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Canada's First Enclosed Mall

Wellington Square Wooden Nickel

55 years ago at 10:30 am on Thursday August 11th, 1960, Wellington Square opened as the first enclosed downtown mall in North America on the block bounded by Clarence, King, Wellington and York streets. The mall was anchored by the five-storey Eaton's Store. The first manager of the Eaton's store in London was Hugh Frederick Gorrie, who had more than 30 years of retail experience with the T. Eaton Co. Limited. For one year from June 17, 1968 to July 24, 1969, John Craig Eaton, first great grandson of Timothy Eaton, the founder of the T. Eaton Co. Ltd., was the manager of the store in London. Eaton's remained in the mall until the company went bankrupt in 1999. 

The company issued its first mail order catalogue in 1884. It was a 32-page booklet handed out at the Industrial Exhibition (now the Canadian National Exhibition). Within 12 years, the mail order department was filling over 200,000 orders per year. Early catalogues sold clothing almost exclusively but gradually expanded to include books, china, farm tools, furniture and even pre-fabricated homes. The company ceased publication of its catalogue on January 14th, 1976. The London Room has a run of Eaton's catalogues on microfilm from 1884 to 1964. The library also has a new book about Eaton's entitled, Eaton's:  The Trans-Canada Store. 



Wellington Square Plan

Image source: London Free Press, August 11, 1960, p. 59

Wellington Square Wooden NickelWellington Square Wooden Nickel