55 years married

The December 25 1928 edition of the Toronto Globe and Mail had a photograph of a couple who were celebrating their 55th wedding anniversary, having gotten married on Christmas Eve in 1873.


As usual, I wanted to satisfy my curiosity: for how much longer could I find them in the Toronto city directories? Here’s what I found:

  • James Beatty, who worked as a shoemaker, had been at 163 Dovercourt Road for a long time: the 1900 city directory lists him there.
  • The 1910 city directory lists a Miss Mary Beatty working as a dressmaker at the same address. Presumably, she was their daughter.
  • By 1928, he was at 163 Dovercourt and she was at 163A Dovercourt.
  • Mr. Beatty appears in the 1932 city directory, but not in the 1933 directory, which still lists Mary Beatty working as a dressmaker.
  • I have no idea what happened to Mrs. James Beatty, as the original article doesn’t list her first name.

163 Dovercourt Road still exists (it’s the house with the bicycle in front of it in this Google Street View photo), but it looks like it’s been refinished.


Christmas in 1928

The Toronto Daily Star did not publish on Christmas Day 1928, but the Toronto Globe did.

Among other things, this edition published Christmas greetings from Eaton’s and Simpson’s:



(By the way, I still find it hard to believe that Eaton’s and Simpson’s are both long gone now – when I was young, they seemed like they had been around forever and were impregnable.)

The paper also included assorted Christmas greetings from a variety of firms and enterprises:


In particular, I noticed that Professor R. L. Mulveney’s Remedies sent their greetings.

And, if you were lucky enough to receive a Christmas cheque from a wealthy relative, two separate piano dealers suggested that the best way to spend the dough was on a large musical instrument:



A third piano dealer was less direct – they just wished their readers the best of health and happiness during the Christmas season.


That was an unfortunate typo to list the firm’s name as being on “Blor” Street.

Paul Hahn & Co. still exists, though they are now at 1058 Yonge. The other two firms are gone, though the Heintzman company has been reconstituted.


‘Tis Christmas Eve

This illustration is from the Circle Of Young Canada in the December 22 1928 Toronto Globe.


I wish all of you the very best of the holiday season. Thank you for reading these entries.



Gain or lose weight

The February 29 1928 edition of the Toronto Globe is another paper that contained both an ad for a weight-gain product and an ad for a weight-loss product. Conveniently, they’re in the same column.


McCoy’s Cod Liver Extract Tablets were just cod liver oil in tablet form – presumably, they provided the same health benefits as cod liver oil itself.

I have no idea what D.H.D Obesity Tea did, but I’m suspicious of a weight-reduction method that doesn’t involve exercise or dieting.


Marketing Ovaltine

While collecting newspaper ads and articles, I’ve noticed a whole bunch of ads for Ovaltine, which Wikipedia calls a “brand of milk flavoring product made with malt extract.” However, the makers of Ovaltine have never been sure how to market it. They’ve tried just about everything.

In the July 7 1923 Toronto Globe, they marketed Ovaltine as a sleep aid:

1923 July 7 Globe

In the September 19 1925 Toronto Globe, they marketed it as a “pick-up” for listless office workers.

1925 Sep 19 Globe

The September 7 1927 Toronto Globe praised it as a sustaining tonic that helped distance swimmer Georges Michel make it across the English Channel. It was apparently his only nourishment during the ordeal.

1927 Sep 7 Globe

The October 1 1928 Toronto Daily Star included “a message of national importance”, offering health for all at lower cost:

1928 Oct 1 Star

Sixteen days later, in the October 17 1928 Toronto Daily Star, they recommended heating Ovaltine to relieve afternoon fatigue:

1928 Oct 17 Star

During the midst of an influenza epidemic, the December 22 1928 Toronto Globe stated that Ovaltine could protect you from the flu:

1928 Dec 22 Globe

In the April 20 1929 Toronto Globe, they were back to marketing Ovaltine as a cure for sleeplessness:

1929 Apr 20 Globe

And, the February 25 1930 Toronto Daily Star suggested that it was a delicious and healthful beverage after an evening of bridge.

