Dewbourne Avenue home sold

The Toronto Daily Star editions from the 1930s often included a Real Estate section that contained one or more photos of upscale houses. Here’s one from the September 18 1936 edition.

$18,500 in 1936 dollars is equivalent to $342,500 today – which wouldn’t be that much for a house in Forest Hill!

The Toronto city directories inform me that this house is at 18 Dewbourne Avenue, and that Walter W. Davis, a stockbroker, lived there. He lived there until 1948. The 1948 directory lists Mr. Davis as having no occupation, and the 1949 directory doesn’t list him. This suggests that he enjoyed this Georgian type residence for a little over a decade.

The house still stands, and doesn’t appear to have changed much.


Making good

The front page of the September 18 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this photograph of a young Toronto woman who hoped to be successful in Hollywood.

Unfortunately, she did not make good, at least under her own name: the Internet Movie Database doesn’t have any entries for Diane Marsh.



Hindsight is 20-20, but looking back from our present vantage point, you’d have to say that this article in the August 7 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star got it spectacularly wrong.


William Daum Euler (1875-1961), the author of this unfortunately inaccurate prediction, was a Liberal politician, serving as an MP from 1917 to 1940. After this, he was appointed to the Senate, where he stayed until his death.

Before 1917, he was the mayor of Berlin, Ontario, from 1914 to 1917; he was the last mayor of Berlin, as its name was changed to Kitchener in 1916. As a Senator, he lobbied for the elimination of the ban on margarine in Canada.



Here’s a real estate ad from the August 7 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:


The typesetting in “extraordinary opportunity” looks strange, but then I realized what had happened. The typesetter needed to try to fit both words into the space provided for the ad, but was a bit short, so he or she compromised by using the slightly narrower digit 0 instead of the letter O. If you look at the third line of text, which uses the regular letter O, I think you’ll see it.

Gloucester Grove is actually quite a long street, and some of the properties have been remodelled since 1936, so I’m not sure whether the bungalows offered in this ad still exist. These houses might be likely candidates – as the ad states, no two of them are alike.


Toronto district manager

For years, the business section of the newspaper has included photographs of executives that have been promoted to important new jobs. I’ve always wondered what criteria companies used to decide whether to send their new promotee’s picture to the paper.

For example, the August 7 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this photo of a man who had just been promoted to Toronto District Manager for a life insurance company.


Mr. Genesove looks a little sad in this photograph. Perhaps it’s just a trick of the camera, or perhaps he felt that a work-related photo required solemnity.

Because he has an uncommon name, I traced E. J. Genesove in the Toronto city directories. In the 1936 directory, Emanuel J. Genesove is listed under his previous job, as supervisor at the downtown office of the Northern Life company. So it looks like National Life lured him away to his new job.

It also looks like Mr. Genesove didn’t hold his new job for long. The 1937 directory lists him (now as Emmanuel with two m’s) as a district manager for National Life, but the 1938 and 1939 directories do not list him at all. These directories do not list his widow, so I have no idea whether he passed away or whether he accepted another role in a different city.


First time in 47 years

The August 7 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this brief article about a family reunion:


I have no idea why the article listed Mr. McMullan’s occupation as well as his address, but this made it possible for me to trace him in the Toronto city directories. The house at 108 Billings is listed under Charles Stuart, Mr. McMullan’s son-in-law, and Mr. McMullan appears in the 1937 and 1938 city directories at that address. His occupation is listed as assessment clerk for the Separate School Board.

In 1939, the family moved to 1216 Gerrard East. Mr. McMullan is now listed at that address, but no occupation is given in the listing. The family is still there in 1940, but he is no longer listed. I suppose that he might have travelled to New Orleans to stay with his sister, but I fear the worst.


Need you desperately

The Personals section from the August 7 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star was divided into two columns. The first column contained just one entry:


I hope that B. and the dependable person were able to get back together.


Please God, it shall never happen again

The front page of the July 27 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this photograph taken at the Vimy Ridge memorial.


This was taken during the brief reign of King Edward VIII, who is shown comforting a woman who lost eight of her twelve sons to the First World War. His response is the caption to this photograph, “Please God, it shall never happen again.”

But in the same edition, there was this photograph of German women preparing for air raids:


And, as of course you know, it did happen again.


Severely hurt in crash

Here’s a report of an accident from the June 24 1935 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:


Even though I’ve now seen it several times already, I’m still startled to see a photograph of a woman in which her address is provided. This would never happen nowadays because of the risk of encouraging stalkers.

There are more details of this crash in another article in the same paper:


The description of the crash is quite horrific – Ms. Gurney was lucky to be alive after 100 feet of somersaulting, given that it was unlikely that anybody was wearing seat belts. The location of the accident was almost certainly Filman Road; Highway 403 goes through there now.

I was curious (a common theme of this blog), so I traced Ms. Gurney in the Toronto city directories. It turned out that she was one of a number of Gurneys who lived at 33 Oriole Parkway; they were the widow and children of Cromwell Gurney. There were enough of them that I decided to trace the family; the results will be in tomorrow’s post!

Since Ms. Gurney’s name was unusual, I searched for it in the Toronto Daily Star database and using Google, and found some information. She got married in 1936, as reported in the August 7 1936 edition of the Daily Star:


Ms. Gurney, later Mrs. Foster, passed away in 2006 at the age of 92. She is buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery.

By the way, 33 Oriole Parkway, where Ms. Gurney lived, is quite a nice house. It’s usually hidden by foliage.


Plans twelve-year cruise

Here’s one last photo from the April 1 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:


I couldn’t find anything on Mr. van Wagoner’s voyage. A search for his name yielded two ancestry web sites (here and here) listing someone with his name and the right birth date who lived in Los Angeles. If this is the same man, he eventually did marry; depending on which site you believe, he passed away in either 1951 or 1954. I guess this means that he either abandoned his journey or completed it.