Threatening the Toronto Public Library

Originally published on Torontoist on July 21, 2011.
20110721sodturning
An uncommon sight in the future? Sod-turning ceremony for the Forest Hill Village municipal offices and library building, Eglinton Avenue West at Vesta Drive, November 13, 1960. Photo by Geoffrey Frazer. City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 207, Series 1251, Item 146.

Earlier this week, Torontoist reported that Councillor Doug Ford (Ward 2, Etobicoke North) was dismayed because he perceived there to be more library branches in his area of Etobicoke than Tim Hortons. Though the actual numbers don’t support Mr. Ford’s claim, would it be horrible if it was true? Through collections and outreach programs, the Toronto Public Library’s 99 branches provide more brain food than all of the double-doubles and boxes of Timbits sold throughout the city.

Yet curtailing access to the library, through reduced hours or branch closures, is among the recommendations KPMG provided in today’s portion of the Core Services Review. Based on past experience, attempts to implement such advice, to force reduced hours or closures onto local libraries, will be met with stiff opposition, and politicians will either back down or tone down the degree of service reduction.

20110721library1884

The Toronto Public Library in its original location in the former Toronto Mechanics’ Institute, July 1, 1884. Toronto Public Library, Item X 71-16.

Though a limited form of library via the Toronto Mechanics’ Institute was available as far back as 1830, it wasn’t until the early 1880s that city officials seriously set out to to create a free public library. Championed by Alderman John Hallam, a bylaw to create a public library was placed on the January 1, 1883, municipal ballot. Detractors argued that books were so plentiful and cheap that there was little reason for taxpayers to fund a library. That argument was countered in many newspaper editorials: “We wonder,” wrote the Mail on Christmas Day, 1882, “if those who say so ever put themselves in the artisan’s place, and calculated how much he could spare in a year, after supporting his family, for books. For a quarter of a dollar in taxes, or less, the library will give him use of, or choice from, thousands of volumes.” The bylaw passed by a landslide.

After a brief search for sites, the Mechanics’ Institute agreed to turn over its collection and property. Following renovations, the TPL officially opened its doors at the northeast corner of Church and Adelaide streets on March 6, 1884. Though it quickly became popular, critics felt the collection contained too much mind-corrupting fiction and needed more dry reference works. Hallam noted that he learned far more from the likes of Charlotte Brontë, Charles Dickens, and Sir Walter Scott than nine-tenths of the published sermons that Torontonians considered “good” literature.

Those who considered the TPL a passenger on the Victorian equivalent of the gravy train—such as the author of the following verse that appeared as a letter to the editor of the Toronto World—continued to air their beefs in public forums:

What is this building, father?
This, my son, is the celebrated free library.
Why is it called a free library, father?
Because everybody is compelled to subscribe.
What was the origin of it?
Ex-Ald. Hallam’s vanity.
What good is it, father?
To increase the taxes and circulate sensational novels.
What are sensational novels?
Tales where shop-girls marry lords.
What is the use of reading them?
They make people discontented and negligent.
Has the library any other purpose?
Yes, my son, it provides some good fat berths.
Do the subscribers manage it?
Nominally they do, but really they do not.
Who does, then?
Some people who pay very little towards it.
Is it very popular?
Wait until the tax bills come in.
How are the public benefitted by it?
Ask the trustees, my son.

20110721oldtrl
Metropolitan Toronto Central Library, northwest corner of College and St. George streets; the predecessor of the Toronto Reference Library, it was built with Carnegie money. Photo taken May 15, 1914. City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1231, Item 307.

For the rest of the 19th century, library officials were frustrated by the city’s refusal to provide the full amount of funding it was allowed under provincial law. Branch closures were frequently threatened but never carried out. City council continued to cut funding until it made one reduction too many in 1900. The library board sued for the lost funds and won. Funding stabilized after that point, thanks largely to Carnegie grants that began a few years later.

After the library systems in Toronto and its suburbs experienced years of growth, threats to services became common from the mid-1980s onward as municipalities attempted to cut costs. The mere threat of a library closure was enough to spur neighbourhood activists into action—among the small branches frequently used for target practice were Mount Pleasant, Queen-Saulter, Silverthorn, Swansea, and Todmorden. The Toronto Reference Library (and its predecessor, the Metro Reference Library) incurred reduced hours and closures for a week at a time during the late 1990s. Mayor Ford’s favourite branch, Urban Affairs, was recommended for closure in 1996 in anticipation of cuts.

20110721beaches

Eastern Branch Public Library (now Main Street branch), July 17, 1939. City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1231, Item 828.

Perhaps the most decimated branch was City Hall, which was supposed to be scrapped in October 1995 in order to save $640,000. Politicians figured it would be an easy cut, since there wouldn’t be opposition from ratepayer groups as there was in neighbourhoods where other branch closures were announced, and the space could easily be rented out for a restaurant or other commercial uses. Globe and Mail columnist Colin Vaughan pointed out the faultiness of the library board’s argument, which said that most of the branch’s users lived outside pre-amalgamation Toronto:

One reason given for closing the City Hall branch over, say, the less-used Beaches branch was that many of the users are business folk from the suburbs, as opposed to the local residents who frequent neighbourhood libraries. Perish the thought that Toronto should serve as a clearing house for the edification of the barbarian hordes. What next? Bar suburban patrons from attending those free lunch-time concerts in Nathan Phillips Square?

The branch remained open but saw its holdings reduced from 75,000 items to 25,000 and its operating time shrunk from nine-and-a-half to three hours a day.

In September 1999, the post-amalgamation TPL recommended closing 12 branches over the next five years. Of those listed, only one, Niagara, bit the dust. Protest against the proposals was loud, especially for the Mount Pleasant and Swansea branches. Noting that the report that recommended Mount Pleasant’s closure was called “Reinvesting in Our Future,” Councillor Michael Walker snarled, “That sure as heck isn’t reinvesting in any future…This library only opened about 10 years ago. There was a clear shortfall of library services in this neighbourhood then.” Down in Swansea, Councillor David Miller reminded the library board that the branch there was as much a monument to fallen soldiers as a library. “The original collection was donated by the residents of Swansea as a living memorial for 22 boys who didn’t return from World War I,” Miller noted. “It’s just as much a memorial as a statue in a park. I think the city has the same moral and ethical obligation to uphold that memorial.”

20110721runnymede

Runnymede Public Library, July 17, 1939. City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1231, Item 827.

As mayor, Miller later saw the library board eliminate Sunday operations at 16 branches in September 2007 in reaction to a city budget crisis that Miller blamed on the deferment of votes on new land transfer and vehicle registration taxes. An arbitrator ruled the following month that the board was wrong to act so quickly, which led Miller critics like Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong (Ward 34, Don Valley East) to gloat over how ineptly the incident was handled. “It was a very cruel decision to force the closures of the library branches, and to see that there are no savings that are going to be accumulated makes it even crueller,” Minnan-Wong told the Star.

But will he have the same reaction if the current council follows KPMG’s recommendation and pushes for library branch closures that will provide, at best, middling savings? Or, if such an event comes to pass, will he tell users of targeted locations that, rather than a cruel blow to their neighbourhood, the loss of a library branch is merely a sacrifice needed to right the financial health of the city? Even if all that happens is a reduction in service hours, we know that defenders of Toronto’s libraries are preparing to protect an institution we should all be proud of.

Additional material from A Century of Service: Toronto Public Library 1883–1983 by Margaret Penman (Toronto: Toronto Public Library Board, 1983), Free Books for All: The Public Library Movement in Ontario 1850–1930 by Lorne Bruce (Toronto: Dundurn, 1994), and the following newspapers: the July 10, 1995 edition of the Globe and Mail; the December 25, 1882 edition of the Mail; the September 21, 1999, September 22, 1999, and October 16, 2007 editions of the Toronto Star; and the January 30, 1884 edition of the Toronto World.

UPDATE

The Ford brothers’ attempts to shrink the Toronto Public Library were met with public backlash, notably from Margaret Atwood. While the in-the-works closure of the Urban Affairs branch at Metro Hall went ahead (which led to confusion in accessing its holdings for years as its collection was integrated into the Toronto Reference Library), the other branches remained open. The TPL expanded in the years that followed, with new branches serving the Fort York neighbourhood and Scarborough Civic Centre.

“The Dream That is Canada’s Wonderland”

Originally published as a “Historicist” column on Torontoist on April 9, 2016.

20160409entrance

View of Canada’s Wonderland main entrance, June 8, 1981. Photo by Harvey R. Naylor. City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 98, Item 1.

“Must we trade all that is good in our community for the artificial plastic world of profit-motivated developers?” Letter writer Elaine Ziemba’s complaint to the Star in early 1976 was far from the only one expressing fear about the impact a proposed amusement park would have on Maple. Divisions quickly emerged between proponents, who felt it would boost the economy of the then Town of Vaughan, and those who felt it signalled the demise of their quiet community.

In July 1975, Family Leisure Centres, a division of Taft Broadcasting, announced that it planned to turn 320 acres of farmland it had bought two years earlier at Highway 400 and Major Mackenzie Drive into a $50 million amusement park. To win over the locals, Family Leisure Centres filled a charter flight a month later with local officials (who paid their way) and residents, and gave them a tour of Kings Island, near Cincinnati. Vaughan Mayor Garnet Williams was impressed. “That was a great public relations thing for them to do,” he told The Globe and Mail. “They even had the plane wait for us on the runway and we could leave our coats there and everything.” He was especially wowed by the youth working there, noting they were a great PR tool and that “they had to have their hair short.”

