Canadian Dolls

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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.

image Reliable Tammy
Reliable Tammy

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

Regal

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

image large doll
This is how she looked when I first saw her.

And this is her after a tidy up and with a new dress and shoes.

Regal doll
Child size doll by Regal, Canada

Star

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.

Image doll by Star Canada
Similar shaped face

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.

image Dee an Cee doll
A doll by Dee an Cee

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.

Dee Gee

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.

Doll marked DeeGee Canada
Doll marked DeeGee Canada

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.

Further Information

Canadian Toy Association:

http://www.cdntoyassn.com/viewpage.cfm?PageID=51

Dee an Cee:

http://www.saxuet.qc.ca/MyDolls/dnc.htm, http://www.vintagedollcollector.com/category/maker/mfgdg/

Reliable Dolls info :

http://www.ehow.com/how_8678233_identify-reliable-baby-dolls.html

Dolls by Reliable Toy Co. of Canada

Books on Canadian Dolls:

http://books.google.com.au/books/about/Dolls_of_Canada.html?id=hYXuPAAACAAJ&redir_esc=y

http://books.google.com.au/books?id=dgToPAAACAAJ&source=gbs_similarbooks

Pinterest:

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54 comments

  1. Have you heard of Canadian doll manufacturer YNU Group, Incorporated? They produce the Mixis fashion dolls. The Mixis fashion dolls are multi-racial and multi-ethnic. They also are a little heavier than basic Barbies. Hope you enjoy seeing them.

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  2. HI, My wife has a regal doll that has been damaged, an arm and the base of the doll body has been broken, do you know where to get parts and new eyes from, its a Walking doll.
    Jamie Harris

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  3. I have a 12″ star doll from the 60’s not sure what to do with her, she has her original dress and plastic shoes would you be interested in her, I just don’t want to throw her out. I also have this adorable inuit doll with what I think may be real fur shoes in case you’re interested. Please let me know. Thanks, Sheila

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      • Hi, I live in Canada (hence the reason for all the Canadian dolls!!) since it would seem that shipping the dolls to you would cost more then they are worth I guess that is now a moot point. It just seems a shame to give these dolls away to people who will not appreciate their history. Maybe I can find a collector in Canada.

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      • Hi Sheila, yes I agree. It would be easy to give them to an op shop or thrift shop whatever you call them in Canada but you don’t know whether the doll would get a good home. I’m sure that in a large city there would be a doll collectors club though and you might be able to find a collector who would appreciate her through them.

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  4. I have a star doll soft body , baby, opening eyes, no hair, star doll imprinted on back of neck. Can you tell me anything about it?

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    • Hi Barbara, not really. It seems to be very hard to get information about Canadian dolls. When I put my Canadian doll page together I put in as much information as I had. If you are able to buy or borrow it from the library “Dolls of Canada” by Evelyn Robson Stahlendorf may be able to help you. I’ve seen if for sale on eBay but too expensive for me to get shipped to Australia unfortunately. You could try the Cloth-A-Dollics of Victoria BC which appears to be primarily a doll artists club but many collectors have more than one interest. Their website is http://www.clothadollics.ca/
      If you are on Facebook you could also try The Calgary Doll Club. I’ve tried to look up other clubs myself but a lot of them have not updated their sites in a long time which makes me wonder if they are still operating.
      If you are able to find out more about your Star doll I hope you will let me know and I’ll post it on my page for anyone else who is looking. Good luck.

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  5. It seems that my doll is not very old. It certainly is difficult to find info on Canadian dolls isn’t it?
    I have found the following:
    the Star Manufacturing Co. Was founded in Ontario in 1952.
    In 1970 Good Tim Toys took over and continued to use the same moulds. Hence it is difficult to determine who manufactured some dolls without original packaging. The Good Time Toy co. Ceased operating in 1977.
    The Wis Ton Manhfacturers then came into the picture
    According to an original label on my doll it was manufacture by Wis Ton Toy Manufacturers for the Star Doll division. They operated from 1983 to 1991. They must have used the star moulds as my doll has Star Doll on it’s neck.

