No traffic deaths in year

The December 11 1947 edition of the Toronto Daily Star reported that the borough of East York was close to achieving the goal of no traffic deaths in the year.


Admittedly, there were fewer people living in East York in 1947 than there are now. Still, that is an impressive achievement.


Two bit imposter

The December 11 1947 edition of the Toronto Daily Star had a brief article on a man who was going into taverns and pretending to be Tom Longboat, a famous Canadian runner:


Sadly, Tom Longboat was not alive for very long after this article appeared: he passed away from pneumonia in January, 1949.

Oddly enough, this wasn’t the first time that Longboat had been plagued by an impersonator. In 1917, a man named Edgar Laplante travelled around America giving concerts and pretending to be him, and then enlisted in the U.S. Army Transport Service under Longboat’s name. When the fake Longboat was killed in action, newspaper stories reported his death. His wife believed them, and remarried in 1918; when the real Longboat returned, she preferred to remain married to her new husband. Undaunted, Longboat remarried and had four children.


Pre-Christmas smells

For many years, the Toronto Daily Star published a collection of odds and sods on its editorial page, entitled “A Little Of Everything”. This collection always led off with a daily poem; the poems are of varying quality.

Here’s a sample from December 11 1947:


I picked this one (which seems a bit more on the doggerel side to me) because the author’s name and address was posted, which enabled me to try to trace her in the Toronto city directories. The 1947 directory lists Arthur Sutherland at 425 Glencairn (the directory, a bastion of sexism, only listed the husband at a particular residence). He was the secretary-treasurer of the Blachford Shoe Manufacturing Company Limited, which is as good a thing to be as any. Moving forward:

  • By 1952, he was the vice-president as well as the secretary-treasurer.
  • In 1957, he is still at 425 Glencairn, but has no occupation listed.
  • In 1958, he took up a new job at Gerry Lewis Limited.
  • In 1959, he moved to Oakville.
  • In 1969, the latest directory I can access, he was still at Gerry Lewis Limited, but had moved back to Toronto, at 4 Deer Park Crescent. There’s no way of knowing whether Lola, the author, was still alive, because she would have been listed only if Arthur had passed on or the two had gotten divorced.

Philip will get $100,000

Here’s a brief note about the royal family from the December 11 1947 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:


It’s been 72 years since this article, and both Prince Philip and (now) Queen Elizabeth are still living. I wonder if Philip still gets his allowance increased to $100,000 if she passes away before he does?


Mark 50th wedding

Here’s a brief note in the December 9 1950 Toronto Daily Star about a 50th wedding anniversary:


As usual with these, I ghoulishly looked Mr. Wall up in the Toronto city directories to see how long he lasted after this event. The record is inconclusive: a Henry Wall appears at 38 Fernwood Park Avenue until 1956. He’s not there in 1957, but two Henry Walls disappear and one appears at a different location in that directory, so there’s always the possibility that he moved to a new home at the age of 90. You never know: perhaps he’s still around and he’s still moving.


Nazi actor’s Berlin show

Here’s a small article from the December 9 1950 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:


Werner Krauss (1884-1959) was not only “Nazi-favored” – he was openly anti-Semitic, and a wholehearted supporter of the Nazi Party. Among other things, he simultaneously played six Jewish stereotypes in an anti-Jewish propaganda film. Eventually, he was forgiven enough that he was invited to German film festivals.

Curt Reiss (1902-1993), mentioned in the body of the article, was a Nazi refugee who became an American war correspondent. He has a Wikipedia page, but it’s in German.


60 a day

The December 9 1950 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this brief article about a measles epidemic in Hamilton:


This is a sobering reminder that childhood diseases such as measles were common before the introduction and standard use of vaccines such as the MMR vaccine. (I was a small child in the 1960s, and I remember contracting mumps and chicken pox. As I recall, my sisters contracted rubella, but I did not.)


Study this picture

Here’s an ad for a housing development in Scarborough from the December 2 1955 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:


The neighbourhood still exists today – here’s a closeup of it in Google Maps. There’s also this Google Street View picture of a house that looks like the one in the drawing.


Vive la France

Here’s a photograph from the December 2 1955 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a French actress.


Martine Carol (1920-1967) was a major star in France in the late 1940s and early 1950s, and was considered the French equivalent of Marilyn Monroe. Sadly, like Monroe, she had a troubled personal life: she was married four times, had drug problems, and attempted suicide. Also, like Monroe, she died young: she had a heart attack in a hotel room in Monte Carlo.


Cracked “male barrier”

The December 4 1956 edition of the Toronto Daily Star featured a photo of Jean Dorothy Reading Newman, the first woman to be elected to the Board of Control in Toronto.


Jean Newman (1905-1971) served only one term on the Toronto Board of Control. In 1958, she ran for mayor, finishing third behind incumbent Nathan Phillips and former mayor Allan Lamport. In 1962, she ran as a Liberal candidate in a by-election and lost; she left politics after that.