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Monthly Archives: December 2012

Toronto’s Eaton Centre Xmas decorations at night in 2012

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The Christmas decorations at the Eaton Centre become truly magical at night, when the skylights in the Galleria cease to reflect the light from outdoors, closing the mall against the outside world. I saw parents taking wide-eyed children by the hand, walking under the magnificent sculptures, and pointing up at the reindeers’ bellies. Others were standing still to stare at the colourful displays, too overcome to speak. I believe that the adults were enjoying the experience as much as the children. In future years, the children will treasure the memories of their visits to downtown Toronto in 2012, at Christmas, as much as those of us who are older cherish our memories of similar events – Santa at Eaton’s and Simpson’s, Toyland, The Eaton’s Santa Claus Parade, the Simpson’s windows, lights at City Hall, and the strings of lights on Yonge Street. Christmas is a time to create memories and recall pleasant times of the yuletide season from our past.

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To view other posts about Christmas in Toronto throughout the years.

A popcorn man on the street in downtown Toronto during Christmas

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/18/a-popcorn-man-in-toronto-during-christmas-2012/

Photos with the Eaton’s Santa in 1941 and 1943

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/18/photos-with-eatons-santa-claus-in-1941-and-1944/

A church Christmas pageant in Toronto in 2012

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/church-xmas-concerts-of-yesteryear-remain-alive-in-toronto/

Downtown Toronto’s lights and Christmas displays – 2012

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/downtown-torontos-xmas-displays-at-night/

The Christmas windows at the Bay Store are magical at night

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/16/the-bay-xmas-windows-on-queen-become-magical-at-night/

Christmas at the historic St. Lawrence Market in 1921 and in 2012

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/14/xmas-at-the-historic-st-lawrence-market-in-1921-and-in-2012/

The Christmas windows at the Bay Store on Queen Street, 2012

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/the-2012-christmas-windows-at-the-bay-store-on-queen-street/

The amazing gingerbread houses on the underground Pathway in Toronto

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/amazing-christmas-gingerbread-houses-on-torontos-pathway/

The gigantic metallic reindeer in the Eaton Centre

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/13/the-gigantic-xmas-reindeer-in-the-eaton-centre/

Christmas cards mailed in Toronto during the years 1924-1926

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/11/xmas-cards-mailed-in-toronto-1924-1927/

The Christmas buffet lunch at the Arcadian Court at the Simpson’s Queen Street Store in Toronto (the Bay)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/11/30/christmas-lunch-at-simpsons-arcadian-court-in-the-1950s-featured-in-murdermystery/

Christmas at Mackenzie House on Bond Street.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/12/07/torontos-mackenzie-house-on-bond-street-at-christmas/

Christmas at Toronto’s St. Lawrence Market

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/12/09/christmas-at-the-st-lawrence-market-in-torontos-yesteryear/

The Christmas Market at the Distillery District

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/12/10/my-recent-visit-to-torontos-christmas-market-at-the-distillery-district/

Memories of the Christmas windows of the Simpson’s store on Queen Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/12/03/memories-of-the-christmas-windows-of-the-simpsons-store-at-queen-and-bay-streets/

Christmas at the Kensington Market

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/12/01/enjoying-the-kensington-market-at-christmas/

Memories of Toyland on the fifth floor of the old Eaton’s Store at Queen and Yonge Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/11/29/memories-of-eatons-toyland-in-the-1940s/

The Christmas lights on Yonge Street in the 1950s

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/11/24/memories-of-the-lights-at-xmas-on-torontos-yonge-street-in-the-1950s/

The history of Toronto’s Santa Claus Parade

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/11/15/history-of-torontos-santa-claus-parade/

The 1940s Christmas radio broadcasts featuring Santa Claus

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/11/15/memories-of-trimming-the-tree-and-the-eatons-christmas-radio-broadcasts-in-1944/

Christmas at Toronto’s historic St. Andrew’s Market

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/11/23/christmas-during-the-19th-century-at-torontos-historic-st-andrews-market/

Christmas trees and seasonal decorations in Toronto

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/12/20/favourite-christmas-trees-and-decorations-in-toronto-this-year/

