Looking Back


You Bought Everything from the Catalogue!

House from Beaver LumberFlipping pages of catalogues from the 1960s makes you realize how much life has changed not only in what you purchase but how you make that purchase. It was as simple as filling in the order form, taking it to the post office and buying a money order, then waiting for the package to arrive.


Online shopping has taken over. Gone are the exciting days when the new catalogue from Simpson's or Eaton's arrived and everyone waited for his turn to turn the pages. Sigh ...


Mail order catalogues from Eaton's or Simpson's were the source of virtually anything a person needed (other than groceries). Those who lived further from large centres took advantage of this to purchase everything from farm equipment such as an electric brooder to house 200 chickens at a time, fabrics from the most basic cotton to fine silks, furniture, vinyl records (a 4-record set by Don Messer and his Islanders for $2.75) to power tools. If one was musically inclined, the instruments were there too.


An amorous young man could buy a diamond engagement ring and wedding ring for $79.50 (delivered) from Eaton's 1963 catalogue. Or he could go all out and spend $400 on the engagement ring alone.


The 1960 Beaver Lumber Catalogue lists numerous packages for build-it-yourself homes. A two-bedroom home "package" could be purchased for $4,235. All materials (including hardware, nails, zonolite insulation and cement for a full basement) + building instructions are included in the price. All that is needed is to build it yourself! The Beaver (Alberta) Lumber Limited dealer in Onoway at that time was Claude Osga; the lumber yard phone number was 9.

You can probably still see these Beaver Lumber homes in the Onoway area today!

Onoway Museum has numerous catalogues (including farm equipment dealers) that throw light on what life was like decades ago worth a look!


Diamonds from Eatons
Guitars from Eatons

Diamonds from Eatons

How to impress your bride-to-be!

Guitars from Eatons

Aspiring musicians who loved the Kingston Trio, Elvis, or Johnny Cash
could invest in a guitar in pursuit of their dreams.

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Last updated: January 27, 2019