The Sears Catalogue

In its coverage of the demise of Sears Canada, the Toronto Star quotes 75-year-old Margaret Leishman to the effect that she is "devastated—really, honestly devastated." Leishman recounts the formative impact the Sears catalogue had on her rural Quebec childhood, particularly at "Christmastime," and the importance of such traditions in the lives of her own children. This is not sentimental twaddle. In the not-so-distant past, Canadians mourned the passing of Simpsons, Eatons College Street, Honest Ed's, Sam the Record Man, and other iconic retail sites—destinations that were as formative socially as ever they were commercially. For Ms. Leishman, Sears is a proxy for a lost Canada.