1930 Feb 25 Star

This was the end of what you might call The Golden Age of Ovaltine. I found some Ovaltine ads much later, in the 1940s and 1950s – by then, they had settled on their niche, which was that Ovaltine was a useful supplement for babies and small children. From the June 8 1943 Toronto Daily Star:

1943 Jun 8 Star

And from the March 25 1947 Toronto Daily Star:

1947 Mar 25 Star

And, finally, from the February 2 1950 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:

1950 Feb 2 Star

This ad also mentions that Ovaltine can maintain the mother’s health and strength. Or perhaps stave off sleeplessness. Or whatever.

Throughout the years, Ovaltine was always marketed by A. Wander, Limited, first located in Toronto and then in Peterborough. I think I would have liked to sit in on one of their marketing strategy meetings.


Influenza in 1928

While the influenza epidemic of 1918 was the deadliest in recent history, there have been other flu epidemics in Toronto. The December 22 1928 edition of the Toronto Globe was published while an epidemic was in full flood.

The main story on the epidemic stated that 25 new victims had been admitted to hospital, and three people had died:


This wasn’t as bad as Grand-Mère, Quebec, in which there were 1000 to 1200 cases of a “mild variety” of grippe that had closed all the schools:


This day’s paper included two public-service ads related to the flu that were placed by life insurance companies. The first was from Ontario Equitable:


This ad reminded readers that, at the first sign of a cold, you were to start to fight as though your very life depended on it. The ad doesn’t seem to distinguish very well between colds and the flu.

And here’s the ad from Sun Life:


Both ads suggested the importance of keeping your bowels open. For people for whom this was an issue, Grove’s Bromo Quinine offered a solution:


I found links related to Grove’s Bromo Quinine at the National Museum of American History and Weird Universe. It was on sale until at least the 1960s.

The makers of Ovaltine offered another option:


Eventually, I will write a long article about Ovaltine: it’s been marketed in a number of ways, of which this is just one.

Finally, the makers of Veno’s Lightning Cough Syrup offered a remedy:


Veno’s Lightning Cough Syrup had been around since the Victorian era, and was originally known as Veno’s Lightning Cough Cure. I found a blog that described this medicine in more detail.


The Hoo-Hoo Club

The December 22 1928 edition of the Toronto Globe contained this article:


I love the very idea of the Bojum of the Supreme Nine of the Concatenated Order of the Hoo-Hoo.

I was reluctant to search for “Hoo-Hoo Club” on Google because I was afraid of what might turn up, but the results turned out to be safe for work. The Hoo-Hoo Club is a fraternal service organization for members of the forest products industry. The order is still in existence today, but most of its clubs are inactive.


The truth

From the October 1 1928 Toronto Daily Star:


Doctors say it takes 100% bran to relieve constipation! 93% or 97% is not sufficient!

Two Kellogg brothers, John Harvey and Will Keith, invented the process of making flaked cereal at the Battle Creek Sanitarium, a holistic treatment centre that promoted vegetarianism, nutrition, exercise, hydrotherapy, the use of enemas, and abstinence from alcohol, tobacco, and all forms of sexual activity. (John’s Wikipedia entry helpfully points out that “Kellogg’s views on sexuality and masturbation are now considered extreme.”)

W. K. started the Kellogg company after a sanitarium guest, C. W. Post, took notes on how the Kelloggs made their cereal and then started his own cereal company. Apparently, “this upset Will to the extent that he left the sanitarium to found his own company.” I can’t say as I blame him! The Kellogg brothers may have led austere lives by modern standards, but I guess it paid off: they both lived for 91 years. And you can still buy All-Bran in your grocery store.


Specially blended for Toronto water

Here’s an ad from the October 1 1928 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:


I’m not sure about the specially blended for Toronto part, given that J. Lyons & Co. were tea manufacturers based in England.

Lyons became a corporate empire, eventually expanding to manufacturing food, running tea shops and restaurants, and even manufacturing their own computers. Former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher worked there as a chemist at one time. The company fell on hard times starting in the 1960s and was eventually broken up and sold to various firms.

But I wonder: what would tea specially blended for Toronto water taste like?


Ice cream by tricycles

Here’s a bit of filler from the October 1, 1928 Toronto Daily Star:

Photo 2018-03-11, 10 40 03 PM

I love this article – it has both too much detail and too little. We don’t know the name of the ice cream manufacturer, or which British towns the fleet operates in, but we do know that it contains 1100 tricycles.

A search for “ice cream tricycle 1928” uncovered this site, which suggests that the manufacturer might have been Wall’s. The photographs are fascinating. (Wall’s ice cream still exists, but the brand has been swallowed up by Unilever.)