The largest company in the mail-order house business in Canada was the Canadian Aladdin Co. Ltd. with its head office in the CPR building in Toronto. It was a branch plant of the American Aladdin Company headquartered in Bay City, Michigan. The original name of Canadian Aladdin was Sovereign Construction (after founders O. E. and W. J. Sovereign); the original name of Aladdin Co. was North American Construction Ltd.

In addition to the head office in Toronto, Canadian Aladdin had offices in Saint John, Winnipeg, and Vancouver, with mills in Ontario, New Brunswick, and British Columbia. Whereas Eaton's was only in the mail-order house business from 1910 to 1932, and only in Western Canada, Canadian Aladdin did business from coast to coast from about 1905 to 1952. Canadian Aladdin was less well known than Eaton's, but it was much bigger in the mail-order house business.

Canadian Aladdin houses were precut at the factory and shipped to the railway station closest to the customer. The lumber and materials were accompanied by a detailed set of blueprints and construction manual. Aladdin boasted that anyone who could swing a hammer could build an Aladdin Home and they offered to pay $1 per knot for every knot you could find in a carload of Aladdin lumber. Imagine that guarantee today: The lumberyard would owe us money.

Canadian Aladdin homes were a quality item and hundreds of them likely still exist across Canada. Research into Canadian Aladdin homes is ongoing, and the author, who has an extensive collection of Aladdin catalogues, is currently identifying Aladdin homes.
by Les Henry

© Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation

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