During the 1920’s and 30’s, Toronto experienced an Art Deco building boom. Today’s Vintage Photo Tuesday will showcase a collection of some of those Buildings.

Vintage Photo Tuesday_ 1930's Art Deco Toronto

Eglinton Cinema-1936 Is considered one of the city’s greatest examples of Art Deco Style. It cost $200,000 to build, which was a lot of money when the city was in the middle of the Great Depression. It had 775 seats and was in the cinema business till 2002. Today the building has been renovated, keeping many of its Art Deco design and is used for Weddings and other functions. You can see the remodel HERE.

Eglinton Theatre 1936 Toronto Archives
Source: Historic Toronto

Interior-Lots of Art Deco details to behold.

Interior of the Eglinton Theatre Toronto Archives
Source: Historic Toronto

View of one part of the Lobby. Even the lettering on the sign is in the Art Deco style.

Eglinton Cinema vintage image of lobby Toronto 1936
Source: Toronto Archives

Eaton’s 7th Floor Auditorium (image 1) and the Eatons Round Room (image 2) are recognized as a tour de force of Art Deco design. These spaces are located in the former Eaton’s College Street store (famous Canadian Retailer) in downtown Toronto (Source).

Eatons auditorium 1930s
Source: Historic Places

The series of Art Deco-style rooms, designed by French architect Jacques Carlu, muralist Natacha Carlu, and architect René Cera within the Eaton’s College Street department store, was built in 1930, opened in 1931 and sealed off by 1970 until they were restored in 2000 – 2003.

Eatons Round Room Vintage Photo 1930s
Source: Historic Places

Here is John David Eaton and Lady Eaton, his mother, arrive at the opening ceremony for the company’s College St. store. Same store where the 2 rooms shown above are found.

1930s-Eaton-Arrival vintage image
Source: BlogTO

Toronto Stock Exchange (1937), now the Design Exchange is one of my FAVORITE Art Deco Buildings in Toronto. It’s truly stunning.

Toronto Stock Exchange vintage 1930s image
Source: BlogTO

Here is an image I took during a recent visit to the building. These are the images you see above the clock from the photo above.

Design Exchange Art Deco Toronto

The TSX is a fantastic example of streamline moderne, art deco and stripped classicism architecture. The architects produced an elegant yet sturdy looking edifice with classic art deco touches throughout (source).

Design Exchange Toronto Stock Exchange Vintage Art Deco Building
Source: Blog TO

Maple Leaf Gardens (1931) – Canada’s “Cathedral of Hockey”. It took the builders only 5 1/2 months to construct the building and it has been home to twelve Canadian sports teams since first opening its doors. Today it’s renovated and is now the Athletic centre for the University I attended, Ryerson. You can see the renovation HERE.

Art Deco Highlights: Decorative stonework around the massive vertical rows of windows and fancy brickwork.

Maple Leaf Gardens 1930s vintage image
Source: Mattamy Athletic Centre

Here is a renovated image of the front of the building in present day (better view of the design).

For a ‘Non Hockey’ history post on the Gardens, check out one I wrote HERE (P.S. It includes Elvis!).

Maple Leaf Gardens rennovated image

Tip Top Tailors Building.(slips in as 1929 Building). A Canadian menswear clothing retailer founded in Toronto in 1909. It is now a renovated Condo Building (and my husbands dream, win the lottery home).

Art Deco Highlights: Colourful decorative tile above the upper windows, giant concrete piers with pyramidical roofs, and elaborate carvings of people and mythological animals around the main entrance (source).

Tip Top Tailers Building 1930s Vintage Image
Source: Toronto Public Library

Here are some modern images of the building, so that you can see the design better. Starting with the Lobby.

Tip Top Tailors art deco lobby toronto
Source: Toronto Livings

The front doors.

tip top tailers front of building
Source: Lomax Management

Ad for Tip Top Tailors as seen in the Vancouver Sun, Oct 18th, 1935.

art deco tip top tailers 1930s vintage ad
Source: Vancouver Sun

And there is a brief overview of just SOME of the Art Deco beauties we have in Toronto for Vintage Photo Tuesday. If you ever visit, make sure you check them out.

Question time: Do you like Art Deco Style? Architecture? If not, what is your favorite?


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10 comments on “Vintage Photo Tuesday: 1930’s Art Deco Toronto”

  1. As you can imagine I adore Art Deco and 1920s/30s Modernist architecture. I actually fell totally in love with it during a art history course. Everyone else wasn’t keen but the tutor was so obsessed with it you just couldn’t help but get sucked in.

    Eatons Round Room reminds me so much of the entrance hall at Eltham Palace. If you’ve never seen it, have a look here – http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/eltham-palace-and-gardens/history/.


    • Ohhh that Entrance Hall is STUNNING! Thanks so very much sharing this. Can I move in there? lol

      There is a workshop happening in Toronto on Friday on history of Art Deco (it’s a 5 part workshop), I think I might check it out as I too love the style.

  2. I LOVE Art Deco, but also the softer lines of Art Nouveau that preceded it. You posts and pix are so timely as my next vintage novel is about to launch that features 1920s Art Deco and Art Nouveau. Your pictures are inspiring and swoon worthy. Thanks for adding this beauty to my day!

    What a gorgeous city you must live in. LOVE, love, love that theatre. WOW!

  3. Growing up (especially when in the UK) I have to say I much preferred older buildings, more in the Victorian and earlier periods, and didn’t think much of Art Deco. But…older places being in short supply here, and much of this area’s shops and significant buildings dating from the 20s and 30s, I have grown to love it actually! Especially the cute little Deco shop fronts (perhaps I will have one one day!)

    • I can understand that and agree as well. I did not even see Art Deco till visiting NYC many years ago as I grow up in a town with mostly victorian homes as well (and man they were nice!). But the minute I saw that style, I was in love 🙂

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