Vintage Toronto Ads: How to Prevent a Domestic Disturbance

Originally published on Torontoist on April 15, 2008.

Vintage Ad #521: Does Your Husband Yawn at the Table?

National Home Monthly, January 1950.

Sometimes what passed for clever advertising in the past leaves us speechless. Note that today’s ad appeared seven years before Advertising Standards Canada came into being.

57 Ways to Use Heinz Condensed Soups

The free guide offered in this ad was first published in 1944 and offered the following words of wisdom:

Soup has long played a stellar part on the Canadian menu—but never has it filled so many interesting and appetizing roles as it does today! Formerly served as a first course, versatile soup now appears as an important ingredient in dozens of dishes—dressings, meat loaves, rarebits, casseroles and many another old favourite. For housewives have found this a quick, thrifty way to make everything from sauces to salads extra nourishing and delicious.

Most of the recipes provided in the guide are mid-20th century staples, though some lean toward the exotic-sounding (“Fricasseed Chicken with Marengo Sauce”), fattening (“Weiner-Vegetable Casserole” loaded with bacon drippings), or are overdue for a modern remake from the city’s finest chefs (“Tomato Soup Cake” complete with cream cheese frosting).

420 Dupont Street still exists as an address, though Heinz moved their Canadian head office to North York long ago. The site, located at the NW corner of Dupont and Howland, was later the home of Mono Lino Typesetting, and has served as an exterior for films such as Hairspray.

ADDITIONAL MATERIAL

Searching for stories about domestic abuse published in Toronto’s papers in 1950, the majority of reports related to sentences handed out to offenders in Trafalgar Township (present-day Oakville). The June 30, 1950 edition of the Star reported that Bronte resident Elmer Catley was sentenced to four days in jail and “10 strokes of the strap” for wife-beating. He was also ordered to post a $500 property bond and pay $25 in costs, or face 10 more days behind bars. Trafalgar Township police chief Fred Oliver noted that “liquor is this man’s downfall.” Catley was denied a request to be placed on the LCBO’s “Indian List,” which would have blocked his access to alcohol.

Lashing appears to have been a common punishment at the time in Bronte. The December 15, 1950 Globe and Mail reported the sentencing of Walter Ripley to 10 strokes, along with two months hard labour.

Meanwhile, in Toronto, apparently hitting a landlord merited a larger fine than hitting one’s spouse.

gm 1950-03-22 wife hitting offenses in toronto

Globe and Mail, March 22, 1950.

Vintage Toronto Ads: The League of Rations

Originally published on Torontoist on November 3, 2009.

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Toronto Star, November 19, 1936.

Isn’t it wonderful when four stereotypical figures can come together in perfect harmony thanks to a humble can of spaghetti? We never suspected that the finest spices from Asia lurked within our sloppy Saturday childhood lunch.

Paying homage to the League of Nations might not have been the smartest marketing move in 1936. The weaknesses of the forerunner to the United Nations were all too apparent that year as it failed to make sanctions against Italy stick after Benito Mussolini’s forces invaded Ethiopia and did little to intervene when civil war broke out in Spain.

As for the teaser at the bottom of today’s ad, CFRB was one of the Canadian outlets for the new Heinz Magazine of the Air program, which aired three times a week on CBS. An ad in Life magazine promised homemakers that they would enjoy “a fun half-hour of sparkling music, famous guest stars, romance, drama, homemaking, child problems.” We suspect that a tin of spaghetti was the recommended method of restoring harmony between battling brats.

Additional material from the November 23, 1936 issue of Life.