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Bay Signage Removed from Hudson’s Bay Centre Tower at Iconic Downtown Toronto Intersection

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The former Bay branding on the tower connected to the Hudson’s Bay Centre in downtown Toronto has been removed after almost 50 years. The logo at one time was a beacon for the Hudson’s Bay flagship store that opened on the site in 1974. 

The Hudson’s Bay Centre replaced several smaller buildings at the northeast corner of Yonge and Bloor Streets and became an anchor for the rapidly developing area. The 340,000 square foot Hudson’s Bay department store became the company’s flagship upon completion, taking the title away from the massive downtown Winnipeg flagship Bay store (which shuttered permanently several months ago). 

The Yonge and Bloor Bay store lost its status as the company’s flagship in 1991 when the Hudson’s Bay Company converted the massive Simpsons department store at the southwest corner of Queen Street and Yonge to the Hudson’s Bay banner. The Hudson’s Bay Company acquired the Simpsons chain in 1978 which coincided with the decommissioning of the Simpsons-Sears store banners. 

Hudson’s Bay Centre at 2 Bloor Street East in Toronto (July 2021). Photo: Craig Patterson
Signage has been removed from the tower at 2 Bloor Street East (July 2021). Photo: Craig Patterson
Ad from the opening of the Bay store at Yonge & Bloor in Toronto. Image from Toronto Sun, August 7, 1974.

The Hudson’s Bay Centre connects to the subway interchange below with a mall retail component spanning 213,000 square feet according to landlord Brookfield Properties. Tenants include The Bay department store as well as a Longo’s grocery store, Dollarama, LCBO, and tenants in the concourse-level mall and a food court. The 35-storey office tower above it spans 535,000 square feet and was designed by architect Craig & Boake. The centre also includes a soon-to-open W Hotel which is currently under construction — it replaces a Marriott Hotel that operated on the site for years with a rental apartment building located directly above it. 

When it was built, the 2 Bloor East office tower housed offices for the Hudson’s Bay Company and with Workmen’s Compensation Board — both tenants were announced in 1971 before the tower’s completion. 

The Urban Toronto forum recently included conversations that the Hudson’s Bay store at the Hudson’s Bay Centre would be closing. Retail Insider reached out to the Hudson’s Bay Company who denied that the rumours are true.

3rd floor of the Hudson’s Bay store at Yonge and Bloor showing a reduced retail footprint (July 2021). Photo: Craig Patterson

The Hudson’s Bay store has recently seen a size reduction on some floors already and departments being downsized. The photo above shows the third-level women’s floor which lost several thousand square feet with walls covering former retail space leading to a set of washrooms.

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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4 COMMENTS

  1. Hudson’s Bay stores featuring the old Bay logo are a rare sight, and usually indicate one of two things: a) the store is closing, or b) a major renovation is coming. The Bloor location could really go either way, being a prime location that is also somewhat too large and too close to the flagship Queen street store. Plans to completely rebuild it and convert it into a Saks Fifth Avenue never came to fruition, but do suggest that HBC sees long-term potential for that site. My instinct is that it will be reduced from five levels down to two or three, and potentially renovated to the new “digital” Hudson’s Bay format that the company has been promoting for its replacement Oakridge location in Vancouver. Abandoned space could be converted into offices or even another WeWork spot.

    Interestingly, Hudson’s Bay Pointe Claire and Hudson’s Bay Mic Mac Mall feature the old logo, yet both are in busy shopping centres. I’d be curious to know what their plans are for these locations.

  2. The Hudson’s Bay location at Bloor E & Yonge is beyond tired and outdated. It’s not a nice shopping experience at all and very uninviting from the exterior. It’s a convenient location but the Queen location is far better for everything.

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