Eaton Centre 35 anniversary

The Eaton Centre turns 35 years old

The Eaton Centre, everyone's favourite urban eyesore, has reached the ripe old age of 35. That might be a harsh way to start off an anniversary toast — particularly given all the efforts to make our monumental downtown shopping mall more friendly to the street — but it comes from an affectionate place. Even if the idea to plop down a massive, inward-oriented shopping mall in the heart of the city seems strange today, back in the 1970s this type of planning was all the rage — and that gives the place a certain historical quality that's survived the numerous changes to its facade.

Beyond that, the Eaton Centre has always been a rather fabulous building on the inside. With its vaulted glass ceiling and multiple levels, it's always struck me as a futuristic version of the long-lost Yonge Street Arcade, which was located down the street at Temperance until its demolition in the mid 1950s. In this regard the building has in fact aged quite well. Scrolling through photos of the galleria, only the retail signage distinguishes between the contemporary and vintage images. Well, that and the fact that Eaton's itself no longer exists.

We've already written about how the mall came to be, what it might have looked like if the Eaton family's original plans came to be and about the snazzy new food court, so today let's keep it light and celebratory. Unlike Ontario place, Eberhard Zeidler's downtown shopping mall is still going strong at 35. Here's a little collection of photos and videos of the Eaton Centre over the years. Suffice it to say, the building has aged more gracefully than its representation in television commercials.

PHOTOS

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Yonge Street before the Eaton Centre

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At night, late 1970s (via Damon Schreiber)

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Postcard 1970s (via Chuckman's blog)

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Postcard 1970s (via Chuckman's blog)

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Yonge & Queen 1980s (via Canada Good)

Eaton's

1990s (via the Toronto Archives)

VIDEOS (via Retronatrio)

Eaton Centre 1983

Food Court commercial 1984

Fashion in 1984

More fashion, this time in 1986

The Centre of it all 1989

Lead image from the Ontario Archives


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