Eaton’s College Street Store – An Art Deco Architectural Treasure

1930 - Looking northwest from Yonge St towards the construction of the Eaton's College Street store. Notice Hayter St once intersected with Yonge St
1930 – Looking northwest from Yonge St towards the construction of the Eaton’s College Street store. Notice Hayter St once intersected with Yonge St (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1266, Item 19440)

The former Eaton’s College Street store, now College Park, is located at the southwest corner of College St and Yonge St in the Downtown Yonge area of Toronto.

Step Back in Time at Eaton’s College Street

Construction began on T. Eaton Co. Limited’s College St store in 1928; two years later, it was completed. The building initially served as headquarters for Eaton’s Furniture and House Furnishings departments and sold “wearables and accessories.”

The architectural firms of Ross & Macdonald and Sproatt & Rolph designed the Art Deco gem. It originally extended from Yonge St and Hayter St to College St and Bay St. The building was supposed to be much taller; however, due to the Great Depression, it was scaled back to seven floors.

2020 - College Park entrance from Yonge St, once home to Eaton's College Street store
2020 – College Park entrance from Yonge St, once home to Eaton’s College Street store

Eaton’s College Street exterior is clad with ivory-coloured Tyndall limestone with accents of granite and stone carvings. There’s also Monel metal trim (a corrosion-resistant nickel and copper alloy) along with the door and window frames. The interior shopping concourse and elevator arcade were designed by Eaton’s Interior Design Director, Rene Cera, and feature marble and granite.

The Seventh Floor by Jacque Carlu

Lady Eaton wanted to bring world-class culture to Toronto. She commissioned French architect Jacque Carlu to design the Seventh Floor. Along with Rene Cera, they created the 1,275-seat concert hall known as the Eaton Auditorium and the Round Room restaurant. Today, this grand event space is called The Carlu and is a National Historic Site of Canada.

Eaton’s College Street Becomes College Park

In 1973, Eaton’s sold the College St property for $35 million, and that same year, the building was included on Heritage Toronto’s initial induction list. When the CF Toronto Eaton Centre opened in ‪1977, the College Street‬ store closed. The portion of the store on the southeast corner of College St and Bay St was demolished for an office tower.

Since 1979, the historic structure has been known as College Park, a retail and office complex with residential space added to the building’s southern portion.

In 1905, Timothy Eaton, the department store’s founder, started the Santa Claus Parade. What began as a publicity stunt has become a celebrated Toronto tradition for over 115 years.

