Crossroads of Culture 200 Years of Canadian Immigration (1800-2000)
Introduction Objects Photos & Papers Themes Kids & Teachers


Cradles of this sort were a highly economical use of space as they suspended from a ring mounted in the bedroom ceilings. While in use, they hung beside the parent's bed, sometimes with an additional cord allowing them to be drawn towards the parents. This hanging cradle is made of a softwood frame, leather hanging harness and a canvas bottom. The bottom is trimmed with leather strips and the rings on the frame are hand forged. (Russian)

This chest, as much a piece of furniture as travel luggage, arrived with the first large group of immigrants, who left northern France in the seventeenth century to settle in Acadia and Quebec. Said to have been made in 1650, the chest of Corsican pine is carved with rosettes, dolphins and fleurs-de-lys. Its date of manufacture, if correct, makes it one of the oldest artifacts in the Museum's collection. [Treasures] (French Canadian)

This trunk cover was brought to Canada in the 1870s from the Trans-Caucasian region of the Czarist Empire (a region that includes Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan). This bag is very much like other Caucasian bags which were used to hold bedding or household goods, and, according to folklore, to hide young girls in during Tatar raids. (Russian)

This French automation clock depicts a male monkey, dressed as an artist with a palette in his left hand and a brush in his right hand, wearing a two piece velvet suit and waistcoat decorated with gold thread. The monkey is painting a portrait of a female monkey who is wearing a rose satin dress with a floral hat and holding a bouquet. When activated, the eyes of both monkey figures also move. The white enameled clock to the centre, with black roman numerals, would normally chime on the half hour and hour. (French)

Built-in closets and kitchen cabinets have not always been a standard feature of domestic architecture. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, carpenters, cabinetmakers, as well as homeowners themselves produced a variety of free-standing and built-in cupboards to store food, dishes, clothing and other house-hold goods. The cupboard shown here is a fine example of the larger type of storage piece. It reflects something of the diverse cultural roots of Canadian craftsmen of the period. The Kleiderschrank, or clothes cupboard, has been attributed to John P. Klempp, a German cabinetmaker who worked in the vicinity of Hanover, Ontario, from about 1875 to 1914. The bands of intricate inlaid patterns and the traditional Germanic motifs, such as hearts and compass-stars, as well as the lively scrolled apron are characteristic features of Klempp's furniture. German craftsmen made up a relatively large proportion of nineteenth-century Ontario cabinetmakers. Some were from Pennsylvania, but Klempp was among those who arrived directly from the Continent. Similar large cupboards would have been found in many German-Canadian homes of the time in southwestern Ontario. Although machine-made furniture was widely available when this cupboard was made, strong religious and cultural traditions in many communities supported the continued use of earlier forms. Unfortunately, much of the earlier furniture made in Canada has been stripped of its original finish, but this cupboard is in its original condition. [Treasures] (German)

The maker of this painted corner cupboard has used architectural elements drawn from the early-nineteenth-century British tradition to emphasize the cupboard's straight lines and rectangular forms. Its ornamental details matched the interior trim of the log house in Leeds County, Ontario, where the cupboard was found. Intended for the storage and display of dishes, cutlery and similar household items, it was probably made by a house carpenter rather than a cabinetmaker. The maker wrote on the bottom of one of the drawers: "This cupboard has been made by Charles C. Joynt for Henry Polk and his wife, Letticia, April, 1863." [Treasures] (Unknown)

8,000 orphans and homeless children were sent out from England and placed in Canadian homes between 1882 and 1895 by the humanitarian, Dr. Thomas John Barnardo. They set out with their scant belongings packed in small metal trunks like this painted trunk partially made with sheet metal. (English)

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