Remember when Cher shopped at The Bay? Or when Roberto Alomar shilled for McCain? Neither do we, but our current obsession is helping jog our memories. YouTube channel Retrontario takes us on an unabashedly Ontarian trip down memory lane, with most clips gleaned from ’80s and ’90s Toronto TV. Warning: you may be subjected to images of leg warmers, TTC pride and Harold Ballard.
Sure, people got excited when The Room came to The Bay in 2009, but can that truly compare with the thrill Toronto must have experienced 21 years earlier seeing Cher, with trademark big hair and leather jacket, sell her perfume Uninhibited to Bay customers? And with catchy jingles like the one here for department store Simpsons, it seems unfathomable that the company could ever have gone out of business. Also in the realm of great shop commercials is this gem from the Eaton Centre in 1984. The dance moves, quintessential ’80s fashion and wicked jingle all make the Eaton Centre seem so much more glamorous than it does today, though that’s not exactly a Herculean task.
Food ads are also plentiful. There’s a McCain “Catch the Taste” commercial starring Blue Jay Roberto Alomar from 1994 (or, as we remember it, the year the hope left baseball). A Swiss Chalet ad brings new meaning to the cliché “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” The restaurant has been using the phrase “so good for so little” (though they have added “always” to the beginning) in its advertising for at least 27 years.
Sadly, we’ll never be able to return to the days when Simpsons was still in business and the Jays were still a team worth buying season tickets for, but at least we can feel smug about our choice of hairstyles.