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culture

Yorkdale’s Turning 50

As the shopping mall marks its half-century, we look back at an earlier, groovier anniversary celebration.

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Today marks Yorkdale Shopping Centre’s 50th anniversary. Opened on February 26, 1964, Yorkdale inspired generations of malls to come through its size, architecture, and carefully selected mix of tenants. By the time it turned five in 1969, the mall had lived up to its original promise of bringing downtown shopping to Toronto’s growing suburbs through familiar retailers like Eaton’s and Simpsons.

“Everything at Yorkdale is planned for you, the customer,” observed an advertorial in the Telegram. “And we like to think, after five years of service, we’ve proven a point: people do like to shop at Yorkdale…and for many good reasons.” Among those reasons were store concepts that wouldn’t be found in today’s Yorkdale (five-and-dimes like Kresge’s, general hardware stores like Aikenhead’s), and community services such as a branch of the North York Public Library.

The Star and the Telegram published special advertising sections on the eve of the mall’s anniversary: their pages were filled with ads, advice for navigating the mall, fashion tips, and plugs for a commemorative Chrysler auto show. Scroll through our gallery to see excerpts from those sections, and learn about stroller heists, five-and-dimes, and what was in fashion for the “sideburns and moustache department” in 1969.

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