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Escape when lightning kills boy

The July 5 1928 edition of the Toronto Daily Star had a photograph and brief article about a tragedy in which a teenage boy was killed by lightning.

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Out of curiosity, I tried to trace Mr. Murray and his business in the Toronto city directories. There might be a story here somewhere, but I have no idea what it is:

  • 212 Coleridge Avenue is outside of the Toronto city limits, so the city directories do not list the family of the unfortunate Howes who had just lost their son.
  • The city directories for 1927, 1928, and 1929 do not list any business at 422 Greenwood Avenue. The nearest business is Price & Smith, brick manufacturers, at 458 Greenwood.
  • 1266 Danforth Avenue was the business address of the hairdressing salon operated by John Murray’s wife, Margaret. The Murrays actually lived at 12 Mountalan Avenue; the 1927 and 1928 directories list John there, but do not list his occupation.
  • In the 1929 directory, Margaret Murray is listed as living at 1264 Danforth, above her hairdressing salon. John is not living there, and the streets portion of the directory lists the resident as “Murray Margt”. “John Murray” is a very common name, so I can’t determine for sure where he was.
  • But, by 1932, John Murray is living at 1264 Danforth, and his occupation is “salesman”. The street directory lists the resident as “Murray John”. Margaret’s business is still running at 1266 Danforth, and is now called Peggy’s Hairdressing Salon.
  • In 1935, things are the same as in 1932, except that John Murray’s occupation is not listed. This doesn’t necessarily mean that he didn’t have one, of course.
  • In 1936, the Murrays have moved away from 1264 Danforth, and Peggy’s Hairdressing Salon is now being run by Maud A. Egginton. The East Toronto School of Hairdressing is now also at that location. I couldn’t trace the Murrays after that.

One possible interpretation of all of this is that the trauma of poor Noel Howe’s death caused the Murrays to split up for a time, after which they later reconciled. But there could be dozens of other explanations. We’ll never know; all I know for sure is that living through a lightning strike that killed your assistant would have been a horrible experience.

422 Greenwood Avenue does not exist any more – the TTC Greenwood subway yard is there. 1266 Danforth Avenue is now a Thai restaurant.

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