When the Second World War broke out in 1939, mail-order companies demonstrate their support for the Canadian war effort by sending troops overseas, selling patriotic goods through the catalogues, by working with the government on its rationing program, and by sending parcels overseas to citizens in Britain impacted by restricted goods and to prisoners-of-war in Germany.

1943

Freddy Scythes, a Canadian prisoner-of-war behind German lines, receives parcels from Simpson’s through the mail.

Before and during the Second World War women dominate the mail-order department at Eaton.

1945

Throughout the war, Dupuis Frères sends gifts of cigarettes to former employees serving in the military. The Tobacco Depot serving the army postal service is, for many Dupuis employees and customers, conveniently located in Montréal.
When the Second World War broke out in 1939, mail-order companies demonstrate their support for the Canadian war effort by sending troops overseas, selling patriotic goods through the catalogues, by working with the government on its rationing program, and by sending parcels overseas to citizens in Britain impacted by restricted goods and to prisoners-of-war in Germany.

1943

Freddy Scythes, a Canadian prisoner-of-war behind German lines, receives parcels from Simpson’s through the mail.

Before and during the Second World War women dominate the mail-order department at Eaton.

1945

Throughout the war, Dupuis Frères sends gifts of cigarettes to former employees serving in the military. The Tobacco Depot serving the army postal service is, for many Dupuis employees and customers, conveniently located in Montréal.

© Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation

Colour cover of Eaton's 1941 Spring/Summer Catalogue

Eaton's (Saint-Hyacinthe) Spring/Summer Catalogue, 1941, cover.

Used with permission of Sears Canada Inc., Archives of Ontario, T. Eaton Co. fonds

© Used with permission of Sears Canada Inc., Archives of Ontario, Series F-229, T. Eaton Co. fonds


Colour copy of shipping labels for parcels sent by Simpson's to a Canadian prisoner-of-war

Shipping receipts for parcels sent by Simpson's to a Canadian prisoner-of-war in Germany.

Canadian War Museum Archives, Scythes Collection

© Canadian War Museum Archives, Scythes Collection


Black and white photo of women working at Eatons

Women working in Eaton's mail-order department, 1943

Used with permission of Sears Canada Inc., Archives of Ontario, T. Eaton Co. fonds

AO4467.
© Used with permission of Sears Canada Inc., Archives of Ontario, T. Eaton Co. fonds


Colour cover of Dupuis Frères 1944-45 Fall/Winter Catalogue

Dupuis Frères Catalogue Fall/Winter Catalogue, 1944–45, cover.

Canadian Postal Museum

1997.31.9.
© Dupuis Frères Limitée, Used with permission of Josette Dupuis-Leman


Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • observe and identify the characteristics of early 20th century lifestyle;
  • compare the evolution of the Canadian and Quebec society over several decades;
  • explain the similarities and differences between past and present society;
  • discuss the main events of the 20th century (economic crisis, World Wars, unionization, feminist movement) and the impact that they had on Canadian and Quebec societies.

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