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Monthly Archives: November 2011

The sinking of the Empress of Ireland in the St. Lawrence River– more passenger perish than on the Titanic

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The tragic sinking of the Empress of Ireland in the frigid waters of the St. Lawrence River during the early-morning hours of 29 May 1914 is sometimes referred to as “Canada’s Titanic.” Indeed, with the loss of 1012 lives, the parallels to the Titanic are appropriate. On the Titanic, 807 passengers drowned, while the Empress’ death toll was 840 passengers. The final number of deaths was higher on the Titanic, as a greater number of the crew perished.

 The book, “The Pathway of Duty,” tells about the struggles of the Aldridge family, that immigrated to Canada from Britain in 1907, and settled in Toronto. Ernie Aldridge, the father of the family, on a return voyage to his native land, drowned aboard the Empress of Ireland. When a collier rammed The Empress, it sank within fourteen minutes. The quote below describes the magnificent vessel  

The Royal Mail Steamer, The Empress of Ireland, was a sight never to be forgotten. Launched in Glasgow in 1906, the twin propeller-vessel was sleek to the waterline, designed with an elongated torpedo shape. It was capable of speeds exceeding twenty knots, which is about twenty-three land miles per hour. It was propelled by two gargantuan “quadruple, expansion, steam engines,” individually weighing five hundred tons, each containing four cylinders. The largest of the cylinders on the engines was over six feet in length. The engines were thirty feet high, reaching to the engine room skylights on the boat deck. The casting of these engines was a feat in itself. Lloyd’s of London had conferred on The Empress a safety status number of one hundred, the highest rating possible.

There were other remarkable statistics about The Empress. It required almost a full week’s labour to load the 2600 tons of coal to create the heat for the boilers. Almost the same amount of time was needed to replenish the food and other supplies on board. The massive hull of The Empress was coal-black, except for a narrow band of scarlet red at the water line. The top decks were gleaming white, and on the morning it set sail, they reflected the sun’s rays. Two towering copper-coloured funnels, rimmed at the top with solid black bands, stretched high into the air. The bow was acutely pointed to slice through the water with as little resistance as possible. The stern was schooner-shaped, a pleasing reminiscence of the sailing days of the past when wooden vessels were the rulers of the seas, though now it was the era when the great ocean liners had assumed command. Anyone that saw the The Empress felt that it thoroughly deserved her regal name.

On the morning that the ship was to sail, the arrival of the passengers created a great deal of activity, as over a thousand passengers were booked, as it was approaching the high season for tourists. The third-class (steerage) section was full, whereas the second-class was about half occupied. Only the first-class section had plenty of space since it was two-thirds empty.

Loading the passengers’ luggage was a formidable task, since for this particular voyage it is likely that over 3000 pieces of luggage were involved. From the CPR shed, baggage handlers took the steamer trunks and piles of luggage, and carted them down the gangways on two-wheeled dollies, the workers resembling a long line of constantly moving ants. When the passengers arrived at the end of the gangway, they were greeted by an officer from the ship. From there, the passengers gave instructions for the storage and handling of their luggage. For the bags not required during the voyage, tags labelled “unwanted” were attached, and they were then delivered to the storage hold. Smaller suitcases containing personal items and clothing needed in the days ahead were given tags labelled “wanted” and these were carried directly to the cabins by the “hall” stewards.

The steamer was a technological marvel, representing one of the finest achievements of the Edwardian age. It was one of the few ships that provided direct train service, complete with sleeping cars, directly from Toronto to ship side in Quebec. Travellers thought so highly of the quality of the ship, that the June 25th sailing was already well booked.

A link to the Home Page of the author: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/

A link to read about the memorial service held each year in Toronto on the anniversary of the tragedy: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/05/30/service-to-honour-victims-of-the-empress-of-ireland/

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2011 in Toronto

 

The Arcadian Court at The Bay, Toronto

The famous Arcadian Court on the eight floor of The Bay at Queen and Yonge Streets is closing to the public in January, 2012. The room will no longer offer meals to the public, but will instead only be available for private functions. It is a pity that this grand venue, the pride of the old Robert Simpson Company (Simpson’s) for many decades, will no longer exist as a place to enjoy a special Christmas lunch. 

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          The Arcadian Court on the eight floor of The Bay department Store

I incorporated my memories of the Arcadian Court in the recently published murder/mystery, “The Reluctant Virgin.” In one scene, Gerry Thomson, one of the fictional detectives assigned to solve the murder, dines at the Arcadian Court with his wife, Ruth. It was an afternoon close to Christmas, and a special yuletide lunch was being served.