Eaton’s College Street Photos

Circa 1930 - Eaton’s College Street store
Circa 1930 – Eaton’s College Street store (Archives of Ontario, T. Eaton Co. fonds, F 229-308-0-517.7)
2020 – Looking southwest towards College Park, formerly Eaton's College Street store at College St and Yonge St
2020 – Looking southwest towards College Park, formerly Eaton’s College Street store at College St and Yonge St
1929 - Looking north up Yonge St with the construction of the Eaton's College Street store on the left. Notice Oddfellows Hall and the clock tower of Fire Hall No. 3/St Charles Tavern in the background
1929 – Looking north up Yonge St with the construction of the Eaton’s College Street store on the left. Notice Oddfellows Hall and the clock tower of Fire Hall No. 3/St Charles Tavern in the background (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 7442)
1930 - Looking northwest from Yonge St towards the construction of the Eaton's College Street store. Notice Hayter St once intersected with Yonge St
1930 – Looking northwest from Yonge St towards the construction of the Eaton’s College Street store. Notice Hayter St once intersected with Yonge St (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1266, Item 19440)
1930 - Lady Eaton & John David Eaton at the opening of Eaton's College Street store
1930 – Lady Eaton & John David Eaton at the opening of Eaton’s College Street store (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item 1641)
1930 – An aerial view looking southwest towards Eaton's College Street store. Today, the Art Deco landmark is home to College Park, a shopping mall, and a residential and office complex
1930 – An aerial view looking southwest towards Eaton’s College Street store. Today, the Art Deco landmark is home to College Park, a shopping mall, and a residential and office complex (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item 10054)
Circa 1930 – The Eaton's College Street store specialized in furniture and homeware. There were floors for clothing, furniture, rugs, wallpaper, a gallery, a cafeteria and a portrait studio
Circa 1930 – The Eaton’s College Street store specialized in furniture and homeware. There were floors for clothing, furniture, rugs, wallpaper, a gallery, a cafeteria and a portrait studio (Archives of Ontario, T. Eaton Co. fonds F 229-308-0-520-2)
1931 – The seventh floor of Eaton's College Street store was designed by French architect Jacques Carlu. The space contained the 1,300-seat Eaton auditorium and the Round Room restaurant, both of which hosted musicians, speakers and events
1931 – The seventh floor of Eaton’s College Street store was designed by French architect Jacques Carlu. The space contained the 1,300-seat Eaton auditorium and the Round Room restaurant, both of which hosted musicians, speakers and events (Archives of Ontario, T. Eaton Co. fonds F 229-308-0-61)
Circa 1935 - Floor covered with Chinese and German carpets during a special rug promotion event at Eaton's store at College St and Yonge St
Circa 1935 – Floor covered with Chinese and German carpets during a special rug promotion event at Eaton’s store at College St and Yonge St (Archives of Ontario, T. Eaton Co. fonds, F 229-308-0-2028)
1945 - Interior of the auditorium on the seventh floor of Eaton’s College Street store
1945 – Interior of the auditorium on the seventh floor of Eaton’s College Street store (Archives of Ontario F 229-308-0-61)
1948 - Looking south along Bay St from College St. Notice Eaton's College Street store on the left when it extended to Bay St
1948 – Looking south along Bay St from College St. Notice Eaton’s College Street store on the left when it extended to Bay St (City of Toronto Archives, Series 372, Sub Series 58, Item 1821)
1950 - Looking northwest from Yonge St towards the Eaton's College Street store. Notice Hayter St once intersected with Yonge St
1950 – Looking northwest from Yonge St towards the Eaton’s College Street store. Notice Hayter St once intersected with Yonge St (City of Toronto Archives, Series 574, File 16, ID 49357)
2022 - Looking north up Yonge St towards College Park, formerly Eaton's College Street store
2022 – Looking north up Yonge St towards College Park, formerly Eaton’s College Street store
1950 - Looking west towards the corner of Eaton's College Street store from Yonge St
1950 – Looking west towards the corner of Eaton’s College Street store from Yonge St (City of Toronto Archives, Series 574, File 18, Item 49373)
1953 – Yonge St entrance to the Eaton's College Street store, decorated for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II
1953 – Yonge St entrance to the Eaton’s College Street store, decorated for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 492, Item 26)
2020 - College Park entrance from Yonge St, once home to Eaton's College Street store
2020 – College Park entrance from Yonge St, once home to Eaton’s College Street store
1958 - Looking north up Yonge St from south of Granby St, when they intersected. Notice Eaton’s College Street store on the left with Oddfellows Hall and the clock tower of Fire Hall No. 3/St Charles Tavern in the background
1958 – Looking north up Yonge St from south of Granby St, when they intersected. Notice Eaton’s College Street store on the left with Oddfellows Hall and the clock tower of Fire Hall No. 3/St Charles Tavern in the background (City of Toronto Archives, Series 648, File 33, ID 3)
1972 - Looking northwest from Yonge St towards Eaton's College Street store. Notice the Oddfellows Hall in the distance at 2 College St
1972 – Looking northwest from Yonge St towards Eaton’s College Street store. Notice the Oddfellows Hall in the distance at 2 College St (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 124, File 3, ID 62)
2022 – Looking northwest from Yonge St towards College Park, formerly Eaton's College Street store
2022 – Looking northwest from Yonge St towards College Park, formerly Eaton’s College Street store
1972 - Eaton's College Street store, looking southwest from Yonge St and College St
