While scouring the internet for all things vintage and interesting I stumbled upon a cool article about the history of everyone’s favorite Ginger drink..”Canada Dry’s Ginger Ale“. Well maybe it’s not everyone’s favorite but it sure is a fav of mine and also TRULY Canadian (not just using the name here). And since I love sharing cool Toronto history with you, today’s post will be highlights from the beginnings of this drink and then showcasing a bunch of my favorite vintage ads I found from the 30s, 40s and 50s.

1947 Canada Dry Ginger Ale Vintage Ad
Source: Ebay

The beginning (the Highlights):

Vintage Canada Dry ginger Ale label Toronto, Canada
Source: BlogTO
  • In 1890, Canadian pharmacist and chemist John J. McLaughlin of Enniskillen, Ontario opened a carbonated water plant in Toronto after returning from Brooklyn where he is was working in the pharmacy business.
  • McLaughlin set himself the goal of developing a pale, dry ginger ale, ostensibly as a non-alcoholic rival for champagne but more likely in the hope of surpassing the popular ginger ales then on the market (Source).
  • In 1904, McLaughlin created “Canada Dry Pale Ginger Ale”, which was a refined version of their long produced “McLaughlin’s Belfast Style Ginger Ale”.
  • “It has a snap and a tingle; a smart spry taste,” early ads claimed. It was known as “the champagne of ginger ales” for its light taste and was marketed with a beaver icon and a map of Canada (Source).
  • Rapid growth and popularity quickly followed after it’s launch, with plants opening up in other areas of Canada and the trade name registered in 1907.
  • The sweet drink was even appointed to the Royal Household of the Governor General of Canada where the label featuring a beaver atop a map of Canada was replaced with the present Crown and shield.
  • Canada Dry stayed in the family business till the 1920s, where growing popularity in the United States had the family expand into New York City (Note: McLaughlin died suddenly in 1914).
  • It was sold in 1923 to P. D. Saylor and Associates, who renamed it Canada Dry Ginger Ale, Inc. and forever removing the ties to Toronto.
  • It has been in United States hands ever since (being purchased by several companies over the years).
  • Side Note: His brother, Samuel McLaughlin, was busily growing their father’s business into what would eventually become General Motors of Canada during the beginnings of Canada Dry.
Source: Wikipedia

For a full detailed history lesson on Canada Dry make sure you check out the ‘BlogTO’ article HERE.

The vintage ads:

1937-So many “Remedies” from one drink.

Canada Dry Ginger Alex 1937 Vintage Ad
Source: Period Paper

1930s Ad- Kids love it, it’s made thru a scientific process, it’s great at parties and served at fancy exotic hotels. Canada Dry is truly the Best!

1930s vintage Canada Dry ginger ale ad
Source: Flickr

1935 Ad- “Against the brilliant social background, it’s Canada Dry”.

Source: Ebay

“Cool Off with Canada Dry” (cute swimsuit!)

1940s Vintage Canada Dry Ginger Ale Ad
Source: O Canada blog

1940s- Canada Dry says “Keep up the good work”

1940s Vintage Canada Dry Ginger Ale Ad
Source: Pinterest

Keeps his Ginger Up? I do marketing for a career and even I don’t know what that means.

1940s Canada Dry Christmas Ginger Ale Ad
Source: Vintage Ads

1950s Ad-The Ginger-Upper 🙂 This is better then the above use of the words ‘Ginger’ and ‘Up’.

1954 Canada Dry Ginger Ale Ad
Source: Etsy

Esther Williams for Canada Dry, 1956. Do you think those are her kids (according to the ad) or “fake kids”?

vintage Canada Dry ad with Esther Willias

Another endorsement ad- Mary Hartline, 1951.

1951 Canada Dry Ginger Ale Vintage Ad Mary Hartline
Source: flickr

And for our last image lets leave you with Annie Oakley and some great BBQ recipes featuring the “Ginger-Upper”.

Original vintage magazine ad for Canada Dry Ginger Ale featuring Annie Oakley
Source: Attic Paper

canada-dry logo


So friends am I alone on the love of Canada Dry Ginger Ale or do you too enjoy the “Champagne of Ginger Ales”?

Liz 🙂




5 comments on “‘Canada Dry’-Toronto’s Original Beverage and the Champagne of Ginger Ales”

  1. “It’s Gingervating” Love it. Not sure about “It keeps his Ginger Up.” Sounds like a euphemism to me.

    Canada Dry ginger ale was my favourite drink as a child! I haven’t had it for many many years, but I do occasionally have a ginger ale and still enjoy it. I wonder if I’d still like Canada Dry? I don’t really like champagne 😛

    • I’m glad I’m not the only one who thought the Ginger up was strange 🙂

      Well the only way you can tell if you still like Canada Dry is to give it a go! Let me know when you do, I’m curious if you do still like it or not.

      Liz 🙂

  2. I’m with Tanith in thinking that ‘keeping his ginger up’ is a euphemism. Or, a really bad marketing phrase! Love all these old adverts. I like Canada Dry, it was nice to learn more about it.

  3. Y have a litle prity botle of champagne CANADA DRY. I live in Lima Peru .In this botle sais :”Marca Registrada -Envasado con agua esterilizada POR S.E.C. CHOSICA –G.Berckemeyer & Co. S.A. -Lima ..
    The year of production :more or less 1930. In my city no exist so many history for these product .!!

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