Mayoral endorsement

The city of Toronto used to hold municipal elections every year on New Year’s Day. So the December 31 1934 edition of the Toronto Daily Star was the last edition before the 1935 election.

This edition of the Daily Star made it clear who the paper was endorsing for mayor: Jimmy Simpson. Here is a collection of pro-Simpson articles that appeared there that day.









Mr. Simpson headed the list of the candidates that the Daily Star was endorsing for 1935:


However, there was one ad in the paper for a rival mayoral candidate:


There was a page full of ads from people seeking municipal office:


And, finally, there was a burst of doggerel on the editorial page, advising people to vote for somebody:


As it turned out, the Daily Star’s endorsement might have helped: Simpson won the race for mayor of Toronto in 1935 by nearly 4500 votes. The Daily Star turned on him the next year, though, when they discovered that he was anti-Catholic; he lost his bid for re-election in 1936.

In 1938, Simpson was killed when his car collided with a streetcar. In Toronto, his name lives on in the city’s east end, as a park and a recreation centre are named after him.

Name change

The front page of the August 13 1952 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained a fascinating article about a lieutenant-colonel in the Canadian Army who was left $250,000 in his aunt’s will, provided he changed his surname.

Here’s the picture of the late aunt, the home she lived in, and Lieutenant-Colonel Edward Murray Dalziel McNaughton, who was being asked to change his surname to Leslie (his aunt’s surname).


There was also an article that went into more detail.



Naturally, I was curious: did he go through with it? As it turned out, he did: there is a Wikipedia page for his son, Andrew Leslie, who was himself a lieutenant-general in the army. The page mentions that his father changed his name to obtain the inheritance. Lt. Col. McNaughton, later Leslie, became a brigadier general, so the name change didn’t hurt his career any.

New Year’s Eve 1944

The December 12 1944 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this ad for a New Year’s Eve event:


Mart Kenney (1910-2006) was the leader of Mart Kenney and His Western Gentlemen, who were a popular dance band in the 1930s and 1940s. YouTube has, among others, a 1939 recording of this band performing “A Shady Tree” and a 1941 version of “Waltzing Matilda”.

Trump Davidson (1908-1978) was a Canadian jazz band leader. At the time of this ad, he was leading a band at the Palace Pier, which he did until 1962.

Twenty salesmen wanted

The February 11 1957 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this ad requesting twenty real estate salesmen immediately:


Google Maps tells me that 1353 Weston Road is just southeast of Jane Street. The building still stands.

Naturally, I was curious: did John Sikura Real Estate become successful? Unfortunately, its fate was similar to that of this real estate agency. The company appeared for the first time in the 1958 city directory, but does not appear in the 1959 city directory.

I also looked up the men mentioned in the ad:

  • I couldn’t find Val Armstrong in the Toronto city directory for 1957 or 1958. Val might have been a nickname, of course, and Armstrong is a very common surname, so it would be hard to trace.
  • Hardiman Cureton wasn’t listed in the Toronto city directory either, but he was definitely a football player: in 1957, he was with the Ottawa Rough Riders. And he was definitely a successful salesman as well: he demanded a trade from Ottawa to Hamilton so that he could both play football and continue as an ice cream salesman in Toronto.

Cureton had been a first-team All-American and UCLA’s team captain in 1955, but he was in the CFL because he was a draft evader: had he returned to the United States, he would have been arrested. He had a good career in Canada: he won the Grey Cup as a member of the Tiger-Cats in 1963. He passed away in Richmond, Virginia, in 2003, so obviously he was eventually free to return to the land of his birth. There is a picture of him here.

55 years married

The December 25 1928 edition of the Toronto Globe and Mail had a photograph of a couple who were celebrating their 55th wedding anniversary, having gotten married on Christmas Eve in 1873.


As usual, I wanted to satisfy my curiosity: for how much longer could I find them in the Toronto city directories? Here’s what I found:

  • James Beatty, who worked as a shoemaker, had been at 163 Dovercourt Road for a long time: the 1900 city directory lists him there.
  • The 1910 city directory lists a Miss Mary Beatty working as a dressmaker at the same address. Presumably, she was their daughter.
  • By 1928, he was at 163 Dovercourt and she was at 163A Dovercourt.
  • Mr. Beatty appears in the 1932 city directory, but not in the 1933 directory, which still lists Mary Beatty working as a dressmaker.
  • I have no idea what happened to Mrs. James Beatty, as the original article doesn’t list her first name.

163 Dovercourt Road still exists (it’s the house with the bicycle in front of it in this Google Street View photo), but it looks like it’s been refinished.

Christmas in 1928

The Toronto Daily Star did not publish on Christmas Day 1928, but the Toronto Globe did.

Among other things, this edition published Christmas greetings from Eaton’s and Simpson’s:



(By the way, I still find it hard to believe that Eaton’s and Simpson’s are both long gone now – when I was young, they seemed like they had been around forever and were impregnable.)

The paper also included assorted Christmas greetings from a variety of firms and enterprises:


In particular, I noticed that Professor R. L. Mulveney’s Remedies sent their greetings.

And, if you were lucky enough to receive a Christmas cheque from a wealthy relative, two separate piano dealers suggested that the best way to spend the dough was on a large musical instrument:



A third piano dealer was less direct – they just wished their readers the best of health and happiness during the Christmas season.


That was an unfortunate typo to list the firm’s name as being on “Blor” Street.

Paul Hahn & Co. still exists, though they are now at 1058 Yonge. The other two firms are gone, though the Heintzman company has been reconstituted.

1934 photo parade

Many of the Toronto Daily Stars from the 1930s reserved one page for all their photographs, since they were harder to reproduce than they are today.

The April 18 1934 edition of the Toronto Daily Star’s photo page included a picture of the Duchess of Northumberland and her daughters:


There are Wikipedia pages for Helen Percy, the Duchess of Northumberland, and her daughter Elizabeth. They didn’t do anything really exciting to write about, but they looked a lot alike.

There was also a picture of Roberta Semple Smythe, the daughter of famous evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson:


Ms. Smythe married her husband in 1931 when she was 21, and was divorced in 1934. She was removed as the heir to her mother’s church in 1937. In later life, she worked on and created radio and TV game shows. She passed away in 2007 at the age of 96.

And here is boxer King Levinsky leaping over his manager, his sister Lena:


King Levinsky (1910-1991) fought most of the leading heavyweight contenders of the 1930s, but didn’t challenge for the title himself. At about the time of this photograph, he was briefly married to exotic dancer Roxana Sand; she asked for a divorce after only five weeks on the grounds of cruelty. His sister was noted for swearing like a sailor and rooting loudly for her brother during fights.

Nonagenarian recalls story

The April 18 1934 edition of the Toronto Daily Star had a human-interest story about a man who was about to turn 90 years old:


Maybe it’s just the quality of the reproduction, but that is a terrible picture of poor Mr. Cox. And the nonagenarian did not sell a wife into slavery.

Since I am from the future, I can satisfy my curiosity: did Mr. Cox make it to 100? Sadly, no, though he gave it a good shot. He worked at Drug Trading through 1938, when he was 94, and appears in the 1940 city directory, when he would have been 96. But he is not in the 1941 directory.