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.


Exit pursued by bear

Here’s an ad from the April 14 1928 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:


I don’t know about you, but a drawing of a large, threatening bear doesn’t seem like an appealing ad for travel to the far West. But perhaps travellers were more adventurous in 1928 – I guess they would have to be, given that travel was more difficult in those days.


A letter to the ladies

Here’s an ad that appeared in the April 3 1933 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:


Benjamin T. Babbitt (1809-1889) was an American businessman who got rich manufacturing soap. The novelist Sinclair Lewis used his surname for his 1922 novel Babbitt.

I could find no reference to a Babbitt factory in the Toronto city directories for 1932 and 1933. Dunn Sales Limited first appears in the 1933 city directory at 85 Richmond West; the firm later moved to 229 Yonge. They were active as late as 1944.



The March 17 1920 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this notice:


Out of curiosity, I tried to trace S. Cohen. His road was a winding one:

  • In the 1920 Toronto city directory, Samuel Cohen was listed as a cleaner with a work address of 1088 Yonge and a home address of 107 Robert.
  • In 1921, he was listed as Samuel Cohn at the same addresses.
  • In 1922, he was listed as Samuel Cohn, with just a home address of 107 Robert and no listed occupation.
  • In 1923, he was listed as a cleaner and presser at 19 Macpherson Avenue, with a home address of 107 Robert.
  • In 1924, he was listed as living at 19 Macpherson Avenue with no occupation.
  • In 1925, he was now listed as the owner of Northern Clothing Exchange at 19 Macpherson Avenue.

He wasn’t at 19 Macpherson in 1926, and there was no Samuel Cohen working as a cleaner or presser elsewhere in the city that year. His name is a common one – there were at least two Samuel Cohens working as cleaners and pressers in the 1928 directory – so I was unable to trace him after that.


Teeth $10.00

Here’s a dentist ad from the January 7 1925 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:


Those teeth look kind of gross, actually.

Dr. Boyle appears in Toronto city directories up to 1927. I don’t know what happened to him after that. One clue is that the 1925 directory lists his home address as well as his work address, but the 1927 directory does not – this suggests that he moved out of town. The 1928 directory doesn’t provide a listing for his widow, which supports this hypothesis, I think.



Here’s an ad from the December 18 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star for a new semi-detached house in the borough of York:


Google Street View shows this house as still standing, though its appearance has changed substantially in its nearly nine decades of life.


Canadian Tire in 1931

Here’s a Canadian Tire ad from the December 18 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:


Is it just me, or does it look like they forgot the trailing G in “driving” when typesetting the headline in this ad, and then had to shoehorn it in later?

At the time, there was only one Canadian Tire branch, which had been at 629-637 Yonge Street since 1925. Not only was there only one branch – the 1931 Toronto city directory for Canadian Tire wasn’t even in boldface:

canadian tire

Canadian Tire opened its first “associate store” in Hamilton in 1934. By 1945, there were 110 Canadian Tire stores; now, there are over 500.


Christmas in 1970

The Toronto Globe and Mail published a Christmas Day edition in 1970. Most of the ads in this paper were for Boxing Day sales, but a few stores provided Christmas greetings.

John Bulloch Tailors published some Bible verses:


Lipton’s provided this lovely drawing, which is very much of its time:


Birks, the jewellers, provided a message that looked like it was reproduced from a Christmas card, to be honest:


And, naturally, the two heavy hitters on the Toronto retail scene, Simpson’s and Eaton’s, provided full-page ads commemorating the season:



Back in 1970, it would have seemed like Simpson’s and Eaton’s had been around forever and were always going to be around. Who could have known that, nearly 50 years later, both of them are now long gone?


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.


Reckitt’s Bath Cubes

Here’s an ad from the November 1 1928 edition of the Toronto Daily Star that looked interesting:


Wikipedia has an entry on Reckitt and Sons, which mentions that Isaac Reckitt started manufacturing household products in Hull, England, in 1840. Apparently, they still have a factory at their original location; Google Maps has it here.