Less enticed was Vaughan councillor Jim Cameron, who thought there were too many trinkets from Hong Kong for sale. He also worried about repercussions ranging from increased pressure to rezone agricultural areas as commercial to residents with visions of earning millions from future developments dancing in their heads.

20160409wonderlandad

Globe and Mail, May 22, 1981.

Opposition soon arose elsewhere. In Toronto, the Canadian National Exhibition board looked nervously at the proposal, yet hesitated to publicly oppose the park until more information was available. One board member unwilling to keep mum was city councillor John Sewell, who felt that “we should do everything possible to discourage this proposal.” In a letter to Cameron, provincial treasurer Darcy McKeough fretted about the impact on local attractions like the CNE, Harbourfront, and Ontario Place. He also noted that Family Leisure Centres reps met with provincial planning officials, and were twice told the area was unsuitable for a midway. A report from within McKeough’s ministry, produced in January 1976, indicated that hundreds of millions of dollars would be required to handle increased traffic from the projected two million visitors per year, and that by 1986 Highway 400 would be permanently gridlocked.

Despite the efforts of opponents like Sensible Approach to Vaughan’s Environment (SAVE), concerned about noise, pollution, and traffic, the project was approved by the Ontario Municipal Board in March 1978. Its 32-page report recommended that the provincial ministry of culture and recreation should force the park to maintain a high level of Canadian content. By this point, previously antsy officials like McKeough warmed to the park. When he was grilled for his change of heart by Beaches-Woodbine MPP Marion Bryden during question period, Premier William Davis entered the debate, asking Bryden “are you against children having fun?”

20160409modelofmountain

Globe and Mail, September 10, 1979.

Davis was on hand for a musical preview of the park, now dubbed Canada’s Wonderland, at the St. Lawrence Centre in June 1979. The one-hour show featured appearances by Fred Flintstone, Yogi Bear, and talk show host/Spider-Man voice Paul Soles. Davis was there to, according to the Star, “symbolically trigger a ground-breaking explosion at the site.” The province hailed the park’s owner for its speedy construction schedule, with plans to welcome the first visitors within two years.

Opponents continued to voice concerns about Canada’s Wonderland, as well as other signs of suburban encroachment, such as the Keele Valley Landfill. “Resignation has been the real response of the people,” SAVE representative told the Star in 1980. “It means we’ll be living between two dumps. The thing that really bothers me is that they didn’t consider the impact of the two projects together; they were dealt with separately.” Vaughan councillor and future mayor Lorna Jackson felt that “unless we want to turn Maple into a row of touristy boutiques, I can’t see the park doing much for local businessmen.” On the other hand, Williams touted the summer jobs for students, and felt “people will be spending their money here rather than going to Florida.”

20160409merrygoround

View of carousel and surrounding flower beds at Canada’s Wonderland, June 8, 1981. Photo by Harvey R. Naylor. City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 98, Item 5.

The initial plan divided the park into five areas: Frontier Canada, Hanna-Barbera Land, International Street, Medieval Fair, and World Expo 1890. As construction proceeded, the decision was made to delay the Canadian section until the park’s second season (it was later reported that when budget numbers were crunched, either it or the Hanna-Barbera characters would go). That move incensed critics like Cameron, who may have overreached with the comparison he used. “You could pick this thing up, lock stock and barrel, and move it to Pretoria and call it South Africa’s Wonderland. There is nothing Canadian about it at all,” he told the Globe and Mail. Public relations manager Mike Filey pointed out elements from the true north strong and free in the park, including employing local workers, lining the grounds with cobblestones once used to surround Toronto’s streetcar tracks, planting over 1,200 trees bought from a Pickering farm, installing a vintage carousel imported from Vancouver, and that Canadian-based Great West Life owned a quarter of the partnership running the place. As PR officer Connie Robillard told the Globe and Mail, “Canada’s Wonderland just means a wonderland in Canada.”

Not sourced from Canada were the park’s costumes, which were produced by Cincinnati-based King’s Productions. Designer Katie Leahy was challenged to account for cooler spring and fall weather. “I made the costumes roomy enough to wear a turtleneck sweater underneath and designed nylon-hooded jackets to wear with most of the outfits,” she told the Star. While simple costumes like jester outfits were remedied, those dressed as Hanna-Barbera characters experienced little relief from heat at any time in their acrylic fur and cloth get-ups. “None of the characters can walk around for more than 15 minutes,” Leahy observed. Overall, the costumes took two years and $500,000 to design.

20160409costumes

Toronto Star, May 9, 1981.

Auditions for park entertainers began in February 1981. The first day drew over 200 hopefuls to York University’s Burton Auditorium. “This could be really be a stepping stone for me,” 18-year-old singer Leanne Mitchell told the Star. “Canada’s Wonderland is new and I’d like to be part of it.” For her two-minute tryout, Mitchell had spent 15 hours on the road driving in from South Porcupine near Timmins. The ride down wasn’t without a hitch—a jack-knifed tanker near New Liskeard forced a lengthy detour. The paper reported that Mitchell was invited back for round two of tryouts. Hiring students to perform drew the ire of Canadian Actors Equity and the Toronto Musicians Association, who placed the park on their “unfair lists” for not employing union talent.

As opening day approached, an ad blitz was planned for a 200-mile radius of Toronto. Six television spots were built around the theme “The Dream That is Canada’s Wonderland.” The opening ticket package settled at $11.95 for general admission and access to 18 attractions.

During media previews, the Star sent reporter Kevin Scanlon to test the roller coasters. “The Dragon Fyre gave me a sensation I hadn’t felt since rolling a speeding Volkswagen Beetle four times in a Perth County ditch,” Scanlon noted. On a scale of 10, he gave that coaster an eight, docking points for its short duration. By comparison, the Wilde Beast earned a nine (exhilarating, but it gave him bruised elbows), and the Mighty Canadian Mine Buster a perfect rating (high drop, speed up to 83 km/h). Food critic Jim White was pleased by the quality of the dining options, which ranged from open-face Scandinavian sandwiches to paella, but suspected diners would grumble over the limited seating. He also noticed the lack of universal hamburger and hot dog stands, which might be refreshing to some but frustrating to parents with cranky kids who only ate those foods.

Forecasts for opening day anticipated 40,000 visitors. By the time the gates closed on May 23, 1981, only 12,000 had shown up. General manager Michael Bartlett wasn’t fazed, noting that parks generally had low turnouts during their debut. Traffic jams failed to live up to doomsday scenarios that may have kept people away. It was also Victoria Day weekend, which meant many potential customers were out of town.

During the opening ceremony, a skydiver landed on stage and handed Premier Davis a red rose. Before flipping the switch to turn the water on the park’s man-made mountain, Davis boasted his pride in the park, calling it “one of the things which bring us together as Canadians, to have fun and to better understand ourselves.” Not so happy were members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, whose picketers protested the below-scale wages paid to non-union staff.

One habit among visitors was quickly corrected—“Metro Toronto residents,” the Globe and Mail observed, “accustomed to the enlightened parks policy that encourages people to walk on the grass, will find themselves politely but firmly rousted if they venture on to the scattered stretches of green among the expanses of interlocking brick that cover the area.” Among those impressed by the park was CNE assistant general manager Howard Tate, who noted “the cleanliness is terrific, lots of parkland, lack of commercial signs, nice staff. We’re different kinds of places, but I’ll say this is like a 1982 Cadillac; CNE’s a ’59 Ford.”

Around 2.2 million visitors checked out the debut season of Canada’s Wonderland. Though exact numbers weren’t revealed, park officials boasted that they turned “a tidy little profit.” To prepare for 1982, $5 million was spent upgrading dining facilities, drinking fountains, and street furniture. To the heartbreak of the staunchest nationalists, Frontier Canada was never built. Over the ensuing years, suburbia continued to creep toward Maple, and generations of visitors have enjoyed the park’s evolving attractions.

Additional material from the October 20, 1975, October 31, 1975, May 9, 1978, September 10, 1979, April 1, 1981, April 4, 1981, April 18, 1981, May 25, 1981, and September 28, 1981 editions of the Globe and Mail; and the January 26, 1976, February 5, 1976, March 17, 1978, June 14, 1979, April 7, 1980, February 6, 1981, May 9, 1981, May 18, 1981, May 20, 1981, and May 24, 1981 editions of the Toronto Star.

ADDITIONAL MATERIAL

This article expanded upon an earlier piece I wrote for The Grid about the birth of Canada’s Wonderland. Comparing the two, it makes little sense to add that story here, other than noting some local critics referred to the park as “Plasticland.”

20160409pirateship

Grounds of Canada’s Wonderland, June 8, 1981. Photo by Harvey R. Naylor. City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 98, Item 70.

Once again, Harvey R. Naylor came to the rescue when preparing this story.

His collection of photos (currently held by the City of Toronto Archives) showcasing the city, especially during the late 1970s and early 1980s, is a valuable resource for illustrating how Toronto evolved into its current shape. His images have saved the bacon of many online historians looked for great period colour images.

20160409cars

Slight overhead view of roller coaster tracks at Canada’s Wonderland, June 8, 1981. Photo by Harvey R. Naylor. City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 98, Item 66.

