This season, a holiday shopping trip to Square One Shopping Centre is even more worth the drive, especially if you have a soft spot for all things sparkly and bright.


Offering no shortage of Instagram material, Square One partnered with Swarovski this year to host a dazzling crystal Christmas tree in the Grand Rotunda (on level two near entrance three), as well as well as the Swarovski Sparkle Pop-Up – a futuristic retail experience that is a global first. The occasion will bring weekly programming in the Grand Rotunda until December 31.

A far cry from the typical mall Christmas tree, Square One’s stunning Swarovski tree is adorned with over 1,500 crystal ornaments to complement 14 tiers of crystals and set on top of 11-foot-tall iconic Swarovski gift boxes. In total, the tree – which rotates, doing a 360 spin – stands a skyrocketing 26.5 feet tall and is beautifully illuminated by LED lights (so, seriously, make sure your phone is charged).

Naturally, the tree’s unveiling called for a glitz and glam-filled party, which took place on Wednesday, November 15. Guests enjoyed holiday-themed goodness from Love Me Sweet, Lindt, DAVIDs TEA and more. The Dwayne Gretzky band kept guests dancing and making connections until the end with both contemporary tunes and beloved holiday classics.

As for the Swarovski Sparkle pop-up, picture a digital playground for the tech-loving fashionable set. A global first-of-its-kind, and a bit of a game changer in the retail experience, the innovative, immersive and interactive digital activation is at the forefront of flash retailing. It includes things like the Stylefinder, where guests can find jewellery; Try It On, where guests can virtually try on products to suit their look; The Interactive Mirror, which creates fun, festive portraits with a range of virtual accessories; and the Selfie Wall, where guests can snap a picture with their favourite Swarovski celebs, like Karlie Kloss.

Finally, Square One will debut an exclusive Walk of Stars, featuring a unique 21st century retrospective of rare and highly collectible Swarovski ornaments from 2000 to 2017. When it comes to gift giving (likely the reason for your trip to the mall), of course, a prettily packaged Swarovski box is always a well-received addition underneath the tree this season (and, yes, that’s a hint).

Photos by Jason Kwaan

At the Ontario Science Centre's 10th annual Innovators' Ball
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Erin Davis