Sir John Henry Dunn

The July 9 1926 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this photograph of a man who was simultaneously a British baronet and a member of a theatre company playing on Broadway:


Wikipedia has an entry for Sir William Dunn, who was the 1st Baronet of Clitheroe and a former Lord Mayor of London. The page mentions that his son, Sir John Henry, had been located working in a coal mine near Barnsley. I don’t know whether this was before or after he was in the Revue Company.

Searches for John Henry Dunn didn’t turn up anything else, as there was at least one other, more notable, person with that name.


Scarboro staff makes merry

On July 8 1926, the entire staff of the township of Scarborough and their families had their annual picnic at Silver Fern Park. The July 9 1926 edition of the Toronto Daily Star captured the event in photographs.


I could find no reference to Silver Fern Park anywhere. The town of Agincourt has long since been swallowed up by what is now the city of Scarborough; it is bounded by Kennedy Road on the west, McNicoll Avenue on the north, various streets from McCowan to Markham on the east, and Highway 401 on the south. Presumably, the park was turned into housing developments long ago.



One of the common features of the business section of a newspaper is photos of people who have just been promoted to an important position. This has been going on for some time – for example, here’s one from the July 9 1926 edition of the Toronto Star.


Just for fun, and because Mr. Prittie has a distinctive name, I decided to trace him in the Toronto city directories. (What do you do for fun, dear reader?) I didn’t go year by year, so I might have missed some things. Here’s what I found, in chronological order:

  • The patriarch of the Prittie family was George W. Prittie, a builder. In 1900, he lived at 1 Scollard Street. Edgar Prittie also lived there, and worked as a clerk; he was probably George’s son.
  • The 1905 directory lists Harry H. Prittie (our hero protagonist) as a clerk at A. McKim & Co. (the company that promoted him to be the manager of their Toronto office in 1926). George is still a builder, and Edgar is now a salesman.
  • By 1910, the Pritties had moved to 24 Hazelton Avenue, which would be their home base for some time. Harry H. is now listed as a clerk, location unknown, and George is still a builder. Edgar is not listed, but another Prittie, Arthur G., is listed as a clerk at A. McKim, Ltd.
  • In 1915, Harry H. is listed as an advertising solicitor (I think that is what “adv solcr” expands to) for A. McKim, Ltd. George is still a builder, and Arthur is now a student. I didn’t check whether any of the Pritties fought in the Great War.
  • By 1920, Harry is no longer listed – as the photo above suggests, he was probably in Montreal. George is still working as a builder, and Arthur doesn’t have a listed occupation (which doesn’t necessarily mean that he was unemployed, of course).
  • The 1926 directory doesn’t list Harry yet – his promotion and relocation to Toronto must have happened after the directory was published. Arthur is now clerking again, and George now does not have an occupation listed, so maybe he retired. There’s also a new Prittie, Eleanor, living there.
  • Harry H. appears in the 1927 directory, with his occupation as “mgr A McKim”. Arthur, Eleanor, and George are still there.
  • Fast forward to 1932: George is still at 24 Hazelton Avenue, but Harry H is now at 124 Grenadier Road. He’s still a manager.
  • 1936 brought changes. George is still at 24 Hazelton, and Arthur, Edgar, and Eleanor have all returned to living there. Arthur is an insurance agent, Edgar is the secretary of the Landlord’s & Property Owner’s Association, and Eleanor has no listed occupation. Harry is now the secretary-treasurer of William C Mountain & Associates Ltd, and has moved to 423 Lake Shore Road in Mimico.
  • Sadly, by 1939, George is no longer listed. Arthur, Edgar, and Eleanor are still at 24 Hazelton, doing what they were doing three years before. Harry is still in Mimico, but is now an account executive at Jas Fisher Co.
  • In 1942, Arthur, Edgar, and Eleanor are still living together. Arthur no longer has a listed occupation. Harry is not listed.
  • In 1947, Arthur, Edgar, and Eleanor are still at 24 Hazelton. Edgar is still the secretary of what is now the Property Owners Assn of Toronto. Harry is now living there too – he is the secretary for Gunflint Iron Mines Ltd. 1948 is the same as 1947.
  • In 1949, Arthur, Edgar, and Eleanor are there, but Harry is not.
  • In 1952, we still have Arthur and Edgar, but not Eleanor or Harry.
  • In 1954, Arthur and Edgar are still hanging in at 24 Hazelton. The Harry situation is now a bit confusing: there is a Harry Prittie at 24 Hazelton, and an H H Prittie working as a secretary at Berwick Securities Ltd. These might or might not be two different people; the Harry at 24 Hazelton might be the son of one of the other Pritties. I’ll never know.
  • In 1955, Arthur and Edgar are still at 24 Hazelton; Edgar is now the secretary of the Canadian Federation of Property Owners Associations, so he’s branched out. Harry is now a “statistitian” at Newling & Co., and H H is still at Berwick Securities Ltd.
  • In 1956, Edgar has now moved back to the Property Owners Assn of Toronto, Arthur is still also at 24 Hazelton, and Harry is still there, with no listed occupation. H H is gone.
  • In 1960, Arthur and Edgar are still where they’ve been since at least 1936. Harry is there, and now works as an “advertising man”. At this point, I’m reasonably sure that this is a next-generation Harry, as our original Harry was gainfully employed in 1905.
  • By 1963, there is sad news: Edgar is still at 24 Hazelton, and so is Harry (who is now listed as being in “advtg”), but the directory now lists Edith, the widow of Arthur G. Arthur’s passing makes me feel a bit sad, given that I have traced Arthur and Edgar down through the years.
  • In 1965, there are no Pritties at 24 Hazelton in the Names section of the directory. There are six people with that last name in the city directory, but they might or might not be related. The Streets section of the directory lists 24 Hazelton as vacant.
  • 1969 – the last year for which I can access an online directory – brings one final change. Harry H. is now back in the directory, but is now at 28 Hazelton, and is the only Prittie listed there; I guess he wanted to move back into the old neighbourhood. Either this is the second-generation Harry, or our hero protagonist has outlasted everybody.