1972 – Eaton’s College Street store, looking southwest from Yonge St and College St (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 124, Series, File 3, ID 1)
1972 – Looking north up Yonge St from Dundas Sq. Notice Eaton's College Street store on the left side
1972 – Looking north up Yonge St from Dundas Sq. Notice Eaton’s College Street store on the left side (City of Toronto Archives, Series 1465, File 312, Item 7)
1974– Looking north up Yonge St from Gerrard St towards Eaton's College Street store
1974– Looking north up Yonge St from Gerrard St towards Eaton’s College Street store (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 93, Item 1)
1975 – Window displays at Eaton's College Street store on Yonge St, south of College St
1975 – Window displays at Eaton’s College Street store on Yonge St, south of College St (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 93, Item 4)
1977 – Looking southwest from Yonge St and College St towards the former Eaton's College Street store boarded-up
1977 – Looking southwest from Yonge St and College St towards the former Eaton’s College Street store boarded-up (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 93, Item 11)
2022 – Looking southwest from Yonge St and College St towards College Park, formerly Eaton's College Street store
2022 – Looking southwest from Yonge St and College St towards College Park, formerly Eaton’s College Street store
2020 – Looking southeast from College St towards College Park and Yonge St
2020 – Looking southeast from College St towards College Park and Yonge St
2022 – Decorative lamp and stonework details on College Park, formerly Eaton's College Street store
2022 – Decorative lamp and stonework details on College Park, formerly Eaton’s College Street store
2020 - Interior of College Park entrance once home to Eaton's College Street store at College St and Yonge St
2020 – Interior of College Park entrance once home to Eaton’s College Street store at College St and Yonge St
2020 - Elevator at College Park, once home to Eaton's College Street store
2020 – Elevator at College Park, once home to Eaton’s College Street store
2022 - In the lobby of the former Eaton's College Street store, a photo of the Round Room at The Carlu, dated circa 1930
2022 – In the lobby of the former Eaton’s College Street store, a photo of the Round Room at The Carlu, dated circa 1930
2022 - Carlu display in the lobby of the former Eaton's College St store, today's College Park
2022 – Carlu display in the lobby of the former Eaton’s College St store, today’s College Park
1929 - Looking southeast from College St and Bay St towards the construction of the Eaton's College Street store
1929 – Looking southeast from College St and Bay St towards the construction of the Eaton’s College Street store (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1266, Item 17970)
1930 – Looking east from College St and Bay St towards the nearly completed Eaton's College Street store. Notice the YMCA sign and building on the left
1930 – Looking east from College St and Bay St towards the nearly completed Eaton’s College Street store. Notice the YMCA sign and building on the left (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 7580)
1930 – Looking east from College St and Bay St towards the construction of Eaton's College Street store on the right. Notice the YMCA on the left
1930 – Looking east from College St and Bay St towards the construction of Eaton’s College Street store on the right. Notice the YMCA on the left (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 7998)
1930 – Looking east from College St and Bay St with Eaton's College Street store on the right and the YMCA on the left
1930 – Looking east from College St and Bay St with Eaton’s College Street store on the right and the YMCA on the left (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1266, Item 21914)
1977 – Looking east along College St from Bay St. Notice the YMCA on the left and the former Eaton's College Street store boarded-up and once extended to Bay St on the right
1977 – Looking east along College St from Bay St. Notice the YMCA on the left and the former Eaton’s College Street store boarded-up and once extended to Bay St on the right (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 93, Item 16)
2022 – Looking east from Bay St and College St towards Yonge St
2022 – Looking east from Bay St and College St towards Yonge St
1972 - Looking southeast from College St and Bay St towards Eaton's College Street store when it extended to Bay St
1972 – Looking southeast from College St and Bay St towards Eaton’s College Street store when it extended to Bay St (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 2032, Series 841, File 59, Item 7)
1977 - The portion of Eaton's College Street store that extended to the southeast corner of College St and Bay St being demolished
1977 – The portion of Eaton’s College Street store that extended to the southeast corner of College St and Bay St being demolished (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 93, Item 31)
1981 – Looking southeast from College St and Bay St towards the rear of College Park. Eaton's College Street store once extended to Bay St
1981 – Looking southeast from College St and Bay St towards the rear of College Park. Eaton’s College Street store once extended to Bay St (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 93, Item 34)
2022 – Looking southeast towards the corner of Bay St and College St. Eaton's College Street store once extended to Bay St
2022 – Looking southeast towards the corner of Bay St and College St. Eaton’s College Street store once extended to Bay St
2022 - Looking southeast towards the former Eaton's College Street store, now College Park, is located at the southwest corner of College St and Yonge St in the Downtown Yonge area of Toronto
2022 – Looking southeast towards the former Eaton’s College Street store, now College Park, is located at the southwest corner of College St and Yonge St in the Downtown Yonge area of Toronto
2023 – The heritage plaque reads:  

