Our Morinville: Morinville and its Dolls

by Lucie Roy

Dolls have been around since the earliest times, and Morinville is no exception.

As people were busy cleaning out their closets while at home, we asked a few people to show us their dolls and the community did not disappoint.

Dolls are timeless and have been treasured for years. Some of the owners we spoke to are from the ages of six to 96.

They are a reflection of our rich Morinville heritage, our history. They show the fashion of the time and change through the decades; they show the diversity of the community and the varied assortment of dolls that have crossed paths in town.

They are a reflection on our trends and moods in society, dolls from the Victorian era are prim and proper, and the chronological development of dolls over the years includes the working dolls.


The working dolls we saw included the Arbie doll from the RBC in Morinville, Pillsbury Dough Boy, Campbell Soup Kid, the Tetley Tea doll, Daughters of Jesus nun dolls at the Musee Morinville Museum and much more.

We saw dolls fashioned in indigenous regalia and pioneer attire, and dolls in traditional costumes brought over when people immigrated to Canada and settled here. There was also (above from left) the 1964 Barbie doll with clothes of the style and fashion of the time, Lammily Doll, the Cameo’s Kewpie doll, and a  1991 African Daisy Kingdom doll. Others included a versatile three-character doll, dolls less than an inch high, 3-foot walking dolls and dolls from legends and stories.

Dolls from different materials included paper dolls, cloth cut out dolls, china head dolls, boudoir dolls and rag doll, dolls made from Cardboard toilet paper tubes, dolls made from apples, clothespin dolls, apple dolls, plastic bottle dolls and the step dancing dolls.

One unique doll is the Lammily, still current and with its own website and Facebook.

They owned the Exclusive First Edition, which officially retired on March 1, 2018. It is the first fashion doll made according to typical human body proportions to promote realistic beauty standards and help children develop a positive body image.

The Mr. Wonderful Talking Doll (right) has about 16 sayings, and I was told it was a hit at showers, with sayings including, “You are going shopping, let me tag along while you shop and I will carry your bags.” Other sayings include, “Actually I am not sure which way to go, let me stop here and ask,” “Can’t your Mother stay another week,” “Did you have a hard day, Honey. Sit down let me rub your feet” and more.

Edna Lavallee (above) posed with a couple of dolls, the lady with a dish soap bottle for a body and cardboard legs for the man. Jeanne Dimoff had passed the dolls to Isabel Dinnin, and when Isabel passed in 1998, they were presented to Edna.

At the Musee Morinville Museum is a doll presented to Rosemary Heppler in 1950 as a birthday present from her parents.

There are also dolls representing decades of wedding dresses donated by Lil Boddez. The dolls feature the same bridal gown through four generations; each bride tailoring the dress to be fashionable for her own time and include 1900, 1930, 1960 and 1990.

Musee Morinville museum Operations Attendant showed some of the dolls she donated to the museum and are currently on display.

The Royal Alberta Museum also has a connection with Morinville and dolls.

In 2009 Cecilia Chevalier donated the collection of dolls currently on display at the Museum in memory of her sister Dorothy Heppler and also in honour of the nurses who cared for Dorothy during the 1950s when she was stricken with polio.

The apple granny doll from Pioneers days began as a young woman and then aged to become a grandmother in a few weeks. The apple shrinks and makes the wrinkles on granny’s face.

One of the dolls from stories and legends is the Raggedy Ann Doll.

The one pictured above is from 2020 and is named Covida. It comes with a birth certificate. The lady who made the Covida said traditionally Rag dolls are made from materials that are easy to find around the home, scraps of fabric, old stockings, leftover knitting yarn, straw, rugs, buttons and the stuffing can be sawdust, straw rags, wool filling and more. They come in all shapes. Sizes, textures and degrees of firmness, faces can be flat, three dimensional, and features can be drawn in ink or paint or sewn on.

This doll is the traditional type, with a calico body, embroidered features, yarn hair, lace-edged underwear, print dress and boots. The face has a short seam to form a slightly shaped nose, and she has her own tiny rag dolly that fits in the pocket of her dress.

Above: Musee Morinville Museum Operations Attendant Donna Garrett with two dolls he donated to the museum.

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