Bay Bridge

John Velocci

Joined October 2012

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Artist's Description

the new modern bridge connecting the historical Bay department store and the historical Eaton Centre shopping mall in downtown Toronto, Canada.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM
16mm/ƒ/22/1/4s/ISO 100
109 views
dedicated to bridges/tunnels


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Hudson’s Bay Queen Street is the flagship store of Hudson’s Bay in Toronto, Ontario and the head office of the Hudson’s Bay Company. Located at 160 Yonge Street on the southwest corner of Yonge Street and Queen Street West, the building is actually a complex of buildings constructed between 1896 and 1969.

The 1896 sandstone building located on Queen Street slightly west of Yonge Street was built by Toronto firm of Burke and Horwood for Simpson’s Department Store in the Romanesque Revival style with Chicago School influences.4 The fireproof steel frame structure replaced the original 6-storey store that burned in 1895 just three-months after opening.5 The Simpson’s structure is strikingly similar to the Confederation Life Building located just east of Yonge, but less ornamental. The store was built to replace the original Simpson’s dry goods business at 184 Yonge Street 6 and was located directly across from rival retailer’s Eaton’s Annex.

The Bay Queen Street north facade
The store’s interior featured an open atrium that extended from the ground to the sixth floor. In addition to other departments, the basement featured a coffee shop and discount division. In 1954, it was connected to the Queen subway station and later to the PATH network.

In the early 20th Century, a Dominion supermarket (City Hall Market) occupied the northeast corner of the ground floor. It closed in the 1960s.

The store outgrew the capacity of the structure by 1900, leading to the first of several expansions. Burke and Horwood returned with additions in 1907 and 1923.7 The largest expansion came in 1929 with Chapman and Oxley’s nine-floor Art Deco addition (facing Bay and Richmond) capped by the Arcadian Court.8 When construction completed, the store occupied two full city blocks.

In 1969, John B. Parkin’s Simpson Tower was added to the complex at the corner of Queen Street West and Bay Street to house Simpson’s offices.

Unlike Eaton’s, the store survived the remaking of the neighbourhood and retained the original look. A glass-enclosed bridge was added in the late 1970s to allow customers to access the Toronto Eaton Centre without braving the elements or traffic.

In 1991, the Simpson’s name was replaced with the banner The Bay (amended to the current “Hudson’s Bay” in 2013).

The Bay Queen Street continues the Simpson’s tradition of Christmas-themed display windows facing Queen Street West west of the main Queen Street entrance.

The complex connects to the nearby Bay Adelaide Centre and shared underground parking complex.

In January 2014, HBC announced it had sold the property to Cadillac Fairview through a sale-and-leaseback arrangement, with HBC leasing the property for at least the following 25 years (with options for a further 50 years). Under the deal, the store is for the first time considered an official part of the Cadillac Fairview-owned Toronto Eaton Centre, and part of the site will be remodelled as a store of fellow HBC chain Saks Fifth Avenue, to open in 2016.

Artwork Comments

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