                                        From the “Reluctant Virgin” 

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Gerry loved Christmas. It was not his responsibility to shop for presents and perform the numerous chores to prepare for the yuletide season. For him, it was a time for popping popcorn with the kids, watching presents pile-up under the tree, enjoy the smell of chocolate peanut butter cookies baking in the oven, and help the kids build snowmen in the backyard.

It also meant family outings. If the city behaved itself, and no one murdered their mother-in-law because she over-cooked the turkey or dropped her cigar butt into the giblet gravy, he might actually have time to take the kids to the Royal Ontario Museum, the Art Gallery of Toronto, or ice skating and tobogganing in High Park. As this moment, because he was away from the phone at the precinct, he was certain that at least one outing was a reality—lunch with Ruth at the Arcadian Court, located on the eight floor of the department store.

Gerry continued to wait as Ruth departed from the cosmetic counter and proceeded to the men’s department, where she purchased two shirts for her father. A half-hour later, after Ruth had tormented the clerks at three more departments, they entered the elevator to Gerry go up to lunch in the Arcadian Court. Gerry smiled in anticipation as the white-gloved hand of the elevator operator pulled shut the outer doors, then, the inner cage-like doors, and next, maneuvered the lever that caused the elevator to begin to rise upward.

Arriving on the eighth floor, the mellow sounds of the piano in the restaurant floated out into the foyer as the hostess wrote down their names. Ten minutes later, she escorted Gerry and Ruth to a cozy table near the north wall. The piano was playing—“It Came Upon the Midnight Clear.” In the background, the tinkle of silverware, china, and the constant buzz of animated conversation floated in the air. Excited patrons were enjoying a festive lunch in the warmth and ornate splendour of the art moderne Arcadian Room, one of Toronto’s finest dining establishments.

Ruth ordered the almandine-crusted salmon, and Gerry requested roast beef—well done. Ruth commented on the large floral arrangements positioned around the room, as she admired the tastefully decorated cornice work and the impressive columns with their ornate capitals. The enormous chandeliers sparkled, casting brilliant light across the room. Dining in the Arcadian Room was an occasion, rather than an opportunity to partake of nourishment.

Gerry had chosen the chair at the table with clear lines of sight and fields of fire, though he knew it was not necessary, as the Arcadian Court was hardly a place for mob hits or gangsters’ assassinations. Still, out of habit, he glanced around the room with the eye of a policeman rather than an observer of architectural detail. He saw “Wild Betty,” a lady of the evening, who was well known at the precinct. Her usual place of assignation was Jarvis Street, in the early-morning hours, but she was presently sitting at a table with a well-dressed older gentleman, who was likely incapable of any type of late-night endeavour.

On the far side of the room was “Harry the Ballman,” a pickpocket whom Gerry had known for years through “professional connections.” Harry was known for picking a pocket so deeply that if his target was a man, the guy was in danger of having his balls pulled out through his trouser pocket. Hence his nickname.

Gerry gazed upward and scanned the upper level that overlooked the dining area. It contained recessed alcoves that hid the diners from view. Then he saw a couple with a young boy stand-up to leave the table. The man held his fedora in front of his face, but Gerry had already recognized him. It was Tyrone Evanson, the principal of York Collegiate. Gerry’s trained eye glanced at the boy, and he knew instantly that the lad was related to Evanson. The resemblance was remarkable. From the photographs in the man’s office at the school, Gerry was certain that Gus did not have any children. Who was this boy? An illegitimate son or a nephew?

Thomson realized the possibilities of what he had discovered. If it were a son, Evanson was open to blackmail. If Stritch had discovered the illicit union, to protect his position within the community, would Evanson resort to murder?

Such a course of action was highly unlikely.

But was it impossible?

To view the Home Page for this blog: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/

To view previous posts about movie houses of Toronto—old and new

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/links-to-toronto-old-movie-housestayloronhistory-com/

To view links to other posts placed on this blog about the history of Toronto and its heritage buildings:

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/08/links-to-historic-architecture-of-torontotayloronhistory-com/

Recent publication entitled “Toronto’s Theatres and the Golden Age of the Silver Screen,” by the author of this blog. The publication explores 50 of Toronto’s old theatres and contains over 80 archival photographs of the facades, marquees and interiors of the theatres. It also relates anecdotes and stories from those who experienced these grand old movie houses.  

