Vintage Cover Art: The Goblin

Prior to the great stock market crash at the end of the decade and the ensuing economic chaos, the prevalent mood of the 1920s in many places was upbeat and carefree. Magazine covers from the era typify this, including these fabulous illustrations from Canada’s Goblin, a monthly humor magazine.  Launched in 1921, it was in print for about ten years during which time its highly stylized, and at times witty, covers helped it to become Canada’s then most widely circulated magazine.

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(Image Source:  University of Toronto Archives)

Sarah Hatton’s Visual Creativity

Vimy

Sarah Hatton, Vimy (2015)

I’m always impressed with how a talented creative person can take a concept and come up with an unexpected interpretation that enables others to understand an aspect of that concept from a dramatically different perspective.  Such is the case with Sarah Hatton, a contemporary visual artist based in Chelsea, Quebec, who has developed a knack for employing non-traditional materials in service to her artistic vision.

Her “Detachment” series utilizes thousands of brass fastener pins, each originally stamped with a star on its head, salvaged from archival paper records maintained on Canadian soldiers during their WWI service and repurposes these pins to map out constellations of stars matching those that the soldiers would have seen during key battles of the time. This video from her artist site gives a nice overview of this brilliant work.

S. Hatton

Another body of her work seeks to raise awareness about the adverse effects of pesticides on declining honeybee populations.   This award-winning work incorporates dead bees into depictions of some of the natural geometric patterns found in the flora pollinated by these indispensable but threatened creatures. Wow!

S. Hatton Circle 1

Sarah Hatton, Circle 1 (2013)

Hatton is also an accomplished painter.  Her artist site showcases several series of imaginative paintings that reflect her curiosity about the natural world and individual mortality.  I especially like her “Fathom” series, which seems to play with ideas about the vulnerability and comfort that we feel with watery environments.

Fathom 3

Sarah Hatton, Fathom 3 (2014)

I encourage you to view more of Hatton’s excellent work at her artist site here as well as the several galleries that represent her, such as Ottawa’s Galerie St- Laurent-Hill or the James Baird Gallery in Pouch Cove, NL.

(Image Credits: Sarah Hatton)

 

Vintage Picture Map Geography of Canada

nw-territories

I recently came across a copy of an old school book, “Picture Map Geography of Canada and Alaska” by Vernon Quinn, that includes charming woodcut picture maps by Bruno da Osimo, a then noted Italian illustrator, for each of the Canadian provinces (other than Nunavut, which was then part of the Northwest Territories).  Originally published in 1944 and updated in 1954, it has a light but well-written chapter devoted to individual provinces.  Each map features animals, plants, activities and industries peculiar to the province depicted.  In addition to the maps (scanned in above and below), the book is adorned throughout with other delightful illustrations by da Osima (some of which I’ll compile in a future post).

alberta british-columbia manitoba-saskatchewan newfoundland nova-scotia-new-brunswick-pei ontario-2 quebec yukon

 

Similar Posts on O’Canada Blog:

1933 Quebec Tourist Road Map

Old Maps and Their Hidden Stories

Songs & Ballads From Nova Scotia

Vintage / Mod Design: The City Bus

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City Bus on Vancouver Street (about mid-1950s)

Distinctive industrial design reveals itself in many ways and, when done well, can be a genuine pleasure to take in.   While the specialness of such design is often difficult to see in our contemporary surroundings, its otherwise subtle impact jumps out when looking back at vintage images. A case in point: the humble municipal bus, operated in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary and other cities across Canada.  Over this period theses buses began to display a very mod sensibility as they evolved from the severe boxiness of earlier 1930s and 1940s versions to later, during the 1950s through the 1970s, being adorned with more rounded contours, sleek curves and very stylized lines and chrome elements.

Green With Envy

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Headstones, Old Burying Ground, Halifax

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Given its immense size, Canada is blessed with vast forests, sprawling farms and sweeping fields all of green.  Adding to previous posts featuring red- and blue-themed photo galleries, this collection showcases many shades of green that I’ve encountered through my photos from coast to coast across Canada.

For the Love of Old Barns

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Rustic Barn with Red Doors, Windows and Roof, Ile d’Orleans, Quebec

“I’m so glad you’re here . . . 

It helps me realize how beautiful my world is.”

                                                              ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Joy of the Blues

Nfld -- Boat on Grass

Small Fishing Boat, Near Port Rexton, Newfoundland

I love playing around with themes.  In an earlier post, I grouped together a bunch of my photos from across Canada that featured a strong element of red.  Today, I thought I’d do a similar thing with some photos that incorporate blues (of the uplifting kind).

