T. Eaton Company fonds

Reference Code: Fonds - F 229
Title: T. Eaton Company fonds
Date of Creation: 1792-1999, predominant 1900-1960
Physical Description:

ca. 556 metres of textual records

ca. 90,000 photographs

124 posters

108 hours of motion picture film

390 videocassettes (37 hrs.)

777 audio reels

49 audio cassettes

431 architectural drawings

805 MB of photographs : colour (jpg)

Scope and Content:

Fonds consists of the records created, received and collected by the T. Eaton Company Limited and some of its associated operations.

Most of the textual records come from the Eaton's executive offices at national headquarters, in Toronto. The fonds contains few records from lower administrative offices or from individual stores. Offices and departments represented in this fonds include: President and Vice-President, 1869-1965; Secretary, 1890-1987; Advertising and Art, 1861-1988; Controller, 1890-1975; Corporate Property Management; Public Relations, 1912-1988, Merchandise, 1889-1977; General Office, 1899-1972; Law Department; Mail Order Office, 1884-1976; Manufacturing, 1855-1961; Personnel Office, 1880-1988; Sales and Expense, 1921-1960; Statistical Insurance, 1899-1930; Staff Superintendent, 1911-1962; Store Superintendent, 1901-1979; Central Division, 1922-1979; Maritimes Division, 1897-1957; and the Western Division (Winnipeg), 1905-1961.

In addition, fonds contains some textual records from the following Eaton-owned companies: Brampton Tire and Rubber Company; the Eaton Knitting Company Ltd.; Guelph Stove Company Ltd.; T. Eaton Acceptance Company Ltd.; T. Eaton Acceptance Company Ltd. of Montreal; T. Eaton Maritimes Company Ltd.; T. Eaton General Insurance Company Ltd.; T. Eaton Realty Company Ltd.; T. Eaton Company Ltd.; T. Eaton Housefurnishing Company Ltd.; The Eaton Delivery Company Ltd.; The Eaton Pension Fund; Greenwich Canadian Company Ltd.; The T. Eaton Company British Columbia Ltd. (now the T. Eaton Company Canada Ltd.); Berkley Contracting Ltd. (now Eaton Tours Ltd.); Eaton Parking Services Ltd.; Eaton's Food Services Ltd.; Southdale Corporation Ltd. (now International Realty Inc.); 278451 Ontario Ltd. (now Communications Counsel Ltd.); 286713 Ontario Ltd. (now Eaton Properties Ltd.); Eaton's of Canada Ltd.; Eaton's Pharmacy Ltd.; Viking Shopping Centres Ltd.; Eaton Credit Corporation; Eaton Travel Ltd.; 682995 Ontario Ltd. (now T. Eaton Holdings Ltd.); 94030 Canada Inc.; 1368058 Ontario Inc.; 1379322 Ontario Inc.; and National Retail Credit Service Ltd.

Fonds also consists of ca. 90,000 photographs, created or acquired by Eaton's. Photos include electronic records, prints, negatives, proofs, slides and copy prints created or supplied by Eaton's in-house photo studio and used in various departments and offices throughout the organisation. Subjects include: advertising, building expansions, displays, portraits of employees, employee activities, promotions, transportation as well as historical events such as Royal visits.

Also included in the fonds are 124 posters created between 1925 and the 1980's. Subjects are: automobiles, Centennial celebrations, clothing and dress, shoplifting and store security, department stores, paper conservation, sporting events, parades and processions, price lists, radios, restaurants, sales promotions, strikes, tapestries, and tourism. A number of items are not creations of Eaton's, including two cartoon reproductions, two Statistics Canada posters, and two posters for Sunbeam automobiles.

Fonds also contains 431 architectural drawings, survey plans and decorative drawings, 1900 - 1975. These records mainly concern Eaton's merchandising properties, employee recreational facilities and Eaton family properties. There are also reference drawings for American and Western Canadian department stores by the Chicago firm, D.H. Burnham and Company, as well as mechanical designs by Russell Motor Car Company for a machine gun mounted vehicle.

Also included are 16 mm films and videotapes, created 1927-1982, pertaining to Eaton's annual Santa Claus Parade, commercials, Eaton family history, community relations, staff training and market research.

As well, the fonds includes 81 hours of sound recordings (1940-1984) on audio reel and audiocassette. Sound recordings include radio commercials as well as interviews with Lady Eaton and speeches by Eaton's managers.

Administrative History or Biographical Sketch:

The T. Eaton Company Limited was a major Canadian retailer founded in 1869 by Timothy Eaton in Toronto, Ontario, and operating until 1999.

Click on the link(s) below for more information.

T. Eaton Co.

Finding Aid:

Separate inventories are available for the textual, special media, architectural, as well as documentary art and photographic portions of this fonds.

Watch a select number of digitized videos from this fonds on the Archives of Ontario's YouTube channel:

Click for External Link

Structure of Collection:

View how this material is structured within its collection. Select items to navigate through the different available levels of description, including online series, sub-series and listings.

Restrictions on Access:

Textual records containing personal information or concerning labour matters are restricted for 75 years from the date of the last recorded entry. All other textual records are restricted for 30 years from the last recorded entry, except where otherwise noted. See series and file level descriptions for details.

There are no access restrictions on the photographic portion of the fonds except for series F 229-306, which is restricted for conservation reasons.

For information on how to access the restricted records, contact a Reference Archivist.

How to order these records:

Reading Rooms: Consult the appropriate Inventory for F 229 in order to narrow search.

Terms For Use and Reproduction:

Copyright has been transferred to the Archives of Ontario by the donor, in so far as the donor held copyright. This fonds also includes materials whose copyright pertains to other rights holders. There are no restrictions on reproduction for research and private study. If you wish to use other than for research and private study any of this material, submit a Request for Permission to Publish, Exhibit or Broadcast Form.

Immediate Source of Acquisition: Fonds was acquired by the Archives of Ontario from T. Eaton Company Ltd. through numerous accessions between 1959 and 1991. In 2008, an accrual of minute books of various Eaton's companies, as well as shareholders records, were received from the court appointed liquidator. Prior to these transfers, the records were stored either at a warehouse in Scarborough or at the Eaton Company Archives, Yorkdale Shopping Centre, Toronto.
Availability of Other Formats:

Some of the records in this fonds, including most catalogues, are also available on microfilm.

Some films are available as DVD reference copies or as digital files that will be made available upon request.


Fonds was initially arranged according to subject by the Eaton's Archives. After their transfer to the Archives of Ontario, parts of the fonds were re-arranged according to provenance.

Other/Former Codes:

Accession Numbers: 2462, 2742, 2760, 3144, 6109, 21264, 21328, 22820, 24141 and 24308