Simpsons, Limited with head offices in Toronto, was the present-day successor to the dry goods store opened in 1872 by Robert SIMPSON in Toronto. Originally averse to the idea of running a "department store," Simpsons eventually added shoe and specialty food departments and a mail order business. Catalogues were published regularly after 1894. That year a large new store was built which, because of its impressive architecture, became known as "the most copied store" on the continent. Fire destroyed it in 1895 and soon after a new building (built in the same style) opened.
In 1897 Simpson died and the store was bought by a group of financiers. Over the next several decades, Simpsons expanded into a cross-Canadian enterprise. In 1953 the mail order business was acquired by the then Simpsons-Sears Limited (SEARS CANADA INC). In 1978, Simpsons was acquired by the Hudson's Bay Co and in 1991 it was finally merged completely with the Bay.