Mod Design: Vintage Postcards of Expo 67

Forest Pavilion

Canada Forestry and Paper Pavilion

With the Rio Summer Olympics being just around the corner this prompted me to ponder the differences between the Olympics and the World Fairs.  While both are cultural showcases that bring together people of many nations to good-naturedly preen about their countries, World Fairs seem more ad hoc than the more structured, media spectacle of the Olympics.

Coinciding with Canada’s centennial in 1967, Montreal hosted what is considered to be one of the most successful World Fairs, which was the first to adopt the “Expo” moniker by which all subsequent World’s Fairs have been named.  As attested by these postcards, the various national pavilions at Expo 67 served as grand displays for then cutting-edge, very “mod” design and innovation.

Canadian Cities in 1950s Watercolors

Edmonton

For Canada Day weekend, this post features images that span the geography of this vast country.  Around 1953, in a grand display of national pride, the Montreal-based alcohol and beverage giant Seagram Company commissioned over a dozen Canadian artists (including several among the famed Group of Seven) to create a series of  watercolors of major Canadian cities. The paintings were subsequently the focus of a world tour organized by Seagram to showcase Canada and its urban landscapes.

While recently rummaging through an antique shop I came across a small booklet, dating to 1953, in which these paintings were reproduced and for which this post shows a sampling of the now somewhat faded images.  While many of the provincial capitals are depicted, I find the inclusion of several less prominent cities (including Fort William, Hamilton, Sarnia, Shawinigan Falls and Trois Rivieres) to be fascinating.

St. John's

Calgary

Shawinigan Falls

Charlottetown

Halifax

Montreal

Regina

Quebec City

Saint John

Hamilton

Vancouver

Toronto

Winnipeg

Windsor

“Leave a Trail . . .”

Farm Outside Quebec City

Farm Overlooking the St. Lawrence River and the Laurentians, Ile d’Orleans, Quebec

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“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

                                          ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Quebec Charm in Vintage Postcards

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Jacques Cartier Market, Montreal, Early 1900s

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Similar Posts on O’Canada:

• Bridges As Depicted in Vintage Postcards

• “Having a swell time . . .”: Vintage Hospital Postcards

• The Great Canadian Outdoors: Vintage Rockies Postcards

• Ever-Bustling 20th Century Toronto

• Vintage Quebec:  Ox Carts, Dog Carts and Sleighs

Wintery Inspiration

A. Philbert -- The Dream Country

“The Dream Country” by Andre Philbert

It’s definitely heavy coat and neck scarf weather around here, as it is in many places this time of year, so thoughts of winter cold are unavoidable.  This painting, “The Dream Country,” by Montreal artist, Andre Philbert, with its overwhelming shades of blue and houses set with jaunty rooflines perfectly captures the quiet chill of this time of year. More of Philbert’s deep-blue winter landscapes can be seen at the site for Toronto’s Liss Gallery.

“Having a swell time . . .”: Vintage Hospital Postcards

zGeneral-Hospital-Montreal

Postmarked 1913.  A cozy looking place.

Hospitals seem a peculiar and dreary subject for postcards.  But back in the day — before routine outpatient procedures and hospitals speedily freeing up beds — time in hospital (as patient or visitor) regularly spanned several days or longer, so penning a brief note to update absent friends or loved ones was probably not so odd.  And what better way to do it than with one of the colored cards conveniently available at the hospital!

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 Postmarked 1945. The note starts out: “Having a swell time.”  Love those roadsters!

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zOntario-Hospital

About 1948.  Yikes — looks more like a prison!

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zRoyal-Victoria-Hospital

About 1910.  Regal digs.  Notice horse and buggy to bottom left.

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zToronto-General-Hospital

 Postmarked 1935.  Street car or bus passing by.

Magical Winterscapes by Group of Seven

A.J. Casson -- Rooftops

A. J. Casson, Rooftops

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As the chill of wintry winds, snow and ice continues, a compilation of Canadian winterscapes by the Group of Seven artists seems in order.  As always, the scenery by these talented artists is captivating!  (Click on image to enlarge)

Similar posts on O’Canada:

→  The Group of Seven’s Landscape Explosion

→  The Very Vital Canadian Group of Painters

Bridges As Depicted on Vintage Postcards

High-Level-Bridge,-Edmonton

 Steam train crossing as onlookers leisurely enjoy the vista.  Postmarked 1921. 

