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History Repeats Itself


Not too many reading this will remember the wonderful clean and polished delivery trucks of the T. Eaton Company.  As I recall they were a burgundy colour highlighted with black and yellow. These trucks were to be seen in almost all of Canada’s major cities, just as we see the Fed X or the UPS and all the other delivery trucks of to-day. The T Eaton company was one of Canada’s major department stores, and a unique Canadian icon. I have had a special interest in the company for several reasons. One of my biggest accounts when I was  in sales was Eaton’s dept stores and their catalogue division, (mail order).

 Timothy Eaton was of Irish decent and opened his store in Toronto in 1869. From 1922 – 1942  the company was run by Eaton’s nephew Robert Young Eaton known as R. Y.  In 1923 R .Y. had a 40 foot day cruiser built by  the Ditchburn boat builders in the Muskoka’s. She was christened the Osirus by Lady Eaton and later was damaged in a fire in 1927 and re christened again by Lady Eaton the Shamrock. I mention this because in 1969 I purchased the Shamrock and restored it. Mrs. Jack Eaton came for Tea when we had the Inn in Kirkfield and gave me a lovely gift of a desk writing set with the Eaton  (E) on it. Jack was RY’s nephew.

The Eaton catalogue division ran from 1884 till 1976 when it was closed. I found this as many did a terrible blow to my income and a sad thing to witness as this was a Canadian institution.  However, if we as humans can wait long enough we will see history repeat itself.

On my and every other street in Canada and the world, we see more and more delivery trucks. My prediction is that in no less than 25 years box stores and retail stores will begin to fail in favour of the mail order catalogue disguised as internet shopping .




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