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In Photos: The Last Days of Hudson’s Bay at Yonge & Bloor in Downtown Toronto

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The Hudson’s Bay store at the northeast corner of Yonge and Bloor Streets in downtown Toronto shut permanently last week, and a bit earlier than expected. The store opened in 1974 as the retailer’s flagship until 1991 when a former Simpsons store at Yonge and Queen Streets was converted to the Hudson’s Bay banner. 

In an exclusive report in February, we announced that the store would be closing after almost 50 years at the iconic corner. The store closure was supposed to happen on Monday but one shopper we spoke with said that as of Friday, the store was almost empty so it was closed to the public earlier than planned. 

Hudson’s Bay had been advertising up to 90% off of merchandise in the store which drew crowds of customers. That included radio and other advertising. On Sunday afternoon we visited the building and potential customers were still trying to get into the store. Some indicated disappointment when they saw signage showing that the store is now permanently shut. 

Store Closing Signage at Hudson’s Bay Toronto 44 Bloor Street, May 2022 (Image: Michael Binetti)
Hudson’s Bay Toronto 44 Bloor Street, May 2022 (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

Last week Retail Insider spoke with a former HBC exec who said that years ago the retailer had been looking at potentially making the Bloor Street store into something of a ‘contemporary’ space like what Bloomingdale’s did with a store in New York City’s Soho area. Dual ownership of the Hudson’s Bay Centre where the store was located led to the decision not to renovate according to the source.  

In February we provided an overview of the Bloor Street store and its importance to the Hudson’s Bay Company over the years, and earlier this month we were the first to publish renderings of what landlord Brookfield has proposed to the City of Toronto in terms of creating a mix of retail and office space in the former Hudson’s Bay store. We’ll report back when we learn more.

See below for more photos of the former Hudson’s Bay store at 44 Bloor Street West in Toronto. Included are photos of the former restaurant that once operated upstairs and shut years ago.

Sunday May 15th, 2022

Closed Bloor Street Entrance of Hudson’s Bay Toronto 44 Bloor Street, May 15, 2022 (Image: Craig Patterson)
Hudson’s Bay Toronto at 44 Bloor Street is Closed, May 15, 2022 (Image: Craig Patterson)
Former cosmetics department on the main floor of Hudson’s Bay Toronto at 44 Bloor Street is Closed, May 15, 2022 (Image: Craig Patterson)
Former menswear department on the main floor of Hudson’s Bay Toronto at 44 Bloor Street is Closed, May 15, 2022 (Image: Craig Patterson)

May 13th, 2022

Retail Insider was privileged to have been provided the following selection of images from Michael Binetti, which included a number of sections of the store that were less visible to the public during the liquidation.

Former handbags and beauty area on the main floor of Hudson’s Bay Toronto 44 Bloor Street, May 2022 (Image: Michael Binetti)
Hudson’s Bay Toronto 44 Bloor Street, May 2022 (Image: Michael Binetti)
Former 4th floor home/China department at Hudson’s Bay Toronto 44 Bloor Street, May 2022 (Image: Michael Binetti)
Former home furnishings floor at Hudson’s Bay Toronto 44 Bloor Street, May 2022 (Image: Michael Binetti)
Former home furnishings floor with 1970s floor tiles at Hudson’s Bay Toronto 44 Bloor Street, May 2022 (Image: Michael Binetti)
Former furniture floor at Hudson’s Bay Toronto 44 Bloor Street, May 2022 (Image: Michael Binetti)
Former furniture level on 5 at Hudson’s Bay Toronto 44 Bloor Street, May 2022 (Image: Michael Binetti)
Former restaurant at Hudson’s Bay Toronto 44 Bloor Street, May 2022 (Image: Michael Binetti)
Former restaurant at Hudson’s Bay Toronto 44 Bloor Street, May 2022 (Image: Michael Binetti)
Former restaurant at Hudson’s Bay Toronto 44 Bloor Street, May 2022 (Image: Michael Binetti)
Former restaurant at Hudson’s Bay Toronto 44 Bloor Street, May 2022 (Image: Michael Binetti)
Former furniture floor at Hudson’s Bay Toronto 44 Bloor Street, May 2022 (Image: Michael Binetti)
Former home/China department on the 4th floor at Hudson’s Bay Toronto 44 Bloor Street, May 2022 (Image: Michael Binetti)
Former beauty hall and ‘Stripes’ merchandise area on the main floor of Hudson’s Bay Toronto 44 Bloor Street, May 2022 (Image: Michael Binetti)
Former accessories area on the main floor of Hudson’s Bay Toronto 44 Bloor Street, May 2022 (Image: Michael Binetti)
The PATH Entrance for Hudson’s Bay Toronto 44 Bloor Street, May 2022 (Image: Michael Binetti)
The PATH Entrance for Hudson’s Bay Toronto 44 Bloor Street, May 2022 (Image: Michael Binetti)
Another PATH Entrance for Hudson’s Bay Toronto 44 Bloor Street, May 2022 (Image: Michael Binetti)
Hudson’s Bay Toronto 44 Bloor Street, May 2022 (Image: Michael Binetti)