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    • Thanks Barbara, I’ll add that extra bit of info to my general Canadian page. Doll collectors would make good detectives I think 🙂 I think it gets particulary confusing when companies are taken over and there is a transitional period when they were using up stock with the old marks. Still for many of us that’s all part of the fun.

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      • Hey, Star Doll was my dad’s company! We went to the toy show in NY every year which was amazing for us as kids. He designed all the clothes, did all the draughting, cut the cloth on a massive table. ‘The factory’ (as it was called in our family) was an amazing place, sometimes terrifying (picture thousands of eyeless dolls waiting to have the eyes set in a massive factory from an 8 year olds perspective) but remembered by my family with love. So many amazing stories, like when an American cement union (to the best of my recollection, but completely unrelated to the work and completely mobbed up) tried to unionize the factory and to scare my family they would sit outside our house in a big black car and we weren’t allowed to go into the living room, or they tried to scare my mom into letting them into the factory one day assuming she was just a pretty thing, not realizing she was tough as nails. Thanks for the memory trip.

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    • Hi Barbara:
      This is all I have been able to come up with about the STAR Doll Company.
      The Star Doll Manufacturing Company of Toronto was founded in Ontario in 1952 – 1970. It was established by two American dollmakers. In 1960, Harry Zigelstein, a Canadian became President. Star Dolls were made of rubber skin or plastic and vinyl.

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  6. I have an 18 inch doll with 4 long blonde ringlets, 2 on each side that are tied together with pink ribbons tied in bows at the top, her hair is neck length in the back. she wears a two layered dress, the under lay is white with wide white lace trim around the bottom, the outer layer is pink & flowered and has lace trim around the bottom of her mid length sleeves, and also around the neck part of her dress. also wears white panties, white socks and shoes. RELIABLE TOY CO.LTD. MADE IN CANADA is written on the back of her head just under her hair. I’d love to know her name and what year she was made…

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  7. Found most of that same info for star dolls while researching the ones i have.
    I have 6 from them all new in package. Wendy walker, Mandy walker and chubby tubby…

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    • Lucky you! Unfortunately there is not a lot of information out there that I’ve been able to find. Blogging helps to fill the gaps as people are usually happy to share what they know.

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  8. I have a doll from Regal Canada, I’m wondering if you know anything about her. She looks a lot like the 1962 Walker Play Pal doll, almost identical, except she has brown eyes, not blue…. I’m thinking she might be newer than that? I received her as a gift in 1985ish, I do not know if she was new at the time though. http://tinypic.com/r/11ikf9f/8 (photo) She is not in original clothes in the photo. Her limbs are all jointed, she’s hard plastic. Her eyes open and close and she has an opening so that you can give her a drink and she’ll go potty. I think she originally came with a baby bottle for this, at least I had one for her, but I don’t anymore and I can’t remember if it came with her or we got it afterwards.

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    • Hi Teresa, what a pretty doll. I am afraid I can’t tell you anything specific about her. Resources for identifying Canadian dolls seem to be very poor even the well known brands like Regal. They must be as I seem to have become a resource myself because I own a few. I agree that your doll looks like a 60s one especially as she is hard plastic. Regal dolls were made up till 1979 so yours was probably not new when you got her. You didn’t mention the size but I’m guessing that she isnot as large as the Play Pal walker types. The main books I’ve heard of that deal with Canadian dolls are “Dolls of Canada: A Reference Guide by Evelyn Robson Strahlendorf” and one I just found while I was searching for more information “The Charlton Standard Catalogue of Canadian Dolls by Evelyn Robson Strahlendorf, 3rd edition ” I don’t know if either of them would help you identify her. Regal did make a lot of dolls under licence for overseas companies too so it would be worth looking to see if she is similar to any dolls made by Pedigree (UK) Mattel or any of the other big doll makers of that era. The brown eyes are certainly less common than blue. I love brown eyed dolls myself and can remember asking my mum when I was a child why all the dolls seemed to have blue eyes. I wanted one with brown eyes like me! I do have a few brown eyed dolls from the 60s and early 70s amongst my collection so they were around. Anyway I hope I’ve given you some ideas for further investigations. By the way while looking on the net for pictures of dolls similar to yours I came across one who is exactly like my big Canadian walker so I now know she was made by Dee n Cee which was news to me! So it’s always possible to find answers if you keep looking.:)

