Eaton's Catalogue Cover (detail)


Eaton's Catalogues Through the Years



Eaton's Catalogue Fall-Winter, 1884
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Eaton's Catalogue Fall-Winter, 1884
[Reproduction of 1978]
T. Eaton Co. fonds
Reference Code: F 229-1-0-1
Archives of Ontario

The first Eaton's catalogue was distributed in the fall of 1884 at the annual Industrial Exhibition, precursor to the Canadian National Exhibition.

At first orders were filled by mail-order "shoppers" who lined up to be served with other customers at Eaton's ever-expanding Yonge Street store.

Records of the mail-order department, held at the Archives of Ontario, reveal the rise and fall of the mail-order industry in Canada.

No. 72 Christmas Catalogue, 1905 (Toronto)
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No. 72 Christmas Catalogue, 1905 (Toronto)
T. Eaton Co. fonds
Reference Code: F 229-231-0-5
Archives of Ontario

The Eaton's catalogue was mailed into the hearts, the memory and even the literature of Canadians.

In Roch Carrier's "The Hockey Sweater", the despised Toronto Maple Leaf's sweater was ordered from the Eaton's catalogue.

In Lucy Maud Montgomery's "Anne's House of Dreams" Anne and Mrs. Rachel argued over the propriety of the Eaton's catalogue.

Eaton's Mail Order Christmas Book, 1954-55 (Toronto)
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Eaton's Mail Order Christmas Book, 1954-55 (Toronto)
T. Eaton Co. fonds
Reference Code: F 229-231-0-13
Archives of Ontario

Catalogues were later printed in Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal and Moncton, and each catered to the special needs of its region.

In the west the catalogue was known as the Homesteader's Bible.

Catalogue pages were used as readers in many classrooms..... and eventually, the catalogue also found its way into many outhouses.

Eaton Catalogue de Noel, 1953-54 (Toronto)
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Eaton Catalogue de Noel, 1953-54 (Toronto)
T. Eaton Co. fonds
Reference Code: F 229-231-0-12
Archives of Ontario

Francophone shoppers were first encouraged to write their orders in French in 1902; a French catalogue first appeared in 1928.

The last Eaton's catalogue was issued for Spring-Summer 1976.

The Archives of Ontario holds the most complete set of Eaton's catalogues, including Christmas catalogues and Specialty catalogues.