When I was looking through the October 12 1937 edition of the Toronto Daily Star, I discovered that a polio epidemic had gone through Ontario in 1937, and that schools weren’t opened until after Thanksgiving.
Here’s the article on the reopening of schools in Toronto, in three parts:
Needless to say, this reminds me very much of the pandemic that we are currently enduring.
A search turned up this article on polio epidemics in Toronto. In 1937, 786 people – mostly young children – were afflicted in Toronto, and 20 died. At the time, the cause of infection was unknown. A larger epidemic paralyzed 11,000 people in Canada between 1949 and 1954, including Neil Young. The last major outbreak was in 1959, and vaccines brought polio under control by the early 1970s.