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  9. She does look a LOT like mine but there’s a couple other tiny differences… mine has more blush on her cheeks and this one says 14″ I think mine is 21″ (But I don’t know… I just measured from head to toe, is that the standard for dolls or do you measure below the neck for dress size?) She also has a little thicker hair than mine, but super similar! I’m thinking that mine might be a slightly later release of the same doll?)

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    • Could be. I didn’t realise yours was that large. There are two ways of measuring dolls that people use. One is from the heel to the top of the head, the other is to the crown of the head so sometimes you may see slightly different measurements for the same doll. Either is fine for describing the size of a doll.

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  10. I bought a doll from a second hand store for $3.00 AUD for my granddaughter on the back of its head it has written Regal Toys P/l made in Canada and the number 240T – do you know anything about her?? – anne sheridan – adelaide australia

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    • Hi Anne, when I first started to collect dolls 20 or so years ago I was surprised at what a lot of Canadian dolls turned up at markets and second hand stores. I’ve no idea why so many wound up here. I actually started collecting when I lived in Adelaide.
      Frustratingly there does not seem to be a lot written about them which I think is the reason I get a lot of hits on my Candadian doll page.
      Can you describe the doll a bit more please? her size, material she’s made from, whether she is a baby doll, a child or an ethnic Inuit doll? Better still if you have a link to a photograph. If you would like to you can email me a picture at sadieinoz1957@gmail.com and I could post it on the blog. Someone else may recognise her. What I do know about Regal is that they manufactured dolls in Canada between 1959-84. They also manufactured dolls under licence for US companies such as Ideal so your grandaughter’s doll could be a Canadian version of an American doll. There was a company called Regal making dolls in the USA too but they have no connection to the Canadian company. A few Canadian doll collectors have contacted me in the past so if you haven’t already have a look at the comment thread as you may learn a bit more from them. I think I will have to start a gallery of unidentified Canadian dolls so we can all try and work out who they are . 🙂

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    • Hi Brandon, I am not familiar with this doll so it’s hard to answer your question. As you have a case of them I imagine they are ex shop stock.
      If they are old dolls collectors may be interested in buying them. Do you have any background information about them or a picture you can post?
      I’m trying to encourage readers of the blog to share information about their dolls as there doesn’t seem to be much around for Canadian dolls other than the sources I’ve already mentioned on my blog.
      Sites like eBay are always good for selling dolls but if it turns out you have something vintage you could also try doll clubs who sometimes run shows with trade stalls.
      I am not a commercial site but if you want to send me a photo of the doll I would be happy to post it here to get more information that may help you determine a value.

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      • Hi Brandon. I have done a quick post including your photos. I could not find much new information myself but I get a lot of hits from people searching for info on Canadian dolls so let’s see if someone can tell us more.

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  11. Hello. My mother has been collecting dolls for some 40+ years. A lot of them are Canadian dolls and all are for sale. Here are the links to our ads on Kijiji London, ON. You may find some of the information interesting and helpful. We have done a lot of research on the dolls. The link is:
    http://www.kijiji.ca/o-posters-other-ads/44640818
    Hope you enjoy looking at her collection.

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      • I hope you don’t mind me posting a few links on your site if they can help others identify Canadian dolls. It has been very interesting researching and listing the dolls for my Mom.

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      • I don’t mind Donna, it may help some people identify dolls and if they decide to by one of your mum’s dolls at least she’ll know they will be going to a good home. It’s very hard to part with loved dolls.

