Eaton Centre on Boxing Day & The Urban Eatery: An Inside Look
My family and I went to Eaton Centre for Boxing Day this year. The advantage was that they charge for parking and we at least knew we could get a spot at whatever time we decided to go. The disadvantage was that the place was exploding with people. I have never seen Eaton Centre so crowded before -we go down to Eaton’s almost every year around and on Boxing Day. At first, when I saw the lack of line ups I was rather cheerful, but it seems the shops have decided to just let people come in as they please. I know I have never seen Armani Exchange that crowded ever!
I liked the reindeer decorations they had this year. They were very pretty up close and from afar and in my honest opinion, I thought it looked merrier than the Christmas tree they always have. I did find, however, that the picture did not do it justice. The lights were much better if you viewed it in real life.
Of course, I couldn’t walk into Eaton Centre without taking a picture of their Swarovski Christmas tree.
Before going to Eaton’s I decided to check out the new food court they had started renovating since the year before. I read some mixed reviews on the place and my expectations weren’t high when I actually went down to the Urban Eatery. Apparently it cost $48 million in total. When I went down, I’ll admit the food court beat my expectation in terms of the modern sleek look. It is much better than what it was before. Everything from the floor tiles to the decoration detail per shop to the seating and arrangement of space was different and if I may, rather refreshing. Eaton Centre is a huge tourist attraction and I was rather perplexed as to how it could have kept it’s old food court for so long. It always seemed as though the shops and the food court were from different time periods.
This makeover was largely overdue and though I don’t think it is as nice as it could have been, I think it’s a large step in the right direction. The mall is finally starting to look like it has four levels in total.
I didn’t have much time to stay in the food court because we were rushing to Scarborough Town Centre. The food tasted much better than I expected, but the after effects were much stronger too. My tongue actually started tingling and I doubt it’s a good sign about the food. My brother and father got their food from Bourbon St Grill while my mother and I got our food from Shanghai 360. For the first twenty minutes, we all thought we got food from the same place because we all got fried rice, grilled chicken, and coconut shrimp. Boy was I confused for the longest time because I did not see either of them in line and I was beginning to question my own eyesight. Fortunately, my father decided to steal a shrimp from my plate and that was when he realized the shrimps tasted completely different. That was when we finally realized we got food from different places -slow, I know.
I read online the food court could seat 900+ people and though we were eating at a later time to try to avoid the dinner rush hour, we were surprised to find ourselves hard pressed to find a seat at all. I caught a glimpse of the orange chairs that were characteristic of the new food court in the picture posted up by many newspapers, but many of the seats were converted to square cushion seats and plain wooden chairs. I didn’t mind it much, but there was a pretty big discrepancy between when it opened to about four months later. I’m not complaining, I’m just wondering what they did with those colourful orange chairs because they looked rather comfortable. The food court had 24 shops as promised and the selection did get much bigger. We saw the big franchises like McDonalds and KFC, but also new shops such as Shanghai 360. There is indeed a pizza place. The eatery covered more or less everything and I felt it was much more balanced compared to before and was rather happy to see they added some new variety to their food court. I understand we can’t have everything and I think they did pretty good with their selection.
We got a seat close to this rather nice looking food establishment. A rather nice alternative for those who are vegetarian or would like to get something other than meat for the day.
The plates and cutlery were nice and I don’t mind it at all. There are many places where I’ve had real cutlery as opposed to plastic or paper plates so I’m not too surprised. I think people shouldn’t forget the place is still a food court and like all food courts, we can’t expect everything to be at the level of a sit-down restaurant. I’m not surprised at the 48 million they had to invest in this because the food court had to be completely built up from the ground -and I mean they even changed floor tiles-to making the place look nice. You can’t forget the amount of marketing they had to put into this, the promotions, the giveaways, the media coverage they had to get, the payment for the design itself, the cost of acquiring all that cutlery, and the cost of hiring people to clean up after everyone. It all amounts to $$$$ and for a place like Eaton Centre to spend a couple million on renovations is expected. Whether it is really worth 48 million in total is something that should be left up to the individual. It really depends on what you expect before you walk in.
I’m just glad I don’t feel as cramped and uncomfortable when I sit down in food court to have shoppers pass by watching me eat. It’s a very nice upgrade and I hope Eaton’s continues to improve itself to remain competitive and to remain as a tourist attraction people enjoy going to.