Trade and Other Tokens of the Gatineau Region - Articles on tokens and medals of Canada - Coins and Canada

You are: Home » Tokens and medals » Articles » Trade and Other Tokens of the Gatineau Region

Trade and Other Tokens of the Gatineau Region

By P.S. Berry (Bank of Canada) | Sunday, February 3, 2002

During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Canadian merchants and companies of all types, desiring profit and publicity, contracted with a variety of suppliers to produce a bewildering array of currency substitutes. Some of these trade tokens or merchant checks had a monetary value, offering 5 cents in trade or 10 cents in merchandise, while others were good for such things as one fare, 1 pint of milk, 2 loaf of bread, 1 load of wood, 1 shave, and even 1 drink or 1 tune. They were most commonly made of aluminum, but to a lesser extent brass and copper were also used.

Various tokens circulated in the Gatineau region from the 1830s up until the 1970s. The following pages describe the variety of tokens that circulated in this area, their producers and their issuers, and some of the reasons for their introduction and discontinuance. Many of these tokens are on display in the Currency Museum at the Bank of Canada.

This text draws on numerous references: city and Quebec provincial directories, numismatic texts by F. Bowman, P. N. Breton, W. McColl, W. McLachlan and F. X. Paquet, and regional and local histories by Chad Gaffield and Lucien Brault. The first tokens to arrive in the Gatineau were the copper halfpenny and penny pieces issued in the 1830s and 1840s by the merchants and banks of Montreal. Produced during a shortage of real money, these pieces found their way northwest up the Ottawa River in the normal course of commerce. These so-called colonial tokens were diverse in size and weight, and this proved to be an irritant to commerce, leading the new Dominion of Canada government in 1870 to take action to limit their use. Many were demonetized or officially rendered valueless for use in transactions as the government arranged for the production of sufficient quantities of coinage to meet people's needs. Beginning in 1870, and continuing sporadically for several years thereafter, the Canadian government placed orders in England for coins ranging in denomination from 1 to 50 cents. The increasing quantity of this official currency quickly drove the old colonial tokens out of circulation, except in rural areas of the country where they continued in use until the end of that century.

By the end of the nineteenth century, trade tokens had become widespread in the Gatineau region. From about 1890 to 1935, more than 600 Quebec businesses issued approximately 2000 different tokens in a wide range of denominations. These pieces had broad appeal in cities as well as villages, and their use came about because they offered the merchant an affordable and profitable means of advertising. Merchants bought tokens from manufacturers for a fraction of their denominated value. For example, as little as $12 could purchase $81 worth of tokens ranging from 1 cent through 50 cents in denomination1. It is not difficult to understand the appeal that this offer had for merchants, with its promise of almost seven times profit from seignorage (the difference between the tokens' production cost and their value at issue). Hotel operators and general merchants, bakers, barbers, dairies and restaurants increasingly issued tokens in their own names, as did schools and transport companies.

The earliest tokens used in North America were made of copper and brass. Advances in refining aluminum were made in the United States during the 1880s, leading to its adoption for use in a variety of products, including tokens2. Period advertisements from the early 1890s illustrate aluminum's usefulness in jewellery, statuary, construction materials, business machines, housewares, and personal hygiene products such as combs and mirrors. Between 1888 and 1893 the price of an aluminum ingot dropped from $4.86 to 784 a pound. Aluminum tokens did not tarnish, as copper and brass did, and could now be produced at prices comparable to these traditional equivalents. Aluminum's competitive price and greater eye appeal encouraged businesses to select this light, white metal for their tokens.

The use of aluminum tokens soon spread from the United States to Canada as several firms began manufacturing tokens on order, sending their salesmen out into the field equipped with boxes of samples. Generally, these manufacturers produced more than just tokens. They were, as one firm advertised, Amanufacturers and dealers in marking devices of every description3. Their products included notary and corporate seals, wax seals, rubber and metal date stampers, metal name plates and badges, key tags and small signs.