24 Hazelton Avenue still stands, though it has been remodelled some; it is now the Ingram Gallery. The gallery has a website, which lists its location as a “historic brownstone”. Sadly, they don’t mention the Pritties, since presumably they don’t know about them.


Bucky to marry

The May 18 1926 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained a photograph of Bucky Harris, player-manager for the Washington Senators at the age of 29, and his bride-to-be:


Bucky Harris (1896-1977) was traded from the Senators to the Detroit Tigers after the 1928 season, and became mostly a full-time manager for them until 1933. He then went on to manage the Boston Red Sox, the Washington Senators (again), the Philadelphia Phillies, the New York Yankees, the Washington Senators (yet again), and the Detroit Tigers (also again). He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame as a manager in 1975.

Harris and the former Miss Elizabeth Sutherland were divorced in 1951. She passed away in 1978; her obituary appeared in the Washington Post.

Harris apparently married again, but I can’t find any other information. The Society for American Baseball Research has an article on Harris, which goes into more detail on his baseball career.


Region-specific weather

The December 2 1926 edition of the Toronto Globe contained two articles that indicated that the weather was significantly different in various parts of the country.

The first article indicated that winter was about to arrive early in Ontario:


Crookston, Minnesota, had it rather tough. If you’re curious, here is the Wikipedia page for Crookston. Test pilot Milt Thompson would have been just shy of seven months old when this cold snap hit.

Compare this to the residents of Newfoundland, who were enjoying an unusually warm late fall:


I couldn’t find climate data for St. John’s from 1926 on the Environment Canada website, for the simple reason that Newfoundland was not yet part of Canada then. But I did look up Sydney, Nova Scotia, which isn’t all that far away, and it turned out that it was having an unseasonably warm spell in late November, 1926. Between November 15 and 30, there were eight days where the temperature was 10 degrees Celsius or higher, and two days where it peaked at 14.4C. (The average high temperature for Sydney in November is 7.3C, and that’s for the whole month; for the second half, it would be lower.)