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Even with sophisticated modern equipment, bridges are marvels of engineering skill.  Bridges from earlier periods, such as the array of Canadian ones featured on these vintage postcards, built without the benefit of such conveniences and often at the cost of many lives and injuries, are that much more impressive!

Heading into Canada from Detroit.  About 1940s, when cars featured many curves.

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Victoria-Jubilee-Bridge

Love the simplicity of this image and the partial reflection. Postmarked 1906.

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Similar posts:

•  Beautiful Old Railway Bridge, Near Clementsport, N.S.

•  Canada-U.S. Friendship Postcard and Stamps

•  Vintage Quebec:  Ox Carts, Dog Carts and Sleighs

Old Maps and Their Hidden Stories

Nova Canadae 1693

Nova Canadae (1693)

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Good historical maps combine science and art to guide its users through its subject geography, with the best such maps igniting the imagination about the many backstories underpinning its cartographical offerings. Some of the oldest maps of North America include parts of Canada, which then featured place names such Terra Nova (now Newfoundland), Nouvelle France (most of what is now Eastern Canada), and Acadie (now Nova Scotia).  The following collection showcases some interesting old maps of Canada I’ve come across.

Related Posts on O’Canada:

1933 Quebec Tourist Road Map

Vintage Quebec: Ox Carts, Dog Carts and Sleighs

Rural----Dog-Cart

A Dog Cart in Quebec (late 1940s/early 1950s)

Much of Quebec has long had a rural character.  As shown in these vintage postcards, the province’s resourceful people would routinely enlist their animals — even dogs! — in the daily chores.

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Rural----Ox-Cart-1

Ox Cart in Rural Quebec (late 1940s/early 1950s)

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Rural----Winter-Sleigh

Sleigh in Winter in Montreal (postmarked Apr. 3, 1911) — Note on card reads in part: “Dear Father,  This is what they are doing way up here in April.   It thaws very little even yet.  .  .  .  With love, H.K.I.”

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Rural----Ox-Cart-2

Another Ox Cart in Rural Quebec (late 1940s/early 1950s)

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Similar posts on O’Canada:

* When Motels Were Newer and Grander

* Early 1900s Town Markets

* Moonlit Views of Yesteryear Canada

* Pastoral Splendor on the Ile de Orleans

 

When Motels Were Newer and Grander

wPicardie-Motel,-Quebec

Lovely watercolor effect, simple signage and lines, very retro!

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From the 1920s to the early 1960s, the automobile led the way to leisurely road trips and the chance for a quick getaway down newly paved  highways across Canada and the U.S.  The cozy roadside motel filled the need  for an affordable, convenient place for the weary driver and family to kick back and relax in relative luxury with then modern conveniences (such as showers in each room, radio, TV and Hi-Fi!), as these vintage postcards attest.

Early 1900s Town Markets

These colored photo postcards from the early 1900s highlight the importance of town markets as hubs of community activity.  Lots of horses and wagons, ladies in long dresses and men in dark hats and not an automobile in sight.

wHalifax-Market,-N.S.

Postmarked October 6, 1910, Reads: “Dear Cousin, I have not received any letters from you, nor from Oscar. Hope you will write to the above address and by the time I return here, there will be many letters.  Kind Love, Edgar”

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wMarket,-Brockville,-Ont.

No postmark, but likely around 1910; No note

wBonsecours-Market,-Montrea

Postmarked September 8, 1909; No note

 Similar posts:

Moonlit Views of Yesteryear Canada

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 ♦ Whimsical Wednesday: Vintage 7 Day Kisses

Moonlit Views of Yesteryear Canada

Chateau-Frontenac----Moody

While thumbing through a large group of vintage Canadian postcards at a local antique shop a half-dozen or so among the thousand-plus cards stood out because each featured a highly stylized moonlight view of their subjects, giving each card a dark and moody feel.  Most were from about 1906 to 1908, with one as late as 1919, and all but one were marked as being printed by Valentine & Sons, a noted Scottish postcard publisher of the time with offices in Toronto and Montreal.  A little online research revealed that the cards were collotype photographs taken in daylight with a full moon, clouds and lighting effects layered on top, after which the images were hand-tinted.

Bear-River----Moody-Mag

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Greenbank----Moody

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Halifax----Moody-Mag

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NB----Moody-Mag

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Rideau----Moody

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St.-James-Cathedral----Mood

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Windsor-Hotel----Moody

Similar posts on O’Canada:

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•  Vintage Canadiana:  Canadian Home Journal

•  Vintage Canadian Apple Crate Labels

Quebec City at Night

Chateau Frontenac, Quebec City

Chateau Frontenac, Quebec City

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A few night time images from most recent trip (Spring 2013) to Quebec City.  The night was crazy cold and windy, which greatly challenged my patience and tripod so the images are not as sharp as I’d like.

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Along the Wall, Quebec City

Along the Wall, Quebec City

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Evening, Rue de St. Jean, Quebec City

Evening, Rue de St. Jean, Quebec City

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Night's Glow, Quebec City

Night’s Glow, Quebec City

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City Hall, Quebec City

City Hall, Quebec City

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Night Fall, Quebec City

Night Fall, Quebec City

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Night Above Lower Town, Quebec City

Night Above Lower Town, Quebec City

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Antique Shop at Night, Quebec City

Antique Shop at Night, Quebec City

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Windy Night Near Chateau Frontenac, Quebec City

Windy Night Near Chateau Frontenac, Quebec City

Random Images of Quebec City

Some random images from a recent trip to Quebec City.
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Tower on City Gate, Quebec City

Tower on City Gate, Quebec City

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Looking Out on the St. Lawrance, Quebec City

Looking Out on the St. Lawrance, Quebec City

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Rooftop Windows and Angles, Quebec City

Rooftop Windows and Angles, Quebec City

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Rustic Fire Hydrant, Quebec City

Rustic Fire Hydrant, Quebec City

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Looking Down the Avenue, Quebec City

Looking Down the Avenue, Quebec City

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Church Top, Quebec City

Church Top, Quebec City

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Sign Kiosk, Quebec City

Sign Kiosk, Quebec City

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Quebec's Banner, Quebec City

Quebec’s Banner Fluttering, Quebec City

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Colorful Roof, Quebec City

Colorful Roof, Quebec City

Notre-Dame Basilica de Montreal

Notre Dame Basillica Montreal_edited-1

Quebec Month / Installment 15

Even to a casual observer of Quebec culture, the predominance of the Catholic church, at least historically, in the province is evident in many ways, not the least of which is the prominence in many towns of a centrally located Catholic church and the widespread naming of streets and other places for saints.  The Notre-Dame Basilica de Montreal, an impressive gothic structure situated in the Vieux-Montreal area of that city, is perhaps the crown jewel of all these.  My lovely wife took these two images of the intricately ornate interior of the Basilica.

notre dame basillica 3

Closeup on Architectural Detail Around Montreal

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Quebec Month / Installment 14

Pediments, bas relief sculptures, window moldings, fanciful brickworks, roof fixtures and decorative doors are among the many intricate architectural details that vie for our attention as we walk down a street and absorb all that is before us.  Here are some pics of such adornments from a recent trip to Montreal.

Manhole Covers of Quebec City

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Quebec Month / Installment 13

Underfoot and mostly unnoticed as we trek to our destinations, manhole covers rest snugly in their circular grade-level perches all around Quebec City.  With their spare adornment, they are immovable except with great effort, securely guarding their underground treasures of utility.

Old Farm Tractor Along Charlevoix / St. Lawrence Shore

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Quebec Month / Installment 12

Driving a couple of hours north of Quebec City in the beautiful Charlevoix region, we came across this bright red tractor along a scenic stretch of the St. Lawrence coast. Farm tractors are rarely situated this close to a shore line, so its rustic charm beckoned the camera.

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Wall Art a la Montreal

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Jazz Saints

Quebec Month / Installment 11

Not long ago I posted some pics I took of graffiti in Montreal.  Painted wall art is another form of creative expression that is different from graffiti, but sometimes in only subtle ways.  I’m sure someone has worked out the technical distinction between such things, but however these art forms are categorized, Montreal is a rich showcase for a great deal of both (as well as other street art variants — such as kinetic art, elaborate light shows and light sculptures — that I could not readily capture).

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Painted Cargo Container

Cardboard Totem Pole Wall Art

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Quebec Month / Installment 7

I have some other Montreal wall art still to share, but, at the moment, I’ve singled out the above piece because of the unusual medium — painted cardboard — used by its creator.  By the time I came upon this contemporary take on a traditional Pacific Northwest totem pole, the work had seen better days but it still held up quite well.  The brightly colored eagle, beaver and cow (a modern update for a totem pole!)  are set off nicely by the intricate carvings in the corrugated cardboard.

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