Canadian Novelty Postcards: Canadian History in Vintage Postcards
Have a seat and relax! Let’s explore the whimsical world of vintage Canadian novelty postcards. These old vintage postcards highlight 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.
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.
“Cottage country” has a lot to offer recreationally. Well, the fish aren’t nearly quite as big as the ones in this 1926 real-photo exaggeration postcard of Jonah and the Whale at North Bay, but no doubt some of the fishermen in your family will claim “the one that got away” was this big. The other real-photo exaggeration postcard is unusual for the inclusion of a frog as part of the fishing image. An explanation of the photographic process used to make these “tall tale” postcards, as they are also known, can be found at the Wisconsin Historical Society’s web page about photographer Alfred Stanley Johnson and at the American Museum of Photography’s page on “trick” photographer William H. Martin.
Novelty postcards come in a variety of materials, from leather to birch bark, and can include embroidery, applied glitter, felt pennants, real feathers, hair, ribbon and buttons, among other materials. This scarce handmade birch bark postcard is in perfect condition. It’s nicely detailed and says: “We buy our worms at Sunset Park and sure get the big ones.” Notice the uneven borders, which the maker had to contend with as best he could when creating the postcard, while at the same time not splitting the bark. They’ve even drawn a stamp box on the reverse! Another unusual vintage postcard (below, center) contains two novelty postcard features. The c. 1910 postcard, published by Stedman Bros., Ltd. of Brantford and Winnipeg, contains a felt pennant saying “North Bay,” and a real-photo of the wharf, inset at top right.
A scarce c. 1925-1926 real-photo postcard does double duty as a novelty postcard in its unusual use as a raffle ticket. Members of the North Bay Citizens’ Band pose on the steps of City Hall to have their picture taken by local photographer J. A. Noel. Tickets for the raffle, the proceeds from which were earmarked for “Music and Accessories,” cost 25 cents each; this was ticket No. 205, the right half having been removed to enter the raffle. Prizes, which were a silver casserole, a cut glass berry bowl and a silver bread plate, could be previewed at Thomas Co.’s jewelry store, which is seen to the right in a 1923 postcard. Thomas Jewelry is the foreground store which has an awning saying “Watch Repairing & Optical Goods.”
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.