Below are photos of the Simpson’s 1921 catalogue. This was year that my father immigrated to Canada. When I was a boy, he told me many stories of his adventures in Toronto during the 1920s. My mother frequently mentioned shopping at the Simpson’s Store when she was a young woman, although she preferred Eaton’s. I believe that her customer loyalty was mainly due to the fact that Eaton’s sponsored the annual Santa Claus Parade. However, as children, we always crossed over to the south side of Queen Street to view Simpson’s Christmas windows. They were magical.
The animated dolls, toy soldiers, and mischievous elves enchanted and delighted. As a boy, my favourite window was always the one that displayed model trains, which raced into tunnels and across bridges. Sometimes, it was difficult to secure a spot to view the displays, as so many children were crowded around the windows.
One evening in early December of this year (2011), I visited the windows and relived the magic I experienced so many years ago. Children of all ages and many adults still gather to point, laugh, and chat excitedly among themselves about the wonderful display that are now provided by The Bay. Simpson’s has disappeared from the Toronto scene, but thankfully The Bay continues to honour this fine tradition.
Simpson’s 1921 Catalogue
Today’s Christmas windows of The Bay department store on Queen Street.