Source: the Toronto Sun, December 14, 1979.
While the gift of economical furniture from IKEA might earn a round of thank yous on Christmas morning, it’s easy to imagine the warm smiles of those on the receiving end fading when assembly time rolls around. All it takes is one mishap with an Allen key or misplaced screw to make cute puns quickly give way to four-letter words.
While today’s ad spotlights the Tiga bookcase, shoppers who weren’t dazzled by its enamelled beauty could have chosen another shelving unit introduced to Canadian IKEA stores that year: the Billy.
IKEA opened its first Toronto area store in Mississauga on October 29, 1977. Customers who showed up on day one witnessed a demonstration of how a living room full of furniture could fit snugly into a Honda Civic. An opening day ad also apologized for carrying “solid, golden, natural pine” furniture instead of teak. Within a decade the store rang up more sales than any other IKEA location on the planet. At a time when the average sales per square foot in the Canadian furniture industry were $140, the Mississauga IKEA raked in $1,000.
Popularity brought problems—by 1987 IKEA was forced to curb its advertising budget for the GTA due to inadequate parking and low supplies of high-demand products. The solution was a new location near Leslie Street and Sheppard Avenue in North York, whose 236,000 square feet of space more than tripled the footage of the old store. A “moving sale” was held before the Mississauga location closed its doors for the last time on June 6, 1987.
Additional material from the October 28, 1977 and June 7, 1987 editions of the Toronto Star, and the June 17, 1987 edition of the Globe and Mail.