This category contains 5 posts

Belmont Star No. 1980

An interesting little piece of horse racing ephemera from 1884. This 4.5″ x 3″ card promotes Belmont Star No. 1980‘s bloodlines and states him to be “one of the richest bred colts in the United States or Canada at the present time“. Belmont Star was “kept for service” by H. McKenzie at the Ashvale Stock Farm located 1.5 miles from Port Perry.

Trans-Canada Airlines

Trans Canada Airlines

Trans Canada Airlines Ticket stub

Trans-Canada Airlines took to the air on September 1, 1937 with a flight from Vancouver to Seattle.  Canadian National Railways (CNR) was behind the venture and it was Canada’s only national airline until their competitor, Canadian Pacific Railways (CPR) launched Canadian Pacific Airlines.  In 1965 Trans-Canada Airlines changed their name to Air Canada.

TCA began flying out of Victoria in 1943 and the ticket featured in this post was for a flight to Seattle on May 2, 1953.  It cost $8.40 that year, at a time when a labourer on the west coast earned about $12 per day.  That same job might pull in $12-15 per hour now but a one-way flight to Seattle will set you back over $250!

I’m also featuring a TCA Christmas Card from the same year which celebrates fifty years of flight.  I’ve included scans of the front and back of this card too.

Trans Canada Airlines Christmas Card

TCA 1953 Christmas card


The Tilly Whim Inn

Tilly Whim InnThis little card, a souvenir from the Tilly Whim Inn in Dorset, made me laugh out loud when I found it in a local bookstore. I do enjoy a pint of Real Ale and so how could I resist the sage financial advice printed on the back?  And there are more lessons to be learned on the inside too. The Tilly Whim must have been a fun place to while away a few hours.

The cliff-top pub near Swanage, whose regulars included author Enid Blyton and actor Wilfrid Brambell, sadly burned down in 1972. Far sadder was the news that its owner of 22 years, Mrs. Burridge, lost her life savings in an Icelandic offshore trap. It seems unusually cruel that someone whose motto was Laugh and be Happy should be swindled in this way.

An unhappy ending but a fine example of how a little piece of ephemera can  tell a much bigger story.

Dr. Thomas Eclectric (Snake) Oil

Dr. Thomas' Eclectric Oil

Snake Oil anyone?

I picked up this little gem very recently.  It’s a 3″ x 4.5″ promotional card extolling the benefits of Dr. Thomas’ Eclectric Oil.  Who could resist a product that positively cures toothaches in 5 minutes and lameness in 2 days?!

The man behind the miracle cure was Dr. S.N. Thomas of Phelps, New York and his concoction was a combination of “Spirits of Turpentine, Camphor, Oil of Tar, Red Thyme and Fish Oil specially processed.” He began marketing it in the 1850’s and by end of the century his Eclectric Oil was a household name.

The product was licensed and sold in Canada too, apparently right up until the beginning of the Second World War.  According to this blogger a Dr Thomas’ Eclectric Oil bottle is Canada’s most common antique medicinal bottle. A quick survey of eBay confirms they can be found for less than $5 … far less, relatively speaking, than the 50 cents they originally sold for.

The Kohinoor of Cities

The Kohinoor of Cities

Sunshiny Weather

In a previous post I eluded to the fact that Victoria has seen many tag lines over the years.  This little promotional card from about 1910 uses one of the more unusual descriptors: The Kohinoor of Cities. A Jewel Set in the Pacific.

The Kohinoor is a 105-carat diamond from India which became part of the British Crown Jewels when Queen Victoria became Empress of India in 1877.

The image shows Victoria’s busy Inner Harbour and both the Parliament Buildings and the recently completed Empress Hotel.  On the back is a list of attractions which include Sunshiny Weather, Cool Nights and both Automobiling and Driving.

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July 2020

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