The Robert Simpson Company
Photos by Christina Tripp - Posted December, 2007
Photo Source - Wikimedia Commons
At Queen and Yonge Streets can be seen this 1979 Toronto Historical Board plaque located just inside this building's Queen/Yonge entrance. Here's the plaque text:
Coordinates: 43.652239 -79.37946
Robert Simpson (1834-1897) emigrated to Canada from Inverness, Scotland. In 1856, he opened a dry-goods store on Yonge Street north of Queen in 1872, but in 1881 re-located and began to extend his holdings in this block. Here in 1894 Simpson built a six-storey department store designed by Edmund Burke (1857-1919), which was destroyed by fire shortly after occupancy. A new building by the same architect opened in January 1896, and was the first "fireproofed" store in Canada. Classical forms in harmony with the structural system relate it to the contemporary "Chicago School" style. By 1923 all street facades had been unified by successive additions. In 1929 the "Art Deco" style building, including the Arcadian court, was added at Bay and Richmond. This addition was designed by Chapman & Oxley. During 1977 a restoration and conservation programme was instituted.
Here are the visitors' comments for this page.
> Posted December 20, 2016
I have the fondest memories of going to Simpsons and getting a hot dog (with only mustard on it) and orange juice (I totally forgot it was honeydew). I remember vividly the paper cup in the stand, that fascinated me. We didn't have a lot of money, my mother was a single parent in the 60's but I knew if we went to Simpsons that my mum would take me. If anyone has pictures I would LOVE to see them. Truly one of my fondest childhood memories!!
Jackie Nichol email@example.com
> Posted December 11, 2016
My husband has always wanted to trace the brand of mustard used in the Simpson's basement hot dog stand. His quest has made him a "mustard freak". Is there any possibility someone would have access to this information? Any information about this would be much appreciated via my email.
Elaine McGregor firstname.lastname@example.org
> Posted January 6, 2015
I was just talking about the hot dog place in the Simpsons basement the other day!!! My mother used to take me down to the lunch counter and get a hot dog, they only had mustard for it, and a Honeydew. I always got the honeydew at the exhibition too...I miss that place.
> Posted March 23, 2014
Honeydew orange is available in the frozen section of Giant Tiger stores in Ontario, Canada
> Posted March 17, 2014
I used to work at Simpson's in the basement. I remember the hot dog stand fondly. It is sad to go back to the store today. Everything has changed. Some change is good, but I do miss the Waldorf's and Honey Dew.
> Posted June 23, 2013
I too remember the hotdog stand as well as the ice cream waffles. A lot of wonderful memories with my Mother. Also the Escalator with narrow wooden stairs in the Eaton Annex sticks in my mind and the fear I had of it.
Carolyn Smith Whitby
> Posted April 14, 2013
Hi. I remember my first time at the hot dog stand. I was only 16 and never had tasted anything like it and how the people were ordering was strange. They would would ask for one of each or two of each. I had no idea what I was getting. And they only had mustard for your hotdog and the Honey Dew came in a paper cup in a silver holder. If only I could find a stand like that I would take my grandchildren so they could have the same experience as I did.
Penny from Toronto
> Posted February 19, 2012
That hot dog stand in Simpson's basement was the scene of one of my greatest childhood triumphs. When I was about 7, I had a front tooth that was ever-so-slightly loose. My mom had taken me downtown (we lived in Pickering), and we'd gone to that hot dog stand for lunch. Mom said she'd buy me TWO Laura Secord cherry lollipops, if I could pull out that loose tooth right then and there. So I began to wiggle and twist the tooth. After a few minutes (and considerable pain and horrible cracking noises), I triumphantly removed the tooth. I recall that it took a lot of those big pieces of paper they used to wrap the hot dogs in, to soak up all the blood that was gushing from my mouth. I'm sure the lunchtime diners there didn't appreciate the added entertainment. But, damn it! As soon as we got out of there, Mom took me to the nearest Laura Secord, and I got my two cherry lollipops. Total value: 10 cents. How many kids do you know who'd pull out their own tooth, just to get 10 cents' worth of candy? No wonder I've now had so much dental work done that if my dentist gave Air Miles, I'd have been to Australia at least twice.