Celebrating the 12 days of Christmas in old Newfoundland

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/celebrating-the-12-days-of-christmas-in-the-newfoundland-of-yesteryear/

A humorous account of a Christmas concert in old Newfoundland

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/a-humorous-account-of-a-church-xmas-concert-in-old-newfoundland/

Link to the Home Page for this blog: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2012 in Toronto

 

Toronto’s weather has gone to Vancouver for Xmas of 2012

This December, the weather in Toronto has been so mild that it is difficult to believe that we are into the yuletide season. However, Vancouver has been hit with so much snow that the city has had difficulties coping with the traffic snarls.  In the past, Toronto has also endured some very heavy snowstorms.

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Can you believe that this is Toronto? The above picture was taken in December of 1944, when the worst snowstorm to ever hit the city descended. The picture is of Bay Street, looking north to the Old City Hall on Queen Street. The men in the intersection are clearing the streets.

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This is the intersection at Bay and College Streets. The building on the southeast corner is the Eaton’s College street Store, which has since been demolished. A Peter Witt streetcar can be seen travelling north on Bay Street. This photo, from the City of Toronto Archives, was also taken in December of 1944.

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The above picture is Yonge street in December of 1944, looking north from near Richmond Street. The building seen behind the PCC streetcar is the Bay Store at Queen and Yonge Street.

The snowstorm of 1944 was the worst snowstorm in Toronto’s history. It was rare that stories linking Canada and snow were considered newsworthy. In other countries, they usually ranked them in the same category as an old bachelor’s love life—frigid, but who cares? However, this was an exception, as the event created newspaper headlines across North America.

A warm, moist air mass travelled for several days northward up the Mississippi Valley from the Gulf of Mexico. Its effects were first felt in Colorado; it continued northward, gradually spinning to the northeast. It reached northern New York State in the early evening of Monday, 11 December, sweeping westward below the Niagara Escarpment and across Lake Ontario. Then, changing direction, it approached Toronto from the east. Before it blew out to sea off the Atlantic seaboard, it created a wide swath of death and destruction.

Even today, lake-effect storms remain the city’s worst winter nightmare. The famous “storm of ’44” began on a Monday evening, when snow flurries scattered across the streets and laneways. Soon, its intensity increased. As midnight approached, the storm intensified. In the early hours of the morning of 12 December, Torontonians awoke to a wintry world beyond imagination. By 8:00 a.m., nineteen inches (nearly fifty centimetres) had fallen. The storm continued, and by 10:00 a.m., there were twenty inches, twenty-one by noontime. Before the storm abated in the afternoon, twenty-two and a half inches of snow had accumulated.

Because of the gale-force winds, drifts were six to ten feet high. The previous record snowfall was in 1876, with 16.2 inches (41.1 cm). During the snow crisis of 1999, when Mayor Mel Lastman called in the army, 15.5 inches (39.3 cm) fell. The 1944 storm still holds the record as the greatest amount of snow from a single storm.

When people awoke and gazed out their frost-covered windows, it appeared as if an enormous snow-filled dumpster had dropped its contents, burying the city. Streets and laneways were impassable, sidewalks were blocked with drifts, fences were buried, and most garden sheds had vanished beneath a thick layer of white. Other than the wind, the only sounds were the muffled clip-clops of a few horse carts whose owners foolishly braved the drifts.

One newspaper reporter wrote, “It’s as if a giant’s hand has silenced the city.”

On the radio, Mayor Conboy issues a request to the people of Toronto: “Remain within your homes, and do not travel to work unless necessary. Any available public transportation has been reserved for emergencies and those employed in the war industries, as their production is essential for victory. Cars are banned from roadways with streetcar lines. Get into the national spirit and help our city support the war effort.”

Despite these restrictions, it was hopeless. The city moved in slow motion. Hospitals were short staffed; they postponed surgeries. On the radio, Bell Telephone notified customers that no repair trucks were available and asked them to limit their phone calls. Funerals were cancelled. Milk and bread deliveries were impossible. Courts of justice were shut down when jurors failed to arrive. The Toronto Stock Exchange ceased operations.

