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In this photo taken in 1937 or 1938 at Lake of the Woods in northwestern Ontario, Olaf Johnson sits on a beached houseboat with his children, Adeline and John. Johnson was a commercial fisherman by trade, but he supplemented his income by contracting on various small projects at camps and homesteads around the lake.

His family accompanied him as he moved from one job site to another. This photo was taken on remote Centre Island, not far from the American border, where he was hired to build a cabin. It was a transient and isolated existence, but the Johnson family bond was strengthened through their hardship.

Johnson was a quiet and contemplative man who spent most of his free time reading and gardening. The children were educated by correspondence; Johnson always showed an interest in what they were learning and helped when he could.

Johnson moved to Lake of the Woods from Minnesota when he was eighteen. He married Rose Boucha of French Portage, whose ancestry included Aboriginal women, Scottish and English traders and French voyageurs. The moccasins worn by Adeline in the photo were made for her by her grandmother.

In the early 1940s, the Johnsons traded in the nomadic life for a permanent home outside of Sioux Narrows, Ontario. According to her daughter, Becky Johnson, Adeline still looks back fondly on her childhood and on the lifestyle she enjoyed with her family at Lake of the Woods.

Submitted by Becky Johnson of Winnipeg, daughter of Adeline Johnson. Text by Steve Ducharme.

At the end of the Second World War, nylon stockings — which had been rationed during the war — came back onto the market. First introduced at the 1939 New York World’s Fair by the DuPont Corporation, nylon stockings were an instant hit. They offered the delicate appearance of silk stockings at a far more affordable price. But as the war progressed, they became scarce — nylon was needed to make parachutes for the air force.

During the war, women often went bare-legged and drew a line down the backs of their legs to give the illusion of wearing stockings — a chilly prospect in cities like Edmonton. In this photo, which appeared on the front page of the Edmonton Journal in 1945, Trudy Potts (now Behan) publicizes the return of nylon stockings in Canada.

Only seventeen at the time of this photo, Trudy later met and married John Behan, one of the returning officers who may have trained with a parachute constructed from those redirected nylon supplies. John and his elder brothers Bill and Bob all served as navigation officers in the Canadian Air Force during the war.

This photo was taken by Trudy’s uncle, Alfred Blyth, an award-winning photographer in Edmonton who was well-known for his photographs of the Calgary Stampede and several royal visits to Canada.

Submitted by Beverley Behan of New York, who is the daughter of Trudy and John Behan, now ages eighty-six and ninety, of White Rock, British Columbia.

Trudeaumania was a word used to describe the excitement and celebrity that surrounded Pierre Trudeau as he ran for the leadership of the federal Liberal Party in 1968 and subsequently became prime minister. Trudeaumania was fuelled by Trudeau’s charisma and by the youthful exuberance of his supporters. As this photo illustrates, Trudeaumania had a far-reaching impact on Canadians, including when it came to fashion trends.

Bride Valerie Black (née Ruller) was particularly enamoured by the styles displayed at the wedding of Pierre and Margaret Trudeau in 1971. In this photo, taken on October 23, 1973, twenty-year-old Black stands in front of her parents’ house in Kastnerville, Ontario, surrounded by her bridal party on her wedding day. The hooded bridesmaid dresses were modelled after the dress worn in Margaret Trudeau’s bridal party. Similar to Trudeau, who sewed her own wedding dress, Black and her sisters made these garments themselves. The process took almost four months to complete.

A quintessential flower child, Trudeau wore daisies in her hair (note the daisy bouquets in this wedding party). Trudeau also wore a large medallion around her neck. This bride and her bridesmaids had similar pieces of jewellery. The bridal party includes (from left to right) Black’s two sisters, Joan and Shirley, her husband’s sisters, Helen and Barbara, and Black’s niece Kim.

Submitted by Melissa Black of Poplar Hill, Ontario. Melissa is the daughter of Valerie Black. Text by Maria Cristina Laureano.

 

The Lundbreck Trading Co. is located in the hamlet of Lundbreck in southern Alberta. Established by the Rogers brothers in the early 1900s, the general store changed hands several times until it was finally purchased in 1910 by Mr. and Mrs. Walter Knight, who are sitting in the first buggy, and Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Densmore, who are sitting in the middle buggy.

Donald Timmermans bought the store from the Densmore family in 1962 and ran it until 1973. However, his career as the proprietor nearly came to a sudden halt in 1963 after a fire broke out in the neighbouring Windsor Hotel, located just off-camera on the right. As the hotel burned to the ground, the flames threatened to engulf the trading company as well. Timmermans’ son Pieter recalls the struggle to save his family’s store. “I was on the flat roof of the trading company with a garden hose, spraying the side of our building,” Pieter said. “It helped [save the building], but a lot of the siding melted.”

