It is official we are growing in Canada after it was announced this week, the country’s population is 36 million plus. For the record New York City’s is almost 9 million. As for Ontario we have nearly a quarter of our nation’s population. And did you know Canada’s oldest trade is not “wink wink nudge nudge”….. it is the fur trade! Hear of the Hudson’s Bay Company? Founded in London, England in 1672, the fur trading company relied on the new world and its variety of fur bearing animals: bear, beaver, mink, otter.
Furs were used as trade, warmth and wear. Growing up in Woodstock where my late parents owned Reed’s Furriers, my siblings and I learned all aspects of the fur trade. My job was to inspect and clean pelts dad bought from trappers. In my teens I picked up and delivered fur coats kept in our fur storage, a great place to hang out during a hot summer’s day. We often travelled with dad to Spadina Avenue in Toronto fur factories to buy new stock or fur sleeves to replace on coats that needed a make over. My parents tried to teach me how to make a fur coat from pattern to completed product, usually a week-long effort including adding silk linings. I broke three sewing machine needles in five minutes….I gave up and sadly they did too.
Guess they knew I wanted to be a radio announcer. Somewhere in my blood there still is the fur business. I love the smell of fur factories, I love the feel of Persian lamb and mink coats….and I know an electric seal is really skunk fur. When I moved to Midland I had more than my share of lonely moments…..my oasis was always Voorzanger Furs across from the old CKMP on King Street. The husband and wife team there were wonderful people and marvellous furrier’s, well skilled…..I would sit for hours watching them make coats or listen to them wait on customers…..it was a taste of home I will never forget and I am thankful to the Zoorzangers for happily reminding me of Earle and Ileta Reed and Reed’s Furrier’s.