Vintage Toronto Ads: Live Together in Perfect Harmony

Originally published on Torontoist on July 15, 2008.


Bravo, November-December 1982.

Imagine that you’re an advertising representative assigned to handle a spot for Eaton’s in a magazine distributed to audience members enjoying classical music at Roy Thomson Hall in 1982. The department store giant wants to spotlight their fine collection of pianos. As you struggle for ideas, you flip on the radio and hear Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder join forces to sing about the joys of piano duets and racial harmony.

A light bulb appears over your head.

Released as a single in March 1982, “Ebony and Ivory” spent seven weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Its reputation has taken a beating in recent years—a 2007 BBC 6 Music listener poll rewarded the song with the distinction of the worst duet of all time.

Other offerings on the sixth floor of the Toronto Eaton Centre store included the home entertainment department, a portrait studio, optical and hearing aids, lost and found service, and the Marine Room restaurant.

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