No liquor on election day!

Those of you above a certain age might remember when you couldn’t buy booze on election day until after the polls closed. Here’s an example, from the June 8 1977 Toronto Star:


I never really saw the point of this: you could always just buy a bunch of beverages on the previous day and then get blitzed at home on your own. (Depending on the election results, this might be a desirable thing to do.)

I couldn’t find when this stopped happening, but I’ll keep looking.


Life Savers

Here’s an ad from the November 21 1932 Toronto Daily Star, marketing Life Savers candy as drowsiness relief.


Life Savers were first created in 1912 by Clarence Crane, a candy maker from Cleveland and the father of poet Hart Crane. The original flavour was Pep-O-Mint; by the late 1920s, all of the flavours listed here had been created, along with Choc-O-Late, which I guess didn’t prove popular.

Today, Life Savers are made in Montreal, as sugar prices are lower in Canada than in the United States.


Dine and dance

If you were looking for an evening out on January 4, 1946, the Toronto Daily Star had some options available for you.


Searches of the Toronto city directories showed that the Lobster Restaurant didn’t last long in its location. By 1948, it was gone, replaced by the Saphire Tavern.

The Eaton Auditorium was on the seventh floor of the former Eaton’s College Street store. It opened in 1931. By 1970, it was sealed off, and then was restored in the early 2000s. It is now known as the Carlu.

Horace Lapp (1904-1986) was a dance band leader and one of the last of the original silent film accompanists. Nowadays, his events would be known as, um, Lapp dances. (I’ll show myself out, thank you.)

Ellis McLintock (1921-1997) was a trumpeter and band leader who played for TV shows in the 1950s and 1960s such as Wayne and Shuster.

The Hollywood Hotel was well-known enough in 1946 that they didn’t need to publish their address. It was far enough away that “Bus service every 15 minutes” was a selling point. They weren’t listed under “Hotels” in the 1946 Toronto city directory, so they must have been out of town somewhere.

The only information I could find on Gordie Delamont was here.



From the November 21 1932 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:


You have to admit: “Kling” is a good name for a dental plate adhesive.

Searches for “Kling dental plate adhesive” turned up links from people wanting to sell vintage containers of it online, but nothing about the history of the product or the company that made it.


Coble’s Fisherman’s Calendar

The August 25 1955 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained an excerpt from Coble’s Fisherman’s Calendar, which claimed to provide the optimal time of day to dip your lure into the lake:


I’d say that you’d have to be really into fishing to want to be out there at 1:49 in the morning on September 1st. Especially since the fish aren’t really biting that day.

I couldn’t find out much about Coble’s Fisherman’s Calendar, other than that it was first published in 1928 and was in existence as late as 1964.



I’m not sure when newspapers stopped accepting ads for old-style patent medicines – or even if they ever have – but there were still ads for them as late as 1955. The August 25 1955 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contains this:


Templeton’s Raz-Mah capsules had been around for a long time – a trademark web site states that they were trademarked in 1921. This Flickr page has a photo of a Raz-Mah box (and a comment from Mr. Templeton’s great-grandson).

This page from the Eaton’s 1948-1949 catalogue includes a number of medicines, including Raz-Mah Reds (which presumably were discontinued by 1955, since they’re not mentioned in this ad). I have no idea what the difference is between Raz-Mah Greys and Raz-Mah Browns, other than that the latter were more expensive.

After reading this, I was curious: was Mrs. Victor Lee of 182 Sherbourne Street a real person? I decided to find out by looking in the Toronto city directory. The 1955 directory shows nobody at 182 Sherbourne Street:


Aha, I thought. But then I tried 1956, and lo and behold:


There appears to be a Mr. Victor Lee. Not sure whether there is a Mrs. Lee, but I would be surprised if the patent medicine people would go to the trouble of inventing a fake spouse for a real person. If she was fake, Mr. Lee would have been quite surprised to read that day’s paper!


Marriage by proxy

The May 19 1915 edition of the Toronto Daily Star reported that marriage by proxy was a concept in use during the First World War, at least in France. This is where a bride pledged her vows to a groom who was away at the front, with a proxy standing in at the ceremony to speak the groom’s part. Here’s the article:


To me, this seems sad beyond words. I have no idea what happened to M. Lorin and Mlle. Martigny (who I guess became Mme. Lorin). I hope he returned home to her and they had many happy years together. I hope that Monsieur Firmin Souq also found someone to share his life with.


Treacherous as a submarine

Submarines were first in common use in the early 1900s, and were generally known about by the First World War. Which is why the May 19 1915 edition of the Toronto Daily Star could feature this ad:


We’ve run into Abbey’s Effervescent Salt before – there was a somewhat cryptic ad for it here. This ad features a testimonial from the Medical Officer of Health for London, England! (Not to be confused with the Medical Officer of Health for London, Ontario.) He wouldn’t lie to you, would he?

What’s interesting is that Abbey’s is available in two sizes: the 25-cent bottle if you plan on being only a little stopped up, or the 60-cent version if you are in regular need.


Whose car is this?

The May 19 1915 edition of the Toronto Daily Star had this picture in it:


My first guess is that this driver got into a hit-and-run collision. But if this had happened, there would not have been a stationary shot of this car. So I don’t know what happened, and I guess I will never know.


Gain or lose weight

Recently, I took a look at the May 19 1915 edition of the Toronto Daily Star. It contained ads for a product that helped you gain weight, and a product that helped you lose it.

First, the gainer:


Advertisements for products that help you gain weight seem strange nowadays, but a lot of people were having trouble getting enough to eat back then.

If you were having enough to eat, or perhaps too much, this day’s paper had an option for you too:


I don’t know what would happen if someone tried to take Certone and Resia at the same time. Which side would win?

What’s interesting to me is how wordy these ads were. People had time on their hands – there was no television or radio back then – and so were willing to read a lot more details than we are.