Whaley, Royce & Co Ltd | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Whaley, Royce & Co Ltd

Whaley, Royce & Co. Ltd. Toronto instrument dealers and manufacturers and, until 1969, music dealers and publishers. The firm was founded in February 1888 by Eri [sic] Whaley (b Stewarttown, west of Toronto, 6 Feb 1853, d 27 January 1920) and George C.

Whaley, Royce & Co. Ltd.

Whaley, Royce & Co. Ltd. Toronto instrument dealers and manufacturers and, until 1969, music dealers and publishers. The firm was founded in February 1888 by Eri [sic] Whaley (b Stewarttown, west of Toronto, 6 Feb 1853, d 27 January 1920) and George C. (Cooper) Royce (b Toronto ca 1865, d there 10 Apr 1942). Whaley had been a bandleader in Orangeville, Ont, had composed a Hanlan Waltz in 1878, and had worked 1885-7 for Thomas Claxton. Royce had been employed briefly by a Toronto music dealer; he left Whaley, Royce in 1902 and later was president of the Ferranti Electric Co. After Royce's departure, Whaley was president and general manager. When Whaley died, the firm was bought by W.A. Hunter, H.R. Maddock, and W.H. Myhill. The company occupied in succession several locations on downtown Yonge St until it moved its wholesale division to suburban Scarborough in 1975. At that time, the company ceased manufacturing instruments. It gave up its downtown location in 1976. A branch was maintained 1889-1922 on Main St in Winnipeg.

The advertising slogan used by the company at about the turn of the century - 'Canada's Greatest Music House' - probably was justified. From the beginning Whaley, Royce carried a stock of band instruments, pianos and organs, sheet music, and general musical merchandise; engaged in the manufacture of brass and percussion instruments; and published music. It was one of the few Canadian music houses that had its own engraving, lithographing, and printing facilities (1890-ca 1940) and it did such work for other publishers as well. It also issued a magazine, the Canadian Musician (ca 1889-?), which by 1906 had changed its name to The Musician, and numerous handsome catalogues, eg, a Descriptive and Select Catalogue of Sheet Music and Music Books (386 pp, ca 1896) and Catalogue No. 23: Musical Instruments (200 pp, illustrated, 1923). Whaley, Royce claimed to have built the first cornet in Canada in June 1888 and the first flute, piccolo, and clarinet in 1895. After 1920 only brass instruments and drums were made, however, and the firm has sold mainly imported instruments under the trade name 'Imperial,' its registered name for the best of its own three lines - 'Ideal' and 'Sterling' being the other two. The repair of instruments has been an important and continuing service.

The first Whaley, Royce publications date from 1890. The catalogue grew quickly and during the next 30 years surpassed that of any other Canadian publisher. The output declined later and came to a halt about 1940, after which date only reprints of earlier issues were undertaken, and a very few new items (eg, two pieces by Frank Haworth, 1958, 1964). Plate numbers appear on many publications; they seem to have begun at number 101, reaching 1000 in 1903 and 1600 in 1923.

Canadian composers published by Whaley, Royce included R.S. Ambrose, J. Humfrey Anger, William Caven Barron, Charles Bohner, Gena Branscombe, Edward Broome, Herbert L. Clarke, Francesco D'Auria, W.O. Forsyth, H.A. Fricker, H.H. Godfrey, Albert Ham, C.A.E. Harriss, Edouard Hesselberg, A.W. Hughes, Thomas Charles Jeffers, Clarence Lucas, Angelo M. Read, William Reed, Horace W. Reyner, Leo Smith, and A.S. Vogt. Among the larger publications were Vogt's Standard Anthem Book (vol 1, 1894) and Modern Pianoforte Technique (1900), Harriss' opera Torquil, New Songs of the University of Toronto (1899), Queen's University Songbook (1903), and Mount Allison Songs (1908). Another important publication was the first edition of 'O Canada' with English words (by Thomas Bedford Richardson, 1906). Few, if any, other music publishers have published music by so varied a list of Canadians.

Some of these publications belonged to such series as Select Choruses and Part Songs, Octavo Church Music, Band and Orchestra Music, and TCM examination books, but the series included much non-Canadian music. The main types of music published were educational, sacred, and patriotic, but there was a certain amount of both concert and pop music.

In 1955 the publications division moved to separate Yonge St quarters, and after a fire in 1969 destroyed the stock one of the vice-presidents, Ted (Edward Gordon) Hough (chairman of the CMPA 1956-7), formed his own music store, Algord Music Ltd, located at yet another downtown Yonge St location. Reprinting of old Whaley, Royce publications continued according to demand in 1990.

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