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Vintage Toronto Ads: Yorkdale… Another Toronto Attraction

An attraction that brings joy to one family but headaches to other shoppers during the holiday season.

Source: The Best of Toronto 1980.

Why do these Yorkdale shoppers look happy as they begin their browsing or shopping experience? Perhaps it’s because they took the subway instead of motoring to the mall.

Anyone who has driven into the Yorkdale parking lot during the weeks preceding Christmas knows it’s not an experience for the timid. While we suspect it was easier to deal with a station wagon seeking a prime spot than it is to handle an impatient high-end SUV driver blaring their horn at anyone taking a quarter of a second to think, the combination of hordes of eager consumers and jockeying for any free parking space would drive any sensible person in any era bonkers.

As today’s ad points out, the Spadina subway was still considered new in 1980. Having only been open for two years, we imagine the line was still a novelty to anyone who wasn’t a regular user. One treat this family enjoyed that present-day shoppers can’t, thanks to the TTC’s refusal to replace $28 transformers: Michael Hayden’s neon sculpture, Arc en Ciel, whose glowing lights may have provided a warm, illuminating start to their Yorkdale experience. Combined with the serene skylights, the installation provided a pointed contrast to the aggressive traffic associated with the mall at the centre of it all.


  • The Nexus

    I don’t know whether I’m saddened by the fact that the woman in the blue dress didn’t know the guy behind her is checking out her butt or the fact that this is considered “vintage” and it’s only from 1980… boy do I feel old….

  • Vic Gedris

    1) Only white people at Yorkdale in 1980?
    2) Guy in the hat is checking out girl in blue dress
    3) Those stairs *still* make it difficult to connect from subway to the mall if you have a baby stroller. Impossible with wheelchair (though I’m sure there’s some convoluted way)

  • Miroslav Glavic

    Should I point out the fact of the guy going up the stairs is looking back at that woman’s arse?

  • Anonymous

    Where is this “glass-domed escalator”? I disembarked from a Greyhound bus there with luggage once; never again.

  • ka

    The bridge looks strange without the resident panhandler and busker with the keyboards blocking traffi

  • Jacquilynne Schlesier

    Do you suppose that tunnel already smelled like urine and despair or was that to come later?

  • AdsFromThe1800sCom

    I like how the guy in the derby looks like he is totally checking blue dress lady out – too funny.