Eaton’s Fairytale Vignettes

Proudly supported in 2024/25 by Johnston Group

Explore a Winnipeg holiday tradition for all generations!

On display from Saturday, November 16, 2024 – Sunday, January 5, 2025 at the Children’s Museum. Visit the calendar to see specific dates->

The Children’s Museum is pleased to be the home of the last original Eaton’s Fairytale Vignettes Display from the ninth floor annex of the Eaton’s downtown store – fully restored and open to the public for a limited time only.

From mid-November until mid-January, visitors of all ages will be delighted by the fifteen fun, fairytale vignettes that make up this classic favourite including Cinderella, Humpty Dumpty, Three Blind Mice, and more.

Free with general museum admission.

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Explore In Person

Want to experience the Children’s Museum in person?

guided exhibition tours

Available Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from November 16, 2024 – January 5, 2025 at 11:00AM and 2:00PM.

Price: $5.00 (plus GST) per person

Guided Exhibition Tours are included in general museum admission during the holiday season or are available for $5.00 (plus GST) per person.

Visit the Admissions Desk or contact our Sales & Bookings Coordinator at 204.924.4005 to reserve your spot in advance.

Additional Information:

  • La visite est offerte en français sur demande. Veuillez-vous inscrire au moins un jour à l’ avance auprès au 204.924.4005.
    Tours are offered in French on demand. Please register at least a day in advance at 204.924.4005.
  • If you are interested in booking a tour for your group outside of these standard tour times, please contact our Sales & Bookings Coordinator at 204.924.4005.
  • Please note that these tours are open to adult visitors unaccompanied by children.
  • Maximum capacity is 15 guests per tour.

featured fairytales & nursery rhymes

  • Cinderella
  • Goldilocks And The Three Bears
  • Hansel And Gretel
  • Humpty Dumpty
  • Little Red Riding Hood
  • Old Mother Hubbard
  • Rub-A-Dub-Dub Three Men In A Tub
  • Rumpelstiltskin
  • Sleeping Beauty
  • Snow White And The Seven Dwarves
  • The Elves And The Shoemaker
  • The Emperor And The Nightingale
  • The Little Match Girl
  • The Owl And The Pussycat
  • Three Blind Mice

Interested in learning more about this exhibition? See the #MuseumMondays playlist on YouTube!

For many years the Timothy Eaton’s store stood on Portage Avenue as a staple for Winnipeggers and for Manitobans from all over the province who would visit it on their trips into the city.

Eaton’s is fondly remembered by Manitobans of all ages. It can be argued that the fondest of these memories are those of the Christmas season when Eaton’s had its grand Christmas display windows along Portage Avenue and its Eaton Fairytale Vignettes display set up on the ninth floor annex.

The Eaton’s Fairytale Vignettes display is comprised of a collection of fifteen storybook vignettes that contain over 300 pieces in total. At each vignette visitors can read the story associated with the vignette on a similar storybook shaped interpretation panel. The Eaton’s Fairytale Vignettes display has been a Winnipeg holiday tradition for over 40 years – and though the exact age of the dolls in the display is unknown, they are much older than that!

The relocation of the Eaton’s Fairytale Vignettes to the Children’s Museum was initiated by a private citizen after Eaton’s announced it would be closing its local stores in 1999. Representatives from Eaton’s met with a number of non-profit groups who were interested in the display, and in the end chose to give it to the Children’s Museum. The Eaton’s Fairytale Vignettes display officially opened at the Children’s Museum on November 20, 1999 – and dozens of years later, countless visitors to the museum continue to be thrilled with this acquisition.

As a cornerstone of Manitoba’s heritage, the Children’s Museum takes the care and upkeep of the Eaton’s Fairytale Vignettes display very seriously. Since being in the museum’s possession, the Eaton’s Fairytale Vignettes display has undergone several significant redevelopments and restorations by heritage conservationists.

The primary cost to redevelop and relocate the Eaton’s Fairytale Vignettes to the Children’s Museum in 1999 was $85,000.

The first restoration and refurbishment of the vignettes was in 2006 and cost over $10,000 – with $5,000 of assistance in grants from The Thomas Sill Foundation and the Heritage Grants Advisory Council.

The most recent redevelopment and restoration was in 2010 as part of the museum’s $10M capital campaign renovations. This restoration cost approximately $75,000 and included the fabrication of new vignette display cases, doll and motor refurbishments, push-button activation, and archival storage supplies.

With each passing year and with ongoing support from our community, the Children’s Museum strives to ensure that the Eaton’s Fairytale Vignettes will continue to be on display for visitors to enjoy for many holiday seasons to come.

From once-upon-a-time to happily-ever-after, the Children’s Museum has been home to the Eaton’s Fairytale Vignettes display since 1999. In 2018, this timeless collection was expanded by a donation of six animatronic woodland characters from the City of Winnipeg.

Inspired by The Woodland Nutcracker written by Avril Tyrrell, these six characters were part of the Eaton’s holiday display in its last year, and had previously been showcased in the Millennium Library.

Mama Grizzly, a large grizzly bear in a red and white striped dress with crinoline, from the Rocky Mountains referees a hockey game between bear cubs in the story. Dressed in ruffled finery, Paco and Rosa are spectacled bears from South America who perform a flamenco dance. Queen Ursa Major is a polar bear from the Pole Star in the Arctic who presides over a special Cirque des Etoiles starring dancing and juggling bears from distant lands. Two ursine Nutcracker Soldiers stand guard and bear (pun intended!) the original Nutcracker story’s namesake that comes alive and whisks Clara off to an imaginary kingdom.

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