Born in Belarus in 1900, Elsie Lexchin immigrated to Toronto as a child and apprenticed as a milliner in Detroit before returning to Toronto to open her first shop at Bay and College Streets in the early 1940s. In the 1960s ‘Elsie’s Millinery’ moved to 126 Cumberland Avenue, and closed in the early 1980s when Elsie retired. Her business was not a shop, but rather a custom millinery where you came for an appointment – no two women had the same Elsie hat.
Her niece recalled in a 1995 interview that Elsie’s clients were mostly Toronto society women including the Westons, and the wives of E.P Taylor and prime minister John Diefenbaker, and recalled an incident when Mrs. Diefenbaker (Olive) walked out in a huff because Elsie was busy with another client.
Elsie Lexchin died on May 28, 1995