This sketch of an un-built Bretton's store is the only image we could find [Image Source]
Do you remember Bretton's, the upscale Canadian department store? It was started in 1985 and became an upscale national retailer with 11 locations. The chain unfortunately closed in 1996.

We want your pictures and stories of Bretton's for a retrospective we're doing on the store, since it was one of our favourite stores when it was open. 

Bretton's was, at the time, Canada's answer to Nordstrom. Customer service was excellent and the merchandise was relatively upscale. Bretton's lacked Nordstrom's shoe selection, however, and store sizes were generally between 30,000 and 60,000 square feet (the largest being the Toronto flagship store at the Manulife Centre, now Indigo Books).
Polo Park Shopping Centre, Winnipeg, 1986. Image: Winnipeg Skyscraper Forum, trebor204

Bretton's first store was in Ottawa and it was expected to open as many as 50 Canadian stores. According to its Wikipedia page, existing mall anchors blocked many potential Bretton's stores via restrictive clauses.

According to Wikipedia, the 11 Canadian Bretton's locations included:

We have fond memories of purchasing merchandise at the West Edmonton Mall Bretton's store. Sales staff were exceptionally friendly and helpful. This was in contrast to Eaton's, Sears and The Bay (Now called 'Hudson's Bay'), all of which had minimal customer service at the time. We were disappointed when Bretton's closed and we look forward to Nordstrom's Canadian stores and their remarkable customer service.

If you have information and/or photos of Bretton's, please email us at: We'll reference you if you like, and we'd be grateful for your contribution.

Bretton's Wikipedia page:'s

Blast From The Past: Holt Renfrew, Bloor Street Toronto

144 Bloor St. West. Image:
Holt Renfrew stores used to be smaller. Considerable smaller. This week in 'Blast From The Past', we look at Toronto's Bloor Street Holt Renfrew.

Before its current location at 50 Bloor Street West opened in 1979, Holt Renfrew had a 60,000 sq ft store at 144 Bloor Street West. The building is still standing... it's now got a Burberry store in the front and soon a Nespresso boutique in the back. It was also once home to Cumberland Cinemas...
Holt Renferw fist building on the left. Image: City of Toronto Archives
The 144 store expanded by opening a small, separate men's store at 110 Bloor Street West. These stores closed when Holts opened its then 115,000 square foot flagship location at 50 Bloor W. in 1979.

If you look carefully on the side of 144 Bloor, you can still barely make out the words 'Holt Renfrew'.

Next week we'll profile other former Holt's stores, as the company has an interesting past.

Current Holt Renfrew store at 50 Bloor St. W, Toronto. Image: Holt Renferw
We're copying and pasting a brief store floor guide from the 144 Bloor Holt's in 1979. It's from 'The Department Store Museum', one of our favourite blogs:

Holt Renfrew & Company, Ltd.
144 Bloor St. West
Toronto, Ontario

Street Floor
Gloves • Hosiery • Handbags • Fine Jewellery • Costume Jewellery • Small Leathers • Millinery • The Shoe Salon • Cosmetics • Perfumes • Gift Collections • Gourmet Shop
The Men’s Shops Men’s Accessories • Men’s Furnishings • Men’s Sportswear • Men’s Clothing • Men’s Shoes

Second Floor
The 1300 Collection • Ports International • Sportswear • Blouses • Sweaters • Fur Salon

Third Floor
Fashion Salon Dresses • Coats • Suits
H.R. Boutique (luxury designers) • Christian Dior Boutique • Cachet (younger/trand) • Model Millinery • Wig Salon • Bridal Salon

Fourth Floor
Intimate Apparel • Corsetry Salon • Little Girls • Big Girls • Little Boys • Big Boys • Children • Children's Shoes • Toys • Beauty Salon

Fifth Floor
Miss Renfrew Miss Renfrew Prêt-à-Porter • Miss Renfrew Sportswear • Shoe Stack • Bar Rouge

Holt Renfrew website:

Department Store Museum website:

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