Time to Change the Calendar

The New Year is rushing at us. How are you fixed for calendars? There was a time when calendars were sought-after items. One from the bank, one from the service station (the kittens for the house or the racy cowgirl for the shed?), maybe something from the grocery store or your insurance company.

Often by the end of the year the old calendar was feeling tired and you looked forward to a fresh one. This got me looking around to see what old calendar survivors we had about.

In 1905 the St Lawrence Drug Store in Pictou gave away a little calendar and a selection of needles. It was an opportunity for the proprietor, R.D.Stiles, to advertise his antibilious pills and “modern” meat smoker.

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A couple of almanacs from 1888 and 1890 were gathered for their beautiful covers. Inside they contain some useful information like times of sunrise and sunset. Mostly there are ads for Castoria (“children cry for Castoria”). The makers claimed it did not contain morphine or opium. No wonder the kids were crying.

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We have a few months from a beautiful 1965 calendar. I don’t know how it was printed (stencilled or wood block?), but the colours and designs are glorious.


The calendar belonged to the late Shelagh Mackenzie, a filmmaker with exquisite and uncompromising taste.



Actually, we have calendars for most years since the late 1970s. Sometime Sheila hopes to reconstruct what we were up to back in the day. A quick look showed we had 1979 well handled.


A couple of calendars have made their way to the garage/garden shed. One from 2011 was a giveaway at a fruit stand in Mexico City. Sheila’s cousin Betty didn’t like it, but I loved the retro feel and was happy to take it off her hands.


An elegant 2013 moon calendar is lasercut fabric and made by local textile artist Anke Fox. Looks like you could still buy the 2016 version.


In 1889, the Saint John Globe newspaper printed this little card. The new year is rung in by a young girl as the old year hobbles off into the night.

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If you need more reminders that the sands of time run quickly, St Paul’s Burying Ground has many hourglass images. One of the best is in this 18th-century representation of Judgement Day.



What I really wanted to do was wish you all a HAPPY NEW YEAR! And thank you for supporting this blog and all of Halifax Bloggers throughout the year. I noticed you. And you.

As a parting gift, here is a lovely big piece of cheese. Neil Sedaka doing Calendar Girl.


About the author

Stephen Archibald

It’s Stephen Archibald doing the noticing. I’m a huge fan of Nova Scotia’s material culture and cultural landscapes. Twitter (@Cove17 ) made me realize I could share what attracted my attention (perfect for my very short attention) and I’m gratified when folks enjoy my content. Pleased to meet you on the internet.