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Copp Clark Company Limited
9 Front Street West, Toronto, Ontario - Canada
67-71 Colborne Street, Toronto, Ontario - Canada
64-66 Front Street West, Toronto, Ontario - Canada
495-517 Wellington West, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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Copp Clark Company Limited
9 Front Street West

The Copp Clark Company Limited began in Toronto, Ontario, Canada as a book and stationary store in 1841. The company was named Hugh Scobie after its founder who remained at it’s helm located at 16 King Street East until his death in 1854. Two of Scobie’s employees, Thomas Maclear and George Elliott Thomas, bought the company and renamed the business Maclear, Thomas & Company. In 1861-1863 the company changed management and became the W. C. Chewitt and Company. Between 1867-1869 Mr. Chewitt left and two more employees, William W. Clark and Henry J. Clark took over renaming the company the Copp Clark Company. In 1889 the company incorporated and became the Copp Clark Company Limited.

The Copp Clark Company Limited then located at 9 Front Street West and 67-69 Colborne Street in Toronto, Ontario struck a deal with the International Novelty Company of Baltimore, Maryland on June 15th 1892 to lease the rights to Elijah Bond’s Canadian patent (No. 36,092) and manufacturer the Ouija board in Canada. The International Novelty Company would collect twenty-five cents on every Ouija board manufactured and sold by Copp Clark. In return, the Copp Clark Company Limited would receive the exclusive rights to manufacturer the Ouija board in Canada. All they had to do was manufacture one thousand Ouija boards in that first two year period. The deal itself cost Copp Clark a whopping five dollars. That agreement was later modified in a letter by the International Novelty Company to Copp Clark Company Limited dated November 12th 1898. The royalty fee was reduced from twenty-five cents to fifteen-cents per Ouija board.

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Copp Clark Company Limited
495-517 Wellington West

As business boomed Copp Clark Company Limited moved in 1900 to 64 Front Street while maintaining their presence on Colborne Street. The above agreement stayed in force and royalties were paid to the International Novelty Company until April 19th 1904 when a fire in Toronto burned Copp Clark's inventory of Ouija boards as well as their entire warehouse. They later realized that the Canadian patent was only valid for ten years and expired on March 10th 1901. When Copp Clark started re-manufacturing Ouija boards in 1908 they no longer paid a royalty to the International Novelty Company.

To keep up with business they built a replacement factory in 1909 on 495-517 Wellington West, Toronto, Ontario. In 1912 a new warehouse was built and attached to the new factory and the Front Street address was abandoned. Three more additions were later added in 1924, 1928, and 1943. The Wellington address is the only Copp Clark factory still standing.

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Canada Games Company Limited
Ouija Box Label

Though Copp Clark began manufacturing the Canadian Ouija board in 1892, it wasn't alone in stamping their name on Canadian Ouija boxes. In addition to their main Copp Clark business, another partnership was formed on March 15, 1915 by William Copp, Henry Legatt Thompson, and Arnold William Thomas. This new partnership was named “The Canada Games Company and shared the address of 495-517 Wellington West in Toronto with Copp Clark Company Limited. On June 6, 1923 the Canada Games Company Limited incorporated and the partnership of the previous Canada Games Company assigned over its assets to the new Limited entity. This included any and all copyrights they had acquired. Canada Games Company Limited remained housed with parent company Copp Clark and acted as their subsidiary. Though It appears they were technically two separate companies, that's a bit misleading. Copp Clark manufactured the products for Canada Games while Canada Games was more of a brand. We aren't exactly sure for how long, or what the exact years were that the Ouija board was made and marketed under the name Canada Games Company or it's Limited version, but an educated guess based on early Ouija box covers would be between 1915 and 1955.

On December 17th 1919 Copp Clark received a letter from Washington Bowie Jr. informing them that William Fuld held the U.S. and Canadian trademarks on the word Ouija. Bowie further informed them that unless they immediately stopped manufacturing a talking board with the name Ouija on it, William Fuld would take appropriate actions against them. With many of Copp Clark's records burned in the fire of 1904 the company initially thought they would need to settle with Fuld. Since William Fuld had up until then never manufactured his Ouija board in Canada, Copp Clark decided to play cat and mouse with them effectively ignoring their letters. In 1938 William A. Fuld began sending letters demanding they cease and desist yet Copp Clark again ignored their calls.

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Copp Clark Company Limited
Interior Views

Attorneys for William Fuld Inc. began sending letters to Copp Clark in 1960. Much of the earlier paperwork on this matter had been misplaced and again Copp Clark contemplated settling. Unfortunately for William Fuld Inc., Copp Clark rediscovered the initial agreement with the International Novelty Company on November 7th 1961. Though William Fuld Inc.'s Canadian Ouija trademark, now owned by Hasbro, is still in effect, based on the past agreement with the International Novelty Company, Copp Clark could not be stopped from using the name.

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Canada Games Company Limited
61 Wildcat Road

In 1982 Copp Clark Company Limited sold its games and puzzle division along with The Canada Games Company Limited to Albert Diversified Limited headed up by Harvey Albert. Well aware of the power behind the Canada Games brand, Albert changed the name of his company to Canada Games Company Limited. The new Canada Games was first located at 61 Wildcat Road, Downsview, Ontario. In 1991 Canada Games acquired Waddington Games Canada and moved their operations to Waddington's former address at 75 West Drive, Bramalea, Ontario. In 1993 they moved to their final location at 150 Courtland Avenue in Concord, Ontario. Hasbro Inc., who owns the U.S. and Canadian trademark on Ouija, struck a deal with Canada Games. Hasbro would allow them to continue to use the Ouija trademark and manufacture Ouija boards in Canada while Canada Games agreed to give them use of their trademark Fun Dough. Canada Games manufactured Ouija boards updating its design in the mid 1990s. Fifteen years after they began manufacturing Ouija boards, Canada Games closed their doors in 1997.

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Irwin Toys Limited
43 Hanna Avenue

Harvey Albert’s two sons Michael and Richard Albert remained in the toy business working at Irwin Toys Limited located at 43 Hanna Avenue in Toronto, Ontario. Irwin Toys Limited, a former competitor to Canada Games, then acquired the rights to make the Ouija board from them. After four short years, Irwin Toys Limited was acquired in March of 2001 by LivGroup Limited, a private holding company in Toronto. Unfortunately, they declared bankruptcy in December of 2002. Also in 2001 Harvey Albert founded Papa’s Toys who acquired the rights back to many games, among them the Ouija board shortly after Irwin Toys declared bankruptcy in 2002. Sadly, Harvey Albert passed away in the spring of 2003. His son Michael Albert and two brothers then took over Papa’s Toys located at 430 Signet Drive in North York, Ontario where they continue to make the Canadian Ouija board today. The Canada Group, of which Michael Albert is also one of two partners, acts as a sales agent for Papa’s Toys.

If you are interested in purchasing one of Papa’s Toys Canadian Ouija boards please visit Products of Canada and tell them we sent you!

(Special thanks to Michael Albert, the McMaster Library, and the Toronto Public Library all of whom took the time and interest to help us preserve the Ouija board’s Canadian history. We surely couldn’t have done it without them!)