Recently I went and visited an antique show here in Toronto at a local mall called “Cloverdale“, there was lots and lots of items for sale but nothing mid-century for this gal until I saw a really cool hat box at one of the tables. Seen here…

1950s Vintage Hat Box

The box was not in great condition but after quickly searching the name on the box “Morgans” I discovered that it was a little bit of Canadian history, so I ran back and scooped it up for a steal and a history lesson from its owners.

Apparently, Morgan’s (formally Henry Morgan & Company) was a Montreal-based Canadian department store chain. The first store was opened in Montreal in 1845 by Scottish immigrant Henry Morgan with a second store not appearing till the early 1950s in the Snowdon section of Montreal. Other stores subsequently opened on the island of Montreal, and several Ontario cities (Wikipedia).

After being open for over 100 years, in the 1960s the Hudson Bay Company purchased Morgans and quickly converted the Ontario stores to “Bay’s”. By the early 1970s the Quebec stores followed suit and that was the end of the brand Morgans….until I found my box! Now we can share in a moment of Canadian history together and bring to life the department store once more.

The Early Days:

Morgans 1890

Morgan's 1890

Morgan’s department store in Montreal decorated for the 1939 Royal Tour of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. So Elegant.

I wish we could see setups like this again when royalty comes to visit.

 Morgan's department store decorated for the 1939 Royal Tour. Montreal, Canada

Here are some images of other Morgans in the 1950’s

Hamilton’s Greater Shopping Centers-Morgans

Morgan's 1950s

Interior shots of the Hamilton store being prepared for opening

A miniature milk bar for the kids. Oh my how cute!!

Morgans Department store 1950s

Male Mannequins for the store. Kind of creepy I think. Actually Really Really Creepy!

Morgans Department Store

Group of Sales women attending a class to be able to work at Morgan’s.

What marvelous hair all these ladies have.

Morgans Department Store

Learning how to use the Cash Register.

Morgans Department Store

Morgans 1950’s ad for Schiaparelli Hats. Love this! How do I get this hat?

Schiapareli 1958


Hungry anyone? I will have the Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding (my fav!).

Gosh could you imagine if a Buffet (then called a Smorgasbord) was $1.19 today? Yikes!

Vintage Department Store ads

“As new as tomorrow”….How exciting, I love things that are as new as tomorrow!

vintage department store ad

Logo Designs:

1950s Morgans

1950s Morgans Department store
Source: The Department Store Museum

1970s Morgans after the Hudson Bay took it over (this would be its last logo change)

Vintage Department Stores in Canada
Source: The Department Store Museum

 Interesting Fact: It looks like Morgans was the first department store to move into family neighborhoods, as opposed to making a trip downtown to go shopping (as seen below). I’m sure this made many a family lives easier.

This ad makes me giggle. What is with the triangle people??

Vintage Department Store Toronto

And that interesting fact ties in with the knowledge that where I bought the hat box was actually where a Morgans Department store once stood in the 1960s at Cloverdale Mall.  It was under my nose the whole time and I never knew! How exciting!


There you have it friends, a little bit of Canadian History.

Do you have a department store where you live that has been around for years or maybe know of one like Morgans that has come and gone? I would love to hear about it.

Liz 🙂



9 comments on ““Morgans Department Store”-Little bit of Canadian Vintage History”

  1. Love the font in the old logo, the milk bar, the intricate storefront, the lady’s hair (not wash ‘n’ go, that’s for sure)–everything but the transvestite face mannequins. 🙂

  2. I live within walking distance of May Company – built in 1937, and in danger of being torn down some years ago, before an outcry (public or governmental, I don’t know) saved it. Now it’s safe and polished and the soon-to-be-opened site for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences!

    Also, Bullock’s is not too far away, completely closed, but some time ago it was opened for a lady’s tea party and fashion show (reliving the old, Marlene Dietrich-wearing-trousers-in-public glory days). I tried my best to go 1940’s style – what fun it was!

    • I just love how 1. the May company building was saved due to the public saying something 2. How it’s being turned into such an amazing site. Love it! I also the lady’s tea party/fashion show idea 🙂 I’m sure you loved marvelous all done 1940s style. Thanks so much for sharing those stories, such a thrill to hear.


  3. Those milk churn stools! What an incredible and adorable idea. This is all so lovely. The beautiful building and fascinating little piece of vanished history. And a cute hat box, even if it has seen better days! The colours and design are still gorgeous.

  4. I have a large square Morgan’s box that is 14″x 14″x 8′. It is green in color and in excellent condition. I just found it while cleaning out my mother’s house. Is it worth anything and where can I sell it?


    • Hi there,

      I am honestly not a professional on this matter at all so what I’m going to say might be way off 🙂 I do know from my travels that it is probably not worth a lot. I paid $20 for my hat box and it is a bit beatup. You might be able to get $40 for it maybe a bit more. It depends on what it looks like, condition and how valuable the “morgans name” is to a buyer. You could try to sell it on ebay and start at a price you think is fair. If no bites then list it again at a lower price. You could also take it into a local vintage shop and see if they would buy it off you (OR maybe could help you price it).

      Hope some of this helps. Good luck!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.