Today, the Lundbreck Trading Co. building houses a pizza parlour, a second-hand store, and apartments on the top floor. As for the Windsor Hotel, all that survived was the double-decker outhouse, the small structure seen here at the far right of the photo. It has been relocated to the Calgary Heritage Park.

- Submitted by Pieter Timmermans, son of Donald Timmermans of Lundbreck,
Alberta. Text by Maria Cristina Laureano.

My family and I immigrated to Canada from China primarily to reunite my father with his family. We arrived in Laporte, Saskatchewan, where my father’s parents lived, on November 20, 1972. This photograph was taken in front of my grandfather's general store in Laporte, at the time a settlement of fewer than five people.

In the photo I am twelve years old, standing next to my eight-year-old sister on one side; my brothers, aged fifteen and six, are on the other side. In the centre are my grandparents, my father, and my mother. We are dressed in winter jackets and fur hats purchased in Hong Kong. However, the Chinese-made clothing proved inadequate for an authentic Canadian winter. This image is now permanently etched into my memory as being our first encounter with snow.

The family reunion with my grandparents lasted five weeks. Then we were off to Montreal to live with my father's sister. Montreal became my home for the next four decades.

— Submitted by Wah Wing Chan, a printmaker who lives in Montreal.

The horse-drawn Watkins wagon, with its spices, extracts, and medicines, was at one time a welcome visitor at many farm homes. The wagon in the photograph was driven by a man named Reed or Reid. The picture was taken in 1918 or 1919 at the Scotton home, located north of Cowley, near Lethbridge in southern Alberta. Mamie Scotton (the former Mamie Bare) stands next to the horses, close to her daughter Ellen. Her three oldest sons — Chester, Freeman, and Lloyd — are seated or standing on the wagon. A Watkins sample case leans against the front wheel of the wagon.

The J.R. Watkins Medical Company was founded in Plainview, Minnesota, in 1868. Joseph Watkins’ first product was Red Liniment and he pioneered direct selling concepts such as the “money-back guarantee.” By 1920, Watkins had about a hundred different kinds of products available for door-to-door sale across the continent. The firm continues to operate today as a direct selling company, with over 80,000 independent sales associates in North America.

Submitted by Ray Scotton, son of George and Mamie Scotton of Cowley, Alberta.

The men in this 1922 photograph are fishing off the dock at a spot at Latchford, Ontario, where the Montreal River widens to form Bay lake. The three men are enjoying rare moments of relaxation away from their busy jobs.

Thomas W. Carlyle, left, was the manager of the Bank of Toronto in the nearby mining town of Cobalt. James Hylands, centre, was a mine manager and stock promoter. He was also the grandfather of Vivian Hyland, who contributed this photo. On the far right, puffing on a pipe, is mining engineer Donald J. Russell, who was James Hyland's son-in-law. The identity of the young boy is not known.

The photograph is of interest because of the clothing worn — note the knee-high leather boots, jodhpurs, white shirts, vests, ties, and fedoras. Cobalt was a mining town with wooden sidewalks and unpaved streets surrounded by bush, so clothing had to be rugged and, in the case of mine managers at least, also stylish.

This photo has hung on the wall of Vivian Hyland's home in Cobalt, Ontario, for about eighty-five years. Text by Nelle Oosterom.

This photograph, taken on May 23, 1907, showcases a funeral procession passing by the Dundas, Ontario, home of Dr. James Ross, Surgeon Lieutenant of the 77th Regiment and Signal Corps. Ross had died two days earlier at the age of fifty-three.

People from the town lined the streets to mourn Ross's death. The doctor, an award-winning graduate of McGill University, was well-known and well-liked in the community. He built up a large medical practice in Dundas, was an active member of the 77th Regiment, served on the board of education, and was the president of the local curling club. He was also a competitive sharpshooter. The Dundas Star noted that "on account of his demise the program of sports which was arranged for Victoria Day has been indefinitely postponed."

Ross was buried with military honours. The process was forty-five minutes late getting started due to a delay in obtaining from the Hamilton Field Battery the horse-drawn gun carriage that bore his remains from his residences to the cemetery. This photo is one of the few known to exist that show the 77th Regiment and Signal Corps in full military dress. The regiment disbanded prior to the First World War.



Valerie Kramer of Dundas, Ontario, found this photo while cleanning out her grandmother's attic in 1988. Text by Ryan Kessler.

