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.

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