Archive | Eaton: The Colossus with Feet of Clay


Archives | Eaton: the colossus with feet of clay

Twenty years after the big name closed, the Eaton name and legacy lives on.

On February 27, 1997, Eaton's filed for bankruptcy protection. Then, in August 1999, it announced the closure of department stores across the country, including the flagships on Sainte-Catherine Street in Montreal and Yonge Street in Toronto.

“ We suspected it, it's now official. After 130 years of existence and several months of uncertainty, Eaton is disappearing,” announces presenter Michèle Viroly on Téléjournal on August 21, 1999.

The Giant Canadian had been experiencing serious financial difficulties for several years. In 1997, he filed for bankruptcy protection.

Some nevertheless cherished the hope that the group would recover following a restructuring.

But now Eaton is officially dropping its flag, as journalist Maxence Bilodeau explains. in this report.

After a day of uncertainty on August 20, Eaton seeks court protection to liquidate its assets.

From then on, the 64 branches of the Canadian banner essentially sought to sell their goods for the trustee in bankruptcy.

Eventually, 13,000 employees will lose their livelihood.

The historic Eaton's building on Sainte-Catherine Street in the 80s

Founded in 1869, Eaton's is a veritable empire in Canada.

Timothy Eaton revolutionized Canadian retail with his innovative catalog shopping system and a landmark slogan: “satisfaction guaranteed or your money back”.

First established in Ontario, the department store spread from coast to coast in the first quarter of the 20th century.

Robert Young Eaton, Timothy's nephew, in 1925 acquired the Goodwin's department store in Montreal. After some work, the Eaton sign on Sainte-Catherine Street will become, with its nine floors, the most beautiful in Canada.

Branches were then added in Regina in 1926, Hamilton and Moncton in 1927, Halifax and Saskatoon in 1928, then Calgary and Edmonton in 1929.

Report by Claude Frigon on the history of Eaton, more particularly in Quebec with its flagship on Sainte-Catherine Street. The newscast is presented by Pierre Craig.

On the newscast Montreal tonightAugust 20, 1999, journalist Claude Frigon tells the story of Eaton's flagship on Sainte-Catherine Street in Montreal.

“Few companies in the country can claim to have been an economic magnet, a retail revolutionary, and an icon over the years like Eaton's. »

— Journalist Claude Frigon

The catalog, object of desire and reference until the 70s, the restaurant in the 9th, designed in a pure Art Deco spirit, and the parade of Santa Claus in rue Sainte-Catherine, here are some symbols that the journalist Claude Frigon attributes at Eaton's in Quebec.

In the 1960s, the department store found itself at the heart of the linguistic debate. Bombs from the Front de libération du Québec (FLQ) target this symbol of English domination.

The francization of the name of the company in Quebec would later cause tensions and even demonstrations.

The journalist also remembers that the Liberal minister Pierre Macdonald had made a public appearance on the inability of English-speaking saleswomen at Eaton's to offer service in French.

In the 1980s, the economic recession, the arrival of new competitors and the fragmentation of customers alter the department store's vitality.

Despite its attempts to reposition itself, Eaton's began to decline.

The Eaton's store in rue Sainte-Catherine closed its doors for good in the fall of 1999.

The building, vacant after the bankruptcy, now houses the Les Ailes complex as well as shops and businesses varied.

The memorable restaurant on the 9th floor has been listed as a historic monument since the year 2000.

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