Vintage Toronto Ads: A Sporting Proposition in Muskoka

Originally published on Torontoist on February 26, 2008.

Vintage Ad #500: Skiing to Acapulco Via Huntsville

 Toronto Life, February 1971.

Your reaction to snow depends on the circumstances. The frequency of dumps the city has received so far this year has caused grumbling about blocked streets, dirty mounds higher than the average citizen and many a wish for spring to speed up its arrival. Conversely, as long as the roads outside the city are passable, lovebirds, families and outdoor enthusiasts looking for an escape from the city have headed up to Muskoka resorts like Hidden Valley to enjoy activities made possible by the white stuff.

Perhaps the gala après-ski events offered up sweater-clad singers for the swinging crowd and exciting new cocktail creations from the bar. It is unknown if the children’s events included choreographed snowball fights, piñata smashing (to tie in with the Acapulco promotion) and lessons on how to attract ski bunnies.

Today’s featured resort’s chain affiliations have varied over the years, with Holiday Inn one of the longest-lasting. Note the use of the chain’s classic “Great Sign” logo, a North American roadside icon through the early 1980s.


gm 1968-12-12 hidden valley opening rates

A sampling of skiing options advertised in the classified section of the December 12, 1968 edition of the Globe and Mail. We’re kind of curious about what the “total après-ski entertainment” at Hidden Valley entailed.

Globe and Mail, February 21, 1969.

gm 1969-12-18 hidden valley photo essay
Globe and Mail, December 18, 1969. Click on image for larger version.

My family stayed at Hidden Valley one summer during the mid-1990s, while my sister attended a jazz camp at Lake Manitouwabing. By that point the hotel was a Best Western, and the restaurant was a Golden Griddle whose menu proudly boasted all the supermarket brands it served (let’s just say I was never thrilled the few times I ever ate at GGs). Little would I have suspected at the time that one of the instructors at the camp would someday be my father-in-law, and that my future partner-in-crime may have been hanging around the campsite.

Vintage Toronto Ads: Super Summer Soccer Nights

Originally published on Torontoist on April 21, 2017.

Vintage Ad #190 - Toronto Metros

Source: Toronto Life, May 1974.

With Toronto FC’s home opener drawing near, today’s trip in the wayback machine stops at an earlier point in the city’s professional soccer history, offering “super summer nights” for a pair of twenties.

The Metros joined the North American Soccer League in 1971. This was the city’s second go-round with the league – the Toronto Falcons had been a charter member in 1968, but folded after one season. When this ad appeared, the Metros were coming off a first place finish in NASL’s Northern division, losing in the semifinals to the Philadelphia Atoms. 1974 wasn’t as kind – second place, a losing record (9-10-1) and a drop in average attendance (from 5,961 to 3,458).

The Metros merged with Toronto Croatia of the National Soccer League to form the Toronto Metros-Croatia, whose high point came with an NASL championship in 1976, led by Portuguese star Eusébio. The teams split apart two years later, with Global Television buying the Metros, renaming them the Blizzard and moving them to Exhibition Stadium for the 1979 season. The team remained in NASL until the league’s demise after the 1984 season, then continued on as a member of several other leagues before winding down ten years later.


This post barely tells the story of the Metros. Check out my Historicist column on pro soccer in Toronto in the 1960s and 1970s, culminating in the Metros-Croatia 1976 Soccer Bowl victory.

Toronto FC debuted in 2007. They lost their home debut 1-0 against the Kansas City Wizards on April 28, their fourth loss in a row. The losing streak ended on May 12 during a home game against the Chicago Fire. They finished the season in the MLS Eastern Conference basement.