Posted by: Cornwall Community Museum | December 4, 2017

The Cat’s Christmas Shopping, Cornwall, 1952.

Christmas Postcard, 1908.

On Saturday December 16 you are invited to a free Christmas sing along at the Cornwall Community Museum.  Info:  613 936-0280 or

Cornwall’s Nativity Guard marching in one of our annual Christmas Parades.

Is that Arnold Fobert in the centre?

In 1952 Mary Ross-Ross of Lancaster took us on a trip down Pitt Street in THE CAT’S CHRISTMAS SHOPPING, which will appear in abridged form in three parts on this site.

One evening in December; Go (the cat) and Laddie were trotting down to the stable with Philip (human), when Go turned and gave Laddie a bat over the nose.

“Hi, know what’s coming old paddle paws?” He said.

“Bedtime” said Laddie, happily.

“Nonsense!” said Go.

“Don’t be so stupid.  Christmas is coming of course, and it’s time we thought about what to give Philip.  Those silly young cats can’t think of anything but red handkerchiefs and spend all their time whirling round and round squeaking We want red handkerchiefs, until I sometimes doubt that their politics are all that they should be, but we oldtimers must try and thin of something better than that.”

The fire department’s Mother Goose float in the 1968 Christmas Parade moving along Pitt St., 1968.  Tip Top Tailor, Legare Furniture and the Club Restaurant are all in view.

“OK,” said Lsddie.  “Hire the school bus and we’ll go to Cornwall and look in the shops.”

Stop and Go telephoned to Williamstown and found they could get a bus as soon as school closed, so on the Monday morning before Christmas a beautiful yellow bus drove to the door where the cats  were all waiting dressed in their best fur coats.  As soon as Jack and Jerry saw it they became all puffed up with pride because it was the same colour as their coats and they strutted up and down trying to look important, but Imp, Tweedledum and Little Sister lost no time scrambling in and sat as close to the drive as they could because they didn’t want to miss anything.

On the drive up the older cats and Laddie made their plans.  All the young cats along with Stop and Go were to go to the department store.  The young ones to buy their red handkerchiefs and Stop and Go to buy blue shirts.

Christmas 1956, Cornwall.

Maudie told them, “Philip always says I am a little old lady and wouldn’t do anything he wouldn’t do, so I am going to Webers to get him a nice calendar.  And I must go to an automobile store to buy him a scraper to remove the frost from his shield.”

Weber’s 106 Pitt St., ca. 1910.

When they arrived on Pitt St. they parked in front of Mrs. Hall’s.  Laddie got out first and put five cents in the meter and then they separated to do their shopping.  Maudie ran across the street to Weber’s, Laddie trotted off up Pitt St. with the rest to Zellers.

Outside Zellers there was a lovely rocking horse and Imp and Tweedledum jumped up and down and begged for a ride.  So before they went in Go put ten cents in the slot and the 2 black kittens climbed on the horse’s back and had a lovely ride.

The ride over, they entered the store – Stop and Go to the shirt counter and the others to look for handkerchiefs.  They bought nine and had them gift wrapped.

Leaving Zellers they passed Sergeant Dupuis issuing a parking ticket on their way back to the bus.  Back at Mrs. Hall’s they found Laddie leaning nonchalantly on a counter exchanging stories with Alex and Maudie discussing the best way to cook mice for Christmas, Mrs. Hall said “Go, We have been shopping for Philip.”

When the bus driver returned Stop and Go thanked Mrs. Hall for her hospitality and herded all the party into their seats.  The young cats were so tired they curled up and went to sleep, but Laddie sat beside the bus driver and told him what to do.  He had driven so much with Philip he thought he knew it all.  In spite of this they arrived home safely, well satisfied with their expedition.

Laddie the dog after a successful shopping in Cornwall.

Laddie was four years old at the time of this photograph.


As part of the event UNFORGOTTEN – the biography of Mary Mack and THE LIVING RIVER – secrets of the St. Lawrence, will be available for a combined price of $40, a saving of $5, minus HST.

Other out of print and hard to find local histories will also be on sale.


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