Pictou County Postcards
Vintage Postcards from Pictou County, Nova Scotia


Torry’s Book Store was owned and operated by my great-grandfather, James "Jim" Burton Torey and his brothers, William "Will" Henry Torry and Jonathan "Jon" Torry, over a period of about 50 years. My grandfather, Harold Burton Torey also worked there as a young man, but he did not have a strong interest in the family business, and thus he later become the head of the Customs & Excise office located in New Glasgow.
The store was located at 144 Provost Street in New Glasgow directly opposite the Goodmans store, in the left hand side of the H.L.P. McNeill building. The ground floor retail space was devoted to stationery, periodicals, books, prints, postcards and other dry goods, Waterman & Carter pens, the wallpaper, gifts, china, toys, party supplies and even fireworks sold from the second story.

The image at the right is identified in the lower right corner as a Waldren Studio photo. The Torey brothers were both business neighbours and friends of the well known Nova Scotia photographer, George Waldren, whose photography studio was directly across the street.

Many of the formal family photos that will appear in this site were Waldren Studio photos and the glass negatives for some of these photos can be found in the Waldren Studios collection. The Waldren Studio collection of glass negatives, sat for decades in the unheated attic of the Waldren property on Provost Street, but they are now safely housed at Dalhousie University in Halifax. A newspaper clipping about this event can be seen at http://www.library.dal.ca/archives/waldren/dalnews1.htm . Unfortunately as of 2014 (some 22 years later) the collection has never been fully cataloged.

Waldren Studios produced a large number of the original photographs for the postcards, books and other publication that were, over the years, produced by the Torry’s and by other publishers in the area. The Torry's used Waldren as a supplier of stock photos, but they also used many of their own photos, for the images that appear on the Torry postcards.

The family uses TORY, TOREY, TORRY and TORREY as variations of the spelling of the surname and the spelling and arrangement of the store name varied as well, with the names Torrey’s Book & Toy Shop, Torry’s Book and Toy Store, Torry’s Book Store, WH Torrey Publisher, etc. showing up throughout the collection.
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The view of the interior left hand side of the store, shows stationery neatly housed in the upper shelves, with the periodicals along the counter to the front left. An area for wrapping packages and the cash register sat just to the left of the periodicals, near the front door. The staircase to the second floor can be seen at the very back of the store. A row of book cases ran down the center of the store and they went floor to ceiling near the back of the store, but toward the front, there were book or display cases that were moveable.

I believe the man at the right is my great grandfather James B. Torey, but the woman and the two boys are to date, unidentified.

At the right, is a photo of the front window of Torry's Book Store that dates from the spring of 1937. This photo was given to our family by Mr. George C. Olding, a gentleman who worked at Torry's Book Store. He was the person responsible for arranging the window displays. The setting shown at the right, was Mr. Oldham's interpretation of "The June Wedding" and featured the china, glassware and sterling silver items that were available for purchase in the store.
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Another Torry's Book Store window display, with a very patriotic theme. The photo of the man in uniform in the frame at the center front is too hazy to identify, but these are the only photos we have of the store front and they appear to be from the same time frame, therefore about 1937?
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Unfortunately the view at the left is somewhat over exposed due to the sun coming in from the window, but it does give us an idea of the size and layout of the store. The store entrance was situated at the center front of the store and the cash register can be seen on the counter at the right, near the front of the store.

Wallpaper, toys, prints, party supplies, china giftwares and even fireworks were displayed on the second floor.

The other store, Kirk & Tory, was located in Sydney and I believe they sold primarily men's clothing and shoes from that location. We do not know exactly who the "Kirk" relative was, that was obviously involved in this partnership. The Kirk's were from Antigonish and related to the Torey's via our Loyalist ancestors, James Torey & Christine Kirk of Guysborough.