Downtown Dystopia, the closing of Zellers a photographic perspective. / by Greg Gallinger

The Hudson's Bay Company is closing its subsidiary, Zellers, the Canadian mass merchandise discount store. Across the country stores are liquidating their merchandise prior to closing their doors.  The Zellers location on the basement level of the Bay building alongside Portage Avenue in Winnipeg already has a reputation for being a desolate shopping  destination. The post-apocalyptic atmosphere is only now reinforced by dozens of empty and taped-off aisles, a dwindling inventory, and a zombie-like patronage.

It's eerily quiet, people wander aimlessly down empty aisles stopping to ponder whether 15¢ is a good deal for a value sized bag of salt and vinegar potato chips or if $100 is too much to impulsively spend on a Polaroid camera. Some stock up on toilet paper and cat food, while others search for clothing that might fit.

The fate of the Bay building Downtown is already questionable.  The Zellers closure is indicative of the failure of Downtown Winnipeg as a retail destination. The myth being perpetuated that Downtown is on the upswing only seems to be true for the portion of the population that commutes in from the suburbs.

Sports and entertainment districts and convention centres may put people on the sidewalks (or rather in the Skywalks), but they do little to support the growing population of people who live in the city centre. Downtown residents are left with one less location to buy food and basic necessities, a problem that should be addressed.