Sweet danger

Here’s an ad for an upcoming serial from the June 22 1935 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:


This ad doesn’t mention that Sweet Danger is by Maysie Grieg – we’ve encountered it and her before in this blog. The first installment of the serial, published on June 24, includes a drawing of Jan (and an ad for Kkovah Salts):


Apparently, Jan had “a vivid, glowing, red-brown beauty that reminded you, somehow, of firelight.” I guess this is a good thing.

Interestingly enough, there is another novel called Sweet Danger, by Margery Allingham and published two years earlier, in 1933. The list of characters in Ms. Allingham’s novel (taken from Wikipedia) makes for great reading:

  • Albert Campion, a mysterious adventurer
  • Magersfontein Lugg, Campion’s servant, an ex-criminal
  • “Guffy” Randall, an old friend of Campion
  • Dicky Farquharson, a famous prospector, on Campion’s team
  • Jonathan Eager-Wright, a mountaineer, also working with Campion
  • Amanda Fitton, a beautiful and precocious teen-aged girl, the Miller of Pontisbright
  • Hal Fitton, Amanda’s serious younger brother and heir to the missing title
  • Mary Fitton, Amanda’s sensible older sister
  • Miss Harriet Huntingforest, the Fittons’ kindly American aunt
  • “Scatty” Williams¬†, Amanda’s assistant at the mill
  • Dr Edmund Galley, the rather odd local doctor
  • Brett Savanake, a secretive and powerful financier
  • Mr Parrott, Savanake’s right-hand man
  • “Peaky” Doyle, a thug in Savanake’s employ

Who among us has not wanted a servant named Magersfontein Lugg or an old friend named Guffy?

A limited amount of teaching

The June 22 1935 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this brief and somewhat mysterious ad:


I looked Ms. Bates up in the Toronto city directories. She was listed as a musician; in later directories, she is listed as a music teacher. She remained at 519 Jarvis for a long time; she is listed in the 1960 directory, and I didn’t check after that.

519 Jarvis Street is a heritage building: it’s one of the two Massey Houses. The other, 515 Jarvis, is currently a Keg Steakhouse. 519 Jarvis stayed in the Massey family until at least 1925; Ms. Bates was one of the people living there in 1930. (515 Jarvis, among other things, was the home of Ryan’s Art Galleries and a convalescent military hospital.)

In nine accidents

The June 22 1935 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this brief article about the oldest living member of Toronto’s oldest family:


Question: shouldn’t Col. Shaw’s nine accidents have done him in, since cats have nine lives?

I found a listing for Lt. Col. G. A. Shaw in the 1935 Toronto city directory – he was living at 189 Dunn Avenue. Cross-referencing the Streets section of the directory shows him as the only listed resident at 189 Dunn – he was either living alone or with family who were not listed.

Looking back at random, I found him in the 1900 directory – at the time, he was listed as “Vice Consul Hawaii”, and was living at 44 Leopold. He wasn’t in the 1880 directory – presumably, he was on active service at the time.

Looking forward, I found him in the 1936 directory but not the 1937 directory. Perhaps he had his 10th accident that year.

Presumably, since the Shaws were Toronto’s oldest family, Shaw Street is named after them.

Worms and insects

Here’s a couple of filler articles from the June 22 1935 edition of the Toronto Daily Star describing infestations.

First, there were worms in the North Bay area:


I don’t know about you, but the idea of a mound of worms six inches high gives me the squicks.

If worms aren’t your thing, how about Spanish mosquitoes?


Apparently, many scientists foresee that insects will rule the world. Unless they are kept back with swatters and disinfectant guns, of course.

Handsome Georgian style

Here’s a drawing of a luxury home about to be built in Rosedale, as seen in the May 16 1930 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:


I traced the house in the Toronto city directories:

  • It took over a year to build, as the house was not listed until the 1932 directory, with Mrs. Jean Larkin as the owner.
  • Sadly, Mrs. Larkin did not get to enjoy the house for very long, as the 1935 directory lists its owner as Aileen Larkin, who was presumably Mrs. Larkin’s daughter.
  • The younger Ms. Larkin is listed at this address in 1940, but not in 1945.

