Monday, March 23, 2009

the rise and fall of a shopping arcade: bonus features

A few extras related to the latest installment of Historicist, which spotlights the Toronto Arcade.

Vintage Ad #756: Floral Revitalized Air Parlours
Vintage Ad #757: Sutherland's Cheap Music Store

Three of the original merchants in the building, who placed ads in a guide published for the arcade's grand opening in 1884. Note the promotion of a dental office as a "vitalized air parlour," which makes me visualize silent comedies where patients receive an overdose of laughing gas.

The current Arcade Building opened in 1960, six years after the original was demolished. One of the first events held there was a travel-themed "Career Girl Show" sponsored by The Globe and Mail and the Wool Bureau of Canada. "Tiny tables with red-checked cloths and gaily colored travel posters add a continental flavor to the fashion theatre," noted the Globe in a September 27, 1960 article. Besides offering the latest in globe-trotting fashions, participants could enter draws for all expense paid trips to exotic locations like Mexico and India. "If she is wise, any young woman about to be wed should take her fiance at least once to this show. Besides containing all sorts of trousseau suggestions, a visit may help the young couple to decide where to spend the honeymoon." No reviews of the calypso singers were provided.

Big Retail for Lease at the Arcade Building

Empty Arcade
The Arcade Building as it currently appears. The ground floor retail concourse is devoid of services and independent businesses that once lined it, as the current owners attempt to attract one or two "big retail" tenants. Passers-by can still enjoy the light show on the front of the building.

Career Girl Show ad source: The Globe and Mail, September 26, 1960 

No comments: