New Online Exhibit Highlights Eaton's Contribution to WWI
Ontario Remembers Company’s Support for Canadians During First World War
The Archives of Ontario is marking Remembrance Day with the launch of the online exhibit, Eaton's Goes to War.
As part of a series of exhibits to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the First World War, the new online exhibit chronicles how the T. Eaton Company (commonly known as "Eaton's"), under the direction of Sir John Craig Eaton, supported Canada's war efforts through financial contributions, uniforms, equipment and other supplies. More than 3,000 Eaton's employees also enlisted in the Great War, and portraits of more than 2,000 of those soldiers, including their names and rank, are displayed in the exhibit.
Eaton's paid the full salary of any married employee who enlisted, as a supplement to military wages. With unmarried employees who enlisted receiving half their salary, Eaton's paid more than $2 million in wages by the end of the First World War - more than any other company in Canada.
- The T. Eaton Company was founded by Timothy Eaton in 1869 and grew into one of the largest department stores in North America. The company ceased operation in 1999.
- Sir John Craig Eaton personally contributed $100,000 to outfit 15 armoured trucks equipped with Vickers-Maxim guns. This mobile unit came to be known as the Eaton’s Machine Gun Battery.
- Visitors can search the names of each soldier and Eaton’s employee as part of the online exhibit, and share their own memories, stories or comments.
- The T. Eaton Company records were donated to the Archives of Ontario by Eaton’s, Sears Canada and others between 1959 and 2003.
- Since 1903, the Archives of Ontario has been the premier source of information about the history of the province and its people, with vast collections of documents, photographs, films, maps, drawings and art.
- Find out more about First World War commemorative activities at the Archives of Ontario. The Archives offers a variety of services and access points to their collections: reference services; online databases and exhibits; travelling exhibits; educational programming; videos; speakers bureau; and public tours.
“This exhibit depicts the significant contributions of one of Canada’s most iconic companies to our nation’s efforts in the First World War. It is fitting that on Remembrance Day, this exhibit reminds us of how individuals and organizations, both at the front and at home, were able to support our country during one of Canada’s greatest challenges. Their bravery, courage and dedication to our nation is how we remember them.”