Eaton's College Street 1930 

“This building - one of Toronto's Art Deco landmarks - was the flagship store of the T. Eaton Co. department store empire. The store would have been the largest retail complex in the world, but the Great Depression forced Eaton's to scale back the design. 

Founded in 1869 at Queen and Yonge Streets by Irish immigrant Timothy Eaton, the T. Eaton Co. became the most dominant retail company in Canada, with stores in every major city and national mail-order catalogues. 

In 1928, Eaton's announced it planned to build the world's largest retail and office building. Designed by the architecture firms Ross & Macdonald of Montreal and Sporatt & Rolph of Toronto, the store was to occupy an entire city block, with a 32-floor skyscraper rising from its core. 

The economic collapse of 1929 that led to the Great Depression forced Eaton's to abandon the central tower. The current building, with its limestone exterior and details of nickel and copper, opened in 1930. 

When the Eaton Centre opened in 1977, Eaton's closed its College Street store. The company sold the building, which became a mixed-use mall. In 2004, the seventh floor was renovated and reopened as The Carlu.” 

Designated in 1975 under the Ontario Heritage Act 
Heritage Toronto 2023
2023 – The heritage plaque reads:

Eaton’s College Street 1930

“This building – one of Toronto’s Art Deco landmarks – was the flagship store of the T. Eaton Co. department store empire. The store would have been the largest retail complex in the world, but the Great Depression forced Eaton’s to scale back the design.

Founded in 1869 at Queen and Yonge Streets by Irish immigrant Timothy Eaton, the T. Eaton Co. became the most dominant retail company in Canada, with stores in every major city and national mail-order catalogues.

In 1928, Eaton’s announced it planned to build the world’s largest retail and office building. Designed by the architecture firms Ross & Macdonald of Montreal and Sporatt & Rolph of Toronto, the store was to occupy an entire city block, with a 32-floor skyscraper rising from its core.

The economic collapse of 1929 that led to the Great Depression forced Eaton’s to abandon the central tower. The current building, with its limestone exterior and details of nickel and copper, opened in 1930.

When the Eaton Centre opened in 1977, Eaton’s closed its College Street store. The company sold the building, which became a mixed-use mall. In 2004, the seventh floor was renovated and reopened as The Carlu.”

Designated in 1975 under the Ontario Heritage Act
Heritage Toronto 2023
1928 – The Eaton's College Street 1930 heritage plaque reads: “The original design of Eaton's College Street, 1928. Had it been built, it would have contained 372,000 square metres (4 million square feet) of interior space. In 1910, Eaton's began secretly buying land for a new store near College and Yonge Streets. Only a small portion of the land was used, and the rest was sold. Maple Leaf Gardens and the City Park Apartments were built on some of the land acquired by Eaton's for the College Street store.”
1928 – The Eaton’s College Street 1930 heritage plaque reads:

