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Famous model killed

Here’s a sad bit of filler from the February 11 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:

Google searches for more information led me down an odd rabbit hole. It turned out that the model for the Paris statue of Joan of Arc was an 18-year-old girl named Aimée Girod. Unfortunately, she did indeed burn to death in her apartment, but the references that I found (here, here, and here) claimed that this happened in May 1937.

So now I’m confused. Either a different woman, claiming that she was the model for Joan of Arc, was also unfortunate enough to burn to death, or all of the sources available to me today on the Internet have her date of death wrong.

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Speed flier plunges to death

Here’s a series of photographs from the December 7 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a pilot who had passed away in a plane crash.

Lowell Bayles (1900-1931) had just finished winning a number of events at the 1931 National Air Races when he decided to go for the landplane speed record. Analysis of the crash indicated that the aircraft’s fuel cap came loose and struck Bayles in the head, causing him to lose control of the plane. YouTube has footage of the crash, which is horrifying to watch.

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Window cleaner killed

Here’s a short sad story from the September 16 1946 edition of the Toronto Globe and Mail:

Presumably, this sort of accident is why window cleaners now work on hoists outside the building, rather than clinging to the building the way that poor late Mr. Thompson did.

I found Samuel Thompson in the 1946 Toronto city directory: his occupation is listed as “window clk Can Perm Mort”. The Canada Permanent Mortgage Corporation is listed at 320 Bay, so I’m not sure if this is the same place.

One final thought on this sad event: the “Path of Fall” photo and diagram in this article is (a) somewhat ghoulish, and (b) somewhat obvious. Doesn’t most falling happen in a downward direction?

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Please God, it shall never happen again

The front page of the July 27 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this photograph taken at the Vimy Ridge memorial.

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This was taken during the brief reign of King Edward VIII, who is shown comforting a woman who lost eight of her twelve sons to the First World War. His response is the caption to this photograph, “Please God, it shall never happen again.”

But in the same edition, there was this photograph of German women preparing for air raids:

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And, as of course you know, it did happen again.

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New addition to family

Here’s a photo from the July 20 1946 edition featured a publicity photo of two movie stars who had just adopted a child.

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Susan Peters (1921-1952) did not have a happy life after this photo. After her accident, the former Academy Award nominee was offered parts as “crippled girls who were all sweetness and light”, which she turned down. Eventually, she and Quine divorced and her career went into decline; depressed, she stopped eating and died of a kidney infection and bronchial pneumonia.

Richard Quine (1920-1989) doesn’t have a happy ending to his life story, either. After he and Ms. Peters divorced, he went on to marry three more times, and dated Natalie Wood and Kim Novak, among others. In 1989, after an extended period of depression and bad health, he shot himself.

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Personals from 1920, part 4

Here’s a Personals ad from the July 6 1920 edition of the Toronto Daily Star that is somewhat heart-wrenching.

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I hope that the poor widow with five children was eventually able to keep her family together.

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Undertaker, doctor wait

Here’s a brief article in the July 5 1930 edition of the Toronto Daily Star about a man who was about to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel:

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Wikipedia has an entry listing all of the people who have gone over Niagara Falls accidentally or deliberately. From this, I learned that Mr. Strathakis’ fate was a cruel one: he apparently survived the trip over the falls, but his barrel was stuck behind a curtain of water for 18 hours and could not be retrieved. Since his barrel had only eight hours’ supply of air, he suffocated to death. Presumably, the undertaker and the doctor didn’t wait around that long.

No one attempted to go over the falls in a barrel again until 1951, when William “Red” Hill Jr. tried and failed. Mr. Hill was the son and namesake of a legendary rescuer and daredevil who saved a total of 28 lives near the falls. The next successful attempt was in 1961, when Nathan Boya went over in the “Plunge-O-Sphere”.

A seven-year-old boy, Roger Woodward, went over the falls by accident in 1960 and survived. There is video footage of him being interviewed in 1975 as part of an art project, and he was also interviewed about his ordeal in 2015.

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Killed on way from school

Here’s a sad story from the May 11 1934 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:

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This story caught my attention because “Stafirrny” is such an odd name – was that really the unfortunate girl’s last name?

I checked in the Toronto city directories, and I couldn’t find any information. The listed resident at 77 Tecumseth was Vincent Bakalarski, and there’s no name similar to “Stafirrny” on the street or anywhere in the directory. Perhaps the name was given over the phone and badly misinterpreted.

There was a Frank Collard on Browning Avenue – in fact, there were two: Frank and Frank A., both working as cartage agents and both living at 92 Browning. I assume that this was a father and son, one of whom was responsible for the death of a girl whose name we will never accurately know.

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Wish granted

Here’s a short article from the May 18 1929 edition of the Toronto Daily Star. It’s a very sad story.

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I would try to trace his story in the Toronto city directories, but Albert King is a very common name.

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Worried over her studies

Here’s an article from the front page of the February 26 1935 edition of the Toronto Daily Star that is sad and confusing:

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The sad part is obvious: when an 18-year-old girl goes missing, you have to assume the worst. But the behaviour of the parents was confusing. Why did they not report her missing for two weeks? (Inspector Lundy of the Dundas Street East station was also confused by this.) And why had her parents pulled her out of private school to study at home?

Unfortunately, I never learned the answer to this. Searches in the Toronto Daily Star database turned up nothing. And there’s nobody named Gordon at 77 Castle Frank Road in the 1934, 1935, or 1936 city directories, and I couldn’t find C. F. Gordon at any other address either.

My hope, 85 years later: because there were no other references to her disappearance, perhaps her parents found her.

I did find one other reference to young Ms. Gordon by accident, when I searched for 1928 by mistake instead of 1935. Here’s a photo from the March 3 1928 edition of the Daily Star:

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