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Dacks and other Canadian shoe brands

Jiqea

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I just saw these on eBay as Canadian shoes. Though I didn't see any Made in Canada stamps.

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Gale shoes were made in Quebec City from at least the 40's (likely earlier) to the early 70's. Mid price point shoes. These are a shameless (but cool) knock-off of the venerable John McHale bombers.

the vendor is a great and knowledgeable shoe guy (clearly not me).
 

Jiqea

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I picked up a pair of NOS RCMP PTB yesterday. They likely date to the late 70's or early 80's and were made by Hartt in Fredericton NB. Hartt had the contract to supply RCMP footwear between 1974 and 1998, and produced the classic Strathcona boots, quarter Wellingtons as well as black Oxfords and Bluchers. For some reason these brown Bluchers are a tough shoe to find.

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meister

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I picked up a pair of NOS RCMP PTB yesterday. They likely date to the late 70's or early 80's and were made by Hartt in Fredericton NB. Hartt had the contract to supply RCMP footwear between 1974 and 1998, and produced the classic Strathcona boots, quarter Wellingtons as well as black Oxfords and Bluchers. For some reason these brown Bluchers are a tough shoe to find.

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Why did such a famous company with Federal contracts demise in a small Canadian province? Even our government off shored A rmy slouch hats to China and had to return to Aussie made Akubras.
 

Jiqea

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Why did such a famous company with Federal contracts demise in a small Canadian province? Even our government off shored A rmy slouch hats to China and had to return to Aussie made Akubras.
Dacks/Hartt was purchased by Church in 1964 and they slowly ran them into the ground with neglect. The final blow was the NAFTA free trade agreement which removed the tariff wall protecting the Canadian shoe industry.

RCMP boots are still made in Canada though by the Alberta boot company.
 

Jiqea

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I acquired this lovely pair of late 1950's Dack's "Cambridge" U-wings yesterday from fellow Forum member @dadjeans.
This is one of my favourite Dack's designs, and I have owned at least 6 pairs over the years. The Cambridge shows up in advertisements circa 1950, no doubt to cash in on the growing U-wing fad that started in the late 40's in the United States.

The first iteration of the Cambridge was in smooth calf with four eyelets, exterior metal grommets. and a thick leather strap lace with a buckle, as seen below in a 1950 advert. By 1954 this design was changed to add an extra pair of eyelets with advertisements illustrating the Cambridge in now familiar Scotch grain leather, still with exterior metal grommets and using regular, heavy laces. My pair are identical to the pair shown in the 1955 advert shown below, with the exception that the metal grommets are now on the interior.

I suspect my pair date to circa 1958, as they have the post 58 "Extra-Quality" sock-liner, but retain a 3 digit style code (392). It is highly unusual to see a 3 digit style code on a post 1958 shoe (my first time), but in reviewing the 1950's ads I realized that the Cambridge was only offered in brown. The fourth digit in the Dack's style code was added circa 1955, with a 3 in front of the old three digit number indicating black and a 2 indicating brown. Perhaps because there was no black version of this shoe in the 50's Dack's just continued on with the old style code. In the early 60's a black version of the Cambridge was added, and going forward both the black and brown versions have a four digit assignation. The Cambridge continued to be offered right through until the mid-80's, even after the U-wing craze had ended.

My pair also intrigued me in that the toe medallion was different than all other pairs I have owned. It has a gracile bird in flight (or moth) design as seen below. A careful examination of the 1955 advert shows this same design. I have shown a comparison of this early medallion to the later version below, with the earlier on the left. The shoe on the right of this image is still quite early, with nailed leather heels, which leads me to think this change in medallion style happened circa 1960. It is quite uncommon to find Dack's with nailed leather heels after that time.

It is also interesting to note that in the 1950's ads as well as on the sock-liner of these early versions of the Cambridge there is no mention of them being made of "Zebu Grain" leather. Later versions of the Cambridge all have "Imported Zebu Grain" stamped on the sock liner and have rubber heels.

Overall I was pretty excited to pick up this pair and in a wearable size for me, 9.5E. I was also pleased to find I already owned a pair of Dack's 1950's 695 "Shield" shoe-trees that fit perfectly.


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1950-1953 Cambridge Advert

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1954-1956 Cambridge Advert

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Jiqea

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There is an ultra cool pair of WW11 Scott-McHale military boots on the bay, Size 9C. They are in rough shape but would likely restore well. I just cant justify the expense as I am trying to declutter as we hope to downsize our accommodations in the near future when the last bird leaves the nest.

I read an article, perhaps it was the famous Maclean's piece, where it was noted that McHale was not winning any military contracts at the start of the war as their bids were too high. John McHale met with his workers who agreed to reduce their share of the profit on military contracts, as did management. After that McHale contributed heavily to the war effort.

These boots might potentially be post-war but I doubt it. They would certainly have had heavy nailed heels originally, and that is how I would restore them. It would be expensive. At least they are documented here now.

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greatwhitenorth99

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I was in Value Village and spotted these lightly used Dacks capped toe oxfords. I am taking a wild guess that the sizing is 11 B. I would appreciate if someone give me a little history on these wonderful shoes.
 

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Jiqea

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I was in Value Village and spotted these lightly used Dacks capped toe oxfords. I am taking a wild guess that the sizing is 11 B. I would appreciate if someone give me a little history on these wonderful shoes.
I think there is a typo in the size coding. Are both shoes marked 1111? or is one marked 1110?

I think they must be an A width though. Nice shoes. Love that style.
 

greatwhitenorth99

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I think there is a typo in the size coding. Are both shoes marked 1111? or is one marked 1110?

I think they must be an A width though. Nice shoes. Love that style.
Both shoes are marked 1111. For my curiosity, when would these shoes be made?
If anyone is interested, I will pass them along for my cost $22 plus shipping.
 

Jiqea

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Both shoes are marked 1111. For my curiosity, when would these shoes be made?
If anyone is interested, I will pass them along for my cost $22 plus shipping.
That is so freaking odd. I don't understand what happened to the size stamp. 1111 really doesn't make any sense.

I believe they are from the early 70's given that sock-liner.
 

suitforcourt

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That is so freaking odd. I don't understand what happened to the size stamp. 1111 really doesn't make any sense.

I believe they are from the early 70's given that sock-liner.

11K???
 

suitforcourt

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they look narrow to me, but not like an A. I have never heard of a K. That would be crazy wide. I am at a loss.

They are fine looking shoes.

Maybe a worker's inside joke? The widest Canadian size I know is G.

I have seen 6E for US brand.
 

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