Here’s a brief bio from the Archives’ site:

Harvey R. Naylor, film and sound technician, was a lifelong Toronto resident who worked at some of the larger film production houses in Toronto, such as Jack Chisholm Film Productions and Media Communications Services, Ltd. He was also an amateur photographer with a personal interest in Toronto’s local history. He practised photography for several years using second-hand cameras and experimenting with various types of film. However, once Naylor purchased a new Leica IIIF camera in 1956, he used it exclusively over the next 28 years to produce over 50,000 35mm Kodachrome colour slides of Toronto buildings, streets, TTC facilities and TTC vehicles. A well-known transit enthusiast, Naylor belonged to the Upper Canada Railway Society (UCRS), and was active with the Halton County Radial Railway (HCRR) and Ontario Electric Railway Historical Association (OERHA).

Over 8,400 slides created by Naylor await your browsing pleasure.

star 1978-03-17 park approved

Toronto Star, March 17, 1978.

ts 80-04-07 maple resigned to progress Toronto Star, April 7, 1980.

gm 1980-11-07 fight over growth in vaughan

Globe and Mail, November 7, 1980. Click on image for larger version.

A series of articles on the approval of the park, and other issues surrounding the growth of Vaughan as it began its evolution from largely rural community to “the city above Toronto.”

ts 80-04-09 construction

Toronto Star, April 9, 1980. Click on image for larger version.

As the debates about Vaughan’s future swirled, construction rolled along.

tspa_0021136f_640px

“150 pounds: Chef Michel Cozis shows his creation; a reproduction of Wonder Mountain at Canada’s Wonderland – it opens at Maple next month. He sculpted it in a neighbor’s basement.” Photo by Colin McConnell. Originally published in the April 22, 1980 edition of the Toronto Star. Toronto Star Photo Archive, Toronto Public Library, tspa_0021136f.

As opening day neared, oddball stories such as this one peppered Toronto’s media landscape. In this case, chef/sculptor Michel Cozis received 150 pounds of Jersey Milk chocolate donated by Neilson to build the 4-by-6 foot model of Wonder Mountain. It was scheduled to be displayed at the Toronto-Dominion Centre and the Simpsons Court at Yorkdale (now the court outside Hudson Bay) in early May 1981. Cozis’s main concern was getting the sculpture out of his neighbour’s basement, though he did leave a three inch clearance for doors.

“Most men are asked why they scaled a certain mountain,” wrote Star food columnist Jim White. “I asked him why scaled-down a certain mountain. His reply was not unlike that which you get from mountain climbers: ‘Because it was there.'”

ts 81-05-09 150 costumes

Toronto Star, May 9, 1981. Click on image for larger version.

More details on the creation of the Wonderland’s costumes. I imagine the Wilma head would have freaked out my five-year-old self had I visited during opening weekend.

ts 81-05-21 special section 1

Toronto Star, May 21, 1981.

The front page of the Star‘s special section commemorating Wonderland’s opening. Hands up who thinks Quick Draw McGraw should have been the park’s official mascot.

ts 81-05-21 wonderland map

Toronto Star, May 21, 1981. Click on image for larger version.

Among the goodies in the Star‘s preview was this cartoon map of the park’s layout.

ts 81-05-21 loblaws ad

Toronto Star, May 21, 1981.

20160409openingday

Toronto Star, May 24, 1981.

ts 81-06-13 letters

Toronto Star, June 13, 1981.

The public cheers and jeers…though in fairness, what was the guy with 10 kids expecting?

Vintage Toronto Ads: The Tip Top Man of the Class

Originally published on Torontoist on June 15, 2010.

20100615tiptop

Goblin, January 1924.

While all of the other attendees resemble grotesques from the funny pages, the Tip Top customer is dripping with 1920s sophistication. With his pencil-thin moustache, slicked hair, stylish tuxedo, and elegant cigarette holder, this fellow could have stepped out of a Noël Coward play.

Cartoonist Lou Skuce (1886–1951) was one of Toronto’s busiest artists during the first half of the twentieth century. His work, often sports-related, graced the pages of many local newspapers and publications. Skuce also toured theatres with a contraption called the Cartoonagraph, which he used to project drawings as he worked on them. Among the achievements singled out in obituaries for Skuce was a series of murals he produced for the Toronto Men’s Press Club that humorously depicted the organization’s activities and the evolution of the printed word from the Stone Age onward.

Refined elegance had long departed 245 Yonge Street by the 1970s. The address gained infamy during the summer of 1977 when the body of Emanuel Jaques was found on the roof of the Charlie’s Angels “body rub parlour.” The gruesome murder of the twelve-year-old shoeshine boy led local officials to crack down on the adult businesses that occupied the storefronts once inhabited by more respectable retailers like Tip Top.

ADDITIONAL MATERIAL

1924-03 skuce chevrolet ad

Goblin, March 1924.

Flipping through the pages of Goblin over the rest of 1924, Lou Skuce’s art appeared in a series of ads for General Motors.

1924-04 skuce chevrolet ad

Goblin, April 1924.

1924-05 skuce chevrolet ad

Goblin, May 1924.

1924-06 skuce chevrolet ad

Goblin, June 1924.

Canada, Day One

Originally published as a “Historicist” column on Torontoist on June 28, 2008. Note that the first paragraph from the original story might make some readers feel a little melancholy in the midst of the COVID pandemic restrictions on public gatherings.

2008_06_28 confed announcement

Canada Day weekend is upon us, with the nation’s birthday serving as the perfect excuse to celebrate the start of summer. Fireworks, public meals, outdoor concerts—Torontonians will be out in force for these events over the next few days, much as they were on the day our nation gained status as a dominion.

From 6 a.m. onwards, the smell of roast ox filled the area at the foot of Church Street (now the St. Lawrence Market Green P lot). The roast went on all day, with the meat distributed to the city’s poor. A few blocks north on Church at Adelaide Street, those wishing to deliver a religious blessing on the new nation attended a service sponsored by the Evangelical Alliance at the Mechanics’ Institute (an ancestor of the Toronto Public Library).

Over at The Globe, editor George Brown spent all night working on a lengthy essay on the history of the new country. Copies of the paper were quickly snapped up once it rolled off the press at 7 a.m. Brown’s editorial raised an issue that still affects Canada, western grievances (even if the “west” in this case is Ontario).

So far as the people of Upper Canada are concerned, the inauguration of the new constitution may well be heartily rejoiced over as the brightest day in their calendar. The Constitution of 1867 will be famous in the historic annals of Upper Canada, not only because it brought two flourishing Maritime States into alliance with the Canadas, and opened up new markets for our products, but because it relieved the inhabitants of Western Canada from a system of injustice and demoralization under which they had suffered for a long number of years.

As for what ills might plague the new nation, one reading between the lines might detect a swipe at Brown’s political rivals/former coalition partners in the run-up to Confederation, Sir John A. Macdonald and the Conservative party:

The only danger that threatens us is, lest the same men who have so long misgoverned us, should continue to govern us still, and the same reckless prodigality exhibited in past years should be continued in the future; but this we do not fear. We firmly believe that from this day, Canada embarks on a new and happier career, and a time of great prosperity is before us.

2008_06_28mechanics

Mechanics’ Institute, William Notman, 1868. Wikimedia Commons.

As the day went on, the city filled with revelers. Steamships from Hamilton and St. Catharines were packed with tourists coming for the celebrations, while trains brought in those from surrounding towns and villages. Many assembled at parade grounds west of Spadina Avenue around 10:30 a.m. to catch three hours of military reviews which, according to the next day’s edition of The Leader, were a popular spectator activity.

It would seem as if the citizens of Toronto and the residents of the surrounding country would never become tired of witnessing reviews of the troops. It is only necessary to announce that a review is to be held to secure the attendance of thousands of spectators, from the babe in swaddling clothes to the hoary-headed and infirm old man.

The paper went on to provide detailed of each regiment’s drill, complimenting each on their regalia and discipline. Sunny skies and a cool breeze off the lake made for a comfortable afternoon for the spectators. The soldiers were rewarded for their three-hour show with free ale paid for by contracting magnate Casimir Gzowski.
If military activities weren’t one’s taste, there was a fundraising picnic to aid the construction of St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church, completed three years later (and now known as Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church on St. Patrick Street). A crowd of around 3,000 attended.

2008_06_28postoffice

As night fell, light displays decorated city buildings. The central post office on Toronto Street (later the headquarters of Argus Corporation, where Conrad Black was videotaped removing documents in 2005) featured gaslights arranged to spell “VR” (in honour of Queen Victoria) and “Dominion of Canada.” Most of the night’s activities took place in Queen’s Park, whose decorations The Leader described as “a most enchanting appearance in consequence of the large number of Chinese lanterns that were suspended from the trees and in front of the private residences on the east side of the park.” Fireworks were provided by a Rochester, New York firm and divided into 14 themed segments, including the city motto of “Industry, Integrity, Intelligence”, exotic locales like Tripoli and a rousing finale of “God Save the Queen”, all accompanied by two military bands.

Surrounding villages saw their share of celebrations, the most prominent being Yorkville’s. A flag-draped arch was erected at Yonge and Bloor, bearing the words “Dominion of Canada Our Home.” A fireworks display was held on a common west of Scollard Street, where the likely fireworks in 2008 would be a bite into a hot pepper at Whole Foods.

Sources: the July 1, 1867 edition of the Globe and the July 2, 1867 edition of the Leader.

ADDITIONAL MATERIAL

I would include the entirety of George Brown’s editorial, except that surviving scans are missing chunks of its final paragraph.

