Eaton and Photographers

Funeral of Sir John Craig Eaton, Toronto, 1922

Funeral of Sir John Craig Eaton, Toronto, 1922 – Wm James

Toronto. My friend George Dunbar dropped me a note a few days ago regarding a photograph taken by William James back in 1922 at a funeral on St Clair Avenue West in Toronto (fonds 1244, item 1020)  courtesy of the City of Toronto Archives.

Canadians of a certain age remember the famous Eaton’s – Simpson’s competition. The two firms once had large department stores at Yonge St in Toronto on either side of Queen. Both companies published thick – really thick – catalogues each year. Growing up just north of Toronto, I can recall the excitement of going through the catalogues near Christmas time to see what “Santa” would bring. The blog site “Toronto Then and Now” has a wonderful article on Eaton’s.

Eaton’s hosted the famous Santa Claus parade in Toronto each year and were renown for their tastefully decorated Christmas season windows. Timothy Eaton established his store in Toronto and his enterprise grew by leaps and bounds. Both Eaton’s and Simpson’s are long gone now, but Eaton’s is still here as the Eaton Centre – no Eaton’s any more, just the centre at Yonge and Queen.

Timothy Eaton died and his son, Sir John Craig Eaton, took over the business in 1907. In 1922, at a youthful 45, Sir John too died and his funeral took place in the city, faithfully recorded for posterity by a collection of photographers, their tripods all in a row outside the Timothy Eaton Memorial United Church on Saint Clair Avenue West (note the English Bobby-style hats on the policemen).

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