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  12. I would like to have a link to contact Barbara Marlow mentionned in the article above on this page cause I have a bride Star doll from the 1950’s in very good condition in her original Star doll company box and I wish I could find out the
    value of it..if anyone can help me ..

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    • Hi Lilianne:
      I have been listing my Mom’s extensive doll collection for sale. She has a few STAR dolls. They are in excellent condition but we don’t have the original boxes for them. I have been listing them at $30 – $40 as I have absolutely no idea of the value today. Not much help I know…

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  13. Hello all, I was given the task of searching out the value of 3 dolls for an estate sale.
    I can be contacted at Greatwilderness@shaw.ca I would appreciate any help. Please e-mail me and I’ll forward pictures to you. One is of a porcelain clown, it was sold at Zellers in Winnipeg. It was marked at $130. and that would be many years ago. They are all still in the original boxes.
    Thank you in advance.

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  14. I have a few of the star brand dolls still in sealed packaging. Chubby tubby, mandy walker, wendy walker and a couple more. Owned them for a few years and besides finding your page on them a couple years ago, i have found no additional information. Just want to thank you for what you have posted.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad to be of help. I’ve done a lot of searching on the internet myself but apart from the books and websites mentioned on my page I haven’t found a lot of information either. It’s hard to believe that someone living in Australia can be one of the few sources of info on Canadian dolls but I get a lot of views so I’m afraid there really isn’t much else. I always like to encourage fellow bloggers to share their photos and information via this page in the hope that it helps others too.

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  15. I am helping my Mom sell her doll collection. She is a 45+ year collector and has a lot of Canadian Dolls.
    STAR (Canada):
    The STAR Doll Manufacturing Company of Toronto was founded in Ontario in 1952 – 1970. It was established by two American dollmakers. In 1960, Harry Zigelstein, a Canadian became President. Below are some of the STAR Dolls she has for sale.

    https://www.kijiji.ca/v-view-details.html?adId=1266861014
    https://www.kijiji.ca/v-view-details.html?adId=1107888139
    https://www.kijiji.ca/v-view-details.html?adId=1139346204

    REGAL (Canada):
    The Regal Toy Company of Toronto 1959-1979 is not connected with the American company called Regal. I haven’t been able to find out a great deal about them.

    https://www.kijiji.ca/v-view-details.html?adId=1156674368
    https://www.kijiji.ca/v-view-details.html?adId=1116772876
    https://www.kijiji.ca/v-view-details.html?adId=1145858950
    https://www.kijiji.ca/v-view-details.html?adId=1120722556

    RELIABLE (Canada):
    The Reliable Toy Company Limited of Toronto, Canada (1920-1991). Reliable Toy Co. of Canada had a long history of making quality dolls. They made composition, hard plastic and vinyl dolls, including some knockoffs of popular American models.

    https://www.kijiji.ca/v-view-details.html?adId=1116757806
    https://www.kijiji.ca/v-view-details.html?adId=1161315310
    https://www.kijiji.ca/v-view-details.html?adId=1107379976
    https://www.kijiji.ca/v-view-details.html?adId=1107137169
    https://www.kijiji.ca/v-view-details.html?adId=1136224431
    https://www.kijiji.ca/v-view-details.html?adId=1151769372
    https://www.kijiji.ca/v-view-details.html?adId=1153140163

    DEE AN CEE (Canada):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.

    https://www.kijiji.ca/v-view-details.html?adId=1117111833
    https://www.kijiji.ca/v-view-details.html?adId=1117072705
    https://www.kijiji.ca/v-view-details.html?adId=1133024219
    https://www.kijiji.ca/v-view-details.html?adId=1106327498
    https://www.kijiji.ca/v-view-details.html?adId=1135470596

    I hope anyone interested in Canadian dolls has time to take a look at the links as there is quite a variety in the dolls produced in Canada. My mom does love her Canadian dolls.

    Liked by 1 person

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