About Curry’s Art Store

Curry

In 1911, Fred Curry opened his Art Supply store at the corner of Yonge and Bloor Streets in downtown Toronto. Initially, although he carried artist materials and photographic equipment, the business revolved around custom framing and the sale of oil paintings, watercolour paintings and etchings.

Customers would often visit Fred to learn of his latest European buying trip while their horses were shoed and new harnesses and bridles were fitted at the blacksmith shop two stores north of Curry’s. Business thrived during the 1920’s as framing and gallery sales moved his enterprise forward.

The depression of the 1930’s, however, drove Fred and many others to the brink. The store stayed open from 7A.M. to 11P.M. six days a week. During those difficult years, the family lived above the store and, while Fred rested, his young daughter would staff the empty store.

To survive, Curry’s stocked increasingly more fine artist materials. Fred bartered these materials to struggling artists in exchange for their art which he, in turn, attempted to sell in his gallery. Several of Canada’s most famous artists worked closely with Fred during this period.

The gallery framing business, once so heavily relied upon, had to close after Fred Curry’s best framers did not return from the 2nd world war. The company was then forced to change direction and become a leading supplier of drafting materials to the fast growing Canadian aircraft industry by the mid 1950’s.

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Source: Curry’s Online

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