1930 Canadian election

The July 26 1930 edition of the Toronto Daily Star appeared on newsstands two days before an upcoming federal election in Canada. So, naturally, there were a number of articles and advertisements about it.

Then, as now, the Star was staunchly pro-Liberal. The front page of the paper included a short article in which a speaker claimed that prosperity would result from the Liberal budget. This budget was called the King-Dunning budget, named after Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King and cabinet minister Charles Dunning.


The front page also listed a number of Toronto-area Liberal candidates that Daily Star readers were encouraged to vote for:


A handy map on a later page showed where these candidates were located in Toronto:


And there was an ad from the Ontario Liberal Campaign Committee:


And an ad from the Toronto Men’s Liberal Association:


There was also a prediction from the National Liberal Bureau, which claimed that the Liberals would increase their seat total to 152:


The Daily Star did run an advertisement for a radio speech from the Leader of the Opposition, R. B. Bennett:


I’m a little confused by the “Liberal-Conservative Party” designation – I didn’t see the Conservative Party referred to as Liberal-Conservative elsewhere, and it must have been perplexing to some voters.

And, last but not least, here was a table showing the seat distribution of various parties at the time of the election:


This table shows that the Toronto Liberals were working from a disadvantage – the Toronto area was a solid Conservative wall in the previous election.

As it turned out, the Liberals’ projection for the 1930 election was wildly optimistic. Instead of moving up to 152 seats, the Liberals dropped to 89 seats; the Conservatives under Bennett won a majority government with 135 seats. Of the Liberal candidates listed above, only two managed to win: Samuel Factor in Toronto West Centre, and W. H. Moore in the Ontario riding. W. P. Mulock, who lost in York North, won a byelection in September 1934 when the victorious Conservative candidate, Thomas Herbert Lennox, passed away.

But it’s quite possible that the Liberals’ election loss provided long-term benefit for them. Bennett wound up being Prime Minister during the worst of the Great Depression, and voters blamed him for it. King and the Liberals were returned to office in the next election in 1935, and remained in office until John Diefenbaker took over in 1957.


Joining the Commonwealth

In the February 26 1954 edition of the Toronto Daily Star, a British Conservative MP suggested that the Netherlands, Denmark, and Norway should become part of the British Commonwealth. This apparently was partly because, according to him, they were “racially akin” to Britain:


Godfrey Nicholson (1901-1991) had been a British MP from 1931 to 1935 and again from 1937 to 1966. In 1958, he was made a baronet, which was a hereditary title; however, Mr. Nicholson had four daughters and no sons, so his baronetcy ended when he passed away.

Historic British parliamentary speeches are available online from 1803 onwards; the complete text of Mr. Nicholson’s speech in Parliament that was quoted in the above article can be found here.


New Year’s Day 1949

The Toronto Globe and Mail published an edition on New Year’s Day, 1949.

There were a few standard New Year’s greetings from various advertisers. Here’s the one from Birks Jewellers.


There was also one from Holt Renfrew:


And, naturally, there were greetings from Eaton’s and Simpson’s:



You’ll notice that the Eaton’s and Simpson’s ads mention voting. That’s because 1949 was the last year on which the Toronto municipal election was held on New Year’s Day. (In 1950, the election was on January 2nd, and the election date was then moved to the first week in December.) The editorial cartoon for the day encouraged citizens to vote:


As did the editorial itself:


The Board of Trade encouraged people to vote for candidates that were not Communists:


(There actually were Communists running for office at the time.)

There were three pages of ads for various candidates (along with assorted other stuff):




Finally, the current mayor, Hiram McCallum, appealed to voters to pass a referendum to lengthen the term of office from one year to two.


Mr. McCallum made it back into office, but the referendum did not pass – the term of office did not change from one year to two years until 1956.

The complete results of the 1949 municipal election can be found here.


Mayoral endorsement

The city of Toronto used to hold municipal elections every year on New Year’s Day. So the December 31 1934 edition of the Toronto Daily Star was the last edition before the 1935 election.

This edition of the Daily Star made it clear who the paper was endorsing for mayor: Jimmy Simpson. Here is a collection of pro-Simpson articles that appeared there that day.









Mr. Simpson headed the list of the candidates that the Daily Star was endorsing for 1935:


However, there was one ad in the paper for a rival mayoral candidate:


There was a page full of ads from people seeking municipal office:


And, finally, there was a burst of doggerel on the editorial page, advising people to vote for somebody:


As it turned out, the Daily Star’s endorsement might have helped: Simpson won the race for mayor of Toronto in 1935 by nearly 4500 votes. The Daily Star turned on him the next year, though, when they discovered that he was anti-Catholic; he lost his bid for re-election in 1936.

