black Friday—coming up on November 29, 2019—is McArthurGlen’s second-busiest day of the year. And there’s a shopping bag full of great reasons why bargain-hunters from across Metro Vancouver choose to flock here on the big day. Each store participates, and all of them serve-up extra special deals and discounts.

An all-day shopping party, McArthurGlen officially opens two hours earlier on Black Friday, at 8:00am. Some stores choose to open even earlier, offering their own amazing door crasher bargains. Every year, savvy shoppers plan their tactics via McArthurGlen’s website and social media channels: all stores are required to post their deals at least 24 hours before the big day.

Black Friday visitors are advised to carpool or take the Canada Line (Templeton Station is just a short stroll away). With its early opening hours, some people drop by before heading off to work—but it’s worth keeping in mind that some stores may have line-ups. Those in line are sometimes provided with free refreshments, while McArthurGlen’s Guest Services desk provides complimentary umbrellas if the ‘Wet Coast’ weather rolls in.

Christmas delights

For many shoppers, though, Christmas is best time to visit McArthurGlen. The redbrick storefronts are adorned with traditional decorations, and the complex goes all out to create a warm and magical Yuletide ambience. In fact, hanging all those Christmas wreaths and berry-red baubles is such a big job that the decorative project starts in October every year.

McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Vancouver Airport
Festive decorating begins here in October every year. | Photo: ​John Lee

Festive fans should certainly add November 14, 2019 to their calendars. That’s when the centre kicks off Christmas with its annual family-friendly launch event. From 4:00pm to 9:00pm, the site will be ringing with seasonal cheer, including youth choir carolers, gift card giveaways, pop-up stations for writing letters to Santa, and, of course, the epic arrival of the Jolly Old Elf himself.

Santa will be a busy fella on the night: he’s available for free photos via your own device and, at 7:00pm, he’ll switch on the lights of the city’s biggest Christmas tree. It’s a sparkling 52-foot wonder that’s sure to trigger a wave of oohs and ahs from the crowd.

Holiday shopping at McArthurGlen Designer Outlet
Christmas is a great time to visit. | Photo: McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Vancouver Airport

But this isn’t Santa’s only McArthurGlen appearance this year. For the first time, he’ll also be returning on December 13 and 14 (from 1:30pm to 4:30pm) for another round of free (with your own device) photos. And don’t worry if you miss your Santa selfie opportunity: there are other great photo opportunities here during the Christmas season, ranging from 10-foot-high nutcrackers to a shimmering new walk-though light installation.

McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Vancouver Airport
Don't forget your camera—there will be some great photo opportunities. | Photo: McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Vancouver Airport

If you go

McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Vancouver Airport is a five-minute walk from the Canada Line’s Templeton Station. If you’re driving, the mall also has lots of parking.​

If you happen to be at Vancouver International Airport with time to spare before a connecting flight, Templeton is just a four-minute Canada Line ride from YVR-Airport Station—and it's a free trip if you scroll through the ticket machine options and select a “Sea Island Only” ticket.