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Then and Now: 110 Bloor Street Retail Podium in Toronto [Photos]

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The 110 Bloor Street West commercial podium is an anchor to the luxury stretch of Bloor Street West in Toronto. The mixed-use building was built in 1980 and we recently found a photo showcasing a much different looking building 40 years ago. 

A photo from the City of Toronto Archives, below, shows a considerably different 110 Bloor Street West in the 1980s which included a spaceship-like awning over what was at the time a retail mall. The main floor and basement featured retail stores and services/offices were located on the second and third floors. Above them all is a condominium apartment building housing 156 units.

Cooper Consultants developed 110 Bloor which spans more than 200 feet along Bloor’s luxury run. To the right of 110 Bloor in the photo is an office building that would eventually be redeveloped to become the current 102 Bloor St. W. condominium tower, and the former University Theatre is next to it. Real estate firm ProWinko Canada Inc. bought the 110 Bloor commercial podium in 2008.

A Celine boutique can be seen prominently in the 1980s photo on the street level of the 110 Bloor complex. The Berg family, who also owned luxury multi-brand retailer Ira Berg, opened the first standalone Celine boutique in North America at that location. The 110 Bloor Celine boutique had clothing, bags, accessories, footwear and other items such as silk scarves. The space was designed by Robert Meiklejohn Associates

Close-up of the Celine boutique at 110 Bloor in the 1980s. Photo: City of Toronto Archives
Click image for interactive Google Map

Ira Berg partnered with Louis Vuitton to open the first Vuitton storefront at 110 Bloor in 1983, and the Celine store was eventually converted to a storefront for luxury brand Genny. The Ira Berg/Vuitton partnership lasted for 10 years. Ira Berg went bankrupt in 1996 and closed its stores in Toronto and Calgary. 

Various retailers occupied the 110 Bloor retail podium in its early years. French women’s fashion brand Rodier Paris had a store at 110 Bloor, as did footwear retailer Boutique Quinto and fashion retailer The Irish Shop. Other tenants listed in a directory in 1985 included the Coffee Mill restaurant, Amy’s Convenience, the Christian Science Reading Room and Sketchley Cleaners. The concourse level housed a tailor, lottery booth, beauty salon and Delorean Jewellers. 

Multi-brand luxury retailer Marc Laurent operated at 110 Bloor in the 1980s. It began as a standalone 1,000 square foot boutique space which it soon converted for Italian luxury brand Byblos with areas for men and women’s fashions. With that, Marc Laurent expanded its multi-brand business into the basement level of 110 Bloor with a 5,000 square foot space. Marc Laurent was a high-fashion retailer for men and women with brands such as Claude Montana, Cerutti 1881, Luciano Soprani, Thierry Mugler and many others. The company was owned by the late Harry Bendayan and supported in a management and buying capacity by Nicolas Kalatzis who now runs iconic retailer Nicolas on Cumberland Street as well as Jeff Colt who is now General Manager of PYA Importer.

A phone directory from 1990 noted that Genny and Corbo shoes were tenants in the podium that year. 

110 Bloor West in 2007 showing La Senza, Nike, Guerlain and Plaza Escada which spanned 13,000 sf over two levels. Image: Google Street View

In 1998, Nike opened a 20,000 square foot Niketown flagship store over two levels at the rear of 110 Bloor while a Chapters book store opened with a Bloor-facing entrance spanning much of the second and third levels of the podium. In the early 2000s, beauty brand Guerlain opened a location as did women’s fashion brand Escada. In 2005 the Chapters book store was converted to off-price retailer Winners. 

Recent tenants that shut at 110 Bloor include Calvin Klein underwear, Browns Shoes and J. Crew. A Brooks Brothers store still occupies space facing Bloor Street although it has been shut due to lockdowns. 

The retail podium of 110 Bloor Street West will be seeing substantial changes that will include an impressively updated physical appearance as well as opportunities for new tenants. Renderings of the renovated commercial podium at 110 Bloor show a dynamic facade with dark metal finishes and a gold patterned public art piece directly above the updated retail facades. We featured a story on the redevelopment of 110 Bloor in September of 2020.

The area is now filled with luxury brand stores. To the west of 110 Bloor are storefronts for Gucci, St. John, Burberry, Tiffany & Co. and Louis Vuitton. To the east of 110 Bloor are flagship storefronts for Zegna and Hermes. Across the street are flagship locations for brands such as Prada, Dior, MCM and others. 

Retail Insider has been locating historical photos and will periodically report on Canadian retail history using these visuals.

If anyone has more information of interest about 110 Bloor Street West that we could add to this story, feel free to reach out to craig@retail-insider.com.

Article Author

Craig Patterson
Located in Toronto, Craig is the Editor-in-Chief of Retail Insider and President/CEO of Retail Insider Media Ltd. He is also a retail analyst and consultant, Director of Applied Research at the University of Alberta School of Retailing in Edmonton, and consultant to the Retail Council of Canada. He has studied the Canadian retail landscape for over 25 years and he holds Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws Degrees.

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