Ontario had several token manufacturers. The best known were the Cranston Novelty Advertising Co. in Galt, the Thistle Rubber Type Works in Sombra (near Sarnia), the Brunswick-Balke Collender Co. in Toronto, and the Pritchard & Andrews Co. in Ottawa. Owing to its close proximity, Pritchard & Andrews was probably the principal token manufacturer for the Gatineau region. Although few of the known tokens from this area bear a manufacturer's name, where a name appears it is that of Pritchard & Andrews. The typical size of a token order was about 200 pieces per denomination; 100 was the minimum but producers would strike at a discount as many pieces as desired above this amount. Prices for aluminum pieces typically ranged from $2.50 per 100 to 954 per hundred if 10,000 were purchased. Round, octagonal or scalloped shaped checks were the norm. A premium of 25 percent was usually charged for oval or square tokens.

The heyday of the trade token in the Gatineau, as elsewhere, lasted from about 1890 to the 1920s. Mercantile activity was growing in the first decade of the new century, but the roadway and transportation infrastructure had not yet been developed, which limited intermingling of the populace from one centre to another. Lucien Brault in his Histoire de la Pointe-Gatineau wrote that Avant l'introduction d'un service d'autobus et l'ouverture de routes améliorées, ...tous les habitants du village et des cantons avoisinants s'approvisionnaient chez nos marchands. Il n'était pas façile alors d'acheter dans des grands centres et de transporter les marchandises à la maison4. This focus on the local community where merchants, suppliers and clients traded among themselves supported an atmosphere where tokens flourished.

Several classes of tokens were in use during this period. One of the largest was that issued by general merchants and grocers, redeemable for a set value of merchandise. Inscriptions often read good for x cents in merchandise or Atrade. In lieu of cash or credit, general merchants distributed tokens in payments to local suppliers, thus removing the need to keep detailed account books. Suppliers accepted these tokens because merchants discounted their value, and merchants also sold tokens to customers in exchange for credit notes that could be negotiated at the bank for immediate cash. When road and transportation improvements (after World War I) encouraged an outlook beyond the local community and reduced the incentive to purchase or sell supplies at home, the use of merchant tokens declined.

In the dairy industry and transportation sector (electric railways, bus companies and taxicabs), tokens were typically sold in advance. This generated up-front revenue and relieved staff of the need to make change or carry large amounts of money. Dairy tokens were denominated in pints and quarts, and might be further identified as Jersey, Guernsey, homogenized or pasturized milk. Of all the types of tokens issued, milk tokens were the most varied in composition, shape and colour. Made of plastic, cardboard, brass, and both plain and anodized aluminum, their shapes varied from round, scalloped, square and rectangular to hearts, tees, cows and bull heads. These latter shapes were particularly useful as they stood up in the bottle necks of the returns, alerting the delivery man that a replacement bottle was needed. Milk tokens were issued well into the 1960s, at which time improvements in packaging and transportation led to a consolidation in the number of dairies and a reduction in home delivery and the use of tokens5. As changes to the fare structure became more frequent, paper tickets were more economical to replace than metal tokens, and transportation tokens were replaced by paper tickets and passes.

Bakeries used tokens for the same reasons as did general merchants and dairies. They sold tokens, often at a discount, in large centres with home delivery as a way of encouraging customers and securing payment in advance, while in smaller centres they were distributed in part payment to suppliers. Denominations included 1 loaf and 2 loaf. The unusual denomination of half a loaf makes one wonder whether loaves were actually sold in this quantity or was this a ruse of the bakery to encourage clients to buy a whole loaf, using cash for part of the purchase. Part of the answer is that, before the advent of sliced bread in the 1930s, loaves were baked in a shape that could be easily divided in half6.

Other goods and services tokens, such as those redeemable for a drink, a meal, a cigar or a shave, were distributed, like the dairy tokens, in advance for cash payment or promissory note. These tokens were rarer than those issued by the dairies, bakeries and transportation companies. This is probably because they represented luxury items rather than staples, and consumers preferred to pay cash on an as-wanted basis.

Amusement tokens were distributed through slot machines and other automated equipment at billiard parlours or hotels. The machines were a form of gambling but because they dispensed tokens or prizes instead of cash, owners and operators were able to evade the law. The tokens were typically the size of a five-cent piece, made of brass and pierced with a round or other-shaped hole. The slot machine prizes were often nothing more than candy, and that candy would be dispensed only if the client had activated the machine with real money and had been fortunate enough to have the revolving wheels stop at three cherries or three of something. If a token had been used to activate the machine, often the prize was only more tokens.

