Here’s an ad from the June 11 1947 Toronto Daily Star that’s just plain weird:


What’s weirdest about this ad is that Abbey’s Effervescent Salt is actually a laxative, though the ad copy doesn’t mention it directly – it just says that Abbey’s “acts gently, effectively”. I’m not sure whether a laxative is the best remedy for overindulging, but then I’m not a medical doctor, am I?

Compare this ad to one that appeared in the April 8 1940 Toronto Daily Star, which went straight to the point:


Abbey’s Effervescent Salt had been around since the 19th century. The company published a book in 1898 titled Abbey’s Effervescent Salt: The Foundation of Health.

Wikipedia has a generic entry on fruit salts – Abbey’s was apparently created as a competitor to Eno’s Fruit Salt.


Weighty fleet

The June 11 1947 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained a bit of filler that might very well be the most trivial fact ever included in a Toronto newspaper:


I love the “about 86,991 gross tons”. I guess it was actually 86.990.7326 gross tons or something like that.

And somebody counted all 949 ships.


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.


The atomic bomb and the future

The March 25 1947 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained multiple advertisements for a lecture on the atomic bomb and the future.



Dr. Omond Solandt (1909-1993) was a Canadian scientist who held a number of  posts during and after the war, including Chancellor of the University of Toronto, vice-president of research and development for Canadian National Railways, and president of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.

I’m not sure whether Marian Grudeff (1927-2006) performed during Dr. Solandt’s talk or separately from it – my guess is that she went on first. She was a Canadian pianist and musical theatre composer, and taught at the Royal Conservatory of Music.


Entertainment in 1947

The September 5 1947 edition of the Toronto Daily Star featured ads for a few entertainment options for people looking for a night on the town.

The first was for Lisa Derney at the St. Regis Hotel:


The St. Regis Hotel was located at 392 Sherbourne Street. It was in existence in 1960, but was gone by 1965. A high-rise building is now at that location. The name is about to be reused for a luxury downtown hotel.

The only reference I could find for Lisa Derney was this Arthur Murray Dance Studio ad, which appeared in some major magazines in 1949. Jimmy Amaro passed away in 2004; his obituary (at least, I assume it was him) appeared in the Windsor Star. I found a reference to a Jimmy Amaro Jr., who was a jazz bassist; I assume that he was Jimmy Sr.’s son.

The second ad was for The Great Athrens at the Eaton Auditorium (now the Carlu):


I could find nothing at all about The Great Athrens (or about the N. T. Advertiser, which claimed that he was better than Houdini).

And, finally, there was Earl Wild at Massey Hall:


Earl Wild (1915-2010) was a pianist who was best known for transcribing jazz and classical music into solo piano pieces. In 1997, he was the first pianist to stream live over the Internet.


No meat available

The September 7 1947 Toronto Daily Star contained this sad news for deli lovers:


1947 was when the last of the wartime food rationing ended in Canada, and restaurants stopped featuring Meatless Tuesdays and Meatless Fridays. Either this shortage was because of the rationing, or because rationing had ended and all the supplies had been bought up already.


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.