The second target was made up of those persons, mostly women,
who lived near enough to Toronto to spend a day shopping there.
Once they had had to make their way on horseback or in carriages,
but now steamers and trains made the expedition easy. Eaton's
problem was not how to get them to Toronto but how to entice them
into his shop, and more especially how to pull them north of the
more famous shops on King Street. Catalogues were useful for
this purpose, to describe not only what was for sale but also the
store's fringe benefits as they were added. Putting himself into
the position of such visitors, Eaton decided that they needed a
place to rest in town and, the catalogue of 1886-7 announced, one
was ready for them:
From A Shopper's View of Canada's Past by G.
de T. Glazebrook, Katharine B. Brett, and Judith McErvel,
University of Toronto Press, Toronto, 1969.
"Ladies, you come off the train, you are covered with dust,
begrimed with smoke, you feel unrefreshed, you don't wish to beg
anyone to allow you to make your toilet in their rooms without
paying them for it, you possibly have a long day's shopping
before you, probably you have a number of parcels, you are
getting disgusted. Listen! Get off your train, take a Yonge or
a Queen Street car, as it may, and bring your parcels with you
straight to Eaton's. Why? During the early part of September
our new store will be opened. In the south west corner of the
ground floor will be an office expressly for you."
Parcels and overcoats, the article went on, could be left there
without charge, a telegram sent, or a telephone call made.
Upstairs were waiting and wash rooms. That would draw the buyers
-- or would it? There was the nuisance of getting from the
waterfront to Queen Street, overcome in 1890 by a free bus
service to and from steamers and trains. Then a restaurant was
added. So, transported to the store, coats and oddments checked
free, grime removed from their faces, and well fed, the ladies
could spend hours in the shop.