Mail order catalogues have been available in Canada since the 1880s. For years, they were eagerly awaited and much needed by the people living in our country's isolated regions. So beloved was the Eaton's catalogue, for example, that it became affectionately known by many nicknames: the Bible, the Prairie Bible, the Homesteaders' Bible, the Farmers' Bible, the Wishing Book, the Wish Book, the Want book and simply, the Book. Many other stores also produced catalogues that found their way into people's lives and hearts.
This site provides an opportunity to delve into catalogues from a number of different stores, both English and French, from the 1880s to the 1970s. Whether you're browsing the catalogues for a research purpose or just for fun, we hope that you will enjoy the wealth of information that is provided in mail order catalogues.
A larger site on the history of mail order in Canada has been produced in partnership with the Canadian Postal Museum at the Canadian Museum of Civilization, and Museum and Heritage Services, City of Toronto: Before e-Commerce, www.civilization.ca/cmc/exhibitions/