Other so-called tokens had no monetary value but were important for educational, advertising or religious purposes. Institutions of higher education used what collectors call Abusiness college currency,@ tokens and scrip that resemble coins and paper money, in commercial courses to familiarize students with handling money. Social and sporting clubs provided their members with tokens that were really medallions, advertising the activity that brought members together. Coin collectors sold or traded numismatic cards, coin-like medals that advertised the name and interests of the individual. In the mid-nineteenth century some Presbyterian churches even issued communion tokens which, as the name implies, were required to receive communion. They were typically made of lead or pewter and were distributed by the minister to parish members who were particularly worthy.

Despite differences in form and use, all tokens were similar in that they were local in nature and usually redeemable in goods or services only at the issuing establishment. Tokens were not legal tender. Unlike most Canadian coinage, they were currency substitutes with no real intrinsic value, and their acceptance depended upon the level of public confidence in the issuer. Of course tokens guaranteed repeat business, as they were negotiable only at the firm whose name appeared on them. The vagaries of human nature must also not be forgotten. One manufacturer's advertisement included these encouraging words: Do not forget that many of the checks issued will be lost or kept as Souvenirs, Pocket Pieces, etc. You are thereby the gainer7.

With such benefits one might wonder why only some businesses participated in the system. Of the five stores, four hotels and four mills in Gracefield in 1902, for example, only one merchant is known to have issued tokens, and this low ratio of issuers to non-issuers appears to be typical of most urban centres. Perhaps many merchants lacked the financial means to have tokens made, while others may have looked upon them as a popular fad of limited duration that was not worthwhile to try. Finally, some of the surviving tokens, called mavericks by collectors, are not readily linked to a specific locale, as they do not include the place of issue among the identification that they bear.

Thirty-six businesses and individuals in ten Gatineau Valley communities are known to have issued tokens. These include Chelsea (1), Gatineau and Gatineau Point (8), Gracefield (1), Hull (18), Maniwaki (2), Masham Mills (1), Perkins Mills (1), Templeton and East Templeton (2) Wakefield (1) and Wrightville (1). Probably other merchants issued tokens in these communities or in villages such as Low and Kazabazua, but examples have not survived or their provenance has not been identified. This is not at all surprising, given the small quantities that a merchant would have had struck. The tokens of the Gatineau that we know of came from grocers, general merchants, bakers, dairies, hotels, bus and taxi operators, an amusement company, an electric railway, a lumber company, a restaurant, a church, business colleges, numismatists and a snowshoe club. In all, they represent an interesting cross-section of Gatineau business.

Gatineau Tokens and Their Issuers

The following is a list and description of known or attributed Gatineau Valley tokens and their issuers. Entries are arranged alphabetically by community and then by issuer within each community.


Issuer Denomination Material Shape Diameter
Church of Scotland White metal Round 25.8 mm

This communion token was probably used sometime between 1862 and 1876.

Gatineau and Gatineau Point

Issuer Denomination Material Shape Diameter
Hormisdas Cloutier ½ loaf Aluminum Octagonal 23.2 mm
Hormisdas Cloutier 1 loaf Aluminum Round 30 mm

As one might expect from the denomination of the tokens, H. Cloutier was a baker. According to period directories he was active from about 1910 to 1919, first on Grand Street and then at 121 Champlain Avenue.

Issuer Denomination Material Shape Diameter
Michael Foley 25 cents drink Brass Round 24.6 mm

This is one of a group of tokens that were probably struck for the numismatic trade8. The new state of most examples observed would support this view. Breton's Illustrated History of Coins and Tokens mentioned them in 1894, claiming that Foley started a hotel in 1885 and had about 100 tokens manufactured in 1890. Lovell's Quebec directory does list a hotel opposite Foley's name in 1890 and 1902.

Issuer Denomination Material Shape Diameter
Gatineau Dairy Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown

Period telephone directories list the dairy as operating from 1956 to 1968 at 503 Notre Dame Street. Alonzo Carrière was its president for all but perhaps a few years in the late 1950s, when it was operated by the Fortin family.

