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Valentine’s Day 1920

100 years ago today, Valentine’s Day was not considered a sales opportunity for merchants in Toronto, as neither the Toronto Daily Star nor the Toronto Globe contained an ad related to the day.

The Daily Star had two Valentine contributions. One was a long collection of poems dedicated to various politicians:

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Some references in these poems:

  • Tommy Church was mayor of Toronto from 1915 to 1921.
  • The “Robert” in “To An Absent One” refers to Robert Borden, then the Prime Minister of Canada. (At the time, newspapers often referred to the “Premier” of Canada.) As it turned out, he was voted out of office the following June.
  •  “Melinda Bay” is almost certainly a reference to the Toronto Telegram, whose offices were at the corner of Melinda and Bay Streets. (I would love to have online access to old Telegram editions!) The Torontoist has an article on the Telegram here.
  • Charles Maguire went on to succeed Tommy Church as mayor of Toronto, holding office from 1922 to 1923.
  • J. George Ramsden served on Toronto city council from 1903 to 1936. Ramsden Park, near Rosedale subway station, is named after him.
  • R.H. Cameron served on Toronto city council off and on between 1914 and 1929. He ran for mayor twice, losing each time.

The Daily Star also included this Valentine poem:

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The Toronto Globe’s February 14 1920 edition had only one reference to Valentine’s Day: a drawing on the Circle of Young Canada page, which was a page that appeared every Saturday and was geared toward younger readers.

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Readers of the time would have been far more interested in the influenza epidemic that was affecting Toronto at the time than they would have been in Valentine’s Day. Details in tomorrow’s post!

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