Toronto: the former Simpson's & current Hudson's Bay Company flagship department store.

From the store's historical plaque:

 

The Robert Simpson Company

 

Robert Simpson (1834-1897) emigrated to Canada from Inverness, Scotland, in 1856. He opened a dry-goods store on Yonge Street south of Queen in 1872, but in 1881 re-located and began to extend his holdings in this block. Here in 1894 Simpson built a six-storey department store, designed by Edmund Burke (1857-1919), which was destroyed by fire shortly after occupancy. A new building by the same architect opened in January 1896, and was the first "fireproofed" store in Canada. Classical forms in harmony with the structural system relate to the contemporary "Chicago School" style. By 1923 all street facades had been unified by successive additions. In 1929 the "Art Deco" style building, including the Arcadian Court, was added at Bay and Richmond. This addition was designed by Chapman & Oxley. During 1977 a restoration and conservation programme was instituted.

 

Designated under the Ontario Heritage Act

Toronto Historical Board

1979

 

People who watched children's television in the 1980's might remember the flagship Simpson's department store as being the setting of the 1981-1987 TV Ontario kid's show Today's Special. Of course, the "Children's Department" and most of the other places within the store were sets, but they sometime did location shoots at the real store, such as for the first few shots within the Today's Special opening theme song segment and Jeff Hyslop as "Jeff the Mannequin" singing, dancing and frolicking through the store in "Hocus Pocus Allamagocus".

 

You can see more comparison shots between the store as it appeared on Today's Special and the store as it appeared in 1999 on the "Behind the Scenes' page of Ben Schumin's Today's Special fansite.

 

When the Simpson's department store chain went defunct in 1991, this building became the flagship store in the Hudson's Bay Department chain.

 

This is currently the largest department store location in Canada, though I believe the downtown Montreal Eaton's store was even larger before it closed in 1999 (where the building got split up into several smaller stores including Les Ailes de la Mode as well as office space).

 

 

 

For anyone interested, I have started a HBC Hudson's Bay Company and Zellers group for all of your photos of The Bay/La Baie and Zellers department stores.

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Taken on May 29, 2010
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