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                To place an order for this book:

https://www.historypress.net/catalogue/bookstore/books/Toronto-Theatres-and-the-Golden-Age-of-the-Silver-Screen/9781626194502 .

      Theatres Included in the Book

Chapter One – The Early Years—Nickelodeons and the First Theatres in Toronto

Theatorium (Red Mill) Theatre—Toronto’s First Movie Experience and First Permanent Movie Theatre, Auditorium (Avenue, PIckford), Colonial Theatre (the Bay), thePhotodome, Revue Theatre, Picture Palace (Royal George), Big Nickel (National, Rio), Madison Theatre (Midtown, Capri, Eden, Bloor Cinema, Bloor Street Hot Docs), Theatre Without a Name (Pastime, Prince Edward, Fox)

Chapter Two – The Great Movie Palaces – The End of the Nickelodeons

Loew’s Yonge Street (Elgin/Winter Garden), Shea’s Hippodrome, The Allen (Tivoli), Pantages (Imperial, Imperial Six, Ed Mirvish), Loew’s Uptown

Chapter Three – Smaller Theatres in the pre-1920s and 1920s

 Oakwood, Broadway, Carlton on Parliament Street, Victory on Yonge Street (Embassy, Astor, Showcase, Federal, New Yorker, Panasonic), Allan’s Danforth (Century, Titania, Music Hall), Parkdale, Alhambra (Baronet, Eve), St. Clair, Standard (Strand, Victory, Golden Harvest), Palace, Bedford (Park), Hudson (Mount Pleasant), Belsize (Crest, Regent), Runnymede

Chapter Four – Theatres During the 1930s, the Great Depression

Grant ,Hollywood, Oriole (Cinema, International Cinema), Eglinton, Casino, Radio City, Paramount, Scarboro, Paradise (Eve’s Paradise), State (Bloordale), Colony, Bellevue (Lux, Elektra, Lido), Kingsway, Pylon (Royal, Golden Princess), Metro

Chapter Five – Theatres in the 1940s – The Second World War and the Post-War Years

University, Odeon Fairlawn, Vaughan, Odeon Danforth, Glendale, Odeon Hyland, Nortown, Willow, Downtown, Odeon Carlton, Donlands, Biltmore, Odeon Humber, Town Cinema

Chapter Six – The 1950s Theatres

Savoy (Coronet), Westwood

Chapter Seven – Cineplex and Multi-screen Complexes

Cineplex Eaton Centre, Cineplex Odeon Varsity, Scotiabank Cineplex, Dundas Square Cineplex, The Bell Lightbox (TIFF)

 

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A chilling murder/mystery about a serial killer in 1950s Toronto

The recently published book, “The Reluctant Virgin” is a suspense filled story of a serial killer that haunts the streets of 1950s Toronto. The following passage is from the preface of the book, which allows the reader to gain insight into the setting of the novel, a decade when Toronto was considered “Toronto the Good.”

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In every decade, deeds are committed in dark places that are unknown to those that tread life’s well-lit paths. This was true as the 1950s dawned in Toronto. The city’s residents viewed their insular world as relatively staid and secure, even though they knew that crime existed, and that it was a part of daily life. However, no one suspected that a serial killer was soon to roam the quiet residential avenues and forested river valleys of Toronto. Crimes of this scope did not happen in “Toronto the Good.”

Torontonians thought of their city as a place that embraced and maintained traditional values, even though they were mindful of the shifting morals and new attitudes that were creeping into their neighbourhoods since the war years. Despite this, they remained blissfully unaware that the changes would sweep away the last vestiges of the city’s innocence, and that by the end of the decade, Toronto would be a vastly different city.

Every written journey into the past, whether fictional or scholarly, includes truth, delusions, and exaggerations. This story is no exception. It unfolds in a decade when a well-connected businessman carried a gold-tipped fountain pen in the breast pocket of his pinstripe suit, rather than a Blackberry or cell phone. If men and women wished to be successful and enjoy the respect of their neighbours, their life needed to reflect the values espoused by the local churches or synagogues. Despite the increasing number of immigrants from non-English-speaking countries, respect for the traditional Canadian way of life, allegiance toward Britain, and loyalty to the royal family were important. This was the reality of Toronto in the year our tale begins.