Issuer Denomination Material Shape Diameter
Laiterie Champlain ½ gallon Aluminum Triangle

Formerly known as the Union Dairy, the Champlain Dairy operated in 1964 and 1965. It was located at 750 Maloney Blvd. G. Bourbonnais was its president.

Issuer Denomination Material Shape Diameter
Louis Laurin Numismatic card Brass Round 24.6 mm

Louis Laurin was an avid numismatist in the early 1890s and proprietor of the Balmoral hotel in 1915. Breton reports that he had some 300 tokens produced in a variety of styles. None of the pieces had values; they were all numismatic cards advertising Laurin's hobby. Some are dated 1892. Coin collecting was not perhaps his only passion, as a historian records that in March 1910 a Mr. Louis Laurin was asked to pay an additional 50 cents a day for the extra electricity that his automatic piano consumed.9

Issuer Denomination Material Shape Diameter
J. B. Neveu 12 ½ cents Brass Round 24.6 mm

Apart from his tokens, which claim that he was a grocer, little information has been documented about this man. Breton indicates that Mr. Neveu issued about 100 tokens in 1891, the date marked on these pieces, and that he retired the following year. Neveu's tokens, like the Foley pieces, may have been issued solely for the benefit of token collectors.

Issuer Denomination Material Shape Diameter
William Smith 5 cents Brass Round 24.6 mm
William Smith 5 cents Aluminum Round 24.6 mm

Lovell's Quebec directory indicates that Smith operated a general store from at least 1890 to 1902. Breton relates that Smith started business in 1867 and issued about 100 tokens in 1889. While the aluminum token may have been issued for trade purposes, the brass one, like Michael Foley's, is suspected to have been issued for numismatists.

Issuer Denomination Material Shape Diameter
Union Dairy 5 cents off ½ gallon Unknown Unknown Unknown

Located at 750 Maloney Blvd., the dairy was in operation from 1960 to 1963, after which it became the Laiterie Champlain. Rosaire Gibeau was President, René Laurin Vice-President and Paul Quéry Secretary-Treasurer.


Issuer Denomination Material Shape Diameter
George B. Reid 10 cents Aluminum Round 18 mm
George B. Reid 25 cents Aluminum Round 25 mm
George B. Reid 50 cents Aluminum Round 29 mm

George Reid operated a general store from 1898 to 1911.


Issuer Denomination Material Shape Diameter
Academy Sainte-Marie 1 cent Bronze Round 27.9 mm
Academy Sainte-Marie 5, 10, 25, 50 cents, 1 dollar Aluminum Round 16-35 mm

The Sainte-Marie School was renamed the Academy Sainte-Marie September 9, 1897, and a commercial course was established at this girls' school sometime after 1909. The tokens were designed for use in a commercial class, are of workmanship superior to those of the Collège de Hull examples, and are of a design used before 1920. Although they bear the legend Hull Academy Bank, there is no evidence that they were used at the Academy Sainte-Marie. The tokens may actually have been issued by the Collège de Notre Dame, which issued notes inscribed Commercial Academy Bank.

Issuer Denomination Material Shape Diameter
J. R. Booth 5 cents Aluminum Unknown Unknown
J. R. Booth 25 cents Aluminum Round 25 mm

The pieces are mavericks - a class of token that bears no indication of the city of issue. Nevertheless, numismatic cataloguers have attributed them to Hull. It is possible they were used on Chaudière Island in some capacity at the sawmill that operated under the Booth name from 1893 until the 1940s.

Issuer Denomination Material Shape Diameter
Collège de Notre Dame de Hull 1 cent Brass Round 26.5 mm
Collège de Notre Dame de Hull 5, 10, 25 cents Aluminum Round 16-24 mm

Established in September 1878 as a school for boys, the facility was under the direction of the Christian Brothers. The tokens are of a frequently-seen type issued in support of business courses at a variety of Christian Brothers colleges. The tokens were prepared sometime before January 1893, when they were listed in Paquet's work on tokens of Ottawa and vicinity. The college also issued a series of notes from $1 to $500 for the same purposes.

Issuer Denomination Material Shape Diameter
Golden Circle Validated Parking Aluminum Round 15.5 mm

This token probably dates from around 1975.

