A sign of the times 21 years later

Summer 1996 photograph by “Goldie” with an Eaton’s store in the background. Three years later the Eaton’s chain was gone.

Toronto. My thanks to George Dunbar who reminded me about the site Urban Toronto. On that site using the nom de plume “Goldie”, George posts many of his personal photographs. As many of you may know, the long retired gentleman was once the industrial photographer for IBM Canada.

This photo taken July 1st in 1996 shows the nearly vacant parking lot of a local plaza on the Canada Day holiday.  Sadly the photo also shows an Eaton’s store. The once famous Canadian department store chain first entered bankruptcy protection a year later in 1997 and died two years later in 1999.

When George snapped this happy youth skate-boading in the empty mall parking lot, the Eaton’s store in the background had only a year to survive. When the grand old name finally folded there was much discussion about the fact that family businesses rarely survive the third generation after the founder since his (her) business acumen would have been seriously diluted in the grand children.

I was once at Eaton Hall for a seminar and earlier, an uncle of mine worked there during a renovation. As a kid I helped a friend research the Eaton steamer built in 1904 by the Toronto Iron Works and used by the family in the Lake of Bays region of Muskoka.

The old family-run photographic businesses seemed to suffer a similar fate. Bottom line: a professionally managed company has a better chance of survival and growth than one run by emotionally attached family members.

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