Upscale sunglasses and eyewear brand Ray-Ban will open its second Canadian storefront this fall at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre. The company’s first Canadian store opened in September of 2020 at the CF Toronto Eaton Centre.
The Yorkdale Ray-Ban store will measure about 950 square feet and will be located between the mall’s Peloton and COS stores near Holt Renfrew. A third Toronto Ray-Ban store lease was in negotiations for the Bloor-Yorkville area and we’ll update readers when we learn more.
Prior to opening direct-to-consumer stores, Ray-Ban was only carried in Canada at multi-brand retailers. That includes Sunglass Hut, Hakim Optical, Sport Chek, Pearle Vision, LenseCrafters, and other chains — not to mention a wide range of independent retailers specializing in optical goods. Ray-Ban’s direct-to-consumer move into standalone stores as well as a transactional Canadian website is a trend being seen by many other brands, some of which are pulling out of multi-brand retailers to open corporate stores.
In the United States, Ray-Ban operates standalone stores in major cities in a mix of malls and street-front locations.
Ray-Ban is headquartered in Milan Italy, though it was founded in the United States. In 1929, US Army Air Corps Colonel John A. Macready worked with Rochester NY-based medical equipment manufacturer Bausch & Lomb to create aviation sunglasses optimized for pilots. In 1936, anti-glare lenses were introduced and in 1938, the company created impact-resistant lenses which were redesigned with metal frames for the patented Ray-Ban Aviator. Other styles were released in subsequent decades including the ‘Olympian’ which was worn by Peter Fonda in the 1969 film Easy Rider. In 1999, Milan-based Luxottica Group acquired Bausch & Lomb’s Global Eyewear Division for US$640 million.
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