The Carlu
444 Yonge Street, 7th floor
Toronto, Ontario

The Round Room restaurant at what is now called the Carlu, began as a refined coffee shop in 1930, housed on the 7th floor of the College Street location of Eaton's Department Store. The prosperity of the 1920s led the Eaton family to build what was intended to be the skyscraper flagship of the Eaton chain. Due to the onset of the Depression and site problems, only one-quarter of the base of this tower was built, complete with an elegant art moderne suite of rooms designed by Parisian architect Jacques Carlu. This suite included a foyer, a 1200-seat auditorium, and a series of rooms that made up the Round Room restaurant, complete with private dining rooms and kitchens extensive enough to serve all Eaton locations in the greater Toronto area. The design for the circular Round Room incorporated four large canvases by Natacha Carlu, an electrically lit glass-and-metal fountain and smooth, modulated plaster surfaces that ripple from the central chandelier.

After Eaton's closed the College Street location to build the Eaton Centre, the 7th floor remained vacant, decaying and partially demolished for 25 years. The principal spaces, including the Round Room, were restored to their 1931 appearance in 2003, reopening as the Carlu, a special events venue for private bookings. The public may visit the Carlu during Doors Open, the annual May celebration of Toronto's architectural heritage.

Dinner party in Round Room, 1931 (T. Eaton Co. records, Archives of Ontario)

Photograph of the Round Room and foyer from an article by Jacques Carlu, "The T. Eaton & Co. Department Stores in Toronto and Montreal," Architectural Record 69 (June 1931): 446-456.

The Distillery District
55 Mill Street
Toronto, Ontario M5A 3C4

Redpath Sugar Museum
95 Queens Quay East
Toronto, Ontario M5E 1A3
(416) 366-3561

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