December 1 was also unusually warm, with a high of 11.1C, but it rained buckets Р41.1 mm of rain fell there. After that, normal service resumed: there was 5.1 cm of snow on December 3, 12.7 cm of snow on December 4, and a whopping 22.9 cm of snow on December 6. There was also snow on the 9th, rain/snow on the 11th, and 38.1 mm of rain on the 12th, so early December 1926 was miserable in Sydney, and was probably  miserable in Newfoundland as well.

As for Ontario in December 1926: the Toronto data shows a three-day cold spell from the 4th to the 6th, with 15 cm of snow on the 5th. Ottawa’s cold spell was longer, but with less snow.


Knox himself

The December 2 1926 edition of the Toronto Globe contained this ad for an optician:


A search of the Toronto city directories indicates that William C. Knox (himself) set up shop at the 262 1/2 Yonge Street location sometime between 1915 and 1920. He was still there in 1930, but by 1933 other family members had joined him to form W. C. Knox Ltd. at that location. By 1935, this location became Proctor Optical, discussed elsewhere in this blog.


Mosher dances

Here’s an ad from the December 2 1926 edition of the Toronto Globe that I was not able to completely figure out:


I have no idea what a Mosher dance is, and a Google search turned up nothing. My best guess is that it was related to the Mosher School of Dancing, which existed near Bay and Bloor in the late 1920s.

A Google search for The Auditorium and 212 Cowan Avenue also both turned up empty. The 1926 city directory lists the Pavlowa Dancing Academy at 210 Cowan Avenue; this is probably what this was. This dancing academy appears in the 1928 directory, but not the 1929 one.

I also have no idea who or what Audimo was. Google searches for “Audimo” redirect to searches for “Audio”, as they can’t find anything on Audimo.

The area around 210 Cowan Avenue now appears to be a park that serves the nearby high-rises on Dunn Avenue.



Observe golden jubilee

The April 21 1926 edition of the Toronto Globe and Mail contained a photograph of a couple who were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary:


As usual, when I find one of these, I indulge in morbid curiosity: for how much longer were the two able to enjoy wedded happiness?

I looked in the Toronto city directories, and discovered that the Millses had only recently moved to 177 Craighurst Avenue. In the 1926 directory, Robert Mills was listed at 160 Redpath (I knew that this was the correct Robert Mills because the 1925 directory listed his occupation as bursar of St. Andrew’s College). He is listed at 177 Craighurst from 1927 to 1932, but does not appear in the 1933 directory.

Unfortunately, there is no record of Mrs. Mills, as the Toronto city directories only ever list the male head of a household, and this article doesn’t give her first name. I did a search through the people named Mills in the 1933 directory, and there was no one listed as the widow of Robert (or Robt, in the directory shorthand). Presumably, Mr. Mills became a widower sometime between 1926 and 1932, but we’ll never know when.

As for 177 Craighurst: this house and its neighbours on either side have been recently rebuilt or remodelled to be larger than the houses around them.


Daughter is born

The April 21 1926 edition of the Toronto Globe contained an announcement of a daughter born to the Duke and Duchess of York:


The article does not mention the name of the child – though, since she had been born that very day, perhaps her name had not been decided.

At the time, this announcement might not have seemed that important. The Duke of York was second in line to the throne, and the eldest son, commonly known as David, was young enough to marry and produce heirs. But, as it turned out, David became King Edward VIII and abdicated his throne in 1936. The Duke of York became King George VI, and the unnamed daughter eventually became Queen Elizabeth II.


Toronto population in 1926

Here’s one final article from the February 10 1926 edition of the Toronto Daily Star, on the population of the city of Toronto and its surrounding townships:


In 1926, only 8376 people lived in North York. As of the 2011 census, this figure is 655,913. For Scarborough, the figures are 15,310 (1926) and 632,098 (2016).