The Drug Trading Company

Monday, March 15, 2021

Todays post is evidence that you need to keep your eyes open when you’re driving around. On my lunch I decided to drive through the area of the former community of Purpleville to see if there was a potential pioneer community story. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a vehicle in the woods a short distance from the road. Naturally, I found a place to turn around and went back to see what had caught my attention.

The cab and chassis is missing and all that remains is the enclosed cargo area of the vehicle. The sides and any windows have been broken out but fortunately the printing is still clearly legible. In Canada we have two main independent drug stores. Guardian and IDA are owned and operated by their pharmacists.

The Drug Trading Company was founded in 1896 to supply independent pharmacies with medications and other products. This was one of their delivery trucks but as the front view reveals, the engine and passenger compartment is no longer here.

Both sides of the vehicle carried a slogan trying to attract customers into their stores. “For friendly service and economy shop your independent drug store.” In 1962 Shoppers Drug Mart was founded as a national chain and it soon dwarfed the smaller independent pharmacies. While the bigger chains evolved into grocery and cosmetic shops and moved the pharmacy into the rear of the store, the smaller pharmacies kept a more personal touch with their clients.

One of the rear doors has been propped open but the other one isn’t opening any time soon without a lot of WD40.

When viewed together the two halves of the door read “DT Co” in the black circle which stands for Drug Trading Company. Then it says “Serving Pharmacy 100” which would suggest a date of 1996. Therefore this vehicle was still in service just 25 years ago. Most of the trees in the woodlot appear to be young and may have grown after the Drug Trading vehicle made its last delivery. Faint lettering can still be seen from the original Drug Trading Company logo on the rear doors.

The inside might have been protected against the elements when it was left here but there’s no longer any roof and both sides are wide open. While this may have once been a relatively unique piece of Canadian history it looks to be suffering an all too common fate. Neglected and soon forgotten. However, its memory will live on in these photos.

This old vehicle is visible from the road and although there isn’t any fence, the property is obviously owned by someone and needs to be respected as such.

Google Maps Link: Respectfully withheld.

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2 thoughts on “The Drug Trading Company

  1. Austin

    Great article, this is something I’ve seen many times on my drives but never had the opportunity to stop and take a look at it.
    It’s difficult to see during the summer months with all the foliage blocking the view.
    Would be interesting to know how it got there.
    Cheers

    Reply
  2. Bryan Suddard

    Cool find. I worked at Drug Trading in the 70’s and saw many of these trucks. The manufacturing plant was on Pharmacy Ave, and the main distribution center was downtown on Ontario St. They operated the IDA and Guardian drug stores across Canada

    Reply

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