Vintage Toronto Ads: An Olympic Drive

Originally published on Torontoist on June 2, 2009.

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The Globe, June 1, 1929.

As Toronto taxpayers now own part of General Motors, we feel it appropriate to offer up a slice of their new investment’s history.

The Oakland Motor Car Company was launched in Pontiac, Michigan, in 1907 and was purchased by General Motors two years later. The marque was positioned above Chevrolet and below Oldsmobile, Buick, and Cadillac in the GM hierarchy. Oakland-branded vehicles were produced through the 1932 model year, when the division changed its corporate name to that of a companion marque that quickly outsold the Oakland line, Pontiac.

The A.D. Gorrie dealership on Gerrard Street east of Yonge eventually sold Chevrolets and Oldsmobiles. By the time the lot closed in the late 1960s, it faced the northern expansion of Ryerson Polytechnical Institute. The dealership was owned for years by the Seitz family, who were also the original proprietors of Golden Mile Chev/Olds in Scarborough.

A pair of auto-related “special despatch” stories were printed on the same page as today’s ad. In Stratford, Daniel Hohner satisfied his need for a late-night high-speed joyride by borrowing the largest passenger bus in the city’s fleet for a trip forty miles west to Elginfield and back. Hohner claimed a bus driver was with him, though he did not know the driver’s name and was still charged with taking the vehicle without the owner’s consent. East of Toronto, in Belleville, Mrs. Robert Maynes had rotten luck with automobiles. A week after her husband was killed in an accident, Mrs. Maynes “was sitting in a car with her right arm hanging out over the door. Philip McDonald unwittingly backed his car into the auto in which Mrs. Maynes was sitting, jamming her arm.” The end result was a trip to the hospital with a compound fracture.

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