updated 06:05 pm EST, Thu January 5, 2012
If true, would be one of four 2012 Canadian stores
Canada may get as many as four new Apple stores in 2012, but if reports from Nova Scotia are true, however, one store may go against Apple's trend of placing stores in the highest population centers and will instead land in Halifax, the provincial capital but home to only 400,000 people. The rumor, which has circulated in various forms for years, is recently supported by unusual renovations and unusual secrecy from the main mall in town, iPhoneinCanada claims.
Apple retail tracking site ifoAppleStore has not confirmed the report but does acknowledge receiving tips from various sources. The provincial newspaper the Chronicle Herald reported on the planned renovations at the Halifax Shopping Centre in November, saying that the construction requirements for a retailer with "big electrical needs" had forced the relocation of an elevator and the construction of a mezzanine level.
There is some doubt over whether the mystery retailer is Apple, however. The proposed space is currently located between two much larger businesses (Sears and a Royal Bank of Canada branch) and is small by current Apple store plans at 7,000 square feet. Barely a million people live in the entire province, perhaps necessitating the construction of a more modest-scale store, but this goes against Apple's recent construction projects. Mall spokespeople refused to identify if the retailer was Canadian or American, whether it already had a presence in Nova Scotia or any other details that might help journalists identify it.
Despite the multiple tips, the choice of Halifax would be an odd one for the company given the small population (even though it has a healthy median income per capita, above $54,000). If true, it would be the eastern-most store in North America by over 350 miles compared to the current eastern-most store in Maine. Halifax already has at least two Apple-authorized resellers in the area as well.
Apple currently has 22 stores in Canada and is known to be planning 2012 openings in downtown Vancouver (near the Robson Street district) and in Ontario in London (Masonville), which would also attract cross-border shoppers from nearby Michigan. Ontario, home to the highest population centers as well as the nation's capitol, already has nine stores, with a further four each in British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec. Manitoba, a prairie province with a total population of 1.2 million, has one store. [via iPhoneinCanada]