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Mosby’s Tonic

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

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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.

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