To learn more about this book: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/11/27/recently-published-murder-mystery-contains-many-photos-of-toronto-in-the-1950s/

Author’s Home Page: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/*

To purchase this book: http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000188306/The-Reluctant-Virgin.aspx

 
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Posted by on November 29, 2011 in Toronto

 

NOVEMBER IN CANADA SUCKS

The following passage is from the book “Arse Over Teakettle,” a tale of a family struggling to cope during the war years. The quote ably describe the attitude of most Canadians toward the dark, rainy days of November. 

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In swift progression, autumn’s damp mist caressed my face, and once more, I experienced nature’s mellow season, when mahogany chestnuts and tight-capped acorns dropped to the leaf-strewn ground. Wild asters in the vacant lots near our home pushed their delicate heads skyward, adding their purple pastels to the sun-filled afternoons.

As the fall season drew to a close, November’s dour days appeared, with heavy storm clouds scuttling across pewter skies. I heard the melancholy cry of a solitary bugler sound the “Last Post” in the Remembrance Day ceremony, held each year in the basement of our school. As the days of autumn ended, cold dominated the land, heralding the advent of a long, Toronto winter. The frosts of December seized the land. On the snow-clad hills of Fairbank Park, I heard the laughter of friends as they tobogganed down the frozen slopes. As the poet penned:

                                         All in November’s soaking mist

                                        We stand and prune the naked tree,

                                        While all our love and interest

                                        Seems quenched in blue-nosed mist.

                                                 Ruth Ritter

Dreary November is the bane of every Torontonian’s existence. As a child, I hated the dark, dirty month. Damp grey days and vaporous nights fell across the land. Killing frosts blackened any remaining flowers in the garden, adding to the month’s dismal display.

Each morning, on my way to school, I turned up my collar and hunched my shoulders against the biting breath of the wind. On the days it rained, adults I passed on the street were huddled under dripping umbrellas. Sodden leaves littered the gutters and roadways. Large droplets splattered against windowpanes, and dribbled down the glass like tears. The moaning winds ascended to cathedral skies like a discordant medieval chant, offered by monks who despised the song.

Succinctly stated, November sucks.

For a link to the book that the above passages were derived: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/arse-over-teakettle/

 
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Posted by on November 29, 2011 in Toronto

 

Memories of Eaton’s Toyland in the 1940S

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The following passage is from the novel “Arse Over Teakettle,” a story about a young boy and his family, struggling to cope with the privations of the war years in Toronto during the 1940s. It is a hilarious tale of a group of children and their antics, as they mature sexually and learn about the mysterious ways of the adult world. The quote below tells about Tom Hudson’s first visit to Eaton’s Toyland, in 1943. Tom is the main character of the story, along with his mischievous friend Shorty.

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As Christmas approached, at school, yuletide themes dominated the classroom activities. We sang “Away in a Manger,” thrilled to the poem, “The Night Before Christmas,” and pasted bits of white cotton onto art paper to create snow scenes that rivalled those of Norman Rockwell.

During the second week of December, my mother journeyed downtown to commence her Christmas shopping, and as I attended school only in the morning, I accompanied her. Our destination was Eaton’s. This was the first time I experienced the wonders of the fifth-floor Toyland, with its floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall toys. Everything a child desired ―board games, jig-saw puzzles, trains, dolls, doll houses, sleds, toboggans, miniature cars, electric trains, building blocks, play-school kits, and toy telephones―a kingdom of endless delights.

At the heart of everything was Santa Claus, seated regally on his enormous ice-white throne in “Toyland Castle.” His gigantic black boots, red trousers and jacket, long snow-white beard, and red fur-trimmed hat comprised an impressive sight. Beside him was a pretty, young lady who was his helper. The “little people” who had worked all year to make the toys, were nowhere in sight. I thought that they were likely tending to Santa’s reindeer, which were also absent from the scene.

My mother told me I that I was to have my picture taken with Santa, as we sat on his knee. The cost for two photographs was twenty-five cents. I felt exhilaration as well as panic. I had never experienced such contrasting feelings. It was like having an awesome hero of a fair-tale in a story at school, come to life before my eyes. I never gave it a second thought that Santa was a strange old man who dressed rather strangely and hung around with girls who were a third his age. It was many years before I encountered similar characters strolling along Queen Street West and through the Kensington Market.

My mother accompanied me as I stood in line, and when it was my turn to sit on Santa’s knee, the pretty lady lifted me up. I gazed into Santa’s enormous eyes.

He smiled and inquired, “What do you want for Christmas?”

