Death on the roads

The August 13 1948 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained several articles describing fatal automobile accidents in Ontario. Here’s one:

Here’s another:

And then there’s this one:

People justifiably complain about fatal auto crashes nowadays, but it was worse back then.


Men, learn welding!

Here’s an ad from the August 13 1948 edition of the Toronto Daily Star that caught my eye:

The Chicago Vocational Training Corporation had just changed its Toronto location when this ad came out – the 1948 Toronto city directory lists them at 2 Irwin Avenue, but the 1949 directory lists them at 938 Weston Road. The 1949 directory lists their president as based in Edmonton; I have no idea how many other branches there were, or whether they were actually founded in Chicago.

The company was successful – they remained in business at their Weston Road location until at least 1968. Google searches turned up some images of Chicago Vocational Training textbooks, including this one from 1937.


Loses bet, rolls peanut

The August 13 1948 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this brief article about a woman who lost a bet about the recent Saskatchewan election.

The C.C.F. did well enough in the election to maintain a comfortable majority government under Tommy Douglas, but they did go from 48 seats to 31, forcing poor Mrs. MacMillan to roll a peanut with her nose.

Mantario, Saskatchewan was large enough in 1948 for Mrs. MacMillan’s husband to be able to operate a store there, and for a large crowd to watch her lose her bet. But, over time, it has gradually vanished. Its post office closed in 1986; it lost its village status in 2007. As of 2011, five people live there.

Its Google Street View shows that there is very little left there now. There is a garage that lasted for more than 87 years, but looks like it’s been closed a long time. The man who ran the garage passed away in 2012. A photo of the garage, taken in 1991, is in the National Gallery of Canada.


Other man got tray in bed

Here’s a bit of unusual filler from the April 29 1948 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:


Um, wow. I wonder if the two men were having the same meal?


Save money on butter

Here’s an ad from the April 29 1948 edition of the Toronto Daily Star that offered a recipe for making your own butter for $1.


I looked up 56 Boulton Avenue in the 1948 Toronto city directory, and discovered that there was a John Weston listed there. Cross-checking in the names section of the directory and looking through other years, I discovered that he worked at Biltrite Tire Company in 1946, but did not have a listed occupation in any other directory up to 1951. This suggests that he was either retired or disabled.

I suppose that this is why Mrs. Weston decided to raise money by selling a butter recipe. I hope she at least made enough to cover the cost of the ad.


Wins $2,000 award

Here’s a brief article from the April 29 1948 edition of the Toronto Daily Star about a successful breach of promise suit.


Because both the plaintiff and the defendant in this case have relatively uncommon names, out of curiosity, I decided to do some retro snooping and look this up in the Toronto city directories. I discovered that Mr. Grills was actually living with Ms. Swale and her widowed mother at one point – they are listed at the same address in the 1946 directory. (It’s not meaningful that he is listed in the 1946 directory and the article states that she discovered that he was married in 1945 – it often takes a year to update a listing.)

Checking back, I found that Ms. Swale and her mother first appear in the 1941 directory. Her mother is still in the directory in 1947, but neither Ms. Swale or Mr. Grills are now at that address. I couldn’t find Mr. Grills at any other Toronto location in any other year.

By the way, $2,000 in 1948 dollars, according to the Bank of Canada’s inflation calculator, is equivalent to $23,600 today.


Married to doctor in secret

Here’s a photograph from the April 29 1948 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of the secret marriage of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco’s daughter.


Carmen Franco (1926-2017) married Cristóbal Martínez-Bordiú, the 10th Marquis of Villaverde, so he did indeed have “monarchist ancestry”. He was not only a doctor, but a heart surgeon; in September 1968, he was the first Spanish doctor to perform a heart transplant. Unfortunately, the patient only lived for 24 hours after the surgery. The couple stayed married until his death in 1998, and had seven children.

In 2008, she collaborated on a book about her father, titled Franco, My Father; in it, she portrayed her father as a warm person who was “intelligent and moderate”, and his regime as “authoritarian but not totalitarian”. Needless to say, this caused some controversy, given that her father was responsible for the White Terror, which resulted in the deaths of between 100,000 and 200,000 people.

Something I just discovered, by the way: she and Joseph Stalin’s daughter were the same age. I wonder if they ever met?


Too many boy friends

One of the regular features of old Toronto newspapers is police court reporting – sometimes of serious offenses, but sometimes less serious. Here’s an example from the November 19 1948 edition of the Toronto Globe and Mail:


I tried tracing Maizie Yorston in the Toronto city directories, but found nothing in 1948, 1949, or in 1954 for good measure. I assume that she was living with family; there are a number of Yorstons in the directory.

Abraham Trifler is listed in the 1948 and 1949 directories at 77 Robert Street – he was an employee at the Slack Shop. He was still working there in 1954, but had moved to North York. I didn’t trace him after that.


New classes

Here’s a small ad in the November 19 1948 edition of the Toronto Globe and Mail that caught my attention for some reason:


I looked the Reilly Institute up in the Toronto city directories. It appears in the 1948 and 1949 directories as the Reilly Institute of Effective Public Speaking. The institute doesn’t appear in the 1950 directory, and Leonard M. Reilly is listed in the 1951 directory as the president and manager of Reilly’s Lock Corporation. He has that listing in 1955 as well, so he might have been more successful at locksmithing than he was at teaching public speaking.

Going back in time: the Reilly Institute appears in the 1944 and 1946 directories. But the 1943 directory lists him as vice-president and manager of Reilly’s Lock Corporation Limited. So he always had locksmithing as a Plan B if public speaking didn’t work out.

The “Dr. M. M. Lappin” listed in the ad is almost certainly the Reverend Maitland M. Lappin, who appears in the 1949 and 1950 directories. I didn’t trace him further than that.


Completes a circle

Here’s a photo from the November 19 1948 edition of the Toronto Globe and Mail, showing Toronto’s oldest practicing lawyer at that time.


Mr. Brown would have been born in 1855, making him 12 years older than the country he was living in.

Since I was ghoulishly curious, I traced him in the Toronto city directories. He appeared in the 1953 city directory, so he made it into his 98th year, but he doesn’t appear in the 1954 directory.

I also looked back in old city directories. There is a Merritt A. Brown working as a barrister, notary public and patent attorney in the 1900 city directory. And he placed an ad in the 1902 directory:


He might go back even further, but that’s as far as I looked. Even then, he would have been considered middle-aged: he would have turned 45 at the turn of the 20th century.