Occasionally, I’m reminded that it was standard practice until relatively recently to use the term “girl” to refer to a mature woman as well as a female child. (It’s still used occasionally here and there.)

The May 15 1956 edition of the Toronto Daily Star had two examples of this. One was a want ad for waitresses at Fran’s restaurant:


There are still Fran’s restaurants in Toronto, but not at Yonge and Eglinton any more.

The other is in an ad for clothes for tall women:


In the mid-1950s, the average height of Canadian women was a shade under 5′ 3″. In 1914, it was 5′ 2″, and in 2014, it was 5′ 4″.

The 1956 Toronto City Directory lists this clothing store as “Tall Gals Regd”. They stayed in business until at least 1968; I only have access to city directories up to the end of the 1960s, so I don’t know how much longer they stayed at Yonge and Dundas. That side of Yonge eventually became the Eaton Centre, so they might have lasted until then.

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