Music in 1946

The October 23 1946 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained ads for three upcoming appearances by famous musicians.

The first was for violinist Yehudi Menuhin, playing at Massey Hall the next Monday:


Yehudi Menuhin (1916-1999) started his career early – he was a solo violinist with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra when he was seven. He had a recording contract with EMI for seventy years, recording for them in 1929 and 1999.

Next up is another violinist, just billed as Kreisler, scheduled to play at Maple Leaf Gardens in the following month:


Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962) was born in Vienna, and became an American citizen late in life. His first performance in the U.S. was in 1888. Elgar’s Violin Concerto was composed for him.

Finally, there was a pianist, Claudio Arrau, who was to play at Massey Hall that night:


Claudio Arrau (1903-1991) was from Chile, and was a child prodigy – he was reading Beethoven sonatas when he was four. He developed a repertoire large enough to be able to perform at 76 different recital evenings.


Tragedy averted

One of the back pages of the October 23 1946 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this small article about a tragedy narrowly averted:


I was curious, so I looked up the Toronto city directories. It turns out that the man’s name was Saul or Sol Belz, not “A. Belz” (the directories give both variants of his name). The address was 75 Carlton Street, and the cleaning and pressing shop was B & B Cleaners & Dyers. The listing appears in the 1947 directory and not the 1946 directory, so the business was new. (Before that, he ran Golden Eagle Cleaners at 235 Broadview.)

Despite the initial near-tragedy, Mr. Belz stuck with it; the firm appears in the 1952 city directory, so he remained in business at least a few years. I didn’t track it any further.


Diana Barrymore

Following on from yesterday’s post about Ethel Barrymore, here’s an ad from the October 23 1946 Toronto Daily Star featuring Ethel’s niece, Diana Barrymore:


Diana Barrymore (1921-1960) had a hard life, despite being born into privilege as a member of the famous Barrymore family of actors. Her parents separated bitterly when she was four, and she was raised by nannies and sent to boarding schools. Not surprisingly, she developed substance abuse problems, which affected her career, and married addicted and sometimes abusive men. The autopsy at her death failed to find the cause.


Charlie Spivak

The June 17 1946 edition of the Toronto Daily Star had this ad for an in-store appearance at Eaton’s main store:


Charlie Spivak (1905 or 1907-1982) was a trumpet player and bandleader who was at the peak of his fame in 1946. His nickname was “Cheery, Chubby Charlie”, and he was known as “The Man Who Plays The Sweetest Trumpet In The World”, which would be quite a handle to put on a business card. He was born either in 1905 in New Haven, Connecticut, or in 1907 in the Ukraine; I guess he never told anyone which it was.

YouTube has some examples of his work, including “Stardreams” from 1944.



The June 17 1946 Toronto Daily Star had this stylish-looking ad for the Packard automobile:


Packard Toronto Motors Limited existed at various locations on Yonge Street until at least 1953, but is not listed in the 1955 Toronto city directory. By 1957, Packards were no longer built.


National Clothing Collection

The June 17 1946 edition of the Toronto Daily Star reported that this was the first day of the National Clothing Collection, which was a drive to send used clothing to war-torn Europe. Toronto’s collection day was scheduled for June 19.

Here’s the main article on the National Clothing Collection:


The paper also contained an ad from the National Clothing Collection:


The paper also contained public service ads on the National Clothing Collection. Here’s one from the Chambers & Sons shoe store.


Chambers & Sons were at this location up until at least 1958, but were not in the 1960 Toronto city directory.

Here’s one from the Bank of Toronto.


And Simpson’s had one too:


Finally, the One Minute News About Johns-Manville feature encouraged its readers to give:



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 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.