There was a time when the Eaton Centre (before it became Toronto CF Eaton Centre) was scarily sketchy at worst and unfulfilling at best.
But times have changed.
It started 2011 with the total revamp of the food courts, which came complete with a $48-million price tag and opened up quick food options beyond the usual suspects with healthier (and vegan-friendly) spots like Urban Herbivore. This was followed by the introduction of higher-end stores in the prime piece of commercial real estate, like Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom. Most recently, a shiny new Samsung Experience Store (which, as we told you, is basically a tech and design lover’s dream) opened up shop in the mall.
As a busy downtown dweller who lacks a car, I clock more hours at the Eaton Centre than I ever have. When it comes to the basics – like a last-minute outfit when you don’t have time to hit your favourite boutique –
It is just so simple and convenient as it really has become a one-stop-shop. But if you’re going to hit the CF Toronto Eaton Centre, it requires a bit of strategy.
1. Avoid the Busy Times (to Avoid Losing Your Mind)
For starters, when exactly you decide to grace the Eaton Centre with your presence (and credit card) can make or break your experience.
The absolute best time to go to enjoy the mall in all of its glory is either 10-11 am on weekdays or right when it opens on a Sunday (10 am). The worst times – especially if you can’t do slow-moving crowds – are Friday after work (when all the high school kids flood the spot) and Saturdays afternoon until about 7 pm.
2. Don’t Drive
If there was ever a time to take transit over the car, it’s on a trip to the Eaton Centre (even if you have to Uber home with all your shopping bags). The traffic in the immediate vicinity is insane (hello, Yonge-Dundas Square) and the parking is pricey.
3. Text for Shopping Tips
Another tip – learned from a visiting friend – is that the Eaton Centre offers a little known (but super helpful) service called Shop! Text. The service lets you text a guest service rep who will respond in real time and direct you where to go. Generally, most of the higher-end stores are on the top floor, which houses a Ted Baker, Harry Rosen, and the Apple Store.
4. They Have Wi-Fi
As an added bonus, free Wi-Fi is available throughout the mall. This is especially helpful if you have a few hours to kill with your laptop. Just find a spot in the shiny food court or at the bar upstairs at Mercatto.
5. The Bay is Full of Sales
If you’re on a budget, one thing that I always notice is that The Hudson’s Bay Company (The Bay) is full of sales – literally all the time. In addition to things for the house – from towels to duvets – shoes of all varieties (from basic to designer) are often complete with sale tags offering generous, impossible-to-pass-up discounts.
6. There’s Tons of Cheap Sushi
Speaking of deals, if you’re a sushi lover on a budget, you’ll find no shortage of it within the Eaton Centre. It’s 30 per cent off at all the grab-and-go sushi spots after about 7 pm, making for an easy and affordable dinner option if the mall is on your way home.
7. Take the Escalator
While you’ll inevitably experience no shortage of the ignorant set who just love to stand on the left-hand side of the escalator, they are still a better option than the elevators. Seriously, don’t bother with the elevators; they are annoying (unless something has drastically changed as of late).
8. Use the North Bathroom
When it comes to the Eaton Centre, not all bathrooms are created equal. While they’re relatively clean, opt for the larger one near the north food court. It’s bigger (and always lineup-free, unlike the other) and somehow decidedly less sketchy than the one off of Queen Street.
Featured image: Instagram/ @t.kamogen