Here is a photo from the February 13 1951 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of an upcoming hog calling contest:

The photo reminds me that first names go in and out of fashion. Nobody names their girl children “Myrtle” nowadays, and I’m not sure “Valdene” was ever common. (When I did a search for “Valdene Madill”, Google informed me that there weren’t many matches for my search. There weren’t any at all for her.)

Shelburne, Ontario, is located at the intersections of Highways 10 and 89. Its population is growing: in 1991, there were 3,439 people there, and in 2016 there were 8,126. The town was founded in 1865 by a man named William Jelly.


Flood waters of Etobicoke River

Here’s a photograph from the February 13 1951 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of flooded streets in Etobicoke:

The same edition also had an editorial cartoon whose subject was the weather:

I looked up the weather records for Toronto for 1951. Here’s what I found:

  • The city had endured a cold, snowy stretch late in January and early in February, with high temperatures at about -11C some days and a total of about 20 centimetres of snow. The thermometer bottomed out at -23.9C on February 3.
  • There was another cold spell from February 8 to 10. The temperature dropped to -26.1C on February 9, which is quite cold indeed.
  • There had been a milder stretch of weather on February 11 and 12, including 8.1 millimetres of rain, which led to the flooding.

I looked at the rest of February and it looked like more of the same: milder than usual weather with occasional blips of rain. The temperature went above zero for at least part of every day between February 16 and March 8. I don’t know whether that would have helped ease the flooding or made it worse.


Just to remind you

Here’s a Valentine’s Day ad from the February 13 1951 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:

Needless to say, you wouldn’t see an ad like this today.


76th birthday party

Here’s an ad from the October 5 1951 edition of the Toronto Daily Star for Northway and Son, the women’s clothes manufacturer that had been in business for 76 years.

The Dictionary of Canadian Biography has an entry on the original John Northway, who opened a store in Tillsonburg in 1873. He went on to be successful enough to leave a $1.8 million dollar estate when he passed away in 1926. That’s quite an impressive achievement for a man who started his working life apprenticed to a tailor in England, and whose apprenticeship was so oppressive that he tried to cut off his own thumb to get out of it.

Northway and Son lasted about a decade after this ad appeared. They are listed in the 1961 Toronto city directory but not in the 1963 directory.


1951 royal visit

The biggest news story in the October 5 1951 edition of the Toronto Daily Star was the royal visit of Princess Elizabeth and her husband Philip, then the Duke of Edinburgh. The royal couple were available for viewing in two locations in Toronto.

The viewing spot in the west end was the CNE Grandstand, where 36,000 people could watch the royal couple go around the track in their motorcade:

In the east end, the royals were to be driven through Riverdale Park. The royal car would go across on Gerrard, up Broadview Avenue, down Royal Drive, and into Riverdale Park:

Within Riverdale Park, the royal route looked like this:

The privilege of viewing the royals was provided to school pupils. They were organized into sections, based on what school they attended.

The layout in Riverdale Park was planned to look much as it did during King George VI and Queen Elizabeth’s royal visit in 1939. 27,000 school pupils would view them there.

There is a National Film Board film of the 1951 royal visit.

To get to Riverdale Park, the royals entered on the appropriately named Royal Drive, which has an interesting history. It was originally named Winchester Drive, and extended from the Don River to Danforth Avenue. It was renamed in 1940 to honour the King and Queen’s 1939 visit. When the Don Valley Parkway was constructed, most of Royal Drive became a northbound on-ramp from Danforth Avenue.

This City of Toronto atlas from the late 1950s shows the original route of Royal Drive and the planned route of the on-ramp:

Here’s the view from Google Maps today:

There’s a path that runs north from the running track into the area where Royal Drive used to be, but it doesn’t follow the route of the old road. Viaduct Park, north of the on-ramp, is now the City Adult Learning Centre.

The entrance to the on-ramp still bears the Royal Drive name. Here’s a photo of it from Google Street View:

I’m thinking that there aren’t too many on-ramps that have a street name!

This 2012 blog entry provides more information on Royal Drive, including some old photos of the area.


Bite your nails?

Here’s a movie ad from the October 5 1951 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:

I wonder if anyone actually wore gloves to the movie.

Seven Days To Noon was a British drama released there in 1950. It did reasonably well at the box office, and it won an Oscar for Best Story. The opening scene of the movie is available on YouTube.

By the way: when doing (minimal) research for this post, I discovered that Wikipedia has a list of fictional prime ministers of Britain. My favourite names from this list are Alan B’Stard and the Duke of Omnium.


New 1951 Prefects

Fans of the Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy series will recognize the name of the car in this ad from the October 5 1951 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:

The Ford Prefect was manufactured in Britain from 1938 to 1941, and then again from 1945 to 1961. It was also manufactured in Canada, where it was built with left-hand drive for Canadian roads.

As for Cedarvale Motors: a search of the Toronto city directories revealed that they changed owners several times. They were at 1463 Eglinton West in 1956 and 1961, and they do not appear in the 1963 directory.


Be Lux lovely

Here’s an ad for Lux soap from the May 23 1951 edition of the Toronto Daily Star, featuring a young Elizabeth Taylor:


Elizabeth Taylor (1932-2011) was 19 at the time of this ad.

Father’s Little Dividend (1951) was the sequel to Father Of The Bride, a successful and critically acclaimed film released in 1950. The sequel was almost equally successful.

Father’s Little Dividend is now in the public domain, as MGM did not renew the copyright on it in 1979. There are several copies of the movie on YouTube; here’s one.


Crawled last five miles

Here’s part of an article from the May 23 1951 edition of the Toronto Daily Star, outlining what was to appear in that weekend’s Star Weekly issue. Unfortunately, parts of the article are garbled.


Katalin Karády (1910-1990) lived in interesting times (to paraphrase the old Scottish curse). Crawling five miles to escape Communism was by no means the toughest ordeal that she had to endure:

  • When the Germans invaded Hungary in 1944, she was accused of spying for the Allied Forces, and spent three months in prison. She was tortured and nearly beaten to death.
  • In 1949, all of her films were banned, and she was beaten and abused by the Communists.

After escaping Hungary in 1951, Ms. Karády lived briefly in Austria, Switzerland, and Belgium before relocating to São Paulo, Brazil, in 1953, where she opened a fashion shop. In 1968, she moved to New York City. When invited to return to Hungary in 1980 to commemorate her 70th birthday, she sent a hat in her place.

Olivér Lantos (1917-1981) appeared in two movies in Hungary.


Flood and drought in 1951

In the summer of 1951, rainfall was unevenly distributed in western Canada. Evidence for this can be found in the July 18 1951 edition of the Globe and Mail.

In Calgary, there was flooding:


Vancouver and Victoria had the opposite problem: Vancouver had gone 41 days without rain, and Victoria 38 days. Vancouver tried seeding clouds with dry ice, which didn’t work, so Victoria hired a man with an electrical device:


I looked up Environment Canada’s weather records for 1951, and they show that there was no significant rain in Victoria until August 27, when 19.6 mm of rain fell. September was also unusually dry until two significant rainfalls on September 27 and 29.

But Calgary had gone completely without rain on only three of the first 18 days of July 1951 – there were five days with a trace of rain, and 10 days of measurable rainfall. It got a little better for Calgarians in the rest of the month, but there were two other large rainfall days, on the 24th and the 29th. August 1951 was even worse: it rained heavily (10 mm or more) in six of the last 10 days of the month. By the end of the summer, travel by canoe might have seemed like an attractive option.