Artifact of the Week: Dack’s Shoe’s and Accessories

By: Hope Harwood

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In the master bedroom of Hillary House there is a shoehorn sitting on the side table. This shoehorn has an engraving with the logo for Dack’s Shoes for Men. This is a Canadian dress shoe company. The company was established in 1834 by an Irish shoemaker named Mathew Dack. Dack had emigrated to Kingston, Ontario and later to York. It is significant to note that he established his first shoe store the same year that Toronto was incorporated.

The company really took off after World War I when Matthew’s grandson Robert took over the company and opened new stores in Winnipeg and Montreal. Dack’s is not a family owned establishment today. It is currently selling shoes online.

A fun fact about the last family owner of Dack’s is that he inspected each individual shoe with white gloves before allowing them to be sold in the store.

As for shoehorns in general, well you cannot buy them from the Dack website. However, to give some background on them they likely appeared in the Middle Ages or Renaissance period. Shoe horns became rather popular in the Victorian period, where tight fitting shoes were fashionable. One would need a shoe horn to help them slip their shoes on with ease.