Eaton Centre 1990s

10 signs you shopped at the Eaton Centre in the 1990s

The Eaton Centre has always been a destination spot for bored kids looking to kill a few hours after school or on weekends. Loitering in the food court and watching cheap movies on ridiculously small screens was a rite of passage for TO kids who grew up in the 1990s. The city's downtown shopping centre was a bit rougher around the edges back then, but that just proved even more of a draw.

Here are 10 signs you shopped at the Eaton Centre in the 1990s.

1. You hardly "shopped" at all. You mostly just hung around at the food court, which was nothing like the fancy Urban Eatery of today.

2. On the rare occasion that you bought clothing without your parents, it was usually at Stitches, Le Chateau or the Jean Machine. If it was electronics you were after, Radio Shack was the place to go.

3. The name of the mall made way more sense because there was actually an Eaton's department store on site. After going bankrupt in 1999, the name of the longstanding retailer was retired in 2002.

4. You watched countless films in the 21-screen Cineplex with its cramped theatres and super cheap tickets (as low as $1.50 a flick in the cinema's last days).

5. The phrase "Life in the city begins at the Centre" would on occasion get stuck in your head as you entered the mall because you watched TV commercials for the mall when you were a kid.

6. Mr. Green Jeans and Lime Rickey's were actually cool places to eat. RIP.

7. You remember when the Toronto police opened a mini-station at the north end of the mall in part because there was a widespread perception that the kids who hung around Eaton Centre were dangerous.

8. Harry Rosen was a McDonald's back then, where you could watch the traffic come and go along Queen St. while eating French fries (the only thing you could afford).

9. It never struck you as particularly odd that there was a massive shopping centre in the heart of downtown Toronto almost completely closed off to Yonge St. Renovations in the 2000s would create a marginal relationship with the streetscape.

10. The portal-like bridge linking Simpson's/The Bay to the modern mall seemed so very futuristic back then. Now it's due for a makeover to bring it inline with the upscale properties opening at/around the mall.

What did I miss? Add your memories in the comments.

Photo via the Toronto Archives.


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