Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Yonge & Richmond in 1899

This is the north-west corner of Yonge & Richmond in 1899. Today, that corner is home to the Hudson's Bay building — the Bay took it over in the early 1990s after they bought out the old Simpsons department store. Simpsons and Eatons were the two big department stores in Toronto for more than 100 years; their flagship locations stared each other down across Queen Street. But by the end of the 1990s, Eaton's was dead too, bankrupt and bought out by Sears.

You can see a Simpson's sign in the top-left in this photo — the Bay/Simpsons building is actually a complex of buildings and the first of them was built just three years before this photo was taken. The big Art Deco addition that dominates the corner today was added in 1929. It was designed by Chapman & Oxley, the same architectural firm responsible for a bunch old buildings around Toronto, including many of the icons of the lake shore: the Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion, the Palais Royale, the Princes' Gates, the old Maple Leaf Stadium and the Toronto Harbour Commission Building.

Photo via the Toronto Public Library here.

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