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Shortly after Canada’s Confederation in 1867, provinces began to pass Pharmacy Acts to grant self-regulation to druggists, as members of the profession were known at the time. Through the years druggists achieved the same trusted professional status that doctors and lawyers had in their communities.

In the 1890s local independent drug stores began facing competition from department stores selling pharmaceuticals. In the 1930s the competition came primarily from chain-owned drug businesses. Independent pharmacy owners decided to join forces and work co-operatively to ensure they could continue to provide reliable, professional services to their customers.

Advances in technology greatly improved pharmacy services, but proved costly for the independent pharmacist operating his or her own business. By joining a co-operative network, independent pharmacists could better afford the state-of-the-art technologies that helped them improve service to their customers.

The Independent Druggists’ Association, or I.D.A., was formed in 1933 had 150 members within the year. Among the many benefits the new brand gave to its member pharmacists was the ability to offer quality private label products to their customers at lower prices than those of name brand products.

In the late 1800s and 1900s, pharmacies such as Cockburn Bros. displayed the sales and specials of the day in their windows, but the most prominent window feature was the central globe filled with coloured liquid. Visit the Apothecary Museum at Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario to learn more about this practice and view the display.

From the beginning, your local independent pharmacist has proudly offered a wide variety of brand name health and beauty products in addition to quality pharmaceutical supplies, with trained staff members always ready to answer your questions about the products you use or new products on the market.

For many years apothecary jars of basic pharmaceutical and herbal ingredients were familiar elements of pharmacy décor. Pharmacy practice required the pharmacist to spend a great deal of time making-or compounding-prescription medicines, over-counter ointments and other preparations including cosmetic creams.

Cosmetic preparations for enhancing beauty have been popular for centuries. Your community independent pharmacy has always been a source for popular brand name cosmetics, beauty aids, and skin care, many offering a wide range of products from foot care creams to fragrances.

Curious George TM was created in 1941 by Margaret and Hans Rey. For more than 60 years children have improved their reading skills as they follow the adventures of this inquisitive little monkey and hid his friends. During that time Curious George TM has also entertained children and adults alike.

As Canada celebrated its Centennial in 1967, independent pharmacists joined the patriotic of the day right down to special celebration sales. The Centennial a-GO-GO sale featured amazing low prices on everyday name brand products, often incorporating a 67¢ theme.

The new Independent Druggists’ Association, or I.D.A., celebrated its grand opening sale in 1933 I.D.A. member Maltby Pharmacy on St. Clair Avenue West in Toronto advertised the sale its front windows, including Pond’s Cream at 34¢ Buckley’s Mixture Cough Syrup at 75¢, terrific deals in thief day.

Pharmacists have traditionally ranked among the professionals most trusted by Canadian consumers. Pharmacists have always undergone intensive professional training throughout their careers to update their skills and find ways to increase the amount of time and assistance they offer to their patients.

Compounding, the practice of preparing medications, dates back centuries, and had has included ingredients that are used rarely or not at all. Changes in health care and the Industrial Revolution both had a profound effect on the role of the pharmacist, as did medical advances. With the advent of manufacturing during the 1959s and 1960s, the need for compounding decreased, significantly altering the role of the pharmacist.


Pharmacists remain trusted members of their communities, and their role has evolved beyond the preparation and dispensing of medicines to include counseling on potential drug interactions, appropriate use of medications, and overall healthy lifestyle choices.

As a result of this co-operative spirit, many independent pharmacies across Canada have celebrated their 50th, 75th and even 100tn anniversaries, and many more look forward to dong the same in the company of the local families whom they have served for generations.

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