Since my access to other Toronto newspapers of this era is limited, let’s take a look at some of the happenings (and poetry) marking the birth of the dominion in the new province of Ontario…

newmarket era 1867-06-28 our country and our government

Newmarket Era, June 28, 1867.

dfp 1867-07-02 front page celebrations in windsor

Coverage of Windsor celebrations, Detroit Free Press, July 2, 1867.

huron signal 1867-07-04 celebrations in goderich 600

Coverage of Goderich celebrations, Huron Signal, July 4, 1867.

oc 1867-07-05 how dominion day was celebrated in ottawa 250

Ottawa Citizen, July 5, 1867.

Other highlights from Ottawa: the ceremony to install governor-general Lord Monck; a military display at noon; a fireman’s picnic; and an assortment of athletic competitions. Many buildings were illuminated that night, and the day ended with a giant bonfire and fireworks.

“The orderly state of the city during the whole day, despite the great influx of strangers and the general excitement going on, must be a subject of congratulation to all parties, and we hope that all things connected with the Dominion will be conducted by the people with the same good feeling and promote as much happiness as did its inaugural celebration on Monday last.”

A few editorial observations on the new dominion from south of the border…

ny herald 1867-07-02 editorial

New York Herald, July 2, 1867.

ny times 1867-07-02 editorial 250

New York Times, July 2, 1867.

ny tribune 1867-07-02 editorial

New York Tribune, July 2, 1867.

niagara falls gazette 1867-07-03 editorial

Niagara Falls Gazette, July 3, 1867.

It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane!

Originally published as a “Historicist” column on Torontoist on May 17, 2008.

2008_05_17shustercovers

Selection of covers drawn by Joe Shuster: Superman #1 (1939), Superman #6 (1940), Adventure Comics #103 (1946).

For a 70-year old, Superman looks good for his age. Since his debut in Action Comics #1 in 1938, the Man of Steel has stood as one, if not the key, icon of the fictional genre his success spawned. His appeal has been summed up as the fight for “truth, justice and the American way.”

Yet his origins have a Toronto twist.

2008_05_17s&s-caricature

Joe Shuster (1914-1992) spent the first decade of his life living in a number of locations surrounding Kensington Market, as family finances dictated a succession of moves. From an early age, he was interested in the comic strips that his father, a tailor, read to him. By the age of 9, Shuster brought in money as a newsboy for The Toronto Star. The family moved to Cleveland in 1924, though many relatives stayed in Toronto. One was Joe’s cousin Frank, who later earned fame as one half of Canadian comedy institution Wayne and Shuster.

During high school, Shuster became friends with Jerry Siegel, an aspiring writer and fellow fan of pulps, comic strips and the emerging genre of science fiction. The pair, who several accounts depict as the Depression-era equivalent of nerds, published their own magazine and attempted to sell a number of ideas to strip and pulp syndicates, including prototype versions of Superman. After half-a-decade of development and failed sales pitches, the character was picked up by National Comics (soon identified by their “DC” logo). In a decision both later regretted, ownership rights to Superman were sold to National for $130.

f1257_s1057_it0842-star-building-small

Drawing of Toronto Star Building, circa 1928. City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 842.

Toronto left a lingering impression on Joe that he incorporated into his sketches for Superman, which he noted in a 1992 interview with his former employer.

Cleveland was not nearly as metropolitan as Toronto was, and it was not as big or as beautiful. Whatever buildings I saw in Toronto remained in my mind and came out in the form of Metropolis. As I realized later on, Toronto is a much more beautiful city than Cleveland ever was…I guess I don’t have to worry about saying that now.

The Star even found its way into the strip. “I still remember drawing one of the earliest panels that showed the newspaper building. We needed a name, and I spontaneously remembered the Toronto Star. So that’s the way I lettered it. I decided to do it that way on the spur of the moment, because The Star was such a great influence on my life.” Not until 1940 would Clark Kent’s employer suddenly switch its name to The Daily Planet.

The popularity of the character translated into a high volume of work. Combined with vision problems that affected Shuster’s drawing, the pair opened their own studio to produce a steady stream of Superman stories for National. Dismayed by how much money they could have made had the initial rights not been sold so cheaply, Siegel and Shuster served National in April 1947 with a lawsuit for $5 million and the return of ownership rights for Superman. A year of litigation resulted in a ruling against the claim. Both agreed to an offer where National would pay $100,000 as long as the pair surrendered all future claims to ownership of Superman and the recently-introduced Superboy.

2008_05_17joeshusterway

After the settlement, the pair attempted to launch a new character, Funnyman, which flopped quickly. The studio soon dissolved and both found work sparse in the 1950s. While Siegel returned to writing the Man of Steel in the early 1960s (as long as he didn’t acknowledge his part in the character’s creation), Shuster’s increasing eye problems curtailed his career. He became a source of urban legend in the comics community about the level of poverty he had fallen to, as he worked odd jobs to support other members of his family.

Siegel and Shuster were finally able to receive some compensation for their creation in the mid-1970s. Aided by industry peers, the pair capitalized on the hype around the upcoming Superman movie by publicizing their cause. The result was a comfortable pension from the corporate parent of DC Comics and a “created by” credit in future uses of Superman. Shuster spent his later years in California and rarely granted interviews, though he appeared with Siegel in a 1981 BBC documentary.

In 2005, the city honoured Shuster by endowing his name on the main side street of a residential development at King and Dufferin. Joe Shuster Way offers great photographic views of the Gladstone Hotel and the downtown skyline. One can imagine the Man of Steel zooming by the CN Tower while on patrol…

Picture of Joe Shuster Way by Jamie Bradburn. Shuster interview excepts from the Toronto Star, April 26, 1992 edition.

ADDITIONAL MATERIAL

star 1940-03-14 profile of joe shuster

Toronto Star, March 14, 1940.

star 1939-12-18 superman comic strip

Toronto Star, December 18, 1939.

The first installment of the daily Superman comic strip, illustrated by Shuster, as it appeared when the Star began carrying it in December 1939. With art soon taken over by his studio, the strip ran under various writers and artists through 1966.

The White Torontonian’s Indian

Originally published as a “Historicist” column on Torontoist on June 6, 2015.

20150506artcentre1936

Children’s Saturday morning classes, Art Gallery of Toronto, May 2, 1936. City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 200, Series 372, Subseries 2, Item 86.

“The Indian of imagination and ideology has been as real, perhaps more real, than the Native American of actual existence and contact,” Robert F. Berkhofer Jr. wrote in his 1978 book The White Man’s Indian. This image was further elaborated upon a quarter-century by Thomas King, who refers to the clichés many of us grew up with as the “Dead Indian” in his book The Inconvenient Indian:

They are the stereotypes and clichés that North America has conjured up out of experience and out of its collective imaginings and fears. North America has had a long association with Native people, but despite the history that the two groups have shared, North America no longer sees Indians. What it sees are war bonnets, beaded shirts, fringed deerskin dresses, loincloths, headbands, feathered lances, tomahawks, moccasins, face paints, and bone chokers. These bits of cultural debris—authentic and constructed—are what literary theorists like to call “signifiers,” signs that create a “simulacrum,” which Jean Baudrillard, the French sociologist and postmodern theorist, succinctly explained as something that “is never that which conceals the truth—it is the truth which conceals that there is none.”

Built into this image are elements of racism and excessive romanticism, all of which shaped how aboriginal culture was presented to generations of Torontonians, especially children.

20150506eatonsad

Excerpt from Eaton’s advertisement, the Toronto Star, November 17, 1923.

Dressing up in stereotypical aboriginal costumes was done with little discomfort for much of the 20th century. Homemaker columns in Toronto’s daily newspapers periodically offered tips on how to make your own Indian maiden outfit of the type often worn while pretending to be a noble savage or reciting Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem “The Song of Hiawatha.” For example, take this suggestion published by the Star in 1911:

You could make an Indian costume out of khaki, coloured drill, or duck. Have leggings and a loose affair something like a midi blouse fringed at the bottom. Any bands of beading or bead charms available should be worn. Have a gilt or coloured band for the head with feathers or quills standing up all round it. The hair should be braided.

20150506ida

Toronto Star, May 6, 1922.

Such an outfit might have been worn by public speakers while presenting travelogues of their adventures in aboriginal lands. Take the case of Martha Craig, who gave a slideshow at Massey Hall in March 1902 illustrating her canoe trips in both her homeland of Ireland and around Lakes Temagami and Timiskaming. “Miss Craig, who wore an Indian costume, has evidently given deep study to Indian lore,” observed the Globe, “and her lecture, though not as distinctly enunciated as one could wish, was a most interesting narrative.” We hope her diction problems didn’t include attempts to speak in pidgin dialect while discussing northern Ontario.

Similarly attired was Mabel Powers, who gave a three-day series of talks at an auditorium Eaton’s Queen Street complex in December 1921. “Dressed in Indian costume, and standing on a stage which represented a corner of an Indian encampment,” the Globe reported, “Miss Powers delighted her audience—particularly the children—with her quaint stories, so alluring in spirit, so suggestive of the great outdoors, and so indicative of the mind of the stalwart race that once possessed North America.” Powers, raised in suburban Buffalo, studied Iroquois culture and toured throughout the region, frequently lecturing at the Chautauqua Institute. Adopted into the Seneca nation as an adult, she was given the name Yehsennohwehs, which meant “storyteller.” Powers saw her talks, which stressed the spiritual aspects of aboriginal culture in ways foreshadowing the peddling of such beliefs to the counterculture decades later, as a means of building bridges between all races by offering “a better understanding of the hearts of the red brothers.”

