In the February 11 1932 edition of the Toronto Globe, there were two separate references to bridge, which implies that the card game was becoming extremely popular.

The first was an ad from Ellis Brothers, who normally specialized in jewellery. They offered a complete set of bridge necessities for $1.50: playing cards, scoring pads, pencils, and “decorative tally cards”.


The second was a Salada Tea ad:


If you were outside Toronto and its suburbs, apparently you were out of luck.

The game of contract bridge evolved from its predecessor, auction bridge. The first official rules of contract bridge (later just called “bridge”) were published in 1925, and the game took off in popularity from there.


Seriously ill

The February 11 1932 edition of the Toronto Globe contained this unfortunate piece of bad news about “famous British playwright” John Drinkwater.


Happily, John Drinkwater survived this bout with pneumonia; unhappily, he passed away five years later, at the too-early age of 54.

Drinkwater’s claim to fame was a play about Abraham Lincoln, written in 1918. This seems an unusual choice of subject for a British playwright, but you can’t argue with success: it ran for 193 performances on Broadway, was turned into a feature film, and was presented on television as recently as 1952.


Two women in Parliament?

The February 14 1929 edition of the Toronto Daily Star speculated that there might actually be a second woman elected to the Canadian Parliament:


As it turned out, Mrs. Stewart wound up not running in the Lanark by-election, and the Conservatives did not win. An “Independent Conservative”, William Samuel Murphy, won the seat, defeating Conservative Thomas Alfred Thompson. Mr. Thompson defeated Mr. Murphy in 1930 and held the seat until being defeated in 1940.

Agnes Macphail, the first woman in Parliament, held a seat there from 1921 to 1940, and then was an Ontario MPP from 1943 to 1945 and from 1948 to 1951. The second woman elected to a seat in Parliament was Martha Black, who contested and won the Yukon seat in 1935 after her husband resigned due to illness. By the time of the next election in 1940, he had recovered; she stepped aside to allow him to win his seat back, which he did.


Talkie or dog fight?

The February 14 1929 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained a wire service article with a less than flattering opinion of a “talking picture” featuring actress Lupe Vélez:


Lupe Vélez (1908-1944) was known as “The Mexican Spitfire” who, according to one journalist, wore loud clothing and made as much noise as possible. She had several controversial relationships – including one with Gary Cooper that apparently caused him to lose 45 pounds and develop nervous exhaustion. Ms. Vélez died in 1944 of an overdose of Seconal.

I wonder how long “many of the highest executives of the motion picture profession” thought that there were “certain limitations for the talking pictures”?


Valentine’s Day 1929

Out of curiosity, I checked out the February 14 1929 edition of the Toronto Daily Star to see if there was any Valentine’s Day related stuff in it.

The first thing I noticed was that there were no ads related to Valentine’s Day. The custom of buying your sweetie a gift or going out to dinner together doesn’t seem to have been in existence then (though perhaps there were ads a day or two before – I’ll have to check).

There were a few Valentine related pieces, though. The editorial cartoon for the day pictured everybody wanting to be Canada’s Valentine, because of our natural resources:


And there was a photo of a progressive school in North Toronto in which children were sending Valentine’s Day cards to a post office out of wood blocks. The caption is a bit condescending:


And there was (what I think is) a story about women getting together to frame their ancestors’ Valentine’s Day cards:


And there was a strange piece that I think was supposed to be humorous (I’ve only printed part of it here):


Sometime, I’ll have to figure out when Valentine’s Day related ads started appearing in the paper.


Feel fit – it’s easy!

The February 19 1959 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained one of a series of fitness exercises.


A search for “Morris Sobel” yielded references to a dentist of that name. Refining the search to “Morris Sobel fitness” produced a link to a Getty Images photograph of Mr. Sobel teaching a fitness class at the Jewish Community Centre in Toronto in 1982. He was also apparently part of a wrestling squad (presumably high-school or college) in 1946.



The February 19 1959 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained a sad story about a young girl who died of measles:


Such stories were sadly common before the MMR vaccine (measles/mumps/rubella) was in common use: there were normally about 300 deaths a year in Canada. The measles vaccine was licensed for use in Canada in 1963, and immunization at one year of age became standard by the early 1970s.


Camera victim at two weeks

The July 6 1938 edition of the Toronto Daily Star included this photograph of the Duke and Duchess of Norfolk and their two-week-old daughter.

Duke and Duchess of Norfolk and daughter

Out of curiosity, I looked them up. There has been a Duke of Norfolk in England since 1483 (and off and on before that). The Duke’s given name was Bernard Fitzalan-Howard, and his wife was the former Lavinia Strutt. The young daughter in the picture became Anne Cowdrey, 14th Lady Herries of Terregles; she died in 2014.

The duke passed away in 1975, and fathered four daughters; the next duke was his second cousin once removed.


White Rose gasoline

The March 15 1927 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained an ad for White Rose gasoline:

This ad is interesting to me mostly because there used to be a ghost sign for White Rose gasoline on the side of a building on Broadview Avenue just south of Danforth (I used to live in that neighbourhood). A Google Street View closeup from 2011 shows the ad – the last two lines of the ad read “White Rose Motor Gasoline”. You can’t tell from this, but the ad also mentions En-ar-ca motor oil.


Chocolate Soldier

The February 2 1928 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained an ad for a chocolate-based soft drink named Chocolate Soldier:

Chocolate soldier ad

The Wikipedia entry for Chocolate Soldier states that it was sold in glass bottles from 1966 to 1988, but doesn’t mention anything about a 1928 version. MeTV has an article on extinct drinks that includes Chocolate Soldier – but, again, this appears to be the more recent version. I couldn’t find any references to the older drink, though I did see an ad that resembled this one.