A bit of history…
The Merchandise Building is a loft conversion of a former warehouse located in downtown Toronto on Dalhousie Street, near the campus of Ryerson University and the Toronto Eaton Centre. Built in various stages from 1910-1949 for the Simpson’s department store, and later owned by Sears Canada after Simpson’s demise, the Merchandise Building at over 1,000,000 square feet (93,000 m2) is one of the largest buildings by floor area in downtown Toronto. It is an example of the early 20th-century industrial Chicago School architectural style.
The oldest part of the site is a six-story manufactory built in 1910 on Dalhousie Street for Simpson’s delivery business. Behind it on Mutual Street in 1914 the growing company added the “Robert Simpson Co Ltd Mail-Order Building”, a large distribution warehouse. Further expansion occurred in the years 1931-1949, tripling the size of the building, yet still conforming to the original design. The building architect was Max Dunning of the firm of Burke, Horwood and White. This noted Canadian firm’s other work in Toronto includes what is now the Bell Media building on Queen Street West and the Simpsons (now The Bay) flagship store at the corner of Queen Street and Yonge Street. Contrary to popular belief, Dunning and his firm were not responsible for the Tip Top Tailor building – although sharing many design aspects with the Merchandise Building, it was produced in the year 1929 by the firm of Bishop & Miller.
- Lindberg, Greg (2002). The Merchandise Building – Original Lofts, Original Story. CMHC-SCHL.
- “Green Roofs – Environment – City Planning”. City of Toronto.