Issuer Denomination Material Shape Diameter
Hotel Cyr 5 cents Aluminum Round 20 mm

Another maverick, this token has no obvious connection to Hull. Period directories do not list a Hotel Cyr. Authority for this connection rests with a numismatic cataloguer from 1960. From 1909 to 1917, a Joseph Cyr operated a billiard hall, first at number 352 and later at 321 Champlain Street. Another maverick in the name of Jos. Cyr exists, made of brass and 5 cents in denomination.

Issuer Denomination Material Shape Diameter
Hull Co-operative Society Ltd. 1 pint Copper Round 23 mm

Reference catalogues identify this token as having come from Hull, Quebec, but this piece is likely English rather than Canadian. The Hull, Quebec, directories do not list this firm, nor do they have a Gr. Thornton Street, the address that appears on the token. Great Thornton is, however, a street name in Hull, Yorkshire.

Issuer Denomination Material Shape Diameter
Hull Electric Company 1 fare Aluminum and copper letter (L) Round 16 mm
Hull Electric Company 1 fare Copper and aluminum letter (L) Round 16 mm
Hull Electric Company 1 fare Aluminum and copper letter (W) Round 18.2 mm
Hull Electric Company 1 fare Aluminum and copper letter (W)?? Notched Unknown
Hull Electric Company 1 fare Copper and aluminum letter (H) Hexagon 18 mm
Hull Electric Company 1 fare Aluminum and copper letter (H) Hexagon 18 mm

Chartered on January 12, 1895, the firm began running trams in Hull (1896) and later extended service to Aylmer (1899), Ottawa (1901) and Wrightville (1910). The firm also provided power for city street lights and operated Queens Park, a 32-hectare amusement park in Aylmer. The company stopped operating the trams in November 1945. At some point prior to 1902, the company began to use bimetallic tokens good for one fare. The significance of the letters W, A, and H, which appear on the tokens is not documented, although one might suspect that the H stands for Hull and the W for Wrightville.

Issuer Denomination Material Shape Diameter
I. N. Co. 5 cents Brass Round 21.1 mm

The form of the token, with its pierced centre, is typical of amusement tokens used in slot machines, but no documentation about the company has been located.

Issuer Denomination Material Shape Diameter
A. Labelle 5 cents Brass Round 24.7 mm
A. Labelle 5, 10, 25, 50 cents, 1 dollar Aluminum Round 15-34 mm
A. Labelle 10, 50 cents Aluminum Square 22 mm

Three distinct type of tokens bear the name A. Labelle. The two groups of round pieces are clearly from the same issuer, Adelmar Labelle, since they bear the same address: Coin Rues Lac & Victoria. Adelmar was listed as a grocer at essentially the same address from 1890 to 1942. The brass piece is dated 1892, and Breton indicates that 200 pieces were issued, and were still in use in 1894. The square aluminum pieces are very different in design from the other tokens. It is possible that these tokens were the issue of a butcher named Adrien Labelle, whose business was located on Inkerman Street (1895-1908,) and later at Champlain and Hôtel de Ville streets between about 1908 and 1920

Issuer Denomination Material Shape Diameter
Adelard C. Latour 5 cents Aluminum Round 18.2 mm

Like so many other pieces listed here, this piece is a maverick, without an address marked on it. However, directories indicate that A.C. Latour operated a hotel in Hull from 1892 to 1913, first at 115 and later at 66 Church Street. As with many hotel tokens, the piece was probably good for a drink at the bar.

Issuer Denomination Material Shape Diameter
Laval Taxi 50 ents Aluminum Round 32 mm

From about 1924 to 1932, Laval Taxi operated two stands: one at 1332 Main St. and another at 52 Laval. In 1932 Crown Taxi acquired these locations and Laval moved to 23 Main; by 1934 Crown Taxi controlled all three locations. J. W. Bourque managed the firm until about 192,6 when Jerome L. Roussel and Omer Boileau took over as president and manager respectively. The phone numbers on the token (Sherwood 291, 292) are those used at the Main and Laval Street locations before 1932.

Issuer Denomination Material Shape Diameter
Le Nationale Aluminum Round 38 mm

Le Nationale was one of the first snowshoeing clubs in the area. It operated from 1886 to 1900.

