One of the common features of the business section of a newspaper is photos of people who have just been promoted to an important position. This has been going on for some time – for example, here’s one from the July 9 1926 edition of the Toronto Star.
Just for fun, and because Mr. Prittie has a distinctive name, I decided to trace him in the Toronto city directories. (What do you do for fun, dear reader?) I didn’t go year by year, so I might have missed some things. Here’s what I found, in chronological order:
- The patriarch of the Prittie family was George W. Prittie, a builder. In 1900, he lived at 1 Scollard Street. Edgar Prittie also lived there, and worked as a clerk; he was probably George’s son.
- The 1905 directory lists Harry H. Prittie (our hero protagonist) as a clerk at A. McKim & Co. (the company that promoted him to be the manager of their Toronto office in 1926). George is still a builder, and Edgar is now a salesman.
- By 1910, the Pritties had moved to 24 Hazelton Avenue, which would be their home base for some time. Harry H. is now listed as a clerk, location unknown, and George is still a builder. Edgar is not listed, but another Prittie, Arthur G., is listed as a clerk at A. McKim, Ltd.
- In 1915, Harry H. is listed as an advertising solicitor (I think that is what “adv solcr” expands to) for A. McKim, Ltd. George is still a builder, and Arthur is now a student. I didn’t check whether any of the Pritties fought in the Great War.
- By 1920, Harry is no longer listed – as the photo above suggests, he was probably in Montreal. George is still working as a builder, and Arthur doesn’t have a listed occupation (which doesn’t necessarily mean that he was unemployed, of course).
- The 1926 directory doesn’t list Harry yet – his promotion and relocation to Toronto must have happened after the directory was published. Arthur is now clerking again, and George now does not have an occupation listed, so maybe he retired. There’s also a new Prittie, Eleanor, living there.
- Harry H. appears in the 1927 directory, with his occupation as “mgr A McKim”. Arthur, Eleanor, and George are still there.
- Fast forward to 1932: George is still at 24 Hazelton Avenue, but Harry H is now at 124 Grenadier Road. He’s still a manager.
- 1936 brought changes. George is still at 24 Hazelton, and Arthur, Edgar, and Eleanor have all returned to living there. Arthur is an insurance agent, Edgar is the secretary of the Landlord’s & Property Owner’s Association, and Eleanor has no listed occupation. Harry is now the secretary-treasurer of William C Mountain & Associates Ltd, and has moved to 423 Lake Shore Road in Mimico.
- Sadly, by 1939, George is no longer listed. Arthur, Edgar, and Eleanor are still at 24 Hazelton, doing what they were doing three years before. Harry is still in Mimico, but is now an account executive at Jas Fisher Co.
- In 1942, Arthur, Edgar, and Eleanor are still living together. Arthur no longer has a listed occupation. Harry is not listed.
- In 1947, Arthur, Edgar, and Eleanor are still at 24 Hazelton. Edgar is still the secretary of what is now the Property Owners Assn of Toronto. Harry is now living there too – he is the secretary for Gunflint Iron Mines Ltd. 1948 is the same as 1947.
- In 1949, Arthur, Edgar, and Eleanor are there, but Harry is not.
- In 1952, we still have Arthur and Edgar, but not Eleanor or Harry.
- In 1954, Arthur and Edgar are still hanging in at 24 Hazelton. The Harry situation is now a bit confusing: there is a Harry Prittie at 24 Hazelton, and an H H Prittie working as a secretary at Berwick Securities Ltd. These might or might not be two different people; the Harry at 24 Hazelton might be the son of one of the other Pritties. I’ll never know.
- In 1955, Arthur and Edgar are still at 24 Hazelton; Edgar is now the secretary of the Canadian Federation of Property Owners Associations, so he’s branched out. Harry is now a “statistitian” at Newling & Co., and H H is still at Berwick Securities Ltd.
- In 1956, Edgar has now moved back to the Property Owners Assn of Toronto, Arthur is still also at 24 Hazelton, and Harry is still there, with no listed occupation. H H is gone.
- In 1960, Arthur and Edgar are still where they’ve been since at least 1936. Harry is there, and now works as an “advertising man”. At this point, I’m reasonably sure that this is a next-generation Harry, as our original Harry was gainfully employed in 1905.
- By 1963, there is sad news: Edgar is still at 24 Hazelton, and so is Harry (who is now listed as being in “advtg”), but the directory now lists Edith, the widow of Arthur G. Arthur’s passing makes me feel a bit sad, given that I have traced Arthur and Edgar down through the years.
- In 1965, there are no Pritties at 24 Hazelton in the Names section of the directory. There are six people with that last name in the city directory, but they might or might not be related. The Streets section of the directory lists 24 Hazelton as vacant.
- 1969 – the last year for which I can access an online directory – brings one final change. Harry H. is now back in the directory, but is now at 28 Hazelton, and is the only Prittie listed there; I guess he wanted to move back into the old neighbourhood. Either this is the second-generation Harry, or our hero protagonist has outlasted everybody.
24 Hazelton Avenue still stands, though it has been remodelled some; it is now the Ingram Gallery. The gallery has a website, which lists its location as a “historic brownstone”. Sadly, they don’t mention the Pritties, since presumably they don’t know about them.