Such understanding may not have been present when University of Toronto graduate students rang in 1929 with an Indian-themed ball at Hart House. The building was transformed to resemble a reservation in British Columbia, sans poverty. The décor, designed by Group of Seven artist Arthur Lismer, included spruce trees placed in alcoves and totem poles. These motifs carried over into Lismer’s cover for the ball program which, according to the Globe, depicted “a totem pole by the side of a lake, with Indian figures in the foreground.”

20150506artcentre1934

Children’s Art Centre group in Indian costumes, December 20, 1934. City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 200, Series 372, Subseries 2, Item 51.

During this period, Lismer was the educational supervisor at the Art Gallery of Toronto (now the AGO). Among his initiatives there was an innovative series of Saturday morning children’s art classes which evolved, with the help of a Carnegie grant, into the Children’s Art Centre. Opened at 4 Grange Road in 1933, the centre ran annual exhibitions of children’s works, and an Easter pageant. For the pageants, students were given a topic to research, collected materials to illustrate their discoveries, and created performance elements ranging from dances to puppet shows.

One year, the pageant theme was “North American Indians.” Participant William Withrow described the process of creating his outfit, and how his imagination was stimulated:

I wore a headdress—we went out to Kensington Market and got feathers, and dyed them and then we seemed to make a real deal of the use of cardboard that had corrugations so that you could stick feathers in the tubular corrugations and make the headband. I think it was subtly suggested that we felt that we were inventing it, and I think that was the real genius in the way [Lismer] trained his teachers. The children always thought that they had thought all these things up, but I think there were little clues dropped, there must have been, because the results were glorious.

20150506singsong

Photo by Barry Philip. Toronto Star, May 24, 1966.

Dressing children up in Indian garb was a staple of educational activities at cultural institutions and schools around the city. Even teachers in training donned the stereotypical outfits, as shown in a May 1966 Star profile of graduating students at Toronto Teachers’ College. Under the headline “It seems the natives are restless tonight,” 43 women enrolled in the Primary Specialist Course at the training school at Carlaw and Mortimer (later used as a set for the Degrassi franchise, now part of Centennial College) were shown practicing how to teach Kindergarten pupils—by exposing them to every aboriginal stereotype under the sun. The student teachers read a story about “Little Burnt Face” (reputedly based on a Mi’kmaq legend), built a teepee, and created songs. The “idea of the exercise,” according to the Star, “was to show how a Kindergarten class should work together and learn while almost playing at singing, dancing, and doing art work.” A group of 25 kids were then brought in as guinea pigs to learn the songs, drink “firewater” (juice) and eat “wampum” (cookies).

When it came to aiding and educating actual aboriginal children, there are stories scattered throughout early 20th century Toronto newspapers depicting religious authorities urging their auxiliary organizations to support residential schools in remote areas. Those who came out to hear Methodist archdeacons make their pitch likely had little inkling of the unfolding tragedy they would aid. Efforts to assist the construction of these schools may have been aided by speeches by the likes of Reverend John Maclean, who addressed the Methodist Young People’s Bible and Mission School in July 1902. Discussing the work of Methodist missionaries out west, “it appeared,” according to the Globe, “that he does not entertain a high opinion of the inland Indians of British Columbia, some of whom, he said, were too lazy to stand up when fighting.”

20150506indianproject1936

Indian project – 10 year olds, Art Gallery of Toronto, May 5, 1936. City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 200, Series 372, Subseries 2, Item 92.

The plight of some urban aboriginal children was exploited in the name of helping them. For years both the Star (Fresh Air and Santa Claus funds) and the Telegram (Hospital for Sick Children) published stories on the plight of poor, sick children which boosted fundraising efforts for worthy causes dedicated to improving their lives. From a modern perspective, many of these stories are jaw-dropping in their efforts to evoke pity, reaching depths which make Jerry Lewis’s most maudlin telethon moments look dignified.

Take the case of 11-year-old Louise and her two younger brothers, whose tale was published on the front page of the Star on December 3, 1932. The story opens with one of the most insulting descriptions of pre-contact Toronto we’ve ever encountered:

Years ago, just about where you’re standing now, the red man roamed. He loosed his deadly arrow at the fleeting deer, and sat over the campfire at night with his squaw and papoose. If the papoose got hungry, he let fly another arrow. And so on, season after season. And if the season was bad—they starved. Then came the “Great White Father,” or rather his representative, who fought and talked to the red man. The savage liked the fighting, but couldn’t stand the talking—so he finally gave in. What did it matter? The “Great White Father” said from now on things were going to be swell. There would be no more bad seasons.

Louise is described as “a little Indian girl—probably descended from coppery princesses, who followed he chase—proud, befeathered, fearless.” She wrote the paper to ask for help from the Santa Claus Fund as her mother was ill, her father had been unemployed for two years, and she felt pessimistic about her future.

How did the Star appeal to its readers to help Louise?

We know you’re not interested in whether the Indian shot deer on Yonge Street a couple of hundred years ago. You’ve got your own troubles. But what we wondered was, if we couldn’t just bring a little Yuletide cheer into Louise’s “teepee” and watch the two papooses laugh. It ought to be all kinds of fun.

20150506cne1956

Women in costumes with Indian motifs, Canadian National Exhibition, 1956. City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 5778.

Before getting too smug about rising above the insensitivity of many of these past appropriations of and reflections on aboriginal culture, it’s good to keep in mind the following perspective from Robert F. Berkhofer Jr.: “Although modern artists and writers assume their own imagery to be more in line with “reality” than that of their predecessors, they employ the imagery for much the same reasons and often with the same results as those persons of the past they so often scorn as uninformed, fanciful, or hypocritical.”

Sources: The White Man’s Indian by Robert F. Berkhofer Jr. (New York: Vintage, 1978); The Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King (Toronto: Doubleday, 2012); The Gallery School 1930-80: A Celebration by Shirley Yanover (Toronto: Art Gallery of Ontario, 1980); the March 7, 1902, July 24, 1902, December 28, 1921, January 1, 1929, and May 3, 1933 editions of the Globe; and the June 29, 1911, December 3, 1932, and May 24, 1966 editions of the Toronto Star.

ADDITIONAL MATERIAL

Sir Henry Pellatt in Queen's Own Rifles uniform and Mohawk clothing, CNE Grandstand. - June, 1910

Sir Henry Pellatt in Queen’s Own Rifles uniform and Mohawk clothing, CNE Grandstand, June 1910. City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item 4012.

One of several archival photos I left on the cutting room floor, featuring the builder of Casa Loma. The occasion appears to be a celebration held on the CNE grounds to mark the semi-centennial of the Queen’s Own Rifles on June 23, 1910. According to the Globe, Pellatt “addressed the Indians participating in the ceremony, thanked them for the honour they had done him in making him a chief, and expressed the hope that they would have an opportunity of meeting again.”

f1257_s1057_it6771_ice capades

Performer in Maple Leaf Gardens’ Ice Capades in “Indian” costume, 1950s. City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 6771.

Also left on the cutting floor – I suspect it was a toss up between this photo and the group shot used at the end of the original post.

globe 1921-12-28 indian storyteller

The Globe, December 28, 1921.

globe 1925-12-05 ROM our indian friends

The Globe, December 5, 1925.

A story introducing the Royal Ontario Museum’s indigenous collection to young readers. Note emphasis on the “primitive” nature of their culture and the odd declaration of “how we all love the name” of “Indians!”

star 1932-12-03 indian girl plea 1

Toronto Star, December 3, 1932.

The whole cringe-inducing plea to help indigenous children via the Star Santa Claus Fund.

star 1966-05-24 teachers college pow wow

Toronto Star, May 24, 1966. Click on image for full version.

Vintage Toronto Ads: Aunt Jemima’s Kitchen

Originally published on Torontoist on February 6, 2015.

20150206auntjemima1963

Toronto Star, February 27, 1963.

According to her corporate website, Aunt Jemima stands for “warmth, nourishment and trust—qualities you’ll find in loving moms from diverse backgrounds who care for and want the very best for their families.” Yet no amount of facelifts, bandana removal, or cultural diversity pitches can erase past depictions of its pancake-making pitchwoman as the ultimate stereotypical southern mammy.

Aunt Jemima’s image has long been problematic. Created in 1889 to promote an early pre-mixed baking mix, the brand was reputedly inspired by a minstrel show where a white performer sang as “Old Aunt Jemima” in blackface and drag. In 1893 Nancy Green, a former slave, was hired to portray her for cooking demonstrations at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Marketers developed a back story steeped in the mythology of the old South, including a benevolent plantation owner named Colonel Higbee and the large black woman working in the kitchen to please her white employers and aid the Confederacy.

Green’s successful appearance in Chicago led to tours where she or other women donned what was effectively slave garb. Toronto was among the stops. For a week of cooking demonstrations at Simpson’s department store in March 1902, ad writers felt the best way to illustrate Aunt Jemima’s place in society was to translate her pitches into pidgin English:

Aunt Jemima has fried pancakes all over the United States. Her record is 9,000 cakes a day. She is “demonstrating” the high and mighty art of turning pancakes in our grocery department this week, and, judging by the crowds, her ideas is regard to pancakes are of great and exceeding value.