Before I had an opportunity to reply, he motioned for me to turn my head. There was the blinding light of a flash bulb. Within seconds, the audience with the king of Christmas ended. My mother did not ask me what I had requested for Christmas, as we always considered it a private matter. I had not told Santa anything, but in my heart, I knew that he was aware of my secret wish.

Before departing from the magical world of Toyland, my mother treated me to a trip aboard the Toyland Train Express, which simulated a trip across Canada. For the price of twenty-five cent, the forty-seven-foot train, on one hundred and seventy-five feet (53.2 meters) of track, transported me through forests, prairie grasslands, and a mountain tunnel. When the ride concluded, my mother and I strolled around and gazed at the other attractions of Toyland – Hobby Row, Doll Land, Toto the Clown, Topsy Turvy Town, and a Toyland magician.

For a link to this book: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/arse-over-teakettle/

To view the Home Page for this blog: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/

To view previous posts about movie houses of Toronto—old and new

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/links-to-toronto-old-movie-housestayloronhistory-com/

To view links to other posts placed on this blog about the history of Toronto and its heritage buildings:

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/08/links-to-historic-architecture-of-torontotayloronhistory-com/

Recent publication entitled “Toronto’s Theatres and the Golden Age of the Silver Screen,” by the author of this blog. The publication explores 50 of Toronto’s old theatres and contains over 80 archival photographs of the facades, marquees and interiors of the theatres. It also relates anecdotes and stories from those who experienced these grand old movie houses.  

                           cid_E474E4F9-11FC-42C9-AAAD-1B66D852[2]

                To place an order for this book:

https://www.historypress.net/catalogue/bookstore/books/Toronto-Theatres-and-the-Golden-Age-of-the-Silver-Screen/9781626194502 .

      Theatres Included in the Book

Chapter One – The Early Years—Nickelodeons and the First Theatres in Toronto

Theatorium (Red Mill) Theatre—Toronto’s First Movie Experience and First Permanent Movie Theatre, Auditorium (Avenue, PIckford), Colonial Theatre (the Bay), thePhotodome, Revue Theatre, Picture Palace (Royal George), Big Nickel (National, Rio), Madison Theatre (Midtown, Capri, Eden, Bloor Cinema, Bloor Street Hot Docs), Theatre Without a Name (Pastime, Prince Edward, Fox)

Chapter Two – The Great Movie Palaces – The End of the Nickelodeons

Loew’s Yonge Street (Elgin/Winter Garden), Shea’s Hippodrome, The Allen (Tivoli), Pantages (Imperial, Imperial Six, Ed Mirvish), Loew’s Uptown

Chapter Three – Smaller Theatres in the pre-1920s and 1920s

 Oakwood, Broadway, Carlton on Parliament Street, Victory on Yonge Street (Embassy, Astor, Showcase, Federal, New Yorker, Panasonic), Allan’s Danforth (Century, Titania, Music Hall), Parkdale, Alhambra (Baronet, Eve), St. Clair, Standard (Strand, Victory, Golden Harvest), Palace, Bedford (Park), Hudson (Mount Pleasant), Belsize (Crest, Regent), Runnymede

Chapter Four – Theatres During the 1930s, the Great Depression

Grant ,Hollywood, Oriole (Cinema, International Cinema), Eglinton, Casino, Radio City, Paramount, Scarboro, Paradise (Eve’s Paradise), State (Bloordale), Colony, Bellevue (Lux, Elektra, Lido), Kingsway, Pylon (Royal, Golden Princess), Metro

Chapter Five – Theatres in the 1940s – The Second World War and the Post-War Years

University, Odeon Fairlawn, Vaughan, Odeon Danforth, Glendale, Odeon Hyland, Nortown, Willow, Downtown, Odeon Carlton, Donlands, Biltmore, Odeon Humber, Town Cinema

Chapter Six – The 1950s Theatres

Savoy (Coronet), Westwood

Chapter Seven – Cineplex and Multi-screen Complexes

Cineplex Eaton Centre, Cineplex Odeon Varsity, Scotiabank Cineplex, Dundas Square Cineplex, The Bell Lightbox (TIFF)

 

 

 

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NOVELS THAT EXLORE TORONTO’S PAST

For decades, if authors wished to capture public interest in their books, it was advisable to place the background of the story anywhere other than in Toronto. Fortunately, this is now changing. More and more, in television programs, films, and literature, the city is featured prominently. In some movies and novels, the city is as important as the the characters and the story.

