Quick–name the first department store chain to locate in suburban Toronto.
Eaton’s? No, they waited until 1961 to open shop in Don Mills.
Simpson’s? No, they followed Eaton’s a year later, landing in Scarborough at Cedarbrae Plaza.
Try a chain that only lasted in Toronto for a decade, but whose locations served those moving into areas like North York and Etobicoke.
Morgan’s roots were in Montreal, where Henry Morgan opened a dry goods store in 1845 (originally Smith & Morgan, until Smith sold out a few years later). In 1891, the store moved to St. Catherine Street, the first of several department stores to locate in what would soon become Montreal’s retail centre.
Morgan’s entered Toronto in 1950, with the Bloor Street store mentioned in this ad. As they claim in this ad, Morgan’s was the first department to move into Toronto’s suburbs, with stores at Lawrence Plaza in North York (1955) and Cloverdale Mall in Etobicoke (1960).
Morgan’s presence in Toronto was short-lived, as the company was sold to the Hudson’s Bay Company towards the end of 1960, which would HBC’s first venture into department stores in eastern Canada. While the Ontario locations saw a name change within a few years, the Morgan’s name hung on in Quebec until 1972 (HBC would repeat this tactic years later, when the Simpson’s nameplate was reduced to Toronto). The flagship store on St. Catherine still operates as La Baie.
As for the Toronto locations, the Bloor Street address is buried within Holt Renfrew, Lawrence Plaza is split between Winners and Dominion and Cloverdale is now home to Zellers.
Link: Official history of Morgan’s, from the HBC website.
Source: Leaside High School Clan Call, 1959/60 edition.