The former Eaton’s College Street contains one of the finest Art Moderne interiors in Canada, the Carlu. It was commissioned by Sir John Craig Eaton to be the flagship for Eaton’s department store. Opened in 1931, the Carlu was an impressive and grand complex that was home to refined social and cultural events, hosting several international performers including Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and Canada’s own Glenn Gould. The Carlu closed down in the 1970’s and was to be gutted, but thanks to a group of concerned citizens the seventh floor with its Eaton Auditorium and the Round Room were saved. The Carlu is a National Historic Site.
ERA was retained with WZMH Partnership to direct the restoration of these spaces, the renovation of adjacent areas and the rehabilitation of the heritage elements of the ground floor retail conversion. The marble on the grand staircase was removed, numbered and reassembled so that the stairs now lead down instead of up. ERA continues to provide consultation services to the Carlu. The two firms were jointly given an Award of Architectural Excellence by the Ontario Association of Architects for this project.