As the 1970s approached, Eatons shifted its retail focus further south on Yonge Street and construction commenced on The Toronto Eaton Centre. At College Street, the Seventh Floor's Round Room was painted orange, the stunning mural by Carlu's wife, Natacha, damaged and the priceless fountain dismantled. The Concert Hall had been modified in the late fifties to include a slight rake on the main level and the addition of permanent seats, yet continued to enjoy its reputation as having the greatest acoustics in the country.
When Eatons departed in 1976, the doors of the Seventh Floor were closed, marking the end of an era. The new owners had neither the desire to fund the significant renovations needed, nor the understanding of the facility's business prospect and looked to new uses for the floor.
Fearful of losing this important architectural and cultural masterpiece, a concerned group of Torontoians formed the Friends of the Eaton Auditorium to lobby the Supreme Court of Canada to have the floor designated a National Historic Site, in 1982. Nevertheless, the doors to the stately Seventh Floor remained closed and the grand space vacant for nearly thirty years.
Pictures by Brent Wagler