Toronto's first Saks Fifth Avenue store celebrated its grand opening this morning. A fashionable crowd gathered in front of the Eaton Centre bridge to the Hudson's Bay building to catch a first glimpse of the luxurious new retailer as the doors opened.

Even Saks shoppers drink Tim Horton's, image by Jack Landau

Just past the bridge a string quartet greeted the first visitors at the store's second-floor entrance, which was lined with expensively coutured mannequins. Things smelled of perfume. 

A string quartet sets the tone for the store, image by Jack Landau

Inside, the store's three levels of high fashion were quickly filled with their first well-heeled customers—and a pair of UrbanToronto stragglers.

Inside the second floor, image by Jack Landau

Located at the eastern corner of the century-old Hudson's Bay building, the expansive new retailer fronts Yonge, Queen, and Richmond streets, with entrances marked by striated patterns of neutral tones accented with notes of gold. 

The Queen Street lobby, image by Jack Landau

On the first floor, a central atrium opens up the space above the parfumerie, with a showpiece installation. Along the first floor, the opulent space features a collection of individually appointed branded boutiques throughout the first floor. 

A central atrium ties the space together, image by Jack Landau

The store's individual boutiques include well-known international luxury brands such as Céline, Givenchy, and Bottega Veneta. 

Small boutiques line the ground floor, image by Jack Landau

The second floor features an extensive menswear collection, reflecting the company's growing focus on men's fashion. Now a subsidiary of Canada's Hudson's Bay Company (HBC), the American retailer is set to open a second Toronto location at Sherway Gardens next week.

The men's shoe collection on the second floor, image by Jack Landau

The 169,000 ft² Downtown flagship is also set to feature a Pusateri's outlet—opening soon in the basement—providing a new lunch and grocery option for Downtown workers. Leña, a restaurant specializing in South American dishes, will open in the southeast corner of the store in May. It will be operated by Oliver and Bonacini.

Mannequins 'greet' visitors on the first floor, image by Jack Landau

While the Saks brand is now a subsidiary of HBC, the space itself—like the store Sherway Gardens—is now owned by Cadillac Fairview, following HBC's $650 million sale of the historic property in 2014. 

A display of designer handbags, image by Jack Landau

Saks Fifth Avenue joins a growing coterie of international luxury fashion retailers to open Canadian locations. Expanding a market long dominated by Holt Renfrew, Toronto's collection high fashion retail is set to continue diversifying in coming years, with additional new brands slated to join the market. 

The women's shoe department, image by Jack Landau

At the north end of the Eaton Centre, the Seattle-based Nordstrom brand is set to open a flagship Canadian department store, while Mississauga's Square One has been announced as the first GTA location of Quebec's Maison Simons. 

Looking southwest, image by Jack Landau

For more information about Toronto's changing retail landscape, make sure to check out our associated Forum threads, which feature regular updates of new store openings and closings. Want to share your thoughts about Toronto's first Saks Fifth Avenue? Leave a comment in the space below this page, or join in the conversation on one of our associated Forum threads. 

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