Monday, January 23, 2012

Laskay Emporium ~ new old photos

Photos ~ Betty Dew Collection
The Laskay Emporium is pictured above, around 1950, and shows two of the general store's former owners and operators making some sign adjustments.   On the left is Robert Arbuckle who bought the store in 1949 from Charlie Black, on the right.   The Laskay Emporium lives on at Black Creek Pioneer Village in Toronto.  2012 is the 167th year of its historic existence.

A wood stove was a feature of the Laskay Emporium for over a hundred years and was still in use when this photo was taken in the 1950s.   Rubber boots hang overhead and huge jars and packaged goods sit on the counter.   Lower down, on the corner of the counter is a bottle opener and a can suspended below to catch pop bottle caps.   The  pop cooler was located just behind the stove.   On the wall in the background was the wall-mounted, hand-crank telephone above a sloped counter and in front of that a large, hand-hewn, wooden chopping block.

Advertising signs were as ubiquitous in the 1950s, as they are today.   In this picture, signs can be seen for Coca Cola, Pepsi Cola, Canada Dry and Orange Crush.   For this writer, Orange Crush was always my 'pop' of choice when I visited the store in the late 50s.   I always got a hunk of cheddar cheese to go with  my drink.   The huge wheel of cheese was kept under a glass bell jar, on the chopping block.

These photographs belong to Betty (Arbuckle) Dew, of King City.   Her father and mother, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Arbuckle, were the last  owners/operators of the Laskay Emporium.  In its final years of private ownership the Laskay Emporium had lost its grandiloquent moniker and was known more simply as Arbuckle's Store. They donated the building in 1960 to the Dalziel Pioneer Village, today known as Black Creek Pioneer Village.   Betty Dew has recently made  these photographs and other materials available to the King Township Archives and to the King Township Library's Timeless King Online website.   Owners and proprietors of Laskay Emporium, over the years, included:

                                1845 - 1856        - Joseph Baldwin
                                1856 - 1882        - Henry Baldwin
                                1882 - 1887        - Unknown
                                1887 - 1920        - George Teasdale
                                1920 - 1932        - Wilfred (or Wilbert) McCallum
                                1932 - 1949        - Charlie Black
                                1949 - 1960        - Robert Arbuckle
                                1960 - 2012        - Toronto Region Conservation Authority

Photo by Barry Wallace                                                                                                                                                        

The preserved Laskay Emporium know welcomes visitors and history buffs at Black Creek Pioneer Village.

Please comment if you wish.
Barry Wallace


  1. Wonderful pictures, Barry! I spent all my allowance at Arbuckle's store...and my siblings will be pleased to hear news of Betty (Arbuckle) Dew, who was a beloved teacher at the old SS #4 Strange school. Mr. and Mrs. Charlie Black were such kind people and gave out delicious home-made treats at Hallowe'en. Thank you so much for posting these.

    1. These are great to see. It's nice to see Charlie Black again. He was my next door neighbor in the 60s when I was growing up. I thought of him as my Grampa and Ida, his wife, was Granny Black.
      I also went to SS#4 Strange School but had Mrs Cowan and Mrs Ashford for teachers. There is going to be a Laskay/SS#4 Strange School reunion September 14 2013 at the Laskay Community Hall. Join the Facebook page SS#4 Strange/Laskay Reunion

  2. I too spent my allowance at that store when Arbuckle's had it. We didn't have a phone so consequently I used to use that phone in the background.

  3. Barry, for the Rollings family and the Laskay Emporium see and its link to your post