The Commodores (1950 edition)

The March 23 1950 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained an ad for a singing group named The Commodores for a Toronto Star Free Good Music concert in Meaford:


I couldn’t find out anything about these Commodores, since a Google search obviously turns up a whole lot of stuff about Lionel Richie’s Commodores. YouTube has a link to a song by a 1950s Commodores group, but I don’t know if it’s the same group as in this ad.

Charlie Spivak

The June 17 1946 edition of the Toronto Daily Star had this ad for an in-store appearance at Eaton’s main store:


Charlie Spivak (1905 or 1907-1982) was a trumpet player and bandleader who was at the peak of his fame in 1946. His nickname was “Cheery, Chubby Charlie”, and he was known as “The Man Who Plays The Sweetest Trumpet In The World”, which would be quite a handle to put on a business card. He was born either in 1905 in New Haven, Connecticut, or in 1907 in the Ukraine; I guess he never told anyone which it was.

YouTube has some examples of his work, including “Stardreams” from 1944.

Treatments in 1930

The February 15 1930 Toronto Globe had a couple of ads for medical procedures that looked interesting to me (the ads, that is, not the medical procedures).

Here’s a simple and to-the-point ad:


The 1930 Toronto city directory lists Norman W. Edwards as a “chiro”, which could have meant either chiropractor or chiropodist (foot doctor). The city directories may have gotten confused on this: the 1933 directory listed him as a physiotherapist and chiropodist, at the same address, but the 1934 directory listed him as a chiropractor.

He might have passed on in 1935 – the names section of the directory lists “N W Edwards” at his home address, but the streets section has someone else at the address. The 1936 directory lists a Mrs. Norman Edwards as a maid at the Royal York Hotel.

The other ad that I found was an ad from the Hiscott Institute for removing unwanted facial hair:


I wonder what would have happened if you had written away for Booklet “A” or “B” instead of Booklet “C”?

The Hiscott Institute first makes its appearance (as far as I could tell) in the 1908 city directory, where they were listed as the “Hiscott (Late Graham) Dermatological Institute”, run by people named Moote, High, and Scott (the “Hiscott” was presumably an amalgamation of the last two names). They appear to have been among the first occupants of 61 College Street, which was not far away from the Hospital for Sick Children.

The Hiscott Institute was easy to find in the Toronto city directory in subsequent years, as they took out a bold-face listing in every directory I looked at from 1931 to 1945. They were also in the 1950 directory at this address, but no longer in bold-face. By 1953, they were under new management; by 1955, they were under new management again; by 1958, they were gone. The building is gone too – there is now a more modern building at that location.

Who changed God’s sabbath

The religious section of the February 15, 1930 Toronto Globe contained this advertisement:


O.D. Cardey did not stay in Toronto long. He was listed in the 1931 city directory (as “O. D. Cardy”), but was not listed in 1932.

A Google search for Rev. Cardey didn’t turn up anything other than this link. Apparently, Rev. Cardey was a Seventh-Day Adventist but was reluctant to admit that fact up front. The Seventh-Day Adventists observe Saturday as the Sabbath, not Sunday.

I wonder whether there actually was a packed house for this service?

Society page, 1939

When looking at old newspapers, I’m always fascinated by the society page. This was a listing of what various presumably important people were up to.

For example, here’s part of the society page from the March 20, 1939 Toronto Globe:


For instance, I guess it was important for some people to know that Mrs. G. Ernest Forbes was in Vancouver. (I couldn’t find anything on G. Ernest Forbes in Google, by the way.)

Because the Toronto city directories allow me to do a sort of retro snooping, I looked up people in this society page whose addresses were listed:

  • Mr. and Mrs. Harry B. Tindale were not at 1 Heathdale Road for long – I couldn’t find them in the 1938, 1939, or 1941 city directories. The 1940 directory is missing – maybe they were there then before moving elsewhere.
  • I couldn’t find 970 Avenue Road at all in the 1939 directory, but Ralph G. Henderson is listed there in 1941. Cross-referencing to his name shows him as working as a salesman for the firm of Collier, Norris & Henderson; I guess he was the Henderson. He’s not listed in the 1942 directory; he probably went off to war, as he is in the 1946 directory as the manager of Collier, Norris and Quinlan, Limited. I guess he lost his spot on the nameplate when he went away. I didn’t trace him any more after that.

Gain or lose weight

The February 29 1928 edition of the Toronto Globe is another paper that contained both an ad for a weight-gain product and an ad for a weight-loss product. Conveniently, they’re in the same column.


McCoy’s Cod Liver Extract Tablets were just cod liver oil in tablet form – presumably, they provided the same health benefits as cod liver oil itself.

I have no idea what D.H.D Obesity Tea did, but I’m suspicious of a weight-reduction method that doesn’t involve exercise or dieting.

95th birthday

The February 15 1930 Toronto Globe contained this birthday notice:


This is a bit off-putting: if Mr. Tyerman was “remarkably alert for his years”, he would be able to realize that this article was a wee bit condescending.

I was morbidly curious, so I wondered: how many more birthdays was Mr. Tyerman able to celebrate? The answer, sadly, was one at most: he is listed in the 1930 Toronto city directory, but not in the 1931 city directory.

National Clothing Collection

The June 17 1946 edition of the Toronto Daily Star reported that this was the first day of the National Clothing Collection, which was a drive to send used clothing to war-torn Europe. Toronto’s collection day was scheduled for June 19.

Here’s the main article on the National Clothing Collection:


The paper also contained an ad from the National Clothing Collection:


The paper also contained public service ads on the National Clothing Collection. Here’s one from the Chambers & Sons shoe store.


Chambers & Sons were at this location up until at least 1958, but were not in the 1960 Toronto city directory.

Here’s one from the Bank of Toronto.


And Simpson’s had one too:


Finally, the One Minute News About Johns-Manville feature encouraged its readers to give:


Mosby’s Tonic

The September 14 1938 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained an ad for a tonic that supposedly contained 15 herbs.


A Google search for Gilbert H. Mosby turned up an interesting story: Mosby, who was from Cincinnati, earned a fortune during Prohibition selling a tonic named Konjola. This tonic was likely popular because of its high alcohol content.

Mosby also created tonics named Vola, Indo-Vin, and Van-Tage, but his company chose to use none of those names in Canada. He had previously declared personal bankruptcy in 1934 after an expensive divorce, so Mosby’s Tonic might have been something of a fresh start for him.

Naturally, I looked up the testimonial names in the 1938 Toronto city directory:

  • Mr. F. Snary of 72 Lappin Avenue turned out to be a real person; his given name was Francis, and he worked as a driver. (He was still at 72 Lappin in 1947.)
  • Sadie Golden of 347 Indian Grove was the husband of Henry, a sales manager. I have no idea whether she actually was a lifelong resident of the city and had hundreds of friends.
  • The Alps Restaurant was listed at 2872 Dundas Street West, and its owners were Tony Manzuris (mentioned in the ad) and Peter Makris. Mr. Manzuris lived down the street at 2387 Dundas West. (Mr. Makris lived there also.) In the 1941 directory, Mr. Makris was listed as the sole owner, having moved to 1660 Bathurst, and Mr. Manzuris was not listed in the directory at all; perhaps he had passed away from taking too much Mosby’s Tonic or not enough of it. Or maybe he just moved out of town. He didn’t go off to war and come back, though, as he was not in the 1947 city directory. (By then, Mr. Makris was an insurance agent.)

Mosby passed away in 1944 after falling and hitting his head; he was 57.