This is an open letter to anyone wondering what was on the intersection of Yonge and Bloor in Toronto. There use to be a store that was there since 1901 called Frank Stollery’s Ltd.
The location was sold for condo development and they started demolition and construction around 2015. The store was once a men’s and women’s department store selling suits, bow ties and golf attire. It once had a tailor shop on the top floor where people were able to have customized tailored clothing. The store was very old with a lot of steps. From the time it was open to close, the building had at ready three major renovations. One renovation to widen the store, another renovation to add the suit floor and the other one to build the whole entire women’s floor in the eighties. I remember how difficult it was for me to walk up all of those stairs to get to the tailor shop. The store had in total five floors, from the basement to tailor shop floor.
I mostly worked downstairs in the basement and on the main floor. When I was upstairs, I would either stare out the window or organize various things around the store. I would fold shirts back into its original packaging, colour blocking pocket squares, folding and sorting scarves, fixing displays, etc. The store had a lot of items when it was still around, therefore, there were a lot of things to do when there was no one inside the store.
There were a few items the store that was mostly displayed but was very interesting. Burberry illustrated pictures, bronze statue, typewriter, an actual safe, an anniversary green mugs that I found one day in boxes at the back of the store not sold.
A few celebrities use to shop in this store when it was open. I remember in a five-month period I saw several people I recognized from television, film and politics in the store. This was always made my day more interesting when someone I have seen before in a popular median would come in and try on some clothes. I was really good at avoiding fangirl mode when it’s “that guy” from “that place” I saw him in.
The main floor had a lot of mirrors. I think it was to cover the load barring columns. They were also installed in the eighties. The entire first floor was also covered with real wooden wainscotting. The wall with the most coverage had some “sentimental” photos and letters of the store at the turn of the century, the first owner at 50, testimonial letters and frequent well-known customers. The testimonials were from vendors, customers and well-wishers. There was a photo that was from the turn of the century that was the store at half of the size that it was before it was closed. It was expanded in the 1940’s or 1950’s. It was a shelf, a large cash register and dress shirts. The whole store started out as a men’s dress shirt store before expanding. Also if anyone ever looked up before walking in the store they would see a neon sign of the store in italics and in a peachy white glow. I heard it was installed in the 1950’s around the same time the store expanded and the suit floor was built. The green canopy on the outside covered up the sign. (I always found the sign to be interesting I wish I took a picture before demolition.)
On the suit floor, there was a contraption that contained two rows of suits on the wall and two rows of suits at the back. It was like a lazy susan for clothes. The wardrobe would have to be turned around to access the back. In the hidden corner of the suit floor, there was a lazy butler that helped during suit deliveries. This was an opening in the wall that worked like a well. It was a part of the store’s initial architectural design until in 1960’s when it was sealed up.
The ladies floor was a floor and a half. It was constructed in the 1980’s and held the office space and tailor shop. The windows were very large and the floor had a simular construction like the suit floor’s multi-step floor. There was a lot of open space when first walking on the floor. The floor also had a kitchenette with a microwave and electric kettle. It was a very comfortable floor that had leather chairs and a lot of magazines.
The “fourth” floor had the tailor shop and office. I remember there were a lot of boxes of paperwork near the wooden rails. The tailor shop was off a few tailors and small and humid because of the ironing and steeming of the clothes.
If you visited the store when it was open, you would have noticed that it had a lot of stairs. There were the main set built in the 1950’s and the original set that were a tight spirl staircase.
There were a few things I wish I had when it was still around. One item was the gold seals they used to use for packages. I use to cut the rolls of these labels in pieces for the salesmen to use on their packages. It was the logo of the store which was the picture if the store. At the time, I found it neat. The other thing was one of the illustrated pictures on the wall but they were never for sale.
One time there was a big downpour and the basement flooded. (A little bit.) The carpets had to be replaced.
Now the store is gone to turn into something else.