The Canterbury Village Holiday Wonderland Walkthrough will run until Sunday, Dec. 24, at Oakland Mall.

The Canterbury Village Holiday Wonderland Walkthrough will run until Sunday, Dec. 24, at Oakland Mall.

Photo by Brendan Losinski

Oakland Mall teams up with Canterbury Village for ‘Holiday Wonderland Walkthrough’

By: Brendan Losinski | Troy Times | Published December 5, 2023


TROY — Oakland Mall has teamed up with Canterbury Village in Lake Orion to offer some festive cheer this holiday season.

Together, they’ve created the Canterbury Village Holiday Wonderland Walkthrough, a Christmas-themed display of lights, decorations and some beloved characters.

“There’s 10 different scenes with eight different characters,” explained Keith Aldridge, the owner of Canterbury Village. “We have a light tunnel, a tree farm, the abominable snowman in the Rudolph Room, the ice princesses, Buddy the Elf, Jack Skellington, Mrs. Claus, and you end with the grand finale, which is Santa Claus himself.”

The Wonderland attraction runs through Dec. 24. Oakland Mall is located at 412 W. 14 Mile Road in Troy. The cost is $14.99 per person for the Canterbury Village Holiday Wonderland Walkthrough.

“This is the first time we’ve done a partnership with Oakland Mall,” said Aldridge. “It came together very quickly. I was in the traveling dinosaur business for a while, and that kind of dried up, so I brought the dinosaurs to the mall for Christmas, and they had space at the old Sears location, and we got to talking and turned it into the Christmas Wonderland.”

“Keith’s done an outstanding job,” added Scott Kalinowski, the asset manager for Oakland Mall. “We originally partnered with him on the dinosaur exhibit for the holidays and then as he saw the Choco Town exhibit that Fever had done in the Sears space for six months, he said he couldn’t pass on the opportunity to put his own touch on the place and bring some part of Canterbury Village here. We’ve gotten rave reviews so far.”

Some lucky kids got to be the first to try out the attraction at a preview night Nov. 21.

Sydelle Faransi, of Auburn Hills, said she loved running through the exhibits with her family.

“I loved taking pictures with Santa,” she said. “I told him what I wanted for Christmas.”

Her younger sister, Vayda, agreed.

“My favorite part was talking to Santa and telling him what we want for Christmas,” she said. “We got to do funny faces with him in pictures.”

“My favorite part was spending time with my family because I love them,” added their brother, Preston.

Aldridge and Kalinowski both said that in-person attractions have needed to up their game in recent years. Including more destination entertainment is a key focus, particularly for the mall’s owner, Mario Keizi, who purchased Oakland Mall in 2022.

“What we did with Canterbury was produce more family entertainment similar to what Mario is trying to do at the mall,” said Aldridge. “I’m in the family event business, so I love putting on things like this where you can see the kids running around with smiles on their faces. I have three kids, and when the kids were smiling, me and mom were smiling.”

Kalinowski said it’s no secret that many malls have had difficulty keeping up with online retail. Creating destination attractions like the Canterbury Village Holiday Wonderland Walkthrough helps give shoppers a reason to visit the mall beyond just shopping for gifts.

“What we’re learning in the real estate world is that malls definitely have that stigma, (that malls are dying),” he said. “Once COVID came around and people were stuck inside their homes, we found very quickly that if you can find a reason for people to come to a shopping center, they will come. By focusing on destination-type activities and having the right stores, people will come here. We’re so excited and hope people will come out and see this great collaboration with Canterbury Village.”

Kalinowski said he is optimistic about the mall’s prospects this holiday season and thinks that the Canterbury Village Holiday Wonderland Walkthrough will be a big part of why.

“Right now, we have a lot of exciting things going on in Oakland Mall. It’s all very family-centric. We just opened IT’SUGAR, which is a national candy chain. We opened an arcade. We’ve signed a lot of leases on remodels of some of our longer tenants. It’s hard to pass up on some great non-weather-dependent activities inside where kids will have a blast.”

“We want people to see it,” added Aldridge. “If you know Canterbury Village and you know the quality of the holiday show we put on, this is just as good and indoors.”

Oakland Mall can be reached by calling (248) 585-6000. For more information, go to