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Dacks and other Canadian shoe brands

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Rampart, Dec 27, 2011.

  1. Paul902

    Paul902 Distinguished Member

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    Gentlemen, the Ides are upon us! Tread carefully. Midnight marks the entry deadline for the 2019 SF Canadian Shoe Shop Photo Contest!

    I submit the following photo for my entry:
    PF1_2089.JPG

    Letellier shoes has been a fixture in Ottawa since 1897! It is surely one the oldest, if not THE oldest shoe store in Canada. It was opened by JE Letellier in Gatineau in 1897, then moved to Bytown after a 1900 blaze. The store was owned by 5 generations of Letellier's, until being sold in 2014 to the owner of a couple shoe stores in southern Ontario. They started out with men's only, but eventually women's account for more than half the sales. Still, they carry a remarkable selection including the Canadian boot brands Pajar, LaCanadienne, and Saute Muton. My own Pajar boots hail from Letellier, as do some casual Clarks and countless other shoes since moving to Ottawa. Letellier's site has a great history of the company.

    I intended to submit a black and white photo, to echo those 20's gas lamp photos with Ottawa iconic street lamps, but decided to go with colour for my official entry to highlight and document the company's iconic red, which is present on their vintage shoe trees, as well.

    _PF11992.JPG IMG_5776.JPG
     

  2. suitforcourt

    suitforcourt Distinguished Member

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    When I lived in Ottawa (2000-4, and again 2007-8), I lived on the residence of U of O, and later on Daly Avenue.

    Most of my life was in that area and I often walked by Letellier. At the time, I did not have the knowledge or quite frankly money, to go inside and learn about well made shoes.
     

  3. suitforcourt

    suitforcourt Distinguished Member

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    They used to sell Allen Edmonds, right?
     

  4. Doctor Damage

    Doctor Damage Senior Member

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    Here's the last pair of Dack's I ever bought, the "York" model, made in Canada on the old Canadian lasts. The leather uppers were of superb quality as the photos show. Several months after buying this pair I went to get another but the company was already headed to extinction and the leathers they were using were 5% as good as these, so I passed. These are far too small for me now in the toe box and I haven't worn them in about 15 years. Time to move them on!

    DSCN0845.JPG DSCN0846.JPG DSCN0849.JPG DSCN0847.JPG DSCN0848.JPG
     

  5. Doctor Damage

    Doctor Damage Senior Member

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    I swear by that stuff. It rubs off easily, but it doesn't harm the leather and even "revived" a pair of good quality shoes I had which did not react well to old-school polish (i.e. wax) or some fancy French shoe cream. My personal rule is that if shoe cream or polish smells, then it's full of chemicals which can't be good for leather. Moneyswoth and Best shoe cream doesn't smell (okay, maybe a tiny amount).
     

  6. suitforcourt

    suitforcourt Distinguished Member

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    For shoe cream/polish, I also like Moneysworth. Easy to find, little smell, and right price. They are also German made, which can’t be that crappy.

    I also use Collonil 1909 which is recommended by vcleat.com. It is rather similar to MW.
     

  7. Paul902

    Paul902 Distinguished Member

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    Oh, you were right around the corner from them, then. They did used to sell AE, but no longer do. They mentioned to me that it was difficult to get them.

    Moneysworth - I have it in three colours so far. I have had varied results on how much colour it imparts on the leather. Not sure if it is colour dependent, leather dependent, or method dependent. Sometimes I have found it soaks in very well, and sometimes I find it skims over the surface and does not leave itself on the shoe. I must admit that I find it dreamy to look into an opened jar at the glossy Jello pudding like texture!

    EDIT: I was reading the Church's thread this morning and it noted that Bookbinder or Polished Binder leather would not take colour from shoe cream. I do think it was this type of leather that I was working on that did not soak in. Learn something new every day!
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2019 at 12:21 PM

  8. Paul902

    Paul902 Distinguished Member

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    @Jiqea had an unfortunate accident this afternoon when his closet full of NOS Dack and Hartt shoes tumbled down, burying him in exotic leathers. So, he asked me to submit his 2019 SF Canadian Shoe Shop Photo Contest entry on his behalf. As is typical with him, it comes without a glint of supporting history, info, etc...

    IMG_5778.JPG
     

  9. Paul902

    Paul902 Distinguished Member

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    Thanks to everyone who participated in the photo contest! Great entries, especially by me, and, uh, me! We can only go upwards from here. Another family run shoe store here in town is Glebe Trotters, who have been open for 25 years. Really nice, friendly staff. Here is a picture of their storefront on Bank Street, along with Steve, The Night Manager...
    _PF11953.JPG _PF11957.JPG
     

  10. Jiqea

    Jiqea Senior Member

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    Here is an interesting article from May 9th of 1989 that speaks to Dacks/Hartt's use of exotic leathers. In looking through advertising for the two firms from the 1920's on, it becomes clear that the major period of use of exotics was during the 80's and 90's. To be sure these leathers were used before this time, however they do not feature in any advertizing campaigns, and their use does not seem to have been as prevalent. The owner of these two firms, Churchs, also used an abundance of exotic leathers. I have yet to discern if this was a result of an influence from Canada, or vice versa.

    Capture.JPG

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  11. Jiqea

    Jiqea Senior Member

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    All was not peachy during the Churchs ownership period. The company made the headlines from coast to coast when they were charged and convicted of price fixing.

    This from April 10th, 1980

    Apr 10 1980 Cal Her.JPG
     

  12. Jiqea

    Jiqea Senior Member

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    And the firm even made the gossip pages in 2000. I remember this item in the news, however the fact that Edward Weslock was of Dacks made no impression on me at the time.

    apr 26 2000 Part 1.JPG

    Capture111.JPG
     

  13. Paul902

    Paul902 Distinguished Member

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    So, water bison is from mongolia, eh!? Wonder where Pa2O3 comes from? Good to know I am part of Canada's "rich and privileged" with my water bison, prairie oxhide, and kangaroo shoes! Have to admit, it is a good looking hair piece!
     

  14. suitforcourt

    suitforcourt Distinguished Member

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    I too assumed it was Canadian bison.

    So what do they do with Canadian bison leather?
     

  15. Paul902

    Paul902 Distinguished Member

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    Yeah, I had assumed both bison and oxhide were Canadian! Recently I bought two pairs of Dack's with "Imported Calf." So, not even our regular cows were good enough. Hmph! Maybe in that case it is because the tanneries were foreign as well as the livestock.
     

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