Soon after war broke out in 1914, Eaton’s contributed an unprecedented amount to Canada’s war effort. The company announced that all military contracts it received would be delivered at cost, and it even paid the salaries of enlisted employees for the duration of their service, in addition to their military wages.
In total, 3,327 Eaton’s employees across Canada enlisted, with 2,200 from the Toronto store alone.
The press release says that ‘Each time an enlistee employed at Eaton’s Toronto location was shipped overseas, a portrait was taken of him to be displayed prominently in the store. More than 2,000 of these portraits—part of the T. Eaton Company records at the Archives of Ontario—are featured in the exhibit. The faces of these men show an intimate side of the war.
These photographs are an excellent resource for genealogists who are researching their family history in Toronto. In particular, the exhibit allows users to view a list of names of Eaton’s enlistees and their portrait. You might discover that someone in your family was an “Eatonian” – an enlistee employed at Eaton’s.
Eaton’s Goes To War also asks users to contribute their own stories of ancestors who worked for Eaton’s during the 1910s. These stories will help to show how Eaton’s had a personal impact on Ontarians during the Great War.
To view the exhibit, go to http://www.archives.gov.on.ca/en/explore/online/soldiers/remembrance_day.aspx
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