Mercantile Agency Reference Book; Dominion of Canada - 1893


Cat No.:   CA0371:

Title continues: Containing ratings of the Merchants, Manufacturers and Traders Generally, throughout the Dominion of Canada, with an Appendix containing Banking towns, Banks, Branches, Etc.; Collection Laws of each Province, etc., etc. Published and printed by Dun, Wiman & Co., Montreal, Toronto, Quebec, Halifax, Hamilton, London, Ottawa, St, John, Winnipeg, Victoria, Etc., March, 1893.

This book is a wonderful source for finding anyone in Canada around the year 1890 - 1900 if they were engaged in an occupation which involved buying wholesale goods from merchants who were not “local” to them physically. This included a very wide range of trades and professions ranging from itinerant peddlers buying one or two household essentials, to factory magnates buying raw materials by the ton, and included unexpected professions such as doctors buying drugs to dispense where (presumably) there were no pharmacists / druggists to be found. There are, of course, thousands of merchant shopkeepers of all types from General Stores to Furniture and Casket showrooms. In addition there is an appendix identifying all the banking institutions across the trading area, listed by Province, Area and Town/City and providing the name of their Mercantile agent.

The development of affordable, reliable, and “fast” transportation - particularly by rail - radically expanded the distance over which a trader could buy his supplies but, at the same time - took away the possibility for buyers and sellers to know each other both personally and by reputation. Thus there became a need to gauge the trustworthiness of a trading partner who was going to be in your debt, at a distance.

Starting almost by accident as a number of individual, local, fiscal reputation rating “referees” were already active in a few US cities. These “rating” services quickly expanded their reach across the whole of North America and then across the World into Europe and the Orient. Anywhere, in fact, where the business of trading goods and materials was carried on.

The book is organized by Province (including Newfoundland (even though it was not strictly part of Canada at this time), as well as the islands of St. Pierre de Miquelon (actually French), the Magdalan Islands, and with the inhabitants of the yet to be; Alberta, Saskatchewan, and the North West Territories, integrated into the Manitoba listings.) Each of these major sections is illustrated on one of four fold out maps.

Also available on separate CDs are the four sections of the Dominion of Canada (also under the CatNo. CA0371), the Eastern (Suffix -E), the Western (Suffix -W), the Quebec (Suffix -Q) and the Ontario (Suffix -O) sections.

The towns and cities in a “Section” are listed alphabetically and bear a code which locates them on the relevant map. Most also show a little gazetteer like information about their size, location and major facilities. Below this information is an alphabetical list of the businesses, traders, merchants, etc., working there. Each is rated for their fiscal “strength” and “responsibility” and the type of their trade. In addition the general nature of their business is given in (abbreviated) plain language. The vast majority of businesses were run under their proprietor’s name so individuals can be found by a direct name search without a need to know their businesses trading name. Companies trading under a registered name usually show the names of the Proprietors in the listing.

Due to the poor print quality of this book we have elected to edit both the images and computer read text to maximize your ability to find and recognize people and businesses it records. We have been at pains to NOT introduce additional errors and a fuller explanation of the processes followed is provided to guide you in your researches and aid you in your searches.

This is an amazing resource, replete with scarce personal information, and well worth taking the extra time and effort that may be needed to extract that information.

No. of CDs is:  2 ;   Format is:  PDF ;   Searchable?:  YES;

FastFind:  Yes;  ISBN No.:   978-1-927503-16-4 ;