Dating in the late 1950s
Even Torontonians didn't go very far, at first, maybe only 30 or 40 miles, but it was a new excursion to visit Cousin Emma they hadn't seen since Christmas the year before.
But what an adventure, the steam whistle on the engine, shrieking across the landscape, the frantic chugging up the grade, the smoke cloud over everything as the farm fields flitted past...
They were adorned with coloured pictures of schools, post offices, town halls, libraries, hospitals, churches, court houses, government buildings, and street or park scenics.
Astonishingly even the smallest backwater towns had souvenir ware made featuring their schools, and churches.
Absolutely essential, was the adorning colour portrait of the tourist destination, complete with title of the scene and location.
Small was important because hand-carrying portability was key, especially among the womenfolk.
To get to Niagara Falls, a most popular destination, Torontonians preferred going by steamer across, instead of the train around, Lake Ontario.
To give these ravenous tourists a memento of their excursion to bring back, to show they had "been there," thousands of small china souvenirs were produced in countless shapes, and from thimble size to plates.
So souvenir china items were made as creamers, ashtrays, toothpick and candle holders, egg cups, mugs, tiny cups, vases, watering cans, shoes, boots, or baskets, like the Gladys Tucker shower gift from 1923..Unfortunately no literature exists on souvenir china ware of this era as no one - including Elizabeth Collard, who exhaustively investigated "upper end" Canadian china and pottery - has bothered to research this unique treasure trove of Canadian heritage memorabilia that accompanied the beginning of mass tourism in late 19th century Canada. Of over 400 pieces (non-royalty) in the Museum's collection, this is the only one that has family provenance, from the Teeswater, Owen Sound, Ontario, area.