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Iconic ninth floor Eaton Centre restaurant set to reopen in May

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There was once a beautiful restaurant on the ninth floor of the former Eaton's department store. It closed 25 years ago, but many in Montreal still talk about it.

Soon, it will open to diners once again.

When Lady Eaton comissioned the space in 1931, she wanted to transport shoppers to the luxurious dining rooms of transatlantic liners.

Architect Jacques Carlu made the space into a temple of art-deco design, including the frescos by his wife Natasha.

"You can feel the investment," said architect Georges Drolet. "In the design, the furniture he chose, the tableware, the silverware. Apparently he even consulted on the uniforms of the personnel."

The Eaton Centre's ninth floor restaurant as it was. (Ivanhoe Cambridge)

For years, the restaurant was the place to go for special occasions, but by the time it closed in 1999, it was in disrepair.

Drolet's job was to restore it to its original beauty.

"It’s very personal for me, I have to say, to be able to show it now because it’s been quite a process," he said.

The restaurant on the ninth floor of the Eaton Centre was once the place to go. (Ivanhoe Cambridge)

Any renovation project involves red tape, but as an indoor heritage property, there were even more hurdles.

The materials they were using, including the marble and polished metal from the 1930s, were no longer available.

The peach colour of the walls, as well, was a relic of the 1980s.

"So we only had black and white images of the original, but we could see something was not quite right," said Drolet. "So we actually tested them by scratching the layering of the paint going back to the original colour."

Now, after years of painstaking work and an undisclosed investment, its owners, Ivanhoe Cambridge, are launching it once again as a restaurant and event space.

"Le 9ieme" will open its doors to the public on May 17. 

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