I’ve always been curious about Canadian dolls but I have to admit that I don’t know a lot about the companies that made them. When I started to collect dolls and visited markets, doll fairs and antique shops frequently I found a lot of dolls from Canada and over the years I have bought several, some have already featured in a recent post.
The main doll companies that I know about are Reliable, Regal, Star and Dee an Cee.
Reliable of course made many dolls under licence for US manufacturers including Ideal. Here is a Tammy doll made by Reliable.
Reliable, or to give the correct name The Reliable Toy Company began in the 1920s by importing bisque doll heads from Germany and putting them on USA made bodies, later on they made their own dolls, initially composition but later on hard plastic and vinyl. They were well-known for making Inuit dolls and Mounties but in later years probably more for the dolls they made under licence.
You can see some examples of Reliable dolls at this site. http://dollreference.com/reliable_dolls.html
The Regal Toy Company of Toronto 1959-1979 is not connected with the American company called Regal.The Regal Doll Company Canada Ltd was established in Toronto, Ontario in 1959 by Solomon Frank Samuels and his brother Ben. Solomon Samuels was also one of the original founders of Reliable Toy Canada in 1920. I haven’t been able to find out a great deal about them but they made a wide variety of hard plastic and vinyl dolls including some rather cute looking Inuit dolls.A Canadian reader also sent me a link to some dolls she is selling and I discovered that Regal also made Karen Magnussen dolls in the mid 1970s. For those of you, like me, who don’t know who she is Karen Magnussen was an Olympic Champion ice skater in the early 1970s.
eBay Canada has quite a lot of these listed if you would like to see what they are like. http://www.ebay.com/bhp/regal-canada-doll
Here is a link to a “Baby Dear” made by Regal .
I have several dolls made by Regal including a very large one which may be a “Wendy Walker”. This is her after I found her at a “Trash and Treasure” market
And this is her after a tidy up and with a new dress and shoes.
The Star Doll Manufacturing Company of Toronto was founded in Ontario in 1952. Again I have not been able to find out much about them. I did learn that the company was taken over by The Good Time Toy Company in 1970. They used the Star doll molds so without packaging it would be hard to date dolls from this period. The company ceased to exist in 1977.
The Wis-Ton Toy Manufacturing Company was a division of Star Dolls and operated from 1983-1991.Dolls made by the company carry the mark C Canada plus a number 26W, 33W plus others according to (www.dollreference.com/doll_makers_world.html).
I would like to thank Barbara Marlow for the information about The Good Time Toy Co. and the Wis-Ton Toy Manufacturing Company. She researched this while looking for information about her own Star Doll.
As there doesn’t seem to be much information about Canadian dolls or doll clubs I’m always happy to share any new information I get on this page.
Here is a picture of a 14 inch doll I have made by Star.
Dee and Cee
Dee and Cee operated from 1938 to 1964. Most of their products were made under licence from US companies such as Horsman and American Character. The name ceased to be used after they were sold to Mattel. The name comes from the initials of the two founders. Max Diamond and Morris Cone. I have one doll marked Dee an Cee. I can see from her swing tag that she was bought for $12 probably from an op shop.
Reader Donna from London, Ontario who is selling dolls from her mother’s collection sent me a link. She has done some research and thought the information might be helpful to others. Here is what she has written about Dee and Cee dolls. Amongst The dolls Donna is selling is a very cute Pollyanna circa 1960. Here is a link.
Dee and Cee manufactured dolls in Toronto, Ontario from 1938 – 1962. They were acquired by Mattel in 1962 and dolls bearing the Dee and Cee marque were produced by Mattel until 1964.
Dee an Cee was the first Canadian Toy Company to advertise on television! Their motto was “Quality Above All”. Dee Cee acquired the rights to produce the Canadian versions of American Character Dolls.
Dee and Cee marked their dolls in many ways with some marks including “Made in Canada” and some without that designation. However all marques included the company name in some form or other. Known variations on the name include: Dee and Cee, Dee an Cee, D&C, Dee & Cee, Dee Cee, DC, Deeancee.
As I mentioned in my recent post I have a doll marked DeeGee Canada but I can’t find any information about this company at all. I had wondered if it was a variation of Dee an Cee as they used several different markings but I am quite sure it is a G not a C on my doll. So if any Canadian doll collector is reading this and can help me learn more about this and other Canadian doll manufacturers I would love to hear from you.
Here is my Dee Gee.
I have provided some links to the sites I used to research this article. I also found links to a couple of books. I haven’t read them so can’t comment but I will certainly try to read them if they are available in the library here. The last time I saw one Dolls of Canada for sale it was much too expensive for me to buy a copy.