Rideau Centre (Centre Rideau in French) is a three-level shopping centre on Rideau Street in Downtown Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. It borders on Rideau Street (and the Byward Market), the Rideau Canal, the Mackenzie King Bridge, and Nicholas Street.
At the time of its construction in 1981 and 1982, the Rideau Centre was somewhat controversial: a whole block of stores (such as Metropolitan store and Del Mar restaurant) was torn down to make room for the Rideau Centre, and many people were opposed to their destruction. Others feared the impact of increased traffic and buses on the area. The Eaton's department store chain, one of the partners in the development, caused further controversy when it attempted to rename the mall the "Rideau Eaton Centre" while it was still under construction; the company backed down in the face of local opposition to the name change.
The Rideau Centre was built with the agreement that it would become a pedestrian right-of-way. The malls doors are open 24 hours a day to allow pedestrians access between Rideau Street and the Mackenzie King Bridge. This by-law was passed upon the opening of the Rideau Centre in 1982. Similarly, the Freiman Mall, which is attached by an overpass to the Rideau Centre, is also a pedestrian right of way for access to the Byward Market.
The Rideau Centre opened on March 16, 1983, and today it is a major transport and shopping hub in downtown Ottawa. The centre's proximity to the shops in the Byward Market and on Rideau Street, and its location near most of the City's main attractions, contribute to its status as one of the region's top shopping and tourist destinations.
The Rideau Centre complex also includes approximately 180 other retailers, the Westin Hotel, a rooftop park, a movie theatre and the Ottawa Convention Centre (Old Congress Centre). With 740,757 sq ft (68,818.6 m) in size it is the fourth largest shopping centre in the Ottawa-Gatineau area (behind the St. Laurent Centre, Les Promenades de l'Outaouais and Bayshore Shopping Centre). Significant expansions of the Rideau Centre are planned for the near future.
The Rideau Centre also has a rooftop garden with views of part of the Byward Market, the Rideau Canal, the Château Laurier, and the Parliament buildings. During the annual Tulip Festival, the garden is filled with tulips.
The Rideau Centre and the adjacent National Defence Headquarters building are both served by OC Transpo's Mackenzie King Transitway station, which is served by a number of major bus routes.