McCord Museum inherits Ogilvy’s iconic holiday windows as a legacy donation by Holt Renfrew Ogilvy

It’s long-time tradition for many Montreal families to visit the famous Christmas window display of mechanical toys; when adults travel back in time to their childhood and their children (or grandchildren) are caught up in actions of the animated bears, farm animals, and other animal characters in the winter villages in the window display. Custom-made for Ogilvy’s by the German toy company Steiff, these window displays are among the last of their kind in North America.

The developers of the soon-to-be-combined Holt Renfrew and Ogilvy stores donated the Enchanted  Village and The Mill in the Forest displays to the McCord Museum last spring, and the museum recently unveiled the two window displays. The Mill in the Forest has been set up in a lovely exterior viewing platform and ‘store’ window at the corner of Victoria and Sherbrooke; and The Enchanted Village display is set up on the museums second floor.

holiday windows

The Enchanted Village is on display on the second floor of
The McCord.

Holt Renfrew Ogilvy donated the contents of the scenes to the McCord Museum in order to protect, preserve and ensure the continuity of this magical Montreal tradition that has endured for over 70 years. The company has accompanied this legacy with a donation of $50,000 to the McCord Museum Foundation to help the museum maintain the mechanical animals.

Suzanne Savage, President and Chief Executive Officer of the McCord Museum stated; “The Ogilvy storefront windows have been part of Montreal history since 1947. They are a source of wonder each year for thousands of Montreal families. We are happy to welcome them at our museum and we will ensure that this tradition lives on to everyone’s delight.”  The restorers at the McCord have done an excellent job in refurbishing the tiny stuffed animals, figurines and moving parts.

Adopt An Animal! In a unique and fun way of generating revenues to maintain the windows for annual Holiday displays, the public has been invited to Adopt-An-Animal, sponsored by the McCord Museum Foundation. It’s a chance to symbolically adopt animals from the Enchanted Worlds of the window displays. There are 141 lots of animals available for a five-year term, with fees ranging from $50 to $500. In addition to a tax receipt, adoptive ‘parents’ receive a certificate with a photo of their animal, with a space to write in a name dedication. For every animal adopted, Agropur’s iOGO nano yogurt brand will make a matching donation to the Foundation. It’s a terrific idea, and it has already proven to be immensely popular.  To learn more about the program, please visit: The animals and the fees are posted, and there is still a good selection of figures available.

There are a number of related activities that have already started, and here are the remaining dates: Seek and Finding (Adults with children 2 – 9), every day until January 6; Story Hour – Enchanted Worlds (adults with children 2 – 9) every day at 3:30pm (English) and 11am (Francais); Christmas Carols (all ages) December 15, a 30 minute outdoor sing-a-long at the Mill In The Forest outdoor window display at Sherbrooke & Victoria (across from McGill University); Enchanted Music with I Musici de Montreal, December 16 at 10:30am & 1:30pm, reviving the magic of the Christmas Concerts in Ogilvy’s Tudor Hall. Tickets at $20 (free for children under 12 and McCord Members) includes admission to the Museum and Enchanted Worlds exhibit.

The McCord Museum is home to much of Montreal’s History, from the legendary Notman Photography Collection to the more recent addition of Aislin’s political cartoons, spanning 50 years of often acerbic political satire.

Treasures in the Attic, The McCord’s annual exhibit of toys spanning five generations begins on December 16, and continues through to March 17. It’s an ideal family activity during the Christmas Holidays, weekends and during March Break.

The McCord Museum is at 690 Sherbrooke St. West (across from McGill University): or call: 514-861-6701. Enjoy!