At 11:30 a.m., Premier Drew adjourned the legislative session at Queen’s Park. It was announced, “All activity has ceased.”

On this subject, one newscaster commented, “What’s different? There’s rarely any activity even when the government is in session.”

Eaton’s and Simpson’s closed but vowed to open the following day. However, Eaton’s declared that if any customers arrived at their doors during the storm, they would escort them through the departments.

The University of Toronto suspended all classes for the day, as the campus was buried beneath six-foot drifts. Its ornate Gothic buildings resembled a deserted movie set—eerie, empty, and ghostly. Icy winds whistled through the doorways of the old buildings, bombarding the massive stone walls of University College, Convocation Hall, and Hart House. They wrapped around Memorial Tower, piling the snow under the massive archway. Tornado-like winds hammered the near-vacant quadrangle at the heart of the campus, where a few hearty students struggled through the snowbanks only to be confronted by empty lecture halls.

Officials closed public schools, though many parents were unaware of the announcement and sent their children to school, anyway. One principal reported that of the 530 pupils that normally attended the school, only 60 had arrived. Toronto’s one hundred thousand elementary school children and three thousand teachers had a winter holiday. High schools were in the middle of term examinations and had been scheduled to close on Friday for the Christmas break. Because of the storm, they decided to postpone the exams until the following Monday, the students relinquishing a day of their regular ten-day holidays.

It was indeed a snowstorm to remember.

The above information is from the book, “Arse Over Teakettle.” For a link to this book :https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/arse-over-teakettle/

To view other posts about Christmas in Toronto throughout the years.

The Christmas butter sculptures in the lobby of the Royal York Hotel

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/19/xmas-butter-sculptures-in-royal-york-hotel-lobby/

A popcorn man on the street in downtown Toronto during Christmas

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/18/a-popcorn-man-in-toronto-during-christmas-2012/

Photos with the Eaton’s Santa in 1941 and 1943

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/18/photos-with-eatons-santa-claus-in-1941-and-1944/

A church Christmas pageant in Toronto in 2012

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/church-xmas-concerts-of-yesteryear-remain-alive-in-toronto/

Downtown Toronto’s lights and Christmas displays – 2012

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/downtown-torontos-xmas-displays-at-night/

The Christmas windows at the Bay Store are magical at night

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/16/the-bay-xmas-windows-on-queen-become-magical-at-night/

Christmas at the historic St. Lawrence Market in 1921 and in 2012

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/14/xmas-at-the-historic-st-lawrence-market-in-1921-and-in-2012/

The Christmas windows at the Bay Store on Queen Street, 2012

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/the-2012-christmas-windows-at-the-bay-store-on-queen-street/

The amazing gingerbread houses on the underground Pathway in Toronto

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/amazing-christmas-gingerbread-houses-on-torontos-pathway/

The gigantic metallic reindeer in the Eaton Centre

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/13/the-gigantic-xmas-reindeer-in-the-eaton-centre/

Christmas cards mailed in Toronto during the years 1924-1926

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/11/xmas-cards-mailed-in-toronto-1924-1927/

The Christmas buffet lunch at the Arcadian Court at the Simpson’s Queen Street Store in Toronto (the Bay)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/11/30/christmas-lunch-at-simpsons-arcadian-court-in-the-1950s-featured-in-murdermystery/

Christmas at Mackenzie House on Bond Street.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/12/07/torontos-mackenzie-house-on-bond-street-at-christmas/

Christmas at Toronto’s St. Lawrence Market

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/12/09/christmas-at-the-st-lawrence-market-in-torontos-yesteryear/

The Christmas Market at the Distillery District

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/12/10/my-recent-visit-to-torontos-christmas-market-at-the-distillery-district/

Memories of the Christmas windows of the Simpson’s store on Queen Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/12/03/memories-of-the-christmas-windows-of-the-simpsons-store-at-queen-and-bay-streets/

Christmas at the Kensington Market

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/12/01/enjoying-the-kensington-market-at-christmas/

