Bermuda or Cleveland

The February 2 1950 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained two ads from Trans-Canada Air Lines (which was renamed “Air Canada” in 1965). The first ad mentioned that you could fly to Bermuda in five hours:


The second ad offered twice-daily flights to Cleveland:


The idea of advertising flights to Cleveland wasn’t as silly as it sounds today. In 1950, the population of Cleveland was over 914,000, which wasn’t that much smaller than Toronto’s population at that time (1,176,622 in 1951). Nowadays, Cleveland’s population is estimated at under 400,000, and Toronto’s is over 2.7 million.


Duplicate filler

Old newspapers are so much fun to read because they have so much filler. Editors were obsessed with making sure that there was no missing white space.

The typesetters of the November 12 1919 edition of the Toronto Daily Star must have been in a hurry, or might not have been cross-checking their work, as there were duplicates in that issue.

First, there was this rather sad article, about a young woman who unexpectedly passed away from a blood clot in the brain:


Poor Ms. Collier’s death then appeared as a piece of filler later in the paper:


There was one other duplication in the paper: three separate filler articles about an upcoming lecture at the Allen Theatre.

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I did a Google search for T. W. Williams and didn’t find anything, so I have no idea whether his lecture was worth hearing.


I don’t blame them

Here’s a bit of filler from the November 22 1919 Toronto Daily Star:


I’m pretty sure that the last sentence of this article was not written completely seriously.



This ad for a karate studio in the September 19 1968 Toronto Daily Star needed a bit of proof-reading.


I don’t think they meant to advertise karate as “natural health reducing exercise”.


Good grief, Mr. Ripley

Recently, I was reading a biography of Charles Schulz (of Peanuts fame). In an early chapter, the book mentioned that Mr. Schulz, as a boy, sent an item to Ripley’s Believe It Or Not about his dog, and that it was published on February 22, 1937.

The Toronto Daily Star ran Ripley’s Believe It Or Not as a regular feature, and I found it:


As the biography explains, “Sparky” was Mr. Schulz’s childhood nickname. I might be imagining things, but I think the dog looks a bit like Snoopy.


Returning to business

The April 21 1925 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this brief advertisement:


Naturally, I was curious: how long did Mr. Graham’s establishment last at its new location? Unfortunately, not long: Graham’s Restaurant is listed in the 1926 Toronto city directory but not in the 1927 directory. This is sort of sad: the restaurant had been at its old location since at least 1912 (when it was the Graham Brothers restaurant).


Marion Talley

The photo section for the April 21 1925 edition of the Toronto Daily Star had this entry:


Wikipedia has an entry for Marion Talley: after using Kansas City money to study in New York and Italy, she was hired for the Metropolitan Opera in New York in 1925, becoming the youngest prima donna to sing there (this record was broken in 1943). Their general manager hoped that her debut would be low-key, but 200 leading Kansas City citizens, proud of their native daughter, arrived by special train, and a telegraph was set up backstage so that her father could send dispatches to the Associated Press. She also made her radio and film debuts in that year.

Unfortunately, it went downhill from there. Film critics panned her inexperience and claimed she was not photogenic. (You can decide for yourself – her Vitaphone short from 1927 is here.) She appeared in only seven more Metropolitan Opera productions before being let go in 1929. She eventually retired from show business, was married and divorced twice, and died in 1983.


Entertainment in 1947

The September 5 1947 edition of the Toronto Daily Star featured ads for a few entertainment options for people looking for a night on the town.

The first was for Lisa Derney at the St. Regis Hotel:


The St. Regis Hotel was located at 392 Sherbourne Street. It was in existence in 1960, but was gone by 1965. A high-rise building is now at that location. The name is about to be reused for a luxury downtown hotel.

The only reference I could find for Lisa Derney was this Arthur Murray Dance Studio ad, which appeared in some major magazines in 1949. Jimmy Amaro passed away in 2004; his obituary (at least, I assume it was him) appeared in the Windsor Star. I found a reference to a Jimmy Amaro Jr., who was a jazz bassist; I assume that he was Jimmy Sr.’s son.

The second ad was for The Great Athrens at the Eaton Auditorium (now the Carlu):


I could find nothing at all about The Great Athrens (or about the N. T. Advertiser, which claimed that he was better than Houdini).

And, finally, there was Earl Wild at Massey Hall:


Earl Wild (1915-2010) was a pianist who was best known for transcribing jazz and classical music into solo piano pieces. In 1997, he was the first pianist to stream live over the Internet.


King leaves palace

The November 30 1951 edition of the Toronto Daily Star had an article about King George VI:


The King had been a heavy smoker and had understandably suffered a lot of stress due to the war. He was able to carry out some state duties, but his Christmas broadcast had to be recorded in sections. He passed away on February 6, 1952.


1951 municipal election

When looking through the November 30 1951 edition of the Toronto Daily Star, I discovered that there was a Toronto municipal election in progress. If you think that modern municipal campaigns are tiresome, consider this: at the time, municipal elections were held every year. In fact, up until 1949, they were held on New Year’s Day!

Naturally, there were a number of campaign advertisements. The one for William C. Davidson was a model of efficiency, except perhaps for the asterisks:


I particularly like the “ETC.”, and voters apparently did too – Davidson was re-elected. He remained in office until the 1964 elections, in which he lost decisively.

Mayoral candidate Allan Lamport’s ad was the most colourful:


His ad was effective too – he won the election. He became the first Liberal mayor of Toronto since 1909, though apparently this was partly because incumbent Hiram E. McCallum and Nathan Phillips split the more conservative vote.

Lamport‘s original claim to fame was advocating that Torontonians be allowed to play sports on Sundays. He served as mayor for less than three years, winning two more elections, before resigning to join the TTC as vice-chairman and later chairman, putting forward the Bloor-Danforth subway. Later in the decade, he opposed the hippies in Yorkville, advocating that the street be demolished and replaced with a shopping mall. He died in 1999 at the age of 96.

Here’s the ad that I found was the most unusual:


The ad refers to Ford Brand, who had finished fifth in the 1950 Board of Control race with 66,235 votes (the top four got in). When sitting controller John Innes passed away, Brand was not appointed in his place, which upset Mr. Probert. Brand wound up winning in 1951, but Probert finished a distant fourth in his race.

The Ward 4 alderman race was the most interesting, at least to me. One of the candidates was Norman Freed, a member of the Labor-Progressive Party, which was a successor to the Communist Party after it was banned in 1940. Freed held office in Ward 4 from 1944 until the December 1950 election, and was trying to return to office in 1951:


Naturally, some of his opponents helpfully pointed out that one of the candidates in the riding was a Communist:



Voters picked two candidates in each ward, which is why Mr. Chambers referred to two votes in his ad. As it turned out, Chambers was elected, and Freed and Campbell were not.

The last thing I found was the Daily Star’s endorsements for the election:


Of the Star’s preferred candidates, their choice for mayor did not get in, but all four controllers did. All of the preferred alderman candidates got in except for Darrell Draper in Ward 4, and Frank Clifton and Lester Nelson in Ward 6.

Annual Toronto municipal elections eventually stopped happening: the term of office went up to two years in 1956, three years in 1966, and four years in 2006.