“The original design of Eaton’s College Street, 1928. Had it been built, it would have contained 372,000 square metres (4 million square feet) of interior space. In 1910, Eaton’s began secretly buying land for a new store near College and Yonge Streets. Only a small portion of the land was used, and the rest was sold. Maple Leaf Gardens and the City Park Apartments were built on some of the land acquired by Eaton’s for the College Street store.” (Archives of Ontario. T. Eaton Co. fonds)
1890 - Portrait of Timothy Eaton (1834-1907)
1890 – Portrait of Timothy Eaton (1834-1907) (Toronto Public Library OHQ-PICTURES-S-R-4)
2022 – The heritage plaque reads: 

Eaton's College Street Store 
Built 1928-30
Ross & MacDonald, Sproatt & Rolph Architects 
Designated under the Ontario Heritage Act 
Toronto Historical Board
2022 – The heritage plaque reads:

Eaton’s College Street Store
Built 1928-30
Ross & MacDonald, Sproatt & Rolph Architects
Designated under the Ontario Heritage Act
Toronto Historical Board
2022 – The heritage plaque reads: 

The Eaton Auditorium and Round Room  

"Opened in 1931, the luxurious rooms and foyer on the 7th floor of this building are among the most outstanding Art Deco interiors in Canada. Designed by Jacques Carlu and René Cera, with murals by Natacha Carlu, they seamlessly integrate structure and art. Bands of white flashed opal glass lighting, geometric Monel metal and bronze finishes, and black Vitrolite create flowing, curvilinear spaces. The glass chandelier and fountain in the Round Room evoke the age of radio and epitomize the contemporary style. Superb acoustics in the auditorium drew famous performers to this venue, which hosted many important cultural events." 

Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada
2022 – The heritage plaque reads:

The Eaton Auditorium and Round Room

“Opened in 1931, the luxurious rooms and foyer on the 7th floor of this building are among the most outstanding Art Deco interiors in Canada. Designed by Jacques Carlu and René Cera, with murals by Natacha Carlu, they seamlessly integrate structure and art. Bands of white flashed opal glass lighting, geometric Monel metal and bronze finishes, and black Vitrolite create flowing, curvilinear spaces. The glass chandelier and fountain in the Round Room evoke the age of radio and epitomize the contemporary style. Superb acoustics in the auditorium drew famous performers to this venue, which hosted many important cultural events.”

Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada
1928 - Looking southeast from College St, just west of Yonge St, towards the construction of Eaton's College Street store. In the background is Tamblyn Drugstore, once located at 435 Yonge St
1928 – Looking southeast from College St, just west of Yonge St, towards the construction of Eaton’s College Street store. In the background is Tamblyn Drugstore, once located at 435 Yonge St (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1266, Item 14403)
1914 – Looking southwest towards the corner of Yonge St and College St, the future site of Eaton’s College Street store
1914 – Looking southwest towards the corner of Yonge St and College St, the future site of Eaton’s College Street store (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item 500)
1875 – Looking west from Yonge St towards the gates of College St
1875 – Looking west from Yonge St towards the gates of College St (Toronto Public Library R-4092)
2021 - Timothy Eaton Memorial Church at 230 St Clair Ave W, between Warren Rd and Dunvegan Rd on the north Side - built in 1915, designed by architects Wickson and Gregg in the English Gothic style - received heritage status by the City of Toronto in 2008
2021 – Timothy Eaton Memorial Church at 230 St Clair Ave W, between Warren Rd and Dunvegan Rd on the north Side – built in 1915, designed by architects Wickson and Gregg in the English Gothic style – received heritage status by the City of Toronto in 2008
2021 – The heritage plaque reads:

The retail innovator and department-store magnate
Timothy Eaton (1834-1907) 
Lived in a house in this location from 1889 to 1907 

Toronto Legacy Project and Heritage Toronto
The plaque is located at the northwest corner of Spadina Rd and Lowther Ave
2021 – The heritage plaque reads:

The retail innovator and department-store magnate
Timothy Eaton (1834-1907)
Lived in a house in this location from 1889 to 1907

Toronto Legacy Project and Heritage Toronto
The plaque is located at the northwest corner of Spadina Rd and Lowther Ave
SOURCE

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