Why Arkells and Tegan and Sara shot their latest video in Vancouver's Kingsgate Mall

·2 min read
Kingsgate Mall is pictured in Vancouver, British Columbia on Tuesday, September 6, 2022.  (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)
Kingsgate Mall is pictured in Vancouver, British Columbia on Tuesday, September 6, 2022. (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)

Vancouver's most beloved 1970s mall received another three minutes and 22 seconds of fame last week.

Kingsgate Mall, the brick home to Mark's clothing, thrift stores, mall Santas and everything in between, was the setting for a music video by Canadian bands Arkells and Tegan and Sara, released last week.

Teenage Tears shows the two groups wandering around the closed mall, lounging on benches and walking past outlets like Chai69 Cafe and Kingsgate Dental, singing about how "you think that every word I said was made up/Like I was coasting on your love for years."

For Tegan Quin, the location was an easy choice.

"When I was living there, I felt like I was part of a special club," said Quin, who moved to Vancouver's Mount Pleasant neighbourhood in the 2000s.

"Unless you really lived around there, I feel like you don't go to the mall."

Quin said the two groups recorded the song last December, and a few months later Arkells asked if they had any treatment ideas for the video.

"I just imagined us in a mall, something about teenage behaviour, I just think about a mall in the 90s," she said, adding that her favourite store to visit was fast fashion outlet Ardene.

Once that aesthetic had been decided, there were three clear options for what mall to shoot in.

"Obviously there's Kingsgate Mall, and Denman Mall is pretty strange. I call it Tinseltown, but International Village is very strange and epic, but in the end, Kingsgate Mall was the only one that took our calls."

The shoot was done in a couple of hours after the mall, at the intersection of Main Street and Kingsway, was closed for the day, said Quin.

Future redevelopment always feared

As the area surrounding Kingsgate Mall has gentrified over time, the affection for what it provides has grown with many, sparking waves of tributes over the years.

The Vancouver School Board owns the land the mall sits on, and there have been periodic musings and studies about redeveloping the land.

For her part, Quin hopes Kingsgate Mall remains a part of the city's identity.

"It feels like a Vancouver institution. It is so special and serves the community well … I'm glad we got to shoot the video there and pay homage to a mall that means so much to so many," she said.

At the same time, she knows that it can be hard to protect any aging piece of architecture in Vancouver.

"If it does sell there's no way what takes its place will be as special."