Once upon a time, Toronto was home to Beaucraft Greeting Cards, Ltd., which produced a wide range of greetings and gift supplies. Their Beaucraft Expressions line was manufactured in Canada.
And did you know that this company was connected to the McMichael Art Gallery?
Don McMichael, Beaucraft’s founder and mastermind, was the brother of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection. He served Canada as a member of the RCAF during WWII, and upon returning home Don did what many former soldiers did and entered into business for himself and his family: he started making greeting cards.
Back then, door-to-door sales were common and even expected. People could show up and try to sell you just about anything—from vacuums to cookies and more! Now, notsomuch. We’re warned not to open our doors to salespeople because, most of the time, it’s a scam. Or it’s Rogers and Bell trying to sell you internet you can’t get. Same thing.
Mr. McMichael’s business bloomed. As Beaucraft grew, it went from the back of a wagon to serving Toronto direct retail locations, then expanded far beyond that. By the time the company acquired “Kards by Kay” in 1984, they had spread through the Golden Horseshoe and across Canada.
And then, suddenly, they disappeared.
Donald Norman McMichael passed away on January 13, 2009. References to Beaucraft as an employer on LinkedIn have positions ending in 2011 and 2012, and the last successful snapshot of beaucraft.com on the Wayback Machine is from February 2011. After that, nothing, except for a note that the website was for sale for a while.
Did somebody buy them out? I thought that perhaps Carleton Cards had, but wasn’t able to find any data to support that guess.
On the old Beaucraft website, it states that the company manufactured and distributed cards under license with some of the biggest names in the industry. They were building their own worldwide network of freelancers and creatives to better position themselves in their industry, and made claims of being “on the cutting edge of market trends.”
But, like many of Toronto’s manufacturers, Beaucraft vanished into the mists of time.
If you have further information on the fate of Beaucraft Greeting Cards, Ltd., comment below or send me a message. I’ll update this post when I learn more. In the meantime, please enjoy the two label graphics from one of Beaucraft’s cards. Just click on each one to open the file at full size.