Incredible Photos of the History of Valentine’s Day in Brampton

Published February 11, 2017 at 1:37 am

What’s love got to do with it?

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, you might be thinking about ideas of love and romance (positively or negatively), more than usual.

What’s love got to do with it?

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, you might be thinking about ideas of love and romance (positively or negatively), more than usual.

Looking through the lens of love, here are a few highlights from the Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives (PAMA) in downtown Brampton. What’s love got to do with a museum you ask? Here are some stories and artifacts from PAMA’s current exhibitions and collection that weave in the theme of LOVE with a little advice thrown in.

Don’t Forget Some Flowers

Ever wonder why Brampton is called Flower City? The Dale Estate established Brampton’s reputation as ‘the Flower Town of Canada’.

The business began in 1863 with Edward Dale selling garden vegetables. Harry Dale took over the business, concentrating on flowers, particularly roses. 

By 1910, about one in four (25 per cent) Brampton families depended on the Dale Estate for employment. Experienced employees sometimes left to set up their own greenhouses. These smaller operations further established Brampton as ‘Flower Town.’

In 1956, The Dale Estate shipped 20 million blooms to destinations around the world from Brampton. Success factors included inexpensive land for their sprawling greenhouses, abundant coal to fuel the boilers, a reliable train system and consumer loyalty.

In the mid-1950s, each of these success factors changed. By the 1960s the value of the land under the greenhouses (about 40 acres) was greater than the value of the flowers being grown within them.

By the 1980s there was little left of Brampton’s greenhouse industry except a few street names, houses and archival documentation.


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A Lovely Card Goes a Long Way!

Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages, when lovers said or sang their Valentines. Written Valentines began to appear after 1400. The oldest Valentine in existence was made in the 1400s and is in the British Museum.  Paper Valentines were exchanged in Europe where they were given in place of valentine gifts.  Paper Valentines were especially popular in England. In the early 1800s, Valentines began to be assembled in factories and early manufactured Valentines were black and white pictures painted by workers.  Fancy Valentines were made with real lace and ribbons, with paper lace introduced in the mid 1800s. By the end of the 1800s, Valentines were being made entirely by machine. In 1850, Esther Howland, an American printer and artist, was among the first to publish and sell Valentines in the

United States. In the early 1900s, a card company named Norcross became one of the first companies to manufacture Valentines.  With the exception of Christmas, North American’s exchange more cards on Valentine’s Day than any other time of the year. Here are some cards from the PAMA museum collection.


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Say Yes to the Dress!

Valentine’s seems to be a popular time to “pop the question!” Getting married soon or just got engaged? Here is some highlight Victorian wedding Dresses from the PAMA Museum Collection:


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The dress on the left is a garnet silk taffeta wedding dress. Worn by Catherine McLean Wilson on Dec. 24, 1884. Mid-nineteenth century wedding gowns were usually not white.

The dress on the right was worn by Louisa Jane Armstrong, who married Charles Allen Sheard of Malton in 1903.

A little different from wedding fashion today?

Connection is Always the Key

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Robin T. Hesse, Canadian, Pear Study #2, Watercolour © the artist

In a recent tour, a visitor commented that the pears in this watercolour painting reminded her of a couple in the early stages of love. The artist has placed the pears side by side, their organic stems and shapes appear to be twisting and dancing towards each other, in contrast to the strong lines in the foreground and background. This painting was part of a large watercolour show art gallery exhibition called Water and Pigment: Mysterious Interactions.

Right now, you can check out PAMA’s current exhibit–Heather Graham: Reminds me of M and Inuit Dolls: Past Traditions to New Expressions on now until March 18.

PAMA Unplugged Tour

Saturday, Feb. 11, from 4 – 5 p.m.

For more great stories and interactive FUN, join PAMA and kick start a unique Valentines date night!

Book now

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