Memories of Toyland on the fifth floor of the old Eaton’s Store at Queen and Yonge Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/11/29/memories-of-eatons-toyland-in-the-1940s/

The Christmas lights on Yonge Street in the 1950s

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/11/24/memories-of-the-lights-at-xmas-on-torontos-yonge-street-in-the-1950s/

The history of Toronto’s Santa Claus Parade

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/11/15/history-of-torontos-santa-claus-parade/

The 1940s Christmas radio broadcasts featuring Santa Claus

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/11/15/memories-of-trimming-the-tree-and-the-eatons-christmas-radio-broadcasts-in-1944/

Christmas at Toronto’s historic St. Andrew’s Market

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/11/23/christmas-during-the-19th-century-at-torontos-historic-st-andrews-market/

Christmas trees and seasonal decorations in Toronto

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/12/20/favourite-christmas-trees-and-decorations-in-toronto-this-year/

Celebrating the 12 days of Christmas in old Newfoundland

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/celebrating-the-12-days-of-christmas-in-the-newfoundland-of-yesteryear/

A humorous account of a Christmas concert in old Newfoundland

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/a-humorous-account-of-a-church-xmas-concert-in-old-newfoundland/

Link to the Home Page for this blog: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/

 

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2012 in Toronto

 

Xmas butter sculptures in Toronto’s Royal York Hotel lobby

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The Royal York Hotel decorates its lobby each December to welcome visitors over the yuletide season. Although the hotel lobby is one of the largest in the city, the space appears intimate and warm. Butter sculptures in numerous glass showcases depict the traditions and stories of Christmas. The colourful Christmas tree at the west end of the lobby is the focal point of the seasonal display.

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                                                    The lobby of the hotel

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                 The Christmas tree at the west side of the lobby

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Carved in butter is jolly old St. Nick with his bag of toys and his sleigh

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                         A group of carollers carved in butter

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                                      The Grinch who stole Christmas

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                                    Miss Piggy and Kermit sing a carol

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                                     The Royal York Hotel lobby

To view other posts about Christmas in Toronto throughout the years.

A popcorn man on the street in downtown Toronto during Christmas

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/18/a-popcorn-man-in-toronto-during-christmas-2012/

Photos with the Eaton’s Santa in 1941 and 1943

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/18/photos-with-eatons-santa-claus-in-1941-and-1944/

A church Christmas pageant in Toronto in 2012

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/church-xmas-concerts-of-yesteryear-remain-alive-in-toronto/

Downtown Toronto’s lights and Christmas displays – 2012

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/downtown-torontos-xmas-displays-at-night/

The Christmas windows at the Bay Store are magical at night

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/16/the-bay-xmas-windows-on-queen-become-magical-at-night/

Christmas at the historic St. Lawrence Market in 1921 and in 2012

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/14/xmas-at-the-historic-st-lawrence-market-in-1921-and-in-2012/

The Christmas windows at the Bay Store on Queen Street, 2012

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/the-2012-christmas-windows-at-the-bay-store-on-queen-street/

The amazing gingerbread houses on the underground Pathway in Toronto

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/amazing-christmas-gingerbread-houses-on-torontos-pathway/

The gigantic metallic reindeer in the Eaton Centre

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/13/the-gigantic-xmas-reindeer-in-the-eaton-centre/

Christmas cards mailed in Toronto during the years 1924-1926

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/11/xmas-cards-mailed-in-toronto-1924-1927/

The Christmas buffet lunch at the Arcadian Court at the Simpson’s Queen Street Store in Toronto (the Bay)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/11/30/christmas-lunch-at-simpsons-arcadian-court-in-the-1950s-featured-in-murdermystery/

Christmas at Mackenzie House on Bond Street.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/12/07/torontos-mackenzie-house-on-bond-street-at-christmas/

Christmas at Toronto’s St. Lawrence Market

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/12/09/christmas-at-the-st-lawrence-market-in-torontos-yesteryear/

The Christmas Market at the Distillery District

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/12/10/my-recent-visit-to-torontos-christmas-market-at-the-distillery-district/