> Posted February 19, 2012
I haven't seen Honeydew Orange Drink in many years, but, according to this site: http://www.hdew.com/hd_history.html, the brand still exists, and the product is still being made, by DewNorth Inc.
> Posted December 7, 2011
I too remember Simpson's downtown fondly, including the Waldorf Red Hots (hot dogs) and Honeydew orange drink ("one and one") that other's have mentioned. Wasn't a big stand but was always super busy, recall it had a small opening where the red hots came out and a dispenser for the honeydew drink which was served in paper cones that were inserted into a metal holder. After Eaton's Santa Claus parade would always make way downtown and see the animatronic displays (pre-Disneyland!) in the windows and the huge almost entire floor of toys and Christmas displays think it was the 6th floor and of course visit Santa himself. Was magical. The connection off the subway connecting Eaton's and Simpson's underground had the best coffee around and other gourmet goodies. Am old enough to remember the old escalators with wooden treadles some women got their high heels caught in the deep grooves, and the old escalators driven by operators who called out the floors and tried to but didn't always get lined up to the floor.
Pat B from Weston
> Posted December 3, 2010
I grew up in Regina, where my father was a professional tailor in the Robert Simpson Department Store. I knew Christmas was coming when I saw each of the window displays being set up with mechanical themes in each cubical. If anybody has any of these pictures I would love to see them. I felt so much joy when I would stand in front of the display and would love to see that again.
> Posted November 30, 2010
I remember the most awesome Christmas animated displays in the Simpson windows every year. Upstairs in the toy department, you could ride the train and then sit on Santa's lap to give him your wish list and he gave you a lollipop. Those were wonderful times.
> Posted September 13, 2009
As I recall, the tunnel linked Eaton's main store to the annex and there you would get ice cream waffles and soft ice cream. I remember the train displays at both Simpsons and Eatons at Christmas. Of course there were the window displays as well. Those were the late 1940's and early '50's for me. Oddly enough I don't remember the hot dog stand in the tunnel.
> Posted July 23, 2009
I remember going to Simpsons at Christmas time to look at their electric train display in the toy department. What a wonderful store it was. ed Jannett
> Posted April 2, 2009
My Dad always took my sisters and me to Simpson's for a hot dog and a honeydew when we were kids. Then we would walk through the tunnel to Eaton's for a chocolated malted soft ice cream cone. Ah, such lovely memories. I have never had a hot dog that tasted quite as good!
Bonnie Amson, Tampa, Florida
> Posted February 15, 2009
Hi Susan; I loved that hot dog stand. For years I would meet my cousin and have the famous One and One. The hot dog with a glass of honey dew. I have been trying to find a picture of the hot dog stand on the internet with no luck. It was the best run business...I enjoyed watching the lady in the back boiling the hot dogs. Nothing seemed complicated...very few condiments and little waste. My daughter would like to set up a similar hot dog stand for a summer job. I don't know where to find the honey dew...if you know a source, I would appreciate any info that you may have. Many thanks, Sue
> Posted December 16, 2008
I don't remember the Hot Dog Stand but I worked at Henry Morgan Company (owned by the Hudson's Bay) 1964 to early 1965. Does anyone remember this store? It was a ladies department store, two stories only and catered to the well to do! It was at the corner or close to the corner of Bay and Bloor.
Patricia, Milton Ontario.
> Posted October 11, 2008
Hi. I am the granddaughter of Edward Rudd. He was the owner of the Hot Dog Stand in the basement of Simpsons for many year. I also worked there in the 70's. Does anyone remember the store?
Susan Gallant Rudd
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