In 1938, Simpson was killed when his car collided with a streetcar. In Toronto, his name lives on in the city’s east end, as a park and a recreation centre are named after him.



The November 27 1937 edition of the Toronto Globe and Mail contained this ad whose title was not particularly well hand-printed:


The teacher in this ad, William Dennison (1905-1981) led an interesting life. Growing up on a farm, he left home at 15 to work in lumber camps and help with prairie harvests in the summer. When young, he stammered so badly that he could not pronounce his own name. Eventually, he figured out how to control his stammering, and opened his own school of speech correction.

At about this time, he decided to become a politician, running as a school trustee. The same edition of the Globe and Mail listed everyone running for elected office in the 1938 elections, including these trustee candidates:


He was elected, and went on to become an alderman in 1941. He was involved in provincial politics as a member of the CCF from 1943 to 1951, and returned to Toronto city council as an alderman in 1953. He moved up to the Board of Control in 1958, and was elected mayor in 1966 (against the opposition of all three daily Toronto papers), serving until 1972. By the end of his career, he was more politically conservative, becoming pro-development and anti-hippie.


Italy in 1938

The April 23 1938 edition of the Toronto Globe and Mail contained two references to Italy, which I found amusing when compared with one another.

In 1938, of course, Italy was controlled by the Fascists and “Il Duce”, Benito Mussolini. One Toronto clergyman made this the subject of a sermon in Massey Hall:


The pact of friendship that Dr. Shields is referring to is the Easter Accords.

Compare this to the ad that appeared in the travel section of the same paper:


It’s a little disconcerting to see an ad for Mussolini’s Italy as a tourist destination, but I have no idea whether tourists would have been safe there in 1938.


1951 municipal election

When looking through the November 30 1951 edition of the Toronto Daily Star, I discovered that there was a Toronto municipal election in progress. If you think that modern municipal campaigns are tiresome, consider this: at the time, municipal elections were held every year. In fact, up until 1949, they were held on New Year’s Day!

Naturally, there were a number of campaign advertisements. The one for William C. Davidson was a model of efficiency, except perhaps for the asterisks:


I particularly like the “ETC.”, and voters apparently did too – Davidson was re-elected. He remained in office until the 1964 elections, in which he lost decisively.

Mayoral candidate Allan Lamport’s ad was the most colourful:


His ad was effective too – he won the election. He became the first Liberal mayor of Toronto since 1909, though apparently this was partly because incumbent Hiram E. McCallum and Nathan Phillips split the more conservative vote.

Lamport‘s original claim to fame was advocating that Torontonians be allowed to play sports on Sundays. He served as mayor for less than three years, winning two more elections, before resigning to join the TTC as vice-chairman and later chairman, putting forward the Bloor-Danforth subway. Later in the decade, he opposed the hippies in Yorkville, advocating that the street be demolished and replaced with a shopping mall. He died in 1999 at the age of 96.

Here’s the ad that I found was the most unusual:


The ad refers to Ford Brand, who had finished fifth in the 1950 Board of Control race with 66,235 votes (the top four got in). When sitting controller John Innes passed away, Brand was not appointed in his place, which upset Mr. Probert. Brand wound up winning in 1951, but Probert finished a distant fourth in his race.

The Ward 4 alderman race was the most interesting, at least to me. One of the candidates was Norman Freed, a member of the Labor-Progressive Party, which was a successor to the Communist Party after it was banned in 1940. Freed held office in Ward 4 from 1944 until the December 1950 election, and was trying to return to office in 1951:


Naturally, some of his opponents helpfully pointed out that one of the candidates in the riding was a Communist:



Voters picked two candidates in each ward, which is why Mr. Chambers referred to two votes in his ad. As it turned out, Chambers was elected, and Freed and Campbell were not.

The last thing I found was the Daily Star’s endorsements for the election:


Of the Star’s preferred candidates, their choice for mayor did not get in, but all four controllers did. All of the preferred alderman candidates got in except for Darrell Draper in Ward 4, and Frank Clifton and Lester Nelson in Ward 6.

Annual Toronto municipal elections eventually stopped happening: the term of office went up to two years in 1956, three years in 1966, and four years in 2006.