Paul Hahn & Company has proudly borne the name of its founder, innovator and inspiration, Paul Hahn, for 105 years.
Paul Hahn was born in 1875. He was one of 17 children and immigrated to Canada from Stuttgart, Germany, with most of his family in 1888. As a young man, he was a renowned cellist with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. He widely toured Ontario and New York state, played with a string quartet on the radio, taught cello and conducted Haydn’s Kinder Symphonie, the first orchestral concert ever at the Arts and Letters Club in 1911. He worked at the Nordheimer Piano Company from 1892 to 1913, where he rose through the ranks from their sheet music department to becoming one of their top salespeople.
On September 13, 1913, Paul fulfilled his boyhood dream and opened his own shop at 717 Yonge Street, where he not only restored and sold quality pianos but gramophones and sheet music as well. The business at various times thrived and survived, until the site was expropriated in the 1950s, and Paul Hahn & Co. was forced to move.
Paul married Grace Delamere in 1929. (They honeymooned in Europe, in order to meet up with the famous Steinway family in Hambourg, Germany.) Paul and Grace had two children, Marie Grace (1930) and Paul Jr. (1932). Paul Jr. joined the company in 1948 and they eventually moved the family business to their current, easily recognizable red-brick Rosedale heritage location at 1058 Yonge Street.
Paul Sr. turned the active reins of his established business over to Paul Jr. in 1955, but stayed on throughout his life as the company chairman. His retirement allowed him to concentrate on his music; various committees and clubs like the Arts & Letters Club and The Royal Canadian Yacht Club; his stamp collecting hobby; and most of all, his second lifelong passion: birds. He was a recognized authority on extinct and vanishing birds, writing many articles, lecturing and researching the subject. He donated 68 passenger pigeon specimens as well as his extensive stamp collection to the ROM, where he was honoured as a Patron and is to this day much revered.
One of Paul’s brothers, Emanuel, was an artist, sculptor and designer of coins and stamps; and another brother Gustav was a member of the Ontario Society of Artists.
Paul Hahn Sr. peacefully passed away at the family cottage on Balsam Lake in 1962 at the age of the 87.
His music, his passion and his generosity touched so many. He will never be forgotten.