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I have written four books that feature Toronto. The book “The Villages Within” is non-fiction. It provides an irreverent history of the city, as well as in-depth studies of the Kings-West District (around King St. and Spadina), the Kensington Market, and Queen Street West. It also tells about the historic St. Andrew’s Market, the second market established by Toronto. This book was nominated for the Toronto heritage Awards.

My other three books are historical fiction, and feature the city in various decades of the 20th century.  For information on these novels, follow the links below.

 

 

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1. “There Never was a Better Time”, a story of an immigrant family struggling to survive in Toronto during the 1920s. https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/there-never-was-a-better-time/

 

 

 

 

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2. “Arse Over Teakettle,” Toronto Trilogy Book One, a story of a young boy coming-of-age in Toronto in the 1940s, during the Second World War and post-war years. https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/arse-over-teakettle/

 

 

 

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3. “The Reluctant Virgin,” Toronto trilogy Book Two, follows the same characters as book one of the trilogy. It is a murder/mystery set in 1950s Toronto. https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/11/27/recently-published-murder-mystery-contains-many-photos-of-toronto-in-the-1950s/

 

 

The authors Home Page: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2011 in Toronto

 

RECENTLY PUBLISHED MURDER MYSTERY CONTAINS MANY PHOTOS OF TORONTO IN THE 1950s

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“The Reluctant Virgin,” is the second book of the Toronto Trilogy. The chilling murder/mystery is set in Toronto during the 1950s. A sadistic killer, who drains the blood from the victims, haunts the streets and forested valleys of the city. The police are baffled. Four murders occur before they realize that they are dealing with a serial killer. Although the tale is fictional, the story appears extremely real as 1950s Toronto is recreated with detailed accuracy. Sensitive social issues of the 1950s are exposed as they relate to the fictional characters. The book contains many historic photographs of the city during this decade, adding greatly to the impression that the events actually occurred.  

 

The quote below tells of the first murder, which occurs in the secluded darkness of the Humber River Valley.

In a state of confusion, the woman appeared to wander aimlessly on the wooded trail on the river’s east bank. Then she turned and retraced her steps across the bridge. She descended again into the solitude of the valley, and in a daze, meandered along the embankment on the west side of the river. By now, the last traces of twilight had dissolved into the impenetrable darkness of the night. A slight breeze gently swayed the upper branches of the trees as the approaching rain clouds from the west drifted closer. Within a few moments, they ominously obscured the moon.

The woman’s pace was slow. Several times, she stopped to wipe away tears. Oblivious to her surroundings, she was unaware that someone was following her. She continued along the forested trail, the intense darkness having closed the valley against the outside world.

The stalker required no light to perceive the victim, her image burned forever into memory—shoulder-length blonde hair, attractive features, and a shapely body. The stalker cared nothing about her beauty. She was a threat.

Familiar with the contours of the landscape, the stalker walked briskly on an alternate trail to a position on the path ahead of her and waited, hidden among the pitch-black foliage, knowing that the woman would shortly pass by.

Her eyes misted with tears, the woman was stunned when a sinister shadow became human and sprung to life from the gloom surrounding her. She froze in her tracks as she stared at the apparition. The terrifying shape possessed eyes that glowed with hate. She recognized the eyes, which increased her shock.

She was unable to react as fear paralyzed her.

With only a moment’s hesitation, the stalker smashed a fist-sized rock against the young woman’s head. She collapsed. As she lay unconscious, the murder weapon was thrown into the river. Next, the stalker lifted the helpless victim, carried her away from the path beside the river, and dumped her into the thick undergrowth.

In the darkness amid the secluded bushes, the stalker sexually violated her, and when finished, executed a strange course of action. An observer might have mistaken it for a ritual.

The stalker’s face displayed no emotion while patiently waiting for the victim’s breathing to cease. When certain she was dead, the murderer slipped away into the impenetrable darkness, thinking no more of the corpse in the valley than if it had been a sack of garbage.

Historic photos of 1950s Toronto that are included in the book.

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     City of Toronto Archives, Series 574, S 0754, file 0054, id49757

Yonge Street looking north from Dundas Street in 1951

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            City of Toronto Archives, Series 381, file 0305, id1955-1

Yonge Street looking south toward College Street, College Park (the old Eaton’s College Street Store) visible in the distance. The streetcars are the famous Peter Witt trolleys.

A link to the book, The Reluctant Virgin:

http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000188306/The-Reluctant-Virgin.aspx

The author’s Home Page: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress

 

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2011 in Toronto