toronto eaton centre

What the Eaton Centre looked like when it was new

More than 35 years after it opened to the public, the Eaton Centre remains the largest shopping mall in Toronto. The massive galleried retail centre was built in phases, starting with the Dundas Street end in the mid 1970s. The first section of mall, the nine storey, 93,000 square metre anchor store, opened in 1977. The main section of the Eaton Centre, with the high glass roof, was completed in 1979 and filled with lush plants and babbling water features.

T. Eaton Co.'s historic store at Queen and Yonge, the Eaton's Annex, and several other smaller company-owned buildings vanished from the super block during construction of the Eaton Centre (early proposals nixed in the 1960s called for the demolition of Old City Hall and the Church of the Holy Trinity, but a concerted preservation effort ensured Eaton's wasn't able to redevelop the area as planned.)

Eaton's, the company that financed the mall and held the prime retail position in the building, folded in 1999. Sears Canada bought out its remaining assets before vanishing from the Eaton Centre late last year. The new anchor tenant is going to be Nordstrom.

This is what the Eaton Centre looked like during the salad days of the 1970s and 80s.

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Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Images: City of Toronto Archives


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