Issuer Denomination Material Shape Diameter
Alphonse Louis Raymond Plastic Round 22-24 mm
Alphonse Louis Raymond Aluminum Round 22-29 mm

A. L. Raymond was a grocer from about 1902 to 1937. He operated first at 207 Inkerman Street and later (after 1910) at 210 Champlain Street. The tokens attributed to him are anonymous and were used as discount tokens for gifts. Their style suggests an issue date in the 1930s.

Issuer Denomination Material Shape Diameter
Royal Taxi Aluminum Round Unknown

The Royal Taxicab company was operated by Raymond Champagne from 1928 to 1929. Before those years, Champagne is listed as providing a taxicab service from 88 Laurier Street. In 1928 additional stands were added at 76 and 90 Laurier, but in 1929 only 76 Laurier, beside the Eddy pulp mill, was operated by Champagne. The other two addresses were listed under the direction of Viau Taxi. Tokens are inscribed Ask for Jean Dow. No record has been located of a Jean Dow in Hull or surrounding area at that time. There were two men named Jean Daoust, which is phonetically equivalent to Dow (remember, the token instructs the holder to ask for Jean Dow), but neither gentleman is identified in directories as a cab driver. One might think that the token does not refer to the Royal Taxi Co. of 1928-1929, but the phone number (Sherwood 4830) appearing on the token matches that of Champagne's firm.

Issuer Denomination Material Shape Diameter
Sealtest Milk
(Laiterie Sealtest)
1 quart Homogenized Plastic 32 x 36 mm
Sealtest Milk
(Laiterie Sealtest)
1 quart 2% Jersey Plastic 32 x 36 mm
Sealtest Milk
(Laiterie Sealtest)
½ gallon Homogenized Plastic 32 x 36 mm

The Laiterie Sealtest was formerly the Laiterie de Hull. It operated at 200 St. Joseph Boulevard under the management of Rene Viau from about 1965, when it was listed as a division of Sealtest (still under the name Laiterie de Hull), until 1971, the last year that the dairy at this location was mentioned in the phone directory

Issuer Denomination Material Shape Diameter
Transport Urbain de Hull
(Hull City Transport Co.)
1 fare Nickel Octagonal 16.7 mm
Transport Urbain de Hull
(Hull City Transport Co.)
1 fare Brass Round 16.8 mm
Transport Urbain de Hull
(Hull City Transport Co.)
1 child fare Nickel Round 20.1 mm

The people of Hull voted in favour of establishing a bus company in a referendum held on January 14, 1945. Like the old Hull Electric Railway that it replaced, the new firm was privately owned and provided transportation services through the area. Atwood's reference on transportation tokens indicates that the octagonal tokens were used in Gatineau and Aylmer about 1951.

Issuer Denomination Material Shape Diameter
Transport Hull Metro 1 fare Nickel Round 20 mm

This firm appears to have been an outgrowth of the Transport Urbain de Hull. Tokens exist either unnumbered or bearing single numbers ranging from 1 to 8. Atwood suggests that the numbered tokens were issued in March 1960 and corresponded to the eight zones between Ottawa and Hull. The same source indicates that the unnumbered tokens were used from 1964 to 1969.

Issuer Denomination Material Shape Diameter
Joseph Villeneuve 1 load Aluminum Oval 31.3 mm
Joseph Villeneuve 1 voage Aluminum Rectangular 33 mm

Joseph Villeneuve operated a cab and livery stable from 1908 to about 1929. He was originally located at 198 Inkerman but moved to 203 Champlain in 1910. It is not clear why Villeneuve would issue tokens good for 1 load of wood (voyage de bois) as he is not listed in any directory as a wood dealer. Perhaps this J. Villeneuve is not the issuer of the tokens. Both pieces are mavericks and authority for their association with Hull rests upon Bowman's directory of token issuers.


Issuer Denomination Material Shape Diameter
Laiterie Maniwaki 1 quart Aluminum Scalloped 26 mm

No information about this firm has been located.