“No buttah. No la’ad. Jus’ a bit o’ salt powk tied up in a piece o’ clean cheesecloth bought fo’ dat puhpus.” That is one of Aunt Jemima’s principles, which at first blush might seem a trifle revolutionary.

“One pint watah, one pint milk, one teacup o’ de flour makes cakes for six puhsons.”

20150206auntjemima1964

Don Mills Mirror, May 6, 1964.

In 1955, Aunt Jemima owner Quaker Oats opened a southern-themed family restaurant at Disneyland. By 1962, after serving over 1.6 million customers at the theme park, Quaker expanded the concept into a North American pancake house chain. Metro Torontonians downed their first Aunt Jemima’s Kitchen flapjack on February 27, 1963, when a location opened at Lawrence Avenue East and Bellamy Road in Scarborough. Opening day ads reinforced the mythology of the genteel, relaxed southern plantation the restaurant hoped to evoke, and promised a personal appearance from Aunt Jemima herself.

Quaker’s choice of Scarborough to debut the concept complemented other food franchisers who saw the suburb as an ideal testing ground. “The area has a very high ratio of cars to population, a good standard of living, and is having growing pains,” observed Harold Schner, a franchiser for Mister Donut and Red Barn. “Since there are few good restaurants in Scarborough, a community with young families dependent on automobiles for transportation to a great extent, it is a good area.”

In her Globe and Mail advertorial dining column, Mary Walpole played along with the cringe-inducing stereotypes. “The décor is beautifully done, warm and friendly as a southern plantation,” Walpole gushed, “and not without reason for the Aunt Jemima name is a carefully guarded thing and all must be perfect before they hang out the sign of her smiling dark face.” Walpole also played upon old fashioned notions of patriarchy, noting that when ordering the Family Platter, it was the father’s duty to serve the scrambled eggs and meat.

While Aunt Jemima’s Kitchen added a second location at Bayview Village in 1964, both brand and chain faced increasing criticism as the civil rights movement aimed at what the smiling cook represented. Black consumers had rarely been consulted for their thoughts about Aunt Jemima; when they were, the feedback was negative. The NAACP called for a boycott. Delegates at an August 1966 American Federation of Teachers convention in Chicago adopted a resolution condemning a nearby Aunt Jemima’s Kitchen for demeaning employees by making a black woman wear an Aunt Jemima costume. A boycott was launched until management allowed the employee to wear contemporary hostess clothing. Quaker Oats promised costumed Aunt Jemimas would be phased out from their five Chicago locations, a pledge fulfilled across the chain when the last one was pulled off the road in 1967.

20150206auntjemima1967

Globe Magazine, March 25, 1967.

The chain soon declined. Its flagship Disneyland location closed in 1970. Toronto was abandoned two years earlier—toward the end, the Bayview Village location decreased its selection of fancy pancakes from 37 to 23.

While efforts were made to modernize the brand—most significantly the removal of her headwear in 1989—the baggage remains. In his book Slave in a Box, M.M. Manring draws the following conclusion as to why Aunt Jemima endures:

Aunt Jemima lives on because white Americans like having a mammy. Quaker Oats can move her off her plantation, take off her bandanna, and tint her hair; it makes little difference. If times change, they might even be bold enough to put the bandanna back on her head. Aunt Jemima and mammy are tools used to interpret our legacy of racism, sexism, and slavery, either approvingly or disapprovingly. Keeping her around, spinning superficial explanations for her continued presence on that box, doesn’t help us overcome that legacy.

Sources: Slave in a Box: The Strange Career of Aunt Jemima by M.M. Manring (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1998); the April 20, 1963, May 18, 1963, and May 31, 1963 editions of the Globe and Mail; the August 26, 1966 edition of the New York Times; and the March 25, 1902 edition of the Toronto Star.

UPDATE

In June 2020, Quaker Oats announced that the Aunt Jemima branding would be dropped.

ADDITIONAL MATERIAL

globe 1902-03-28 simpsons aunt jemima ad

The Globe, March 28, 1902.

Another ad from Nancy Green’s stint at Simpson’s in 1902.

brantford expositor circa 1906 pancake booth

It’s probably a relief that the low quality of this scan of a pamphlet for a 1906 fundraising fair for Brantford’s John H. Stratford Hospital blots out the chef’s features (likely the “real pickaninny”), especially if he was wearing stereotypical blackface makeup of the era. The facility was renamed Brantford General Hospital in 1910.

canadian grocer 1909-09-17 aunt jemima premiums ad 640

Canadian Grocer, Septemeber 17, 1909.

A series of Aunt Jemima rag doll premiums available to grocers perpetuated racist stereotypes and passed them on to children. The local Toronto agent for the mix was MacLaren Imperial Cheese, whose name lives on in a cold pack cheese spread that’s still available on Canadian grocery shelves as of 2020.

canadian grocer 1913-10-10 aunt jemima ad 640

Canadian Grocer, October 10, 1913.

I’m afraid to know what the “dandy advertising campaign” involved.

canadian grocer 1914-11-20 aunt jemima front page 640

Canadian Grocer, November 20, 1914.

chicago tribune 1923-09-04 nancy green obit

Chicago Tribune, September 4, 1923.

Nancy Green’s obituary. Even in death, her words were translated into pidgin. At least there’s no backstory of glorious plantations here, though one wonders how similar wealthy Chicago families were.

dawn of tommorow 1923-09-15 nancy green obit small

Dawn of Tomorrow, September 15, 1923.

A more dignified obit for Green was presented in the Black press – this clipping is from the London, Ontario based Dawn of Tomorrow.

globe 1923-10-23 aunt jemima ad

The Globe, October 23, 1923.

How Aunt Jemima was advertised by the 1920s. Usually the mammy image was included…

globe 1923-12-26 aunt jemima ad

The Globe, December 26, 1923.

…sometimes not (though the pidgin-English slogan remained).

gm 1963-04-20 mary walpole

Globe and Mail, April 20, 1963.

gm 1963-05-18 mary walpole

Globe and Mail, May 18, 1963.

A pair of Mary Walpole’s advertorials about Aunt Jemima’s Kitchen. I’m imagining a steady soundtrack of Stephen Foster songs.

gm 1963-05-31 scarboro as testing ground for franchises

Globe and Mail, May 31, 1963.

An article on how Scarborough was seen as an ideal place to test franchising concepts during the 1960s.

Introducing the TPL’s Fort York Branch

Originally published on Torontoist on May 29, 2014.

IMG_2669a

Fort York library branch, May 2020.

“Far from anachronisms,” Building magazine declared earlier this year, “public libraries need to be the civic backbone of the Information Age.” While some misguided souls proclaim that libraries will soon be rendered obsolete by the digital age (and are therefore unworthy of public funding), systems like the Toronto Public Library are transforming their branches into community spaces where citizens connect, create, or relax.

TPL officials hope the two-storey, 16,000-square-foot Fort York branch, which opened its doors this morning, will build connections for and among residents in the neighbourhood rising around it and provide them with a space to breathe. “I think it’s a wonderful, inviting branch,” said Anne Bailey, the TPL’s director of branch libraries. “No matter where you stand in the branch, it feels airy and open.”

It also smells nice, thanks to the Douglas fir used in the ceiling beams and along the central staircase. The wood motifs are a nod by designer KPMB Architects to the wharves that once lined the nearby shoreline. Another historical nod, public art collaboration by Margaret Atwood and Charles Pachter based on The Journals of Susanna Moodie, will be installed later this summer.

Most of the library has been designed with the comfort of users in mind. From the circle of chairs in the magazine nook to the letters on the floor of the children’s section, seating options are abundant. Many of the seats are lined up along the windows on the north and west sides, and offer, according to Bailey, “unparalleled” views. Users can collect their thoughts while staring at Fort York, watching streetcars roll down Bathurst Street, pitying the fools stuck in traffic on the Gardiner Expressway, or viewing the construction of neighbouring parks and residences. Communal tables, two of which are semi-enclosed by red-lined walls, offer workspace. The overall space is designed for flexibility, so that areas can be reconfigured based on user needs and technology-spurred service changes.

The second floor houses the library’s main creative centre, the Digital Innovation Hub. This space highlights the TPL’s growing embrace of digital technologies, with gizmos ranging from USB-friendly DJ equipment to a 3D printer. Budding filmmakers have access to production tools such as green screens. The branch will offer classes on how to use the equipment, providing greater community access to these technologies. Work created in the hub will be showcased throughout the building via digital display screens.

IMG_2671a

Fort York library branch, May 2020.

Today’s opening represented, of course, the result of years of work. The library board chose the site at the northeast corner of Bathurst Street and Fort York Boulevard in 2006. The branch’s $9.2-million capital budget was covered through Section 37 funds (which involve developers being granted extra density as long as they provide community infrastructure), along with development charges and public art contributions. Both builder (Context Development) and architect (KPMB) were in place by 2010, and four public consultation sessions followed. Construction began in September 2012.

Being part of a new neighbourhood meant certain construction challenges—water hookup and the creation of street access, for example. The latter is still an issue, at least for those approaching via Bathurst Street—although the building does flank Bathurst, you can’t access it directly from there unless you illegally hop a construction fence.

The branch removes one of the city’s largest library deserts. Since the closure of the Urban Affairs Library at Metro Hall in September 2011, the closest branches serving residents of the south core had been City Hall, Sanderson, and St. Lawrence. The demise of Urban Affairs also robbed Fort York of the opportunity to become the TPL’s 100th branch—Scarborough Civic Centre will claim that title later this year or in early 2015. (Being number 99 is no inconsiderable honour, though, as Wayne Gretzky can attest.)

