Our town has a little and delightful museum, Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum. The building was erected in 1872 and served as the town hall and lockup for a few years before becoming the Victoria School for 90 years until 1969. It became the Victoria School Museum in 1985 and assumed its present name in 2011, Beckwith being the name of the adjacent township to Carleton Place.
Presently there are two displays: the temporary Eatons Christmas Catalog display and the Forever Young display which will run until March. In this busy season, Sue and I found a little time to visit while the Eaton display was still on.
Eatons is now defunct but was the Canadian department store for about 100 years. It began as a dry goods store in Toronto in 1869 but by the end of that century was advertising itself as Canada's Greatest Store. With flagship stores in Toronto and Montreal, Eatons ruled the retail roost for a very long time. When I was a boy, it would have been unthinkable that the empire would ever crumble, but it did go into bankruptcy in 1999 after a pretty impressive run.
My uncle worked at Eatons for more than 25 years until he died as a relatively young man in 1971. In 1969 he had been presented with a beautiful quarter century watch, which I still have 46 years later. It still works perfectly when I choose to wear it.
Sue had two aunts who worked at Eatons, and her family, unlike mne, used the catalog service extensively.
Punkinhead ↑↑ was a major Christmas figure in the fifties and was featured prominently in Eatons Christmas parade. I still associate the Toronto and Montreal Christmas parades with Eatons.
From a fifties catalog ↓↓. Sue had a record player much like this one.
A vintage catalog ↑↑ and an early Santa/Father Christmas figure ↓↓.
Christmas items ↑↑ and clothes ↓↓
Most Canadian kids wanted skates for Christmas at least once, and many were lucky enough to ahve their wishes granted. ↑↑ Those days, girls seemed to always wear white figure skates (background). These days, almost everyone seems to wear hockey skates (foreground).
Imagine a box of 12 Norma Rockwell cards selling for $1. ↓↓
And that's a little look at Christmas Past from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum featuring the Eatons Catalog and other vintage items.