A Collection of Editorials About the 1919 Toronto General Strike

times 1919-06-03 editorial page header

Before diving into this post, check out my article for TVO about the 1919 Toronto General Strike.

world 1919-05-22 editorial and cartoon

Toronto World, May 22, 1919.

Mayor Tommy Church, who held numerous meetings with employers and labour in the lead up to the strike. The messsage on the wall refers to the Labor Temple at 167 Church Street, where many of the organizational meetings for the strike were held.

star 1919-05-23 editorial

Toronto Star, May 23, 1919.

A major Star editorial on the Winnipeg General Strike and the battle between employers and labour, which treats the disputes as labour disputes, not a rise in Bolshevism.

The Star‘s competitors, especially the Telegram and the Times, saw this editorial and others the paper published at this time as an opportunity to attack and ridicule.

tely 1919-05-23 criticism of star coverage of wgs

Evening Telegram, May 23, 1919.

This editorial refers to an old timey tune, which you can hear a 1926 recording of via the Internet Archive.

tely 1919-05-27 anti-star cartoon

Cartoon by George Shields, Evening Telegram, May 27, 1919.

Star publisher Joseph Atkinson is standing in the doorway. Not entirely sure who the other two men are supposed to be, though I’m guessing one is socialist activist and future Toronto mayor Jimmie Simpson (another favourite target of the Tely).

times 1919-05-23 editorial criticizing star

Toronto Times, May 23, 1919.

This is one of the few opportunities for me to browse the Toronto Times, the short-lived final incarnation of the Toronto News. Debuting on March 27, 1919, it was a Conservative daily in a market filled with several shades of Conservative dailies. Its death in September 1919 demonstrated the city could no longer support six papers.

times 1919-05-31 front page anti-star cartoon

Front page cartoon, Toronto Times, May 31, 1919.

The Times didn’t like Atkinson either, and also referred to the dog song.

times 1919-05-27 editorials on strike and rent profiteering

Toronto Times, May 27, 1919.

tely 1919-05-28 editorials

Evening Telegram, May 28, 1919.

As the deadline for the general strike loomed, Telegram editor John “Black Jack” Robinson started getting shouty.

Feel free to debate Robinson’s contention that “Toronto is a community of citizens, not of classes,” especially in 1919-era Toronto.

tely 1919-05-29 drifitng to calamity editorial

Evening Telegram, May 29, 1919.

me 1919-05-28 sober men want more editorial

Mail and Empire, May 28, 1919.

There were numerous theories floating around editorial pages as to why labourers were so upset in Toronto and across the country. This one uses an unnamed source claiming prohibition was making workers smarter now that their access to booze was (theoretically) restricted.

world 1919-05-28 editorial

Toronto World, May 28, 1919.

 

star 1919-05-29 editorial

Toronto Star, May 29, 1919.

And now, a word from our sponsors…

star 1919-05-28 lawrence bread ad about strikes

Toronto Star, May 28, 1919.

tely 1919-05-30 anti-strike cartoon

Cartoon by George Shields, Evening Telegram, May 30, 1919.

 

times 1919-05-30 editorial

Toronto Times, May 30, 1919.

times 1919-05-30 woman's page jewish girls among strikers

Toronto Times, May 30, 1919.

In all of the papers, the only women’s page to offer strike coverage was the Times‘. This piece about garment workers makes special note of their dress and religion in ways that feel off in a modern context.

star 1919-06-02 editorial

Toronto Star, June 2, 1919.

The Star‘s attempt to refute claims that “Europeans” were leading the strike effort…

times 1919-06-02 editorial

Toronto Times, June 2, 1919.

…while the Times continues its fearmongering tactics.

The “men we blame” were Jimmie Simpson (labour activist, future Toronto mayor, and whom the park and rec centre on Queen Street are named after), Reverend Salem Bland (a Methodist minister who preached Social Gospel, later became a Star columnist, and was the subject of a portrait by Lawren Harris), and William Ivens (editor of the daily workers bulletin during the Winnipeg General Strike).

world 1919-06-03 editorial cartoon

Toronto World, June 3, 1919.

globe 1919-06-03 editorial

Globe, June 3, 1919.

This editorial, and the next one, revolve around the roundup of 12 suspected subversives, and federal legislation that would deport anyone (especially those “Europeans”) arrested for Bolshevist tendencies.

me 1919-06-03 editorial

Mail and Empire, June 3, 1919.

times 1919-06-03 editorial

Toronto Times, June 3, 1919.

And now a pair of pieces celebrating the strike’s end. The Metal Trades Council remained on strike for another month.

times 1919-06-04 editorial on strike being beaten

Toronto Times, June 4, 1919.

globe 1919-06-04 editorial

Globe, June 4, 1919.

world 1919-06-05 editorial

Toronto World, June 5, 1919.