Libraries offer more than printed words; they serve, as KPMB architect Shirley Blumberg told the Star last year, as “the urban living room.” The opening of Fort York, along with the TPL’s other renovation projects, proves that Toronto realizes that libraries have a vital future.

Icy Discrimination

Originally published as a “Historicist” column on Torontoist on March 6, 2010.

20100306saunders

General Dwight D. Eisenhower and Mayor Robert H. Saunders at Cenotaph at Old City Hall, January 12, 1946. City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 2903.

One day in early November 1945, fifteen-year-old Harry Gairey Jr. went with five friends to the private Icelandia skating rink on Yonge Street in North Toronto, despite his father’s warning that the venue was not known to treat black customers kindly. Gairey Jr. went ahead and hoped the afternoon would provide a good opportunity to help a friend improve his skating skills. While his white companions were allowed into Icelandia, Gairey Jr. was notified by rink manager Bedford Allen that “no coloured boys can come in here.”

Harry’s friends saw what happened, turned around, and asked for a refund. Incensed by the treatment shown to his son, Harry Gairey Sr. contacted his local alderman and arranged for an audience with the city’s Board of Control on November 14. With tears in his eyes, Gairey Sr. offered apologies for taking the council’s time, to which Mayor Robert Saunders replied, “I don’t know that we have anything more valuable on which to spend our time than looking into a matter like this.” Gairey Sr. related the incident, which he found disgraceful, then offered additional thoughts that he later recalled in A Black Man’s Toronto 1914-1980: The Reminiscences of Harry Gairey:

Now it would be all right if the powers that be refused my son admission to the Icelandia, I would accept it, if when the next war comes, you’re going to say “Harry Gairey, you’re black, you stay here, don’t go to war.” But your Worship, and Gentlemen of the Council, it’s not going to be that way, you’re going to say he’s a Canadian and you’ll conscript him. And if so, I would like my son to have everything a Canadian citizen is entitled to, providing he’s worthy of it.

The Telegram also noted part of his address:

We have heard so much about democracy, and we have just gone through a war for it, but this is an example of everything not democratic. If we are to have democracy it must start in our city, in the homes, on the streets. If we are to be divided into racial and colour groups, each to receive different treatment, there is little to live for.

20100306pickets
The picket line outside Icelandia. The Telegram, November 23, 1945.

A week later, a group of University of Toronto students with ties to the campus Labor-Progressive Club organized two days of protest outside Icelandia. The owner refused to comment, but an assistant claimed there weren’t any race restrictions. After over 150 picketers bearing placards with slogans like “no discrimination” showed up on the second day, police were called in to break it up. Southern Ontario B’nai B’rith director Al Zimmerman visited the operators of Icelandia and saw little sign of compromise, which resulted in a boycott. “We asked if the discrimination would continue,” he told the Star in 1947, “and were told that the rink would continue to bar Negroes but not Jews. But the barring of Negroes was sufficient to satisfy us that intolerance would be continued and we decided among ourselves not to patronize the rink.”

Business suffered briefly at Icelandia after the Gairey incident but the furor soon blew over. It didn’t take long for management to prove it wasn’t just blacks with whom they took issue. In early January 1947, a Jewish girl was denied entry, which revived accounts of Gairey Jr’s treatment in local papers. In his January 10 column in the Globe and Mail, Jim Coleman noted the crushing effects that being separated from their peers had on both youths and cynically wrote:

The proprietors of Icelandia are at least consistent in their attitude, and we presume that, when the occasion arises, they will bar Communists, Mennonites, Seventh Day Adventists—in fact, all those who don’t noisily swear allegiance to the most orthodox branches of the Christian faith… If you go to Icelandia, be sure to take a letter from your pastor—the gateman may look suspiciously at the curve of your nose.

Coleman soon received many letters, among which he found “a heartening percentage of readers abhor racial discrimination.” A fresh boycott against Icelandia was launched by the United Electrical Workers Union and picketers returned. Various labour and educational groups called on city council to enact tougher anti-discrimination laws. Community papers like the North Toronto Heraldurged clergymen to denounce Icelandia during Sunday sermons. By mid-January, a legislation committee that included future mayor Nathan Phillips drafted an amendment to the licensing bylaws that required passage by the Toronto Police Commission.

20100306coleman

James “Jim” A. Coleman, columnist for the Globe and Mail, 1950s. City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 2473.

If you thought Icelandia might have cooled it in the face of public anger, the rink’s management quickly revealed their true colours yet again. In his February 1 column, Coleman noted a fresh incident of discrimination against a Greek skater. A scuffle ensued and Coleman’s tone indicated that he was happy to hear that the rink staffer wound up splayed on the ground. The rink used its ad in the Globe and Mail two days later to threaten Coleman with legal action…which happened to be the same day city council approved its anti-discrimination resolution.

On February 22, newspaper front pages announced that the police commission approved the new bylaw. The Globe and Mail printed the new rules in full:

(1) Every license issued to the owner or keeper of an exhibition, theatre, music hall, moving-picture show, public hall or any place of amusement shall be subject to the condition that no discrimination on account of race, creed or colour shall be shown against any member of the public who seeks admission to the premises in respect to which the license is issued and every such license shall bear a written or printed endorsement to the forgiving effect.
(2) No person licensed as the owner or keeper of an exhibition, theatre, music hall, moving-picture show, public hall or place of amusement shall discriminate against any member of the public who seeks admission to the premises in respect to which the license is issued because of the race, creed or colour of such member.

20100306mapleleaf
Article on Harry Gairey Jr. The Maple Leaf, December 1, 1945.

In the long run, the skating deities were kinder to the Gairey family than Icelandia. Besides battles over its discriminatory practices, the rink got into trouble with the city over its attempts to facilitate hockey games on Sundays. Frustration and prodding from the press spurred efforts to build a public skating rink in North Toronto. Icelandia barely survived into the 1950s—its site at 1941 Yonge Street is now occupied by a liquor store. Harry Gairey Sr., who was proud that his speech had made officials begin to think about changing laws, received many honours for his activism and community involvement. Within three years of his passing in 1993, the outdoor skating rink at Alexandra Park was named in his honour.

Sources: A Black Man’s Toronto 1914-1980: The Reminiscences of Harry Gairey, edited by Donna Hill (Toronto: Multicultural History Society of Ontario, 1981) and the following newspapers: the January 10, 1947, January 11, 1947, January 14, 1947, January 18, 1947, February 1, 1947, February 3, 1947,and February 22, 1947 editions of the Globe and Mail; the January 17, 1947 edition of the North Toronto Herald; the November 14, 1945, November 23, 1945, January 11, 1947, March 19, 1947, and September 27, 1947, editions of the Toronto Star; and the November 14, 1945, and November 23, 1945, editions of the Telegram.

ADDITIONAL MATERIAL

gm 1945-11-23 student pickets photo

Globe and Mail, November 23, 1945.

star 1945-11-23 student pickets

Toronto Star, November 23, 1945.

gm 1945-11-24 police disperse pickets

Globe and Mail, November 24, 1945.

varsity 1945-11-26 police action called illegal by students small

The Varsity, November 26, 1945.

varsity 1945-11-27 editorial 400px

The Varsity, November 27, 1945.

gm 1945-11-29 icelandia ad promising strict discipline

Globe and Mail, November 29, 1945.

I wonder if the “strict discipline” referred to in this Icelandia ad refers to the guidance offered by its pro skaters, or to prevent any more protests.

gm 1947-01-10 coleman column

Globe and Mail, January 10, 1947.

The column that exposed Icelandia’s continuing discriminatory issues…

gm 1947-01-11 anti-coleman icelandia ad

Globe and Mail, January 11, 1947.

…and Icelandia’s response. At this time, the rink ran short “Ice News Bulletins” in Toronto newspapers that usually pitched the latest events, reprinted congratulatory letters from its clients, or offered lousy verse about enjoyed its facilities.

gm 1947-01-11 editorial

Globe and Mail, January 11, 1947.

The G&M‘s editorial page was not amused, referring to the latest incident and what had happened to Gairey.

gm 1947-01-14 coleman column

Globe and Mail, January 14, 1947.

Other journalists sent Coleman their thoughts about Icelandia.

varsity 1947-01-14 picket 350px

The Varsity, January 14, 1947.

varsity 1947-01-15 editorial 300px

The Varsity, January 15, 1947.

gm 1947-01-17 coleman column

Excerpt from Jim Coleman’s column, Globe and Mail, January 17, 1947.

gm 1947-01-18 icelandia ad

Globe and Mail, January 18, 1947.

This ad tries to attract a lawn bowler (or is “Henry” a reference to another poet or an enemy of the rink?). The poet is dishonest when they claim “we do not seek to harm or maim.”

star 1947-01-20 rabbi feinberg attacks iceland policy

Toronto Star, January 20, 1947.

gm 1947-02-01 coleman more discrimination

Globe and Mail, February 1, 1947.

The nationality in question was Greek, a community which had long faced discrimination in the city, most infamously during the Anti-Greek Riot in 1918.

gm 1947-02-03 icelandia ad threatening legal action against coleman

Globe and Mail, February 3, 1947.

