City of Toronto exhibit reveals the lives of Canadian First World War soldiers

Mackenzie House, with the help of public submissions, is presenting Eaton’s Goes to War: Family, Memory & Meaning from September 21, 2017 to January 31, 2018. The exhibit reveals the lives of Eaton’s employees who served in the First World War. The display is part of the City’s TO Canada with Love Canada 150 program.

“Thanks to the public, we are now able to tell the stories of some of the people behind these anonymous photos,” said Mayor John Tory. “This exhibit helps us to honour the sacrifices of those who helped Canada during the First World War.”

“As the daughter of a veteran, I understand the sacrifices military personnel and their families have made to secure our hard fought freedoms,” said Eleanor McMahon, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. “Our government, through the Ontario150 program, is privileged to support Eaton’s Goes to War, along with the Invictus Games and The World Remembers – initiatives that remind us of the selfless contributions of these heroes.”

The exhibit also chronicles how the T. Eaton Company supported Canada’s war efforts. During the war, 3,327 Eaton’s employees enlisted to fight. Each time one of them was sent overseas, a photo was displayed prominently in the Toronto store just steps from Mackenzie House. 

More than 2,000 of these portraits have survived and are a part of the Archives of Ontario. In 2014, the Archives created an online gallery of the photographs, which can be found at Last year, the public was invited to visit the online collection of photographs to share the personal histories of the soldiers and their families.

Eaton’s Goes to War: Family, Memory & Meaning is produced by the City of Toronto in partnership with the Province of Ontario’s Ontario150 Program and the Archives of Ontario.

Mackenzie House is one of 10 historic sites owned and operated by the City of Toronto that aim to engage the public in telling Toronto’s story. More information about City museums is available at The public can also interact with City museums at and

This news release is also available on the City’s website:

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