A long-time downtown eatery has closed to the public. L’atitudes restaurant in the Centre Square Mall closed its doors on Nov. 21. A spokesperson for the Quality Inn, the hotel in the mall that owns the restaurant, said the establishment will remain open to some hotel guests, including Asian tour groups, for continental breakfasts only.
Chad Hope, Toronto-based spokesperson for Holloway Lodging Corp., the company that owns the upper level of the mall, said he could not address the reasons for the closure at this time.
I don’t feel now is the right time. We’re still trying to work out some of the kinks in the plan moving forward,” Hope said.
“It’s currently closed and future plans are in the works and there will be an announcement shortly.”
The shuttering of the restaurant follows the closure in 2014 of the MacKenzie Lounge, which was also owned and operated by the hotel – known back then as the Yellowknife Inn.
Roy Dahl went to L’atitudes yesterday for the first time since the closure. He described himself as a long-time customer at L’atitudes. He added he was surprised but not shocked to learn of the closure.
“I’m disappointed. The only thing that I can assume is that certain members of the public made it an unpleasant experience for others,” Dahl said. “The mall has suffered from certain unwelcome elements for years. Just take a look at the empty spaces. You wonder why the mall has died the way it has. I believe it is because of unwanted and unwelcome traffic.”
Dahl said that he was referring to the loitering that takes place in the mall, often by members of the public who are intoxicated. He said he believes it is that problem that could be the reason the restaurant has closed.
Robin Charlie, a waitress at the Gold Range Bistro, previously worked for years at the Mackenzie Lounge. She said she agrees with Dahl in terms of the probable reason for Latitudes’ closure.
“I think if they had not allowed the skid row people in and put their foot down…we wouldn’t have the problem there that we have now,” Charlie said. “That’s what happens to businesses. Look at that mall – nobody wants to go there anymore. The lounge closed and now the restaurant closed. People are afraid to go there.”
Dan Hayward, owner of Dan’s Place – a second hand store in the mall, said it is not as bleak a picture at the mall as some people paint.
“Yes we have people who loiter. Yes it gets worse in the winter when people come in to get out of the cold. But it is not as bad as it once was. The security does a better job now and I have seen RCMP officers walk through the mall from time to time. But it’s still a problem. See those five guys?”, Hayward said as he pointed to a group of men walking through the mall. “They’re here all day, every day. They can’t shop here because the probably don’t have any money. They’re just hanging around.”
Hayward said he was sorry to see L’atitudes close but added it hadn’t been really busy of late.
He said he has been approached to possibly open a crepe restaurant inside the upper mall near the entrance. He said there have been some delays and he did not want to speculate at this time on a possible opening date.
Another eatery is expected to open in the upper mall – likely in the New Year. Seiji Suzuki, owner of Sushi North, said he will open Ja-pain – a Japanese bakery – sometime in mid to late January.
Suzuki actually won his space in the mall this past summer when he took first place honours in the city’s Win Your Space Yk contest. It was a Dragon’s Den style promotion where entrepreneurs were judged on their idea for a new business downtown. Suzuki said he had hoped to open the bakery next month, but construction delays pushed it back.
It’s a lot worse than what Mr. Hayward is making it out to be. The mall used to be a place to bring your family on Saturdays…now it’s an empty husk where it used to be lively and inviting.
As a microcosm as to what goes on down there on a regular basis, just go hang around A&W for a few hours and extrapolate what you see to include the entire mall.