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.


Mr. and Mrs. in real life

The February 12 1948 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this photograph of two movie stars who had just gotten married:


Unlike many of the other movie star marriages that have been chronicled in newspaper photos here (including in yesterday’s blog entry!), the marriage between Googie Withers and John McCallum lasted. They remained married until McCallum passed away in 2010 at the age of 91. Ms. Withers passed away a little over a year later, aged 94.


Sins Of The Fathers

Here’s an ad from the July 22 1948 edition of the Toronto Daily Star for a movie to which men and women were admitted separately:


Wikipedia has an entry for Sins Of The Fathers, which was a Canadian film about the effects of syphilis in a small town. The plot synopsis pulls no punches:

Ben Edwards is a crusading doctor who tries to pass a public health law, against the hypocritical opposition of the leaders of the community who profit from prostitution and slums. Finally the opponents find out that they themselves have syphilis and have transmitted it to their own children.

The movie apparently incorporated footage from educational films produced by the U.S. Public Health Service. It was a huge box-office success: Variety reported that there were four-block lineups to get into the Royal Alexandra.

A Google search for Leslie Hamilton, consulting sexologist, turned up nothing.

If you’re curious about the movie, you can download it from the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s digital collections.


Spraying with DDT

Sorry about all the posts from the July 22 1948 edition of the Toronto Daily Star, but I found so much in that paper!

Here’s one final news item:


DDT was developed as an insecticide; its year of peak usage was 1959. It was found to have toxic effects on the environment, particularly on the eggshells of certain species of birds; Rachel Carson’s book, Silent Spring, brought environmental problems of this sort to public attention.

DDT was banned for agricultural use in the United States in 1972; it is still occasionally used for vector control.


Trained seals

Here’s yet another ad from the July 22 1948 edition of the Toronto Daily Star.


Training seals was the life’s work of Captain John Tiebor, who began doing this in 1908 after abandoning a career as a bookkeeper. (Apparently, all seal trainers are given the title of Captain.) He passed away in 1945 at the age of 86; his sons took over from him.

The May 4 1912 edition of the Sydney Times had an article on the elder Tiebor and his seal training. A passage in this article is heartbreaking to me:

The average life of a seal in his natural conditions is 70 years. In captivity he seldom lives longer than 25 years, and most of them only last about 20. Then they die off suddenly, and for no apparent reason.


Regent Park

The July 22 1948 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained a feature article about a new housing development that was going to replace a slum district in the east end of Toronto. This was the Regent Park project.


The diagram above is the architect’s representation of what the Regent Park buildings would look like. The grainy photo below showed the area as it was at the time.


There was also a photo showing the location of the first buildings to be put up:


And, for completeness, here’s the accompanying article (in two parts):



The Regent Park development fell into a state of disrepair in the 1960s, and the layout of the buildings, which isolated them from the rest of the city, made them a crime risk. The site is being redeveloped in a five-phase project that started in 2005.


The Handbag Hospital

The July 22 1948 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this ad:

IMG_3748 (1)

For some reason, the idea of a handbag hospital appealed to me – I’m imagining somebody in a white lab coat listening intently while applying a stethoscope to a Gucci bag.

The Toronto Handbag Hospital was a new business at the time this ad appeared. It doesn’t appear in the 1948 Toronto city directory, but does appear in the 1949 directory, with the proprietor being a gentleman named Brian Bourne. (Before this, Mr. Bourne had been the foreman at the Paragon Leather Goods Company; I guess he wanted to strike out on his own.) It remained at this location until at least 1965.

In 1967, the handbag hospital had moved to 284 Yonge, and the business was listed as being run by B. H. Bourne and Son. By 1969, Mr. Bourne had retired, and the Toronto Handbag Hospital was no more.


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.


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!