Sunday May 8th, 2022

Bloor Street Exterior Entrance at Hudson’s Bay Toronto 44 Bloor Street, May 2022 (Image: Dustin Fuhs)
Store Closing Signage at Hudson’s Bay Toronto 44 Bloor Street, May 8, 2022 (Image: Dustin Fuhs)
Store Fixtures For Sale at Hudson’s Bay Toronto 44 Bloor Street, May 8, 2022 (Image: Dustin Fuhs)
Store Closing / Liquidation Signage at Hudson’s Bay Toronto 44 Bloor Street, May 8, 2022 (Image: Dustin Fuhs)
Menswear during Liquidation at Hudson’s Bay Toronto 44 Bloor Street, May 8, 2022 (Image: Dustin Fuhs)
The vintage escalators were turned off as the bottom floor was already clear (Men’s department at Hudson’s Bay Toronto 44 Bloor Street, May 8, 2022 Image: Dustin Fuhs)
Former Menswear at Hudson’s Bay Toronto 44 Bloor Street, May 8, 2022 (Image: Dustin Fuhs)
Closing signage at Hudson’s Bay Toronto 44 Bloor Street, May 8, 2022 (Image: Dustin Fuhs)
Menswear Vacated at Hudson’s Bay Toronto 44 Bloor Street, May 8, 2022 (Image: Dustin Fuhs). This was once the upscale ‘Hudson Room’ department for suiting from prestigious designers.
Menswear Hudson’s Bay Toronto 44 Bloor Street, May 8, 2022 (Image: Dustin Fuhs)
Menswear Hudson’s Bay Toronto 44 Bloor Street, May 8, 2022 (Image: Dustin Fuhs)
The POS at Hudson’s Bay Toronto 44 Bloor Street, May 8, 2022 (Image: Dustin Fuhs)
Main Floor at Hudson’s Bay Toronto 44 Bloor Street, May 8, 2022 (Image: Dustin Fuhs)
Main Floor Jewellery at Hudson’s Bay Toronto 44 Bloor Street, May 8, 2022 (Image: Dustin Fuhs)
Bloor-Yonge Street Entrance at Hudson’s Bay Toronto 44 Bloor Street, May 8, 2022 (Image: Dustin Fuhs)
Hudson’s Bay Toronto 44 Bloor Street, May 2022 (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

Article Author

Craig Patterson
Craig Patterson
Located in Toronto, Craig is the Publisher & CEO of Retail Insider Media Ltd. He is also a retail analyst and consultant, Advisor at the University of Alberta School Centre for Cities and Communities in Edmonton, and a public speaker. 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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8 COMMENTS

  1. It boggles my mind that HBC chose to locate Saks on Queen Street rather than in this space on the Mink Mile. The store on Queen is clearly struggling to attract luxury shoppers to that location. A missed opportunity.

    • The Queen Street store is too big for a modern Department store. I remember shopping at the Downtown Winnipeg store twenty years ago when it waa using all 600,000+ sq ft and back then it waa very sparcely merchandised when compared to the more densly merchandised Home Outfitters stores.

  2. I’m in Winnipeg & I am personally disappointed that I missed the liquidatuin of the Portage & Memorial Hudson’s Bay store. At one time I shopped there about once weekly.

    • The Queen Street flagship store will still have Christmas windows, not to worry. Actually the Bloor Street store never really had Christmas-themed windows of much interest (I live a block away from the store myself).

      • Thank you for the information! As an introvert, this location is the one I remember seeing as it would be on my way whenever I’d be nearby during Christmas season. The display was about the only thing I actually liked and looked forward to about having to go out 😆

  3. I used to work nearby for over 20 years, and used to stroll through that store on lunches. Hard to explain, but it had an odd charm to it with its brutalist architecture, stuck in time restaurant and long time serving staff. It was sadly in need of a massive renovation to open it up and modernize it, which never happened.

  4. I worked in the Display department there in the 80’s when it was the Toronto flagship store, before the Bay took over the Simpson’s Queen Street location. It was a happening place back then. Lots of great memories….sorry to see it go.

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