The house still stands.

New and enlarged

Here’s an ad for a new restaurant on Bloor Street, from the May 16 1930 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:


This seemed like quite an ambitious undertaking, particularly in the middle of the Great Depression. Sadly, it did not survive long: the Express Coffee Shoppe appears in the 1931 Toronto city directory, but does not appear in the 1932 directory.

Out of curiosity, I cross-referenced the listing in the names section of the city directory, to see if I could find out more. The entry for Express Coffee Shoppe listed, among others, T. B. Smyth as president and J. T. Hulse as the manager:

  • When I looked up Mr. Smyth, I discovered that he was both president of the Express Coffee Shoppe and a plumber, so he had a Plan B in case the restaurant failed. And, sure enough, Plan B went into effect in 1932: Mr. Smyth was now listed as the president of T B Smyth & Co. Ltd., plumbers. I guess it’s admirable to fall down eight times and get up nine, or whatever the saying is.
  • When the Express Coffee Shoppe failed, Mr. Hulse’s plan B was to work as a builder, which is what he was listed as in the 1932 directory.

Oh, well. I hope what customers they had enjoyed the Caulfield dairy milk and cream and the Nasmith’s bread and rolls.

Killed on way from school

Here’s a sad story from the May 11 1934 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:


This story caught my attention because “Stafirrny” is such an odd name – was that really the unfortunate girl’s last name?

I checked in the Toronto city directories, and I couldn’t find any information. The listed resident at 77 Tecumseth was Vincent Bakalarski, and there’s no name similar to “Stafirrny” on the street or anywhere in the directory. Perhaps the name was given over the phone and badly misinterpreted.

There was a Frank Collard on Browning Avenue – in fact, there were two: Frank and Frank A., both working as cartage agents and both living at 92 Browning. I assume that this was a father and son, one of whom was responsible for the death of a girl whose name we will never accurately know.

High diving champion to wed

Here’s a photo from the May 11 1934 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:

IMG_8810 (1)

Dorothy Poynton (1915-1995) started her diving career early: she won a silver medal at the 1928 Olympic games when she was 13 years old. She won a gold medal at the 1932 games and a gold and bronze at the 1936 games.

She and Mr. Hill did indeed marry; she was 19 at the time. But their marriage did not last, as she married a man named Teuber in 1942. She was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1968.

Personals from 1933

I usually haven’t been looking at the want ads from old newspapers, but I took a quick look at the personals section of the May 5 1933 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:


Going through these in order:

  • We’ve seen an expedition to Cocos Island before in this blog. Some people believed there was buried treasure there. Hundreds of attempts to find treasure on the island have failed.
  • Nowadays, a request from a friend wanting to get in touch with a woman would quite possibly be a stalker. There were quite likely stalkers back in 1933, but this was an era in which newspapers published photos of attractive women along with their name and address, so they must not have been as common. Out of curiosity, I looked in the 1933 Toronto city directory for Miss Isabel Spinks; I did not find her.
  • I am thinking that the gentleman aged 26 was discreetly looking for a relationship. It had to be discreetly indeed, as homosexuality was not decriminalized in Canada until 1967.
  • I’m not sure why the Queens Rangers wanted stretcher bearers, but I’m sure there was a good reason. The 1933 directory lists 860 Yonge as the home of the York Rangers; this is between Yorkville and Scollard, so the neighbourhood is a bit more upscale now. Naturally, there are now condos there.
  • I couldn’t find a Francis Ackerman in the 1933 directory, but there was a Frank Ackerman. Of course, I have no idea whether this is the same guy. 32 Isabella Street turns out to be the address of the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto, which suggests a family matter of some sort.