Toronto Through My Lens

Tag: EatonCentre

A Christmas Walk

Well, it is a black and rainy Christmas this year in Toronto. Regardless, I took a little photo-spin yesterday to see how the city is setting up for the season.

There are some much-loved (at least by me) Toronto traditions missing this year: unfortunately no festive windows at The Bay on Queen and Yonge (due to the massive construction of the new subway on Queen Street). The Flower Show at the Allan Gardens conservatory is extremely scaled back due to the renovation of the Palm House, and “Holiday Fair”, normally held at City Hall, was moved to Mel Lastman Square in North York (I suspect, again, due to the mess caused by the Queen Street subway project). Despite these, it is still Christmas in the city… a special time. Here is a bit of what I encountered yesterday:

Allan Gardens Christmas Flower Show

I wish I had more shots to post here, but the few below were the extent of the Flower Show this year:

“Winter Glow” at Yonge-Dundas Square

Yonge-Dundas Square had a mini-festival going on, although I only saw a couple of people there. There were carnival rides, a 45-foot-tall Ferris Wheel, the “Great Canadian Carousel” and a few midway games.

On the Yonge Street side there was a 40-foot “Remembrance Tree”, sponsored by the Rotary Club. Visitors make a donation to the cause, then receive a yellow ribbon on which to write a message to a loved one who has passed.

Eaton Centre

As usual, the Eaton Centre was abuzz with people, a massive Christmas tree (114-foot high, said to be the tallest in North America) and giant glittering reindeer:

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!

Eaton Centre & The Bay, 2014

So, I don’t know if shots from 2014 qualify for inclusion in my so-called series From The Vaults (i.e. old shots of Toronto). I found these the other day while browsing and thought I’d post them as they are a bit of a blast from the past, so to speak.

Some of the shots are slightly “arty”; I was experimenting at the time with capturing urban life using a slow shutter speed, hence the intentional motion blur.

The Bay at Queen and Yonge

The original Bay store at Yonge and Queen Streets only partially exists since Saks Fifth Avenue took over the entire east half of the building in 2016. These shots are prior to the merge and remodel of the building.

The Bay’s southeast entrance on to Yonge Street. This entrance is long gone; in its place is a trendoid coffee bar/resto, which is part of Saks Fifth Avenue.
Pay phones!!?? Remember those? In the lobby of The Bay’s southeast entrance.
The Bay sales floor, ground level
Riding The Bay’s escalators
More people movers
Ground level sales floor, Women’s jewellery (note Ivanka Trump’s jewellery line, far right – that dates it!)

In The Old Queen Street Bridge

I shot these while crossing over from The Bay to the Eaton Centre in the old pedestrian bridge spanning Queen Street West. This bridge has long disappeared and been replaced with a new one (check out my Eaton Centre bridge post here).

Above Queen Street during a rainstorm
The old Eaton Centre pedestrian bridge

Inside the Eaton Centre

Another busy Saturday afternoon in the Eaton Centre

Speeding through Yonge and Richmond Streets

Eaton Centre Pedestrian Bridge

Located at the busy intersection of Yonge and Queen Streets, the Toronto Eaton Centre Bridge is a dramatic public landmark that replaces the previous pedestrian bridge, which was completed in 1978. The bridge spans Queen Street West and links the Toronto Eaton Centre with The Bay/Saks Fifth Avenue on the south side of Queen Street West.

The design challenge involved carefully merging the contrasting buildings the bridge links – on one side the historic 1896 sandstone Hudson’s Bay/Saks Fifth Avenue (formerly Simpsons – anyone remember that?) with Romanesque revival features, and on the other, the contemporary glass and steel forms of the 1977 Toronto Eaton Centre.

From the architect’s website:

The new bridge was designed as a beautiful, sustainable addition to Toronto’s streetscape and pedestrian infrastructure. Conceptualized as a metaphorical handshake between these two seemingly opposing architectural styles, the geometry of the bridge transitions from the circular arches found on the historic Hudson Bay facade into the rectangular forms of the Eaton Centre. In addition to its steel, bronze and glass appearance echoing the materials and iconography of the historic buildings it links, the Bridge maintains the original ethos of the Eaton Centre in its honest use of simple materials. In total, the structure is comprised of 190 patinated bronze panels and 210 double, curved glass panels, each unique in shape and curvature. The Bridge has transformed the link between the historic buildings it sits aside. It enhances, rather than overshadows, the architectural features of each building.

In order to minimize disruption to the busy intersection of Yonge and Queen Streets, the bridge’s main structural components were assembled on nearby James Street and moved into place in one piece. I took these shots on May 28, 2017 while the bridge was still very much a work in progress on James Street:

Moving the 218 metric tonne bridge in place required a highly specialized hydraulic lift system given the minimal clearances on both the Eaton Centre and Hudson’s Bay sides. The entire process took several hours in the early morning hours on a weekend, shutting down this section of Queen Street. The remainder of work was done in place allowing the street to remain operable.

After The Move

The new bridge opened in late 2017. I took these shots of the completed pedestrian bridge on April 10, 2021:

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