Dominating the Yonge and College Street intersection and extending towards Bay Street, stands College Park, formerly referred to as Eaton’s College Street. Constructed during the booming age of the Roaring Twenties by the Eaton Empire it was originally built to become ‘one of the planet’s largest buildings’. The initial plans were for a seven story department store (the world’s largest) topped by a thirty-two story office tower. A building of this stature was meant to demonstrate the wealth and dominance of the Eaton Empire (Osbaldeston 160) as well as act as a symbol of prosperity after the austerity of the wars (Morawetz 5).
Due to constraints caused by The Great Depression, the thirty two story office tower idea was scrapped (Osbaldeston 160). Nevertheless, construction for the department store persisted and on October 30, 1930, the store was opened to the public. The seventh floor of Eaton’s College Street brought about particular fanfare as it was the ‘pinnacle and showpiece’; a grand function space designed by French architect Jacques Carlu (CARLU: College Park – Canada’s Landmark for Style and Elegance).
Classified specifically as a stripped classical art deco style, Eaton’s College Street emphasized symmetry in the plan and rhythm in the arrangement of the fenestration, doors, and pilasters. It was constructed of Tyndall limestone, a stone characteristic for its creamy colour mottled with grey and golden specks (Gillis Quarries Ltd) and accentuated with granite and a corrosion-resistant alloy comprised of nickel and copper called monel metal (Shoemaker, and Smith 22).
While Eaton’s College Street was well-utilized for several decades, it became overshadowed by the Eaton Centre which opened in 1977. As a result, Eaton’s College Street was closed and reopened a few years later under new ownership, renamed College Park. At this time, it no longer functioned as a single department store but as home to several different retailers and a subway concourse (CARLU: College Park – Canada’s Landmark for Style and Elegance). In 1978, a ten storey apartment building was added and in 1984, a thirty storey office tower was built adjacent and connected to the original building (“Emporis”). Currently, College Park still serves as home to a mix of different retailers, and a subway concourse, with the addition of a food court, and upper level offices.
“College Park.” Emporis n. pag Database 10 October 2010. Emporis. Retrieved at Ryerson University Library http://www.emporis.com/application/?nav=building&Ing=3&id=136279>.
Gillis Quarries Ltd., Manitoba. Commodity Summaries – Tyndall Stone. Winnipeg: Web. 12 Oct 2010.
Morawetz, Tim. Art Deco Architecture in Toronto: a guide to the city’s buildings from the Roaring 20s and the Depression. Toronto: Glue Inc., 2009. Print.
Osbaldeston, Mark. Unbuilt Toronto: A History of the City that might have been. Toronto: Dundurn Press, 2008. Print.
Shoemaker, Lewis, and Gaylord Smith. “A Century of Monel Metal 1906 – 2006.” JOM – Journal of the Minerals. 58.9 (2006): Print.