Toys and Games in Canada

Photograph of a girl sitting on a mattress, holding a doll.

Girl with doll, Piper family. Source

The joyful holiday season is the perfect time to introduce you to the Library and Archives Canada collection of photographs related to games and toys.

Although toys and games have existed since the dawn of time, it was only in the 19th century that the ‟toy” really came into its own in Canada. It was also
during the Victorian era that toys and diversion were deemed beneficial to children, thereby kick-starting the mass production of playthings. At first,
toys mainly came from England, Germany and the United States, but between 1860 and 1915, some 20 Canadian companies began to manufacture them as well. They
were made of wood and generally mimicked miniature furniture, cars or horses.

The First World War slowed toy production in Europe, giving the Canadian toy industry the opportunity to flourish. New toys were produced, particularly
battleships and construction sets. This is also when manufacturers started using a wider variety of materials, which resulted in copper, tin, iron, lead,
and rubber toys. Plush dolls and animals, small lead soldiers, bugles and trumpets, rubber balls, hockey pucks and even humming tops could also be found.

In the 1940s, plastic was introduced in toy manufacturing; it was used to make rattles, beach toys, tractors, trucks and construction sets, as well as an
array of tools. In subsequent years, large multinational companies emerged and completely diversified the toy-making industry.

Various outdoor games, such as croquet and lawn bowling have become popular. Children also enjoy games of strength, string, and chance, which are featured
in our new Flickr album.

Questions or comments? We would love to hear from you!

Access to 15 Databases in One Stop!

Within the next few weeks, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) will begin to deploy a series of 15 databases on Canadian census returns. This will be the only website where free online nominal indexes can be accessed for census returns from 1825 to 1916, comprising more than 32 million records.

LAC will be offering:

  • new databases such as those for census returns from 1851 and 1861
  • nominal indexes (instead of geographical indexes) for census returns from 1901, 1906, 1911 and 1916
  • revamped and updated versions of the indexes for census returns from 1871, 1881 and 1891
  • and much more…

Stay tuned to learn when these databases will be available and be sure to visit our census page to discover these incredible resources for tracing your family history!

Questions or comments? We would love to hear from you!

Library and Archives Canada’s Travelling Exhibitions

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is on the road! With four travelling exhibitions on display in different venues across Canada, including one in the
National Capital Region, LAC is showcasing the richness and diversity of its collections. This is an excellent example of LAC’s commitment to making the
country’s heritage and history accessible to all Canadians—regardless of where they live.

The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, in British Columbia, is hosting the exhibition Beyond Likeness: Contemporary Works from Library and Archives Canada until January 6, 2013. Through the works of 23 contemporary artists, the exhibition explores the evolving concept of portraiture from more traditional representations of likeness to works that challenge the conventions of the genre.

The New Brunswick Museum in Saint John is presenting the exhibition I Know You by Heart: Portrait Miniatures until December 31, 2012. Showcasing 35 recently restored portraits, the exhibition highlights the intimate, personal nature of portrait miniatures, and the reasons that such images are commissioned, created and carried. In March 2013, the exhibition will make its way to the Mendel Art Gallery in Saskatoon.
Find out more about the conservation of these portraits in LAC’s YouTube video.

The McMichael Art Gallery in Kleinburg, Ontario, is showcasing LAC’s most recent exhibition Double Take: Portraits of Intriguing Canadians until January 20, 2013.Double Take presents 50 Canadians who have left—and are leaving—their mark on our country and our culture. Tune in to LAC’s podcast for an overview of the featured works and the stories behind them.

Finally, the exhibition Faces of 1812 is on display at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa until January 6, 2013. A commemorative exhibition, Faces of 1812 presents some of the men and women who experienced the War of 1812. LAC’s curatorial YouTube video and Faces of 1812 podcast will introduce you to the selected
works that document this significant historical event.

Keep following this blog to find out where these exhibitions will travel next. It could be your hometown!

Questions or comments? We would love to hear from you!

Home Children (Part II)—Edward Brignall

Today’s article is on Edward Brignall, born in England on January 11, 1898; you will learn how to obtain information on him.

The first step is to search by entering the surname Brignall in our main online resource on home children. You will notice that no results are displayed; this could be explained by the fact that in those days many surnames were transcribed phonetically.

The next step is to use the wildcard character *. We suggest that you enter Brign* in the surname field.

This search opens an item display for Edward Brignell, 10 years of age, who arrived in Canada on the SS Dominion on May 31, 1908, in the care of the Barnardo
charitable organization. Edward was part of a group of 109 girls and 219 boys. This information agrees with what we know.

The passenger lists from 1865 to 1922 have been digitized and you may consult them using our database Passenger Lists, 1865–1922. You may even examine a digitized image of the SS Dominion passenger list. Further information on Edward’s family background may be obtained by contacting the organization Barnardo’s Family History Service.

Several young English immigrants who settled in Canada served in the Canadian and British forces during both world wars; such is the case of Edward Brignall. To trace him, first search in our database Soldiers of the First World War. Just enter Brignall in
the surname field. This search generates five results, only one with the given name Edward:

Regimental number(s): 922715
Reference: RG 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 1068 – 36
Date of Birth: 11/01/1898

You may consult his attestation paper online to confirm his date of birth, find out
where he lived (i.e., 75 Bennerman Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba), and learn that his next of kin, his sister, Alice Brignall, resided in Leeds, England. By consulting his record, we learn that Edward died before leaving for Europe. Also available online are the death cards of First World War veterans; Edward’s shows that he died of pneumonia on January 23, 1917, at the Winnipeg General Hospital just a few months after he enlisted.

It is also possible to search the database of the Canadian Virtual War Memorial. There
we learn that Edward was the son of Edward and Dorothy Lever Brignall, of Leeds, England, and that he was buried at the Brookside Cemetery in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Finally, remember to consult the first part of this series, entitled Home Children—Introduction.

Happy hunting!

Questions or comments?
We would love to hear from you!