Cadillac Fairview held an international design competition, and London UK-based design firm WilkinsonEyre was selected to design the walkway that will feature glass and etched bronze cladding panels that will span the walkway. The bronze cladding widens at the south end toward the Hudson’s Bay/Saks building.
“We designed the bridge’s form to connect together the two inherent geometries of each building, transforming from the historical, circular arches of the Hudson’s Bay and Saks Fifth Avenue building to the modern rectangular geometry of CF Toronto Eaton Centre. This union of the two buildings is further reinforced by the use of bronze and glass cladding, inspired by the materials used on both buildings, which flow, wave-like in opposite directions across the bridge,” said Dominic Bettison, designer of the bridge and Director at WilkinsonEyre. “This meeting and blending of the two building’s form and materials becomes a beautiful and metaphorical ‘handshake’ extending out over Queen Street.”
For minimal disruption, the bridge will be pre-assembled adjacent to CF Toronto Eaton Centre on James Street, and will be lifted into place once complete. At the same time, the City of Toronto is laying down new streetcar tracks along Queen Street West.
“CF Toronto Eaton Centre is celebrating its 40th Anniversary this year and with approximately 2 million people using the bridge annually, it was time to enhance both its aesthetics and functionality for our shoppers and the public by creating a sculptural urban feature, as well as a unique identifier for the city,” said Wayne Barwise, Executive Vice President, Development at Cadillac Fairview.
The Hudson’s Bay building, which now has over a million square feet of retail space, houses flagship locations for Hudson’s Bay and Saks Fifth Avenue. The building became Hudson’s Bay’s flagship in 1991 when The Hudson’s Bay company discontinued the Simpson’s department store nameplate — the building had been the Robert Simpson & Co. flagship since 1896. Saks Fifth Avenue opened its Canadian flagship in February of 2016, occupying about 170,000 square feet over four levels at the eastern end of the building.
The Hudson’s Bay ‘Queen Street' building officially became part of CF Toronto Eaton Centre in February of 2014, when Cadillac Fairview acquired the building and adjacent office tower as part of a $650 million deal. Part of the agreement involved opening Saks Fifth Avenue’s Canadian flagship within the building and as a result, CF Toronto Eaton Centre gained another major anchor. The new bridge represents a significant milestone in CF Toronto Eaton Centre’s redevelopment, which has been ongoing for the past several years.