Toronto Litho Co. Ltd. Collections

In the late 19th century, The Toronto Lithographing Co. Limited was known as Canada’s largest and most advanced litho company. It was active from 1878 until 1909, when the company changed its name to Stone Ltd., after the president, William Stone. The company moved to its premises in Toronto to 461 King West, at the corner of Bathurst & King Streets, around 1899, (with premises spanning 450—467 King Street West by 1903).

The company printed a variety of books, maps, posters, and other material, and began printing postcards about 1898. Toronto Litho's leading Toronto rival was Rolph, Smith and Co., which merged with Stone Ltd. to form Rolph-Clark-Stone in 1917.

According to the Canadian Encyclopedia, “Prominent Toronto Litho Co employees included W.D. Blatchly, Henri Julien, J.D. Kelly, C.W. Jeffreys and William Bengough—younger brother of the brilliant political caricaturist J.W. Bengough—who founded the satirical periodical Grip in 1872.” Several of the Grip’s staff later went on to form the Group of Seven.

Some of the collections of Toronto Litho Co.’s cards are shown below.

Canadian Cities Series

Sports Series

Type I

Stamp & Address on Front

Type II

Stamp & Address on Back


View Cards

Merry Christmas Overprints

Combined Listings

Toronto Litho Cover 1904

Toronto Litho Ad 1903

Toronto Litho Co. Covers and Ads

Toronto Litho Co. Ltd. Posters

In the running up to the 1891 federal election campaign, The Toronto Lithographing Co. Limited was commissioned by the Toronto Industrial League to produce a series of quite beautiful lithographed election posters on behalf of Sir John A. Macdonald’s Conservative Party. The posters painted the Liberals as pro-American.

The posters were attributed by the Canadian Archives as possibly designed by well-known cartoonist J.W. Bengough.

According to The Canadian Encyclopedia, the production of the posters set “a precedent for the collaboration of governmental and quasi-governmental bodies with advertising and graphic art houses in the production of official propaganda”, a practice quite common today.