Originally located at Elm and Bay streets in downtown Toronto, Davenport Tailors & Dressmakers has been in the Massey family since day one and at the corner of Dupont Street and Davenport Road since 1963. Frances Massey started working for her parents when she was 14, and though she was a schoolteacher and title searcher for several years, she never really left the family business. When her father passed away she took over and has been running it since 1989.
Set on one of the busiest intersections in the city, the inside of the store is equally hectic. On a Monday morning it buzzes with activity as customers drop off their dry cleaning and try on clothes that need to be altered, while tailors work with their sewing machines as others press and steam. Every available space is filled with garments, thread, samples and products, and Frances is in perpetual motion, answering the phone, talking to customers and examining the handiwork of her staff. It’s very organized chaos.