The left-hand picture of my brother and me with Santa was taken in 1941, in Toyland, on the fifth floor of the old Eaton’s Store at Queen and Yonge Streets. In the background is my mother, wearing a style of hat that was popular during the war years. The right-hand picture is of Santa and me in 1943, also taken in Eaton’s Toyland.
After the Eaton Centre was built, for many years, at the south entrance to the Eaton’s Store (now Sears), there was a large display that contained Santa’s Castle and an impressive throne where Santa held court. Children had their pictures taken with the jolly old man. This year (2012), there is no longer a Santa Claus in the Eaton Centre itself. However, a Santa can be found at the Dundas Street entrance to Sears, and also in the basement of the Bay Store. At first, I lamented that the Santa in the mall had disappeared, but then, I realized that it was a return to the old days.
When I was a child, the main centre for Christmas shopping was intersection at Queen and Yonge as that was where the Eaton’s and Simpson’s Stores were located. This was prior to the advent of the many shopping malls that now encircle the city. In those days, each store maintained their own Santa Claus. My parents always told my brother and me that the real Santa was in Eaton’s, as he was the one that was in the Santa Claus Parade. The Santa in Simpson’s, she informed us, was merely a helper. Of course, the real reason was that she preferred to shop at Eaton’s.
The Simpson’s Store is now the Bay, and the old Eaton’s Store was demolished when they built the Eaton Centre. However, it is good to see that the modern stores continue to maintain a Santa Claus where children can have their pictures taken with old St. Nick.
To view other posts about Christmas in Toronto throughout the years.
A church Christmas pageant in Toronto in 2012
Downtown Toronto’s lights and Christmas displays – 2012
The Christmas windows at the Bay Store are magical at night
Christmas at the historic St. Lawrence Market in 1921 and in 2012
The Christmas windows at the Bay Store on Queen Street, 2012
The amazing gingerbread houses on the underground Pathway in Toronto
The gigantic metallic reindeer in the Eaton Centre
Christmas cards mailed in Toronto during the years 1924-1926
The Christmas buffet lunch at the Arcadian Court at the Simpson’s Queen Street Store in Toronto (the Bay)
Christmas at Mackenzie House on Bond Street.
Christmas at Toronto’s St. Lawrence Market
The Christmas Market at the Distillery District
Memories of the Christmas windows of the Simpson’s store on Queen Street
Christmas at the Kensington Market
Memories of Toyland on the fifth floor of the old Eaton’s Store at Queen and Yonge Street
The Christmas lights on Yonge Street in the 1950s
The history of Toronto’s Santa Claus Parade
The 1940s Christmas radio broadcasts featuring Santa Claus
Christmas at Toronto’s historic St. Andrew’s Market
Christmas trees and seasonal decorations in Toronto
Celebrating the 12 days of Christmas in old Newfoundland
A humorous account of a Christmas concert in old Newfoundland
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