The New Ontario Brewery: Canadian History in Vintage Postcards
Let’s toast the New Ontario Brewery. Although it ceased operations about a century ago, its memory lives on. This website highlights in vintage postcards the history of towns and townships in the greater Lake Nipissing and Lake Temagami areas of Northern Ontario, Canada, including the Nipissing District and portions of the Parry Sound district which are in the “Blue Sky Region.” These Canadian postcards are shown in digital, virtual museum format for educational purposes. If you have images or historical information which you’d like to share with our virtual museum, feel free to do so. To navigate these pages, mouse over the top navigation bar. Drop-down menus will appear of the areas of interest. Click on the thumbnails for larger images. Close the larger image before opening another thumbnail. The occasional duplicates for sale can be found using the search box on the main (home) page of VintagePostcards.org. This is an ongoing project; comments and questions to the webmaster at webmaster - at sign - vintagepostcards.org are welcome.
This Nipissing Lager beer label from the New Ontario brewery is quite scarce: only three copies are known to exist. Aside from being a breweriana collectible, it would also be considered ephemera. Ephemera, by its nature, is considering any “here today, gone tomorrow” transitory written or printed material not meant to be retained or preserved. Who saved beer bottle labels at the time? That’s the reason that the beer label would be considered ephemera. For more information, consult the The Ephemera Society of America. Examples of collectable ephemera would include advertising trade cards, bookmarks, postcards and posters. Ephemera derives from the Greek, meaning things lasting no more than a day.
Please note that while you are certainly welcome to visit the virtual museum as often as you’d like (and we encourage you to do so), these scans are owned by VintagePostcards.org and, as such, they are not to be re-used or re-purposed in any way, for any other reason — including use on another website, on social networking websites, in brochures or print-outs, etc. — without our prior express written permission. Under the terms of the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act), such use without permission constitutes copyright infringement and intellectual property theft. We hate to have to make that so clear, as we want you to enjoy the museum and we put these images up due to our love of Canada, but the actions of a few have prompted this notice. For further information, please see the footer of this page.
The New Ontario Brewery led a short but eventful life in North Bay. Established in 1905 by a group of businessmen headed up by James Palango, it produced a German-style lager beer. The company prospered, and enough beer was produced to quench the thirst of both North Bay and surrounding communities. By 1910, the New Ontario had begun to hire “brewery boosters,” traveling salesmen who traveled by horse and buggy to locations as diverse as Cobalt to the north and Kitchener, Kingston, Ottawa and Pembroke. However, the quality of the lager produced was inconsistent: for some unknown reason, the brewery had five different brewmasters from 1906 to 1915. By the time that a fire destroyed the brewery in 1915, the first World War I was on. Supplies were being rationed and there was a shortage of manpower. Anti-German and prohibition sentiments of the time also factored into the decision not to rebuild the brewery.
Here are two pint bottles from the brewery, each measuring 10”. The amber is in great condition with no real issues. The clear bottle is slightly cloudy and could do with a clean to make it sparkle, which I haven’t gotten around to yet. Below are close-ups showing the New Ontario Brewery markings on these pint bottles.
The brewery also made another pint clear bottle in a different shape with embossing all over the bottle, as with the amber beer bottle. The clear bottle with the embossing on the bottom of the bottle had a label. There is also one amber quart bottle in a Canadian collectorion. No clear quarts have ever been found.
A locally-owned brewery which met with more success was the Sudbury Brewing and Malting Co., Ltd. It was founded in 1907 by amateur boxer and former hotelier J. J. Doran of North Bay, whose nickname was the “Brewer of Northern Ontario.” His brothers-in-law, Richard A. Fee and J. J. Mackey, partnered in the business. Eventually, they went on to buy other breweries: in 1911, they bought the Soo Falls Brewing Co. (begun in 1900 in Sault Ste. Marie) and, in 1913, they purchased the Kakabeka Falls Brewing Co. in Thunder Bay (Fort William). They also built Doran’s Brewery in Timmins in 1929. The Port Arthur Beverage Co. marked the company’s final purchase, in 1948. Brewmeister Doran died in 1958.
In more recent times, consolidation led to the creation of Doran’s Northern Ontario Breweries, which had been known as Northern Breweries since 1979. Northern Breweries, in a deal with Molson and Labatt, sold Superior Lager and Northern Ale to Southern Ontario. Finally, in 2004, Northern Breweries was sold to an investment group.
For collectors of vintage postcards, old postcards and the antique postcard. Deltiology, the hobby of collecting vintage postcards, is one of the fastest-growing collectibles hobbies. Old postcard collections interest collectors of antiques, memorabilia and ephemera; collectables such as old vintage postcards are used by museums and historians to document what was.