Guns, guns, guns

I was looking through the September 5 1947 edition of the Toronto Daily Star, and I’ve come to the conclusion that there were more guns around in Canada in those days than there are now.

For example, you could buy guns at Simpson’s back then:


And the same paper had an ad for a gun seller on York Street:


And here’s a report of a bank robbery in Caledon East. Naturally, the robbers had guns – that was to be expected. What was noteworthy about this was that the postmaster had a gun (shown), the proprietors of the store opposite the robbed bank had a gun, and the accountant at the bank had a gun:


That’s a lot of guns. My theory is that lots of people went away to war and needed to learn to fire a gun, so everybody was used to guns.


Item 12

In the March 13 1948 Toronto Globe and Mail, I found an ad for a neighbourhood in Toronto that I think was supposed to be cropped differently:


What exactly is Item 12?

Thorncrest Village is in Etobicoke, and is just north of Richview Collegiate Institute, where former prime minister Stephen Harper went to school. The neighbourhood still exists: according to Wikipedia, residents own three parkettes and a park with a clubhouse, tennis courts, swimming pool, and a playground.


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.


Let’s not rush into things

From the February 8 1945 Toronto Daily Star:


You can’t criticize Paraguay for being too hasty about these things, but they were a bit late to do much to help the Allies against the Axis. Admittedly, news probably took a long time to reach parts of South America in those days.


Morality police

The March 13 1948 edition of the Toronto Globe and Mail featured two articles about situations where the police raided a person’s home to break up an activity deemed immoral.

The first was a man who was arrested for showing stag films at a private party:


I wonder whether funds were actually raised for underprivileged children.

Case #2 was the police busting up an all-female poker game:


I’m fascinated by the idea that the charges were dismissed for lack of evidence. Also, there’s the automatic assumption that all the women were housewives. Bridge is a kid’s game!


Chloe Davis

Not everything in old newspapers is fun reading – some items are horrible, sad, or both. For example, here’s a news article from the April 8 1940 Toronto Daily Star:


This was a report of an unimaginably horrible crime, described in more detail here. Chloe Davis, an 11-year-old girl living in Los Angeles, woke up one day to discover that her mother had gone insane and was in the process of killing Chloe’s three younger siblings before eventually killing herself.

The girl apparently was unemotional by temperament, which made the LAPD suspicious of her. As a result, she was arrested for murder before forensic evidence (and evidence of her mother’s blooming insanity) cleared her.

One site I found on the Internet claimed that Ms. Davis died in 1987 in Indiana. There are other sites devoted to her case (including one with crime scene photos), but they make for depressing reading.


Book night

Here’s some listings for neighbourhood movie houses for April 8 1940, from the Toronto Daily Star. As an incentive, some theatres were offering free volumes of the Standard American Encyclopedia with admission:


Volume 2, by the way, covered all topics with names starting with ART to BOO. Volume 1 was still available, if you had missed out!



From the January 4 1946 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:


You know, I don’t blame Mr. Liver for not wanting his neighbours to set off dynamite on New Year’s Eve.


Is there folk music in Canada?

When looking through old editions of the Toronto Daily Star, I discovered two competing viewpoints on the question of whether there is authentic folk music in Canada. On the “no” side, there is this article from the April 8 1940 edition:


Taking the “yes” side is this article from May 1 1954:IMG_0863

Boris Berlin (1907-2001) was a pianist and music teacher who taught at the Toronto Conservatory of Music for many decades. He was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2000, but passed away before the ceremony that honoured him.

Leslie Bell (1906-1962) did a bunch of musical things, including being the chair of the musical department at the Ontario College of Education from 1939 to 1948.

I have no idea whether these two men ever met. They were almost exact contemporaries, so it may very well have happened. I like to think of their meeting descending into a shouting match, especially since Dr. Bell described his opposing viewpoint as “a bit stupid”.


Power shortage

When looking through the November 22 1948 Toronto Daily Star, I discovered that Toronto’s electrical grid was having trouble meeting the demands of its residents, resulting in a power shortage.

Here’s an official announcement on the shortage, advising people how to install their own electricity supply safely:

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And the CCF (forerunner to today’s NDP) hosted a discussion of the shortage:

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Some venues had their own electricity supply, and boasted that they suffered no power cuts. One of these was the Horseshoe Tavern, which, last year, celebrated its 70th anniversary. Here’s an ad from the year after they opened, along with an ad for another entertainment option, the Embassy Tavern:

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The Horseshoe also offered television! The Embassy Tavern is long gone, by the way – Harry Rosen tailors is now there.