Some people are born into royalty. Others manufacture it for themselves. The latter was the case for Daniel Noonan of Kingston, Ontario, who owned and operated the Rideau Queen at the beginning of the twentieth century under the company name Rideau Lakes Navigation Company, Ltd.

The Queen was an ideal vessel for transporting up to three hundred eager cottagers to the village of Chaffey's Locks. Along with its sister steamship, the Rideau King, the Queen travelled the Rideau Canal from Kingston to Ottawa and back again. This picture taken around 1910, shows the Queen boarding passengers at Chaffey's Locks, where Noonan had a summer home.

Built in 1900, the steamers were constructed with a draught of just over two metres to navigate the shallow Rideau Canal system.

The Queen took passengers on day trips through Big Rideau Lake, making stops at such sites as France Free Cottage — the oldest standing cottage on the lake.

Rideau Queen changed owners over the years, though there are no records of it after 1928. How she was disposed of remains a mystery.

Reverend Daniel Noonan is the grandson of Daniel Noonan. Revered Noonan lives in Sidney, British Columbia. Text by Laina Hughes.

Lillian Gardiner (nee Porteous) was born in Needles, British Columbia, on Christmas Day in 1917. She was one of six children who lived in a single-room log cabin for many years.

Most of Lillian's education was of a practical nature. Chopping wood, clearing land, ploughing fields, caring for livestock, and hauling nitroglycerine up the mountains by mule — often alone — were the day's lessons. Frequently, she worked without shoes! At the age of ten, each child was given a rifle, a pair of snowshoes, and a lard pail full of food, and then was sent to work on the trapline.

Lillian learned to survive in the wilderness and developed an immense love of the land. Although trapping was necessary for the family's income, she had great compassion for animals. On one occasion, her trap caught a beaver by its toes. Instead of killing it, ten-year-old Lillian took it home and tamed it.

Here, she is shown sitting on the family's porch holding her pet beaver. She's wearing gumboots with sealer jar rings around the top "to keep the water out."

As her daughter Lillian Barton notes, "My mom was not singular, but an example of the courage and strength that made this country what it is."



Lillian Barton is the daughter of Lillian Gardner. She resides in Shawnigan Lake, British Columbia. Text by Beverley Tallon.

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1900s

We're not sure we'd want the fellow seated at the far left for our ob-gyn. He scowls. And he doesn't so much hold the baby as give it leave to loiter on his person. Better the chap standing directly behind him. That's intern Willia...

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It was a fine day for a picnic when the Smales and Dale families met in the picturesque Qu'Apple Valley, west of Fort Qu'Appelle, circa 1905. Shown wearing her best white dress is H.G. Bartlett's mother, Dolly (Dora) Smales, born in 1893...

1900s

F.A. Clayton General Blacksmith performed an essential service in the days when horses and wagons were the common form of conveyance. Frank Albert Clayton ran his blacksmith business in Armstrong, British Columbia.The shop had several stalls in the bac...

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Scottish immigrants brought the game of curling to Canada. It has been suggested that the first matches were played during the Seven Years War of 1756 to 1763, when Scottish troops melted down cannonballs to fashion iron curling rocks. In 1807, twen...

1900s

After a while, after you savour the oilcloth-covered table and the clay pipe and the nest of boots and the wooden, wired slops bucket, your eyes go to the hand on the far right. A woman's hand, perhaps? If so, why is the man peeling the potatoes?A cent...

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Nothing says summer like a walk through the local neighbourhood with the aroma of freshly baked bread and other delectable confections wafting through the air. Such was the pleasure that greeted Torontonians in the early 1900s when they arrived at 1252...

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Another look at A. E. Gamble — Arthur Earnest Gamble's bakery shop in the early 1900s.“Aunt Jessie,” Gamble's eldest sister, stands at the ready to serve freshly baked crusty bread, turnovers, and other sweet treats. The emporium, at ...

1900s

William James Davidson (second from the left) emigrated to Minitonas, Manitoba, from Owen Sound, Ontario, with his father, mother, and seven siblings to start a farm. In 1899, the railway was only built as far as Dauphin, Maintoba, so the family had...

1900s

This photograph, taken on May 23, 1907, showcases a funeral procession passing by the Dundas, Ontario, home of Dr. James Ross, Surgeon Lieutenant of the 77th Regiment and Signal Corps. Ross had died two days earlier at the age of fifty-three. Peop...

1910s

Some people are born into royalty. Others manufacture it for themselves. The latter was the case for Daniel Noonan of Kingston, Ontario, who owned and operated the Rideau Queen at the beginning of the twentieth century under the company name Rideau ...

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