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Meet the Konkles

Ted and Eleanor Konkle met in 1950 when Ted was hired at Eaton’s one week after Eleanor to help her paint designs in the merchandise display department. Eleanor had recently graduated from the University of Toronto's School of Architecture and Ted from the Ontario College of Art.

They created their first Christmas window display for Eaton’s in 1953 and continued to do so after they were married in 1955. The playful spirit of their displays was reflected in other projects they undertook, from unusual Christmas decorations in their home to elaborate costumes for annual art gallery galas.

Ted and Eleanor dancing in 1920’s costumes, [1961-1968]
Click to see a larger image

Ted and Eleanor dancing in 1920’s costumes, [between 1961 and 1968]
Newspaper clipping
Ted and Eleanor Konkle fonds
Reference Code: F 4610
Archives of Ontario, I0073491

Ted and Eleanor in seaweed costumes, 1961
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Ted and Eleanor in seaweed costumes, 1961
Newspaper clipping
Ted and Eleanor Konkle fonds
Reference Code: F 4610
Archives of Ontario, I0073492

Ted and Eleanor as Perseus and Medusa, [ca. 1960]
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Ted and Eleanor as Perseus and Medusa, [ca. 1960]
Colour print
Ted and Eleanor Konkle fonds
Reference Code: F 4610
Archives of Ontario, I0048125





“To peek in one of their windows, you’d think that here was a home where fairy tales come true.”

-The Toronto Telegram, December 9, 1961



The Konkles were hired by Eaton’s as freelance designers for the Christmas windows and completed their work both in their own home and at the Eaton's studio. Most of the work was done at their house, with production taking about four months, plus extensive research and planning beforehand.

Ted and Eleanor had two children, Stacey and Blake, who from a young age were used to a house full of Christmas characters in various states of completion. Ted continued to work full-time at Eaton’s and did the sculpting for the Christmas displays in the Konkles’ basement on evenings and weekends, while Eleanor sewed costumes in the dining room.

Blake Konkle with display figure, [ca. 1960]
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Blake Konkle with display figure, [ca. 1960]
Black and white print
Ted and Eleanor Konkle fonds
Reference Code: F 4610
Archives of Ontario, I0048113

Eleanor working on a figure, c. 1960
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Eleanor working on a figure, c. 1960
Black and white print
Ted and Eleanor Konkle fonds
Reference Code: F 4610
Archives of Ontario, I0048118

Ted working on a figure, [1961-1968]
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Ted working on a figure, [between 1961 and 1968]
Black and white print
Ted and Eleanor Konkle fonds
Reference Code: F 4610
Archives of Ontario, I0052184

Stacey with display figures, [1961-1968]
Click to see a larger image

Stacey with display figures, [between 1961 and 1968]
Black and white print
Ted and Eleanor Konkle fonds
Reference Code: F 4610
Archives of Ontario, I0048120

Ted working on a figure for the Twelve Days of Christmas display, 1959
Click to see a larger image

Ted working on a figure for the Twelve Days of Christmas display, 1959
Colour print
Ted and Eleanor Konkle fonds
Reference Code: F 4610
Archives of Ontario, I0052181

Eleanor adjusting a costume on Stacey, [1961-1968]
Click to see a larger image

Eleanor adjusting a costume on Stacey, [between 1961 and 1968]
Newspaper clipping
Ted and Eleanor Konkle fonds
Reference Code: F 4610
Archives of Ontario, I0073495

Ted and Eleanor researching, [ca. 1960]
Click to see a larger image

Ted and Eleanor researching, [ca. 1960]
Black and white print
Ted and Eleanor Konkle fonds
Reference Code: F 4610
Archives of Ontario, I0048117

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