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The Eaton's House Furnishing Building in 1919, later known as the Eaton's Annex.
The Eaton's Furniture Building in May 1917, with City Hall in foreground.

Located on Albert Street, directly behind the Eaton's Main Store and Toronto's (now former) City Hall, the Eaton's Annex was a 10-storey building containing both retail and office space. By 1900, the Eaton's department store owned almost all of the lands within the city blocks bordered by Yonge Street, Queen Street West, Bay Street and Dundas Street, and the land was occupied by the Eaton's Main Store, the Annex building and various Eaton's warehouses and mail order buildings. The Main Store and the Annex, however, were the only two buildings open to the public. In 1900, the two buildings were connected by an underground passageway open to both employees and shoppers. It was the first underground pathway in Toronto open to the public, and is often credited as a historic precursor to Toronto's current downtown PATH network.

When it was first constructed in the 1890s, the Annex contained Eaton's housewares and furniture departments. When these departments were moved to the new College Street store in 1930, the focus of the Annex's retail offerings was shifted to lower-cost offerings. While the Main Store catered to middle class budgets, and the College Street store's offerings were more upscale, the Annex store was directed to Toronto's working classes. It offered many of the same departments and types of goods as Eaton's other two Toronto stores, but in cheaper varieties, and with less extensive in-store displays and customer service. As such, the Annex represented one of the first instances in Canada where a traditional, full-line department store operated a separate discount outlet or chain.

The Eaton's Annex and some surrounding warehouses were destroyed by fire on May 9, 1977. The fire was described as "the first of its kind in downtown Toronto since the Great Fire of 1904"; although it destroyed a number of Eaton's buildings and damaged the nearby Church of the Holy Trinity, it did not significantly affect the newly constructed first phase of the Toronto Eaton Centre.[1] [2]

Parts of the Annex survive as Trinity Square (Toronto). A portion of the Bell Trinity Square office complex currently occupies the former Annex site. The same underground passage that formerly linked the Annex and the Main Store now connects the Eaton Centre to the Bell Trinity Centre, and is part of the PATH network.

In honour of this store, a hill at the Caledon Ski Club, in Caledon Ontario, was named "Eaton's Annex" after the Eaton family who were original members of the private club.


  1. ^ Armstrong, Frederick. City in the Making. Toronto: Dundurn Press, 1988. ISBN 1-55002-026-9. Page 327.
  2. ^ Claridge, Thomas (May 10, 1977). "Crackdown urged after blaze in Toronto's core". The Globe and Mail. 


The Eaton's Santa Claus Parade, 1925, with views of City Hall (left) and the Main Store (right) in the foreground, the Eaton's Annex (behind City Hall) in the middleground, and Eaton's factory buildings in the background.
  • Belisle, Donica. Consuming Producers: Retail Workers and Commodity Culture at Eaton's in Mid-Twentieth-Century Toronto, Masters Thesis, Department of History, Queen's University, 2001.
  • Nasmith, George G., Timothy Eaton, Toronto: McClelland and Stewart Limited, 1923.
  • Phenix, Patricia, Eatonians: The Story of the Family Behind the Family, Toronto: McClelland and Stewart Limited, 2003.
  • Santink, Joy L., Timothy Eaton and the Rise of His Department Store, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1990.
  • Scribe, The, Golden Jubilee 1869-1919: A Book to Commemorate the Fiftieth Anniversary of the T. Eaton Co. Limited, Toronto: The T. Eaton Co. Limited, 1919.

Coordinates: 43°39′13″N 79°22′56″W / 43.6537°N 79.3821°W / 43.6537; -79.3821

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eaton's_Annex — Please support Wikipedia.
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7 news items

The Globe and Mail

The Globe and Mail
Tue, 20 Jan 2015 16:13:12 -0800

When his unit was put on indefinite leave, Mr. Harron waited out the war taking a variety of odd jobs, such as dressing up as an Easter bunny or selling shoes in Eaton's Annex with Elwy Yost, who went on to a prominent career as a television host. When ...

Toronto Sun

Toronto Sun
Sat, 06 Dec 2014 16:03:15 -0800

In last week's column I reminisced about the Christmases of long ago. As a kid my mother would take my brother Bob and me downtown to see Eaton's decorated windows, ride the Eaton's Toyland train, be amazed by the Eaton's tiny (literally) magician ...
blogTO (blog)
Thu, 23 Dec 2010 11:05:35 -0800

By that time, his business skills led him to considerably expand his empire, which now included a much larger main store, Eaton's annex, as well as mail order and factory buildings, bounded by Yonge, Queen, Bay and Dundas streets, neighbouring the Old ...

blogTO (blog)

blogTO (blog)
Fri, 13 Sep 2013 22:06:22 -0700

As revealed at the time, the development was dependent on T. Eaton Co. receiving permission to demolish its original store, the Eaton's Annex, and its other buildings north of Queen Street for the Eaton Centre. The revised proposal that offered to ...

blogTO (blog)

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Fri, 29 Nov 2013 21:45:47 -0800

toronto eatons It's hard for anyone born this side of the 1950s to look upon an escalator with wonder, such is the ubiquity of the electric moving staircase. In Toronto, the TTC maintains more than 290 individual escalators, the largest collection in ...
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Fri, 30 Mar 2012 12:14:11 -0700

Industry Toronto History A dominant motif in our series of historical Toronto posts is the slow erosion of industrial architecture from the cityscape. We've tracked this process in places like Liberty Village and on streets such as King West, Queen's ...
Thu, 05 Jun 2008 09:33:24 -0700

Company warehouses stretched along neighbouring blocks while a second retail store, the Eaton's Annex, opened at Albert and Yonge. During the mid-20th century, the Queen store was Eaton's mid-range store, with the Annex (destroyed by fire in 1977) ...

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