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The Eaton Centre, Toronto

The history of the Eaton Centre goes back in Canadian history much farther then the shopping complex we see today. The original Eaton store was founded by Timothy Eaton in 1869 and boasted in their advertisements “sound goods, good styles and good value”. The first Eaton store was located at 178 Yonge Street and consisted of a staff of three. In 1883 a new three storey store was opened at 190 Yonge Street. At the time the new Eaton department store was the first store in Canada to have electric lights and the first elevator in a retail establishment in Toronto. In 1884 a mail order catalogue was introduced and was a huge success. This was partly due to the fact that now consumers anywhere in Canada, even the most remote locations, could take advantage of mail-order delivery. The catalogue offered everything from farm implements to clothing and household items. At one point it was even possible to order a pre-fabricated house. In the 1960’s plans began to take shape for a massive office and shopping complex that would cover several city blocks. The first phase, completed in 1977 consisted of a nine storey 1,000,000 square foot Eaton’s store. Today the Eaton Centre is one of Toronto’s biggest tourist attractions and with over 330 stores covering 1,600,000 sq ft it is possibly the largest shopping centre in North America.


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