A month later, Icelandia served Coleman and G&M general manager Harry Kimber with a libel notice. I have not found any subsequent coverage, leading me to believe it was unsuccessful.

gm 1947-02-03 council gets proposal to bar licenses

Globe and Mail, February 3, 1947.

varsity 1947-02-04 mr allen of icelandia 350

The Varsity, February 4, 1947.

varsity 1947-02-13 pickets 200

The Varsity, February 13, 1947.

For more on the 1944 Anti-Discrimination Act, check out my TVO piece on its 75th anniversary.

Searching for more stories of people affected by Icelandia’s icy attitude towards others, I came across this account from actor Al Waxman. In his autobiography That’s What I Am, Waxman described a youthful incident where his hockey teammates unanimously elected him captain. The coach quickly vetoed the team’s decision, as Waxman was the only Jew.

I waited until everyone left, then, sitting alone in that locker room at Icelandia, where Jews were not welcome, I cried. I had been hit by flying pucks, slapped in the face by swinging sticks, smothered in scrambles around the net, but had never cried before.

gm 1947-03-13 icelandia ad attacking mayor saunders

Globe and Mail, March 13, 1947.

Some sour grapes after a parade honouring champion skater Barbara Ann Scott failed to go past Icelandia. The rink’s ads frequently boasted that Scott had skated there. Management may have also been angry at Mayor Robert Saunders over attempts to prevent the rink from operating fully on Sundays, a battle which took up plenty of court time throughout the rest of 1947.

The city considered buying Icelandia in 1950 but decided the asking price of $115,000 was too high, especially for a building that required an addition to bring the ice up to standard. With no fanfare, it appears the rink closed its doors the following year. As of June 2020, its site is a surface parking, likely awaiting future redevelopment.

tspa_0048893f_gaireyjr

Harry Gairey Jr. and Toronto Mayor Barbara Hall. Photo by Boris Spremo, originally published in the January 25, 1996 edition of the Toronto Star. Toronto Public Library, Toronto Star Photo Archive, tspa_0048893f.

star 1996-01-25 gairey rinkToronto Star, January 25, 1996.

When he died in 2015, Gairey Jr. was remembered for his half-century as a basketball referee in the city. “He had a far-reaching impact on everybody,” fellow ref Al Northcott told the Star. “He never answered a harsh word with a harsh word himself.”

An Exhibition in Crystal

Originally published as a “Historicist” column on Torontoist on August 23, 2008.

2008_08_23crystal1871

Crystal Palace, 1871. Exhibition Place & CNE Archives.

Once upon a time, the consort of a queen whose empire stretched across the globe was the president of a society that encouraged the promotion of the finest arts, commercial enterprises, and industrial discoveries in his domain. With other major figures, he organized a grand exhibition housed in a magnificent palace made of crystal. The palace inspired observers so much that cities across the ocean built their own versions to raise the same level of excitement that the consort’s fair generated. All went well with these buildings, except for their penchant for eventually catching fire…

Using Sir James Paxton’s design for the Great Exhibition of 1851 as a model, two incarnations of Toronto’s Crystal Palace served the public as a primary exhibition space for half a century while rotating provincial fairs gave way to the Canadian National Exhibition.

The first Crystal Palace, officially named the Palace of Industry, was built in 1858 on grounds northwest of King and Shaw Streets, south of the Provincial Lunatic Asylum. Designers Sandford Fleming (the inventor of standard time) and Collingwood Schreiber based their plans on Paxton’s Crystal Palace in Hyde Park but incorporated more cast iron into the framework to withstand Toronto’s climate (which sounds like the 1850s equivalent of the construction of the Lee-Chin Crystal at the Royal Ontario Museum). A contemporary account felt the structure “look[ed] very low, and as if crushed down by the superincumbent mass of roof.” The building was designated Toronto’s first permanent exhibition hall and was inaugurated with the annual provincial agricultural/industrial exhibition that had rotated among several cities in Canada West since 1846.

The building was officially opened by Governor-General Sir Edmund Walker Head on September 28, 1858. Attendees of the event were led in prayer by Bishop John Strachan, then treated to a recital by the Metropolitan Choral Society. Among the prize-winning exhibitors was author Catharine Parr Traill, who was honoured for bringing “the best collection of native plants dried and named.” The site would see four more provincial fairs, house the Prince of Wales (the future King Edward VII) during his 1860 tour of Canada, and provide quarters for troops heading west to put down the Red River Rebellion in 1870.

2008_08_23crystal1906

Crystal Palace, c. 1906. Exhibition Place & CNE Archives.

By the time Toronto was awarded the 1878 provincial fair, the city had deemed the site inadequate to handle increasing crowds. After considering High Park, Bloor and St. George and Woodbine Park as potential sites, the city struck a lease with the federal government in April 1878 for a western segment of Fort York’s garrison reserve that formed the beginning of Exhibition Place. The Crystal Palace was dismantled and most of the ironwork was incorporated in a new main building east of Dufferin Street. The design was maintained with some alterations (an additional story, raised skylights and a cupola). The old site was sold to the Massey Manufacturing Company.

As had been the case two decades earlier, the Governor-General was on hand to open the new Crystal Palace. Lord Dufferin’s speech urged the crowd to draw the nation closer to Great Britain, “live in generous rivalry” with the United States, and to keep a close eye on politicians to ensure their actions rose above partisan shenanigans. The Telegram overheard a visitor declare the new Crystal Palace “ain’t no slouch.” The paper agreed, describing the site glowingly:

The main building is large enough to accommodate the inhabitants of an ordinary township. The buildling, as a building, is admirably adapted for exhibition purposes, being light and airy in appearance and of considerable strength. The internal arrangements are such that no exhibit suffers from want of space or light. When the Philharmonic Society sang at the opening, the acoustics were found to be excellent.

City officials hoped that the Crystal Palace and its surrounding new buildings would convince provincial exhibition officials to keep the fair in Toronto for the next few years. When organizers awarded the 1879 edition to Ottawa, politicians and business leaders mobilized to establish a permanent annual exhibition for Toronto. The first Toronto Industrial Exhibition was held in September 1879 and grew steadily over the next quarter-century. By the time the fair’s name was officially changed to the Canadian National Exhibition in 1904, the Crystal Palace was officially known as the Transportation Building.

2008_08_23crystalfire

The Telegram, October 19, 1906.

Crystal palaces elsewhere had proven highly susceptible to fire. Toronto’s seemed to be holding up well until October 18, 1906. Just after 10 p.m. a blaze broke out in the wooden grandstand and, despite heavy rainfall, quickly spread to neighbouring stables. The Mail and Empire described the dramatic events that unfolded around 11:30:

A cry arose from the crowds…that the Transportation Building was alight. A spark had found a lodgment directly under the eaves of the east front. It had gradually eaten into the dry wood of the structure…the old Crystal Palace was soon alight and blazing merrily…all efforts to save it were fruitless, for the numerous panes of glass in the walls broke with resounding cracks and served as draughts to fan the flames.

The old building…furnished to the drenched onlooker a much more striking picture in its destruction than ever before in its history. Every window, and they are legion, was outlined in black against a background of fire. As the flames seized upon the roof they leaped high in the air, scattering embers in every direction, and making a fearsome pyrotechnic display. Finally dull crashes were heard, and the roof began to fall, the girders sank to the ground, and all that remained was a number of scattered black pillars of iron, like giant arms stretched imploringly to the scarlet sky.

Arson was suspected, thanks to two unusual encounters Park Commissioner John Chambers had with a cyclist roaming the grounds during the blaze. Chambers told The Daily Star that a man “with a peculiar foreign accent” approached him from the grandstand area and told him that “the whole place [was] going to be burned.” After Chambers assisted firefighters in saving the Fruit Building, the cyclist reappeared to tell Chambers, “[I]t is no use to save any of these buildings. You might as well leave your hose alone, because you can’t do any good.” When Chambers asked the cyclist to help fight the blaze, the man cursed at Chambers (“oh, go to —-“) and vanished into the night.

The Crystal Palace site did not remain empty for long. G.W. Gouinlock’s dome-topped Horticulture Building was erected the following year. As for the building that provided the initial inspiration, London’s Crystal Palace went up in flames in 1936.

Additional material from the September 25, 1878 edition of The Telegram and the October 19, 1906 editions of The Mail and Empire and The Toronto Daily Star.

ADDITIONAL MATERIAL

pictures-r-2883_640px

Crystal Palace, date unknown, used in Landmarks of Toronto Volume 5. Toronto Public Library, JRR 552 Cab.

sketches of toronto crystal palace 1

sketches of toronto crystal palace 2

Sketches of Toronto by Alfred Sylvester (Toronto: Rossin House News Depot, 1858).

pictures-r-3954_640px

Crystal Palace, looking north, with Dufferin Street Wharf in the left foreground. Photo of wood engraving based on a drawing by William T. Smedley, 1881. Toronto Public Library, JRR 2729 Cab. Click here for larger image.

sketches of toronto crystal palace 3

sketches of toronto crystal palace 4

Sketches of Toronto by Alfred Sylvester (Toronto: Rossin House News Depot, 1858).

pictures-r-4107_640px

Crystal Palace, 1884. Toronto Public Library, E 9-189 Small.

grumbler 1858-10-09 crystal palace small

A negative review of the Crystal Palace, The Grumbler, October 9, 1858.

pc33_640px

Postcard by Walter M. Lowney Co. of Canada, Limited, 1905. Toronto Public Library, PC 33. Click here for larger version

globe 1906-10-19 crystal palace fire 1

The Globe, October 19, 1906.