Usher in 1920

One hundred years ago today, in the December 31 1919 edition of the Toronto Daily Star, there was an article briefly describing some upcoming parties to celebrate the arrival of 1920:



The article pointed out that this was the first New Year’s celebration in some time to occur following a full year of peace. Highlights, if you don’t want to read the whole article:

  • The Peace Ball, organized by the Cotillion Club in the Metropolitan Assembly Rooms, planned to start 1920 with a leap year dance, in which “timid ladies will approach likewise timid men and shyly ask for a dance”. Colored balloons and confetti will be floating about!
  • At the Balmy Beach Club, eight-year-old Joyce William, representing 1920, will drive Father Time across the ballroom and out the door. A balloon dance and a novelty ribbon dance will follow and then a buffet supper will be served.
  • At the King Edward Hotel, 1920 will be ushered in with a traditional rendition of “Auld Lang Syne”.

Happy New Year to everybody, 100 years later!

Would destroy all cities

Here’s an article, in two parts, in the December 16 1932 edition of the Toronto Daily Star that describes an interview with a self-styled messiah who advocated the destruction of all cities with a population greater than 100,000.



A Google search for Bek Ar-Khan, the would-be messiah, turned up nothing. Perhaps this is just as well, since many of us live in cities with population greater than 100,000.

Pierre van Paassen (1895-1968), the author of this article, was a journalist, writer, and Unitarian minister. Among other things, he spent ten days as a prisoner in Germany’s Dachau concentration camp in 1933.

Denies engagement pending

The December 25 1970 edition of the Toronto Globe and Mail contained this brief report, in which rumours of the engagement of U.S. president Richard Nixon’s daughter were denied.


The engagement might not have happened during the holidays, but it must have happened soon after: Tricia Nixon and Edward Finch Cox were married on June 12, 1971. The good news: they’re both still alive, and they’re still married.

Christmas in 1970

The Toronto Globe and Mail published a Christmas Day edition in 1970. Most of the ads in this paper were for Boxing Day sales, but a few stores provided Christmas greetings.

John Bulloch Tailors published some Bible verses:


Lipton’s provided this lovely drawing, which is very much of its time:


Birks, the jewellers, provided a message that looked like it was reproduced from a Christmas card, to be honest:


And, naturally, the two heavy hitters on the Toronto retail scene, Simpson’s and Eaton’s, provided full-page ads commemorating the season:



Back in 1970, it would have seemed like Simpson’s and Eaton’s had been around forever and were always going to be around. Who could have known that, nearly 50 years later, both of them are now long gone?

‘Tis Christmas Eve

I posted this image one year ago today. I still find it quite heartwarming, so I’m posting it again this Christmas Eve. It’s from the December 22 1928 edition of the Toronto Globe, and was part of the Circle of Young Canada page, which featured submissions from younger readers.


I hope that you and your family have a very enjoyable holiday season. Thanks for reading.


Wanderwell’s last journey

Here’s a photo from the December 16 1932 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:


Walter Wanderwell (born Valerian Johannes Pieczynski) was murdered on the day before he was about to travel to the South Seas on his 110-foot yacht, Carma. His murder was never solved.

Articles on Wanderwell and his murder can be found here and here. His wife at the time of his murder, Aloha Wanderwell (born Idris Galcia Welsh), has a Wikipedia page and a website devoted to her. YouTube also has lots of videos of her exploits.

Looked over Hollywood’s loveliest

Here’s a photo of a Hollywood marriage from the December 16 1932 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:


Sidney Fox (1907-1942) appeared in movies between 1931 and 1935. Before marrying Charles Beahan (the spelling in the photo caption is wrong), she was widely rumoured to be the mistress of Carl Laemmle Jr., the head of production at Universal Studios between 1928 and 1936.

Sadly, the Beahans did not enjoy a long and happy life together: Ms. Fox passed away from an overdose of sleeping pills in 1942. The death was ruled an accident.