Three major Richemont-owned luxury watch brands will be opening at the base of the recently renovated Park Hyatt Hotel on Bloor Street in downtown Toronto next month. They will open in partnership with respected local multi-brand jeweller L’ORO, which has stores in the Greater Toronto Area.
The three Richemont watch brands, including Roger Dubuis, Panerai and IWC, will face Bloor Street at the prominent intersection of Avenue Road. The independent boutiques will range from 600 to 850 square feet each. A L’ORO jeweller store will also operate a multi-brand presence adjacent. The entire space will span 130 feet of frontage, making one of the most prominent facades on the Bloor Street luxury run on the street level of the Park Hyatt.
Product carried in each of the three boutiques will include pieces that are unavailable within the traditional wholesale network. Each of the boutique spaces were designed within strict brand specifications. What will result is high-quality luxury retail spaces reflecting the latest brand aesthetic.
L’ORO Jewellery also operates a store at CF Sherway Gardens in Toronto with adjacent Chopard and Omega boutique spaces, as well as at CF Markville in Markham. The L’ORO Group also operates seven Pandora mono-brand boutiques within Ontario and British Columbia.
Oxford Properties, owner of the Park Hyatt Hotel, spent several years renovating the property while marketing the 20,000 square foot two-level podium retail space for lease. The last retail tenant to occupy the corner was Strellson, which shut that location in 2018.
All three of the new Richemont watch brand stores are a major score for Bloor Street, which has been competing with Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre for luxury consumer dollars. Roger Dubuis is particularly notable, with the brand having only a handful of boutiques globally. There are only two Roger Dubuis stores in the United States, at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, California, and on Hyman Avenue in Aspen, Colorado. Global cities such as London, Dubai, Hong Kong and Sydney also have standalone locations for the brand.
Panerai and IWC both operate stores at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre — they, along with Vacheron Constantin and Piaget, opened in the mall in 2016. Vancouver’s Alberni Street, another important luxury node for watches and jewellery, boasts storefronts for Richemont watch brands Panerai, IWC and Vacheron Constantine among others.
Two other multi-brand jewellers on Bloor Street carry the watch brands opening at the Park Hyatt. Royal de Versailles at 101 Bloor Street West carries Roger Dubuis and IWC, and it’s unknown if these brands will remain in the store once the standalone boutiques open at the Park Hyatt nearby. Birks at the Manulife Centre also has a collection of Panerai watches in a dedicated area of the store.
Toronto’s Bloor Street is seeing a flurry of construction activity as new luxury brands build and open stores. Royal de Versailles is opening a licensed Rolex store spanning over 1,800 square feet at 101 Bloor Street West, and jeweller Van Cleef & Arpels recently opened across the street at 100 Bloor Street West. Storefronts are currently under construction at 110 Bloor Street West including Saint Laurent, Anne Fontaine and Paris Baguette, while Alexander Wang just unveiled a flashy store in the podium. Ferragamo and Bonpoint recently opened stores nearby. We also just learned that Burberry will be relocating its current location at 144 Bloor Street West to the main floor of the former Pottery Barn space at 100 Bloor Street West, and more major announcements for spaces nearby are said to be on the way as leases are finalized.
What is resulting is a Bloor Street at a magnitude that it has never seen, housing a row of luxury brand flagships unlike anything in Canada. Large flagship-sized locations for brands including Louis Vuitton, Tiffany, Dior, Prada, Cartier, Gucci, Burberry, Rolex, Saint Laurent (and others to be announced) solidify Bloor Street as an important global luxury retail address. It will be interesting to watch as more brands move onto the street, with opportunities such as the 16,500 square foot Holt Renfrew men’s store at 100 Bloor Street West. Holts will vacate 100 Bloor in late 2024 when its new men’s department is completed nearby at the larger 50 Bloor Street West flagship. The current men’s store at 100 Bloor could become a ‘maison’ for a single brand, or possibly for two brands as the space had previously been configured before Holts opened a decade ago. Other flagship opportunities will present in years to come with the redevelopments of 80-82 Bloor Street West (which means Harry Rosen must leave/relocate) and the south side of Bloor Street stretching from St. Thomas Street to Bay Street.
Richemont has partnered with leading local jewellers to open independent brand boutiques in major markets globally, particularly those with high-spending foot traffic including locals and tourists. Other non-Richemont watch brands have also done these partnerships — one recent example was seen in San Francisco, where a local jeweller is investing millions into a 5,800 square foot space on Post Street that will house watch brands Patek Philippe and Rolex.
In Canada, Toronto and Vancouver are the two city nodes where Richemont has established a major presence with its watch boutiques. The L’ORO Bloor Street partnership is different, given that the other Richemont-owned watch boutiques at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre and on Alberni Street in Vancouver are corporate stores.
The Park Hyatt Hotel is an iconic 17 storey heritage building at the northwest corner of Bloor Street and Avenue Road. Construction began at the end of the booming 1920s, and a bankruptcy along with the stock market crash/depression resulted in its opening in 1936. For decades, the hotel was known as the Park Plaza Hotel, with a large lit sign on the roof which also has a bar. In 2017, new owner Oxford Properties extensively renovated the property to include the transitioning of the 1936-built 17 storey south tower to a 65-unit luxury residential rental tower. South-facing units feature a sweeping view down Queen’s Park and the Royal Ontario Museum to the CN Tower and Lake Ontario, and apartments are priced in the thousands of dollars monthly. The shorter 14 storey north hotel tower, built in 1956, still contains 219 hotel units as well as ground-level and podium commercial units. Oxford Properties is looking to fill the remainder of the main floor retail space at the Park Hyatt. Oxford has also been marketing the sun-flooded 10,000 square foot second-level space above the watch boutiques in the south tower. The space features dramatic high ceilings and arched windows, and is at what is considered to be one of the most prestigious intersections in Canada.
The corner of Bloor Street and Avenue Road in Toronto is also significant, given that it’s one of few major intersections in the city to feature four important heritage buildings at each corner. The buildings on the four corners includes: Northwest – Park Hyatt; Northeast – Church of the Redeemer (1879); Southeast – Lillian Massey Building/former Club Monaco (1912); Southwest – Royal Ontario Museum (1914). Each building features back-lighting, another rarity to see at all four intersections anywhere in Toronto.
We’ll follow up on this article when Roger Dubuis, Panerai, IWC and L’ORO open at the Park Hyatt, scheduled for December.