What department stores used to look like in Toronto
The department store in Toronto might not be dying, but it sure has changed in the last 30 years. Gone are the days when a diverse array of companies battled it out for consumers who expected to buy just about everything under the sun in such stores.
Before the death of Eaton's in the 1990s, the department store wars involved many more players. If you've been around long enough, you'll remember names like Kresge (later K-Mart), Simpson's, Woolworth, Woolco, and Morgans, not to mention discount shops like BiWay, Bargain Harolds, Towers, and the recently departed Zellers.
Through the 1980s, the retail economy had yet to centralize in massive corporations to the degree that it has now. There were the big players like Eaton's, Sears, Simpson's, and the Bay at malls across the city, but despite their reach, they never came close to the size, sprawl, and buying power of box stores like Walmart and Costco.
It's hard not to look back at these store's with a bit of nostalgia. These were, after all, the places where a kid's dreams came true in the toy department. In the days before the internet made consumer choice endless, these retail hubs were repositories of desire, as evidenced by the advertisements of the time.
Behold, what department stores used to look like in Toronto.
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