College Park – Before
The 7th floor of the former Eaton’s department store in the College Park building in Toronto comprises a series of Art Moderne spaces designed by Jacques Carlu. The floor opened in 1930, and welcomed visitors to a grand collection of rooms: the Foyer, the Round Room, the Clipper Rooms and the Auditorium. Following decades as a social hub in the Toronto scene, the 7th floor closed in the mid-1970s when Eaton’s head office moved south on Yonge Street. In 2001, when these photographs were taken, the rooms had been vacant, yet had remained intact for nearly 30 years: a salt shaker on a shelf in the Round Room, ropes and theatre rigging suspended in silence backstage, and though dismantled, worn banquettes corralled in a herd.
College Park – During
The entire 7th floor of the College Park building underwent radical surgical reconstruction in 2002, and was renamed The Carlu in honour of its original designer. While the restoration of the 7th floor into a premier event venue was taking place, these spaces were photographed again. It was during this transition that the scaffolding, construction dust, blue protective film, mobile work platforms, tarps and dropcloths transformed the entire floor into a kind of dramatic stage. Silence and stasis had given way to a flurry of activity.
All photographs by Brent Wagler, 2001.