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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Wooden Cask - The Dominion Brewery Co. Limited

My wife's family has a cottage up in the Muskoka's near the small village of Dorset and on one particular weekend we made the 30 minute drive north into Huntsville to do some rainy day shopping.

We stumbled upon a small antiques store that was having a 30% off sale so we headed down the stairs to the basement unit and began rummaging through the store's material. We're not antique buyers by any means, but I always enjoy ducking into antique/scavenger stores to see if they have any old beer or brewing stuff.

I've found old ceramic ashtrays for 50 cents, old tap handles and bottle openers, and picked up some old posters here and there. I've attended some of the brewerianist shows and touched some pretty amazing old brewing records, bottles, brewing equipment and promotional material. It's interesting to see the progression of change that the Canadian brewing industry has gone through over the years. I guess it's peaked my interest, and like I said, I now go into antique stores to see what they've got.

Which leads me back to the store in Huntsville. They had a nice little section of beer memorabilia. Tap handles, glassware, wall-mounted bottle openers, ashtrays and some old bottles (full bottles) on their shelves but none of them really struck a cord with me.

Thinking I'd struck out, we headed for the exit. However, while walking by the cash register I side stepped a small object sticking out from under a table. I didn't think anything of it until I had completely passed it. Almost to the stairs by this point, something popped into my head and told me to go back and have a look at it. As I got closer I noticed a spout at the bottom of it and when the rest of it came into view I knew exactly what it was - a small wooden cask.

I looked down at the top of the same cask and read the words out loud - The Toronto Dominion Brewery Co. Limited: 3 1/3. Awesome. I knew the Dominion Brewery, which was located on Queen Street east and Sumach in Toronto (structure still standing - next tot the Dominion on Queen pub), closed down shortly after prohibition was repealed and a quick search on my phone let me know it was 1936.

So, this little wooden cask, with branding on both the top and bottom, dates back to before 1936! The Dominion Brewery was owned and operated by Robert Davies who opened for business in 1878. It's also stated that Davies owned 144 taverns throughout Toronto in his day.

I don't know exactly how old the cask is, but it is in very good condition. Two of the rungs are loose and need a soak in water (for the wood to expand), but it seems to have all the original parts.

If anyone reading this has any idea about how old
this could be, please don't hesitate to contact me! (Click on image to see it in hi-res)


nemsis said...

Troy, This is a great find, I'm not any good at trying to date things like this but I am curious. What is the spout made of?
It's hard to tell from the photo but I notice that it is not corroded much so I am guessing brass? Just curious.


Troy Burtch said...

Some Canadian breweriana collectors have indicated that it could dated back to 1889-1914

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