Issuer Denomination Material Shape Diameter
Anastase Roy 1, 5, 10, 25, 50 cents Aluminum Round 18-30 mm
Anastase Roy 1 dollar Aluminum Round 34 mm

Anastase Roy was born in St. Fabien in 1869 and arrived in Maniwaki in 1887, where he began working as a clerk at Roy & Roy, a store jointly owned by his brother and cousin. By 1895, Roy was on his own, and over the next 50 years he improved business to the extent that by 1937 he included pulpwood manufacturing among his occupations. Roy had other interests besides merchandising: he was a municipal councillor, a justice of the peace, a school commissioner, a longtime member of the Ordre des Forestiers Catholiques, and co-owner of the Club de chasse et pêche du Lac Bois Franc. He wrote Maniwaki et la vallée de la Gatineau, a history of the town and region. In 1902 he issued a series of six tokens good for 1 cent through 1 dollar in trade.

Masham Mills

Issuer Denomination Material Shape Diameter
Maurice Jean Bertrand 1 cent-1 dollar Aluminum Round Unknown

Bertrand operated a general store, saw and grist mill from about 1902 into the First World War, after which subsequent directories to 1944 mention only the general store. Unlike Anastase Roy in Maniwaki, Bertrand apparently was not successful at improving business. In 1937, Dun and Bradstreet estimated his pecuniary strength at no more than $500, whereas that of Roy ranged from $50,000 to $75,000.

Perkins Mills

Issuer Denomination Material Shape Diameter
Miners Restaurant
(Joseph Dubois)
1 meal Brass Round 23 mm
Miners Restaurant
(Joseph Dubois)
1 meal Aluminum Round 23 mm

Dubois' tokens were likely struck for sale to collectors. Breton records that Dubois had 100 of these tokens made in 1891 and that they were still in use in 1894. Period directories indicate that Dubois was still in business in 1910, but operating a general store.

Templeton and East Templeton

Issuer Denomination Material Shape Diameter
East Templeton Lumber Co. 25 yards Brass Round 35.2 mm

This firm operated about 1910 as a saw mill under the management of J. J. Valilie. It may have replaced an earlier facility owned by John Maclaren. Tokens have been found both with and without values. The mill owners added the denomination using a punch, so it is possible that values other than 25 yards existed.

Issuer Denomination Material Shape Diameter
Templeton Dairy, E. Scharf 1 pint Brass Round 24 mm
Templeton Dairy, E. Scharf 1 quart Brass Round 28 mm

Nothing is known of this firm or of E. Scharf. An Elijah Scharf is listed in the 1901 census but he may not be the issuer of the token. The tokens are uniface and were manufactured by the Pritchard & Andrews Company, Ottawa, sometime after 1894 since they are not listed in either Breton or Paquet. The piece may be misattributed.


Issuer Denomination Material Shape Diameter
William Orme 1 loaf Aluminum Round 32 mm
William Orme 1 loaf Aluminum Scalloped 30 mm

William Orme operated as a baker from about 1910 to at least 1944. He had a good credit rating and a pecuniary strength of $2,000 to $3,000 in 1937. Unlike the issues of many of his competitors, Orme's tokens seem to have been used over many years, since surviving examples are well-worn.


Issuer Denomination Material Shape Diameter
Wrightville Dairy, A. Beaudoin 1 pint Aluminum Round 19 mm
Wrightville Dairy, A. Beaudoin 1 quart Aluminum Round 28 mm

Although directories provide no information about this firm or person, the tokens were issued sometime before September 1894, since they are illustrated in Paquet's catalogue supplement of that date.

Special thanks are due to Chris Faulkner and Carol Martin for their helpful suggestions upon reviewing the text. In addition to the sources cited (by footnotes) in this article, the following are useful references for those interested in knowing more about trade and other tokens.

  • Atwood's Catalogue of United States and Canadian Transportation Tokens, 3rd edition (Boston: American Vecturist Association, 1977 supplement).
  • Bowman, Fred, The Tokens of Quebec Province, 2nd edition, Brantford: Canadian Numismatic Research Society, 1972.
  • Breton, Pierre Napoleon, Illustrated History of Coins and Tokens Relating to Canada, Montreal: P.N. Brenton & Co, 1894.
  • McColl, W. R., List of Canadian, British, United States and Foreign Coins and Pattern Pieces, Paper Money, etc., Owen Sound: McCallum Company Printers, 1902.
  • Paquet, F. X., Illustrated Catalogue & Price List of Medals, Checks and Communion Tokens of Ottawa and District, private publication, 1893
Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our newsletter and stay updated.