Canadian Fashion Connection – Harry Tolton

Harry Tolton was born March 29, 1871 in Guelph, Ontario. He was an avid sportsman and traveller in his youth – touring Europe on a bicycle and winning the Zimmerman trophy in 1894 as a champion bicycle rider in Canada. By the turn-of-the-century he had started a shirt-making business in Galt, which he moved to Hamilton where he married in 1902. In 1905 he relocated his factory to Berlin (Kitchener) moving it from King Street East to King Street West before building his own factory off College Street. Tolton closed down the business when he retired in the early 1940s: He died in January 1947. 

4 thoughts on “Canadian Fashion Connection – Harry Tolton

  1. Harry A Tolton was my uncle’s (Harry A Tolton, Jr.) father. During the 1950’s and early 1960’s I have stayed in his Victorian era home at 28 East Ellen Street in Kitchener (Berlin), Ontario. I attended his son’s (Harry Jr.) funeral in 1986. I have also seen the architectural plans that were used for the construction of his factory on College Street.

    • Great to hear there is still a connection. Are the plans in the city archives now? I guess the house is now long gone – torn down for the Centre in the Square?

      • Yes, his son sold the house for the Center in the Square project and it was demolished. He moved to the cooperative apartments tower on Queen Street after the house was sold. That was probably upsetting for him as it was the only house that he had ever lived in. I don’t know what happened to the factory floor plans. The law firm (at 277 King Street West) handling Harry Jr’s estate ended up with them I think. Probably consigned to the dumpster. Although, I do have Harry Sr’s silver-plated Zimmerman Cup from July 25, 1891 and other of his bicycle racing medals. I had not seen the advertisement before. I sent a copy of it to my sisters. Thank you for your work in memorializing Harry A. Tolton, Sr. I have a copy of his company letterhead. It says that the firm was established in 1888…Maker of Custom Garments, Dental Coats…Exclusive Neckware…Custom Tailored Shirts and Pajamas.

        • Thanks for the further information. So the Zimmerman cup is from 1891 not 1894? And the company was started in 1888? He must have been born before 1871 then. I can’t remember where I found the information that I did. I think it was from the Waterloo Generations site. That’s great that you still have his Zimmerman cup. If you ever part with it and don’t have an heir, please consider the Waterloo Regional Museum. I expect they would be thrilled to have it in their collection.

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