Memories of the Christmas windows of the Simpson’s store on Queen Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/12/03/memories-of-the-christmas-windows-of-the-simpsons-store-at-queen-and-bay-streets/

Christmas at the Kensington Market

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/12/01/enjoying-the-kensington-market-at-christmas/

Memories of Toyland on the fifth floor of the old Eaton’s Store at Queen and Yonge Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/11/29/memories-of-eatons-toyland-in-the-1940s/

The Christmas lights on Yonge Street in the 1950s

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/11/24/memories-of-the-lights-at-xmas-on-torontos-yonge-street-in-the-1950s/

The history of Toronto’s Santa Claus Parade

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/11/15/history-of-torontos-santa-claus-parade/

The 1940s Christmas radio broadcasts featuring Santa Claus

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/11/15/memories-of-trimming-the-tree-and-the-eatons-christmas-radio-broadcasts-in-1944/

Christmas at Toronto’s historic St. Andrew’s Market

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/11/23/christmas-during-the-19th-century-at-torontos-historic-st-andrews-market/

Christmas trees and seasonal decorations in Toronto

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/12/20/favourite-christmas-trees-and-decorations-in-toronto-this-year/

Celebrating the 12 days of Christmas in old Newfoundland

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/celebrating-the-12-days-of-christmas-in-the-newfoundland-of-yesteryear/

A humorous account of a Christmas concert in old Newfoundland

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/a-humorous-account-of-a-church-xmas-concert-in-old-newfoundland/

Link to the Home Page for this blog: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 19, 2012 in Toronto

 

A popcorn man in Toronto during Christmas 2012

During the early years of the 20th century, there were no bridges over the railway tracks that crossed Yonge and Bay Streets. During the summer months, many pedestrians frequently crossed these roadways to reach the ferry docks on the waterfront to board a ferry to cross to the Toronto Islands. It was an ideal place for vendors to sell popcorn and peanuts as the people were often trapped for five or ten minutes while a lengthy freight train trundled along the level crossings. When bridges finally spanned these streets, people no longer were forced to wait for the trains to pass. The vendors dispersed throughout the downtown area, sometimes peddling their treats at downtown street-corners and along residential avenues. 

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The above picture of a popcorn man was taken in 1965 on the west side of Yonge Street, a short distance north of Queen Street. I do not remember when he disappeared from the streets, but I have not encountered him for many years. I suppose that with the opening of the Eaton Centre, where there are gourmet popcorn shops, his business was no longer profitable. I was very surprised to see a popcorn this year (2012) on the southwest corner of Yonge and Dundas, across from Dundas Square.  The pictures below were taken on a mild evening in December. The sight of the vendor brought back fond memories of yesteryear.

2012

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To view other posts about Christmas in Toronto throughout the years.

Photos with the Eaton’s Santa in 1941 and 1943

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/18/photos-with-eatons-santa-claus-in-1941-and-1944/

A church Christmas pageant in Toronto in 2012

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/church-xmas-concerts-of-yesteryear-remain-alive-in-toronto/

Downtown Toronto’s lights and Christmas displays – 2012

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/downtown-torontos-xmas-displays-at-night/

The Christmas windows at the Bay Store are magical at night

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/16/the-bay-xmas-windows-on-queen-become-magical-at-night/

Christmas at the historic St. Lawrence Market in 1921 and in 2012

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/14/xmas-at-the-historic-st-lawrence-market-in-1921-and-in-2012/

The Christmas windows at the Bay Store on Queen Street, 2012

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/the-2012-christmas-windows-at-the-bay-store-on-queen-street/

The amazing gingerbread houses on the underground Pathway in Toronto

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/amazing-christmas-gingerbread-houses-on-torontos-pathway/

The gigantic metallic reindeer in the Eaton Centre

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/13/the-gigantic-xmas-reindeer-in-the-eaton-centre/

Christmas cards mailed in Toronto during the years 1924-1926

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/11/xmas-cards-mailed-in-toronto-1924-1927/

The Christmas buffet lunch at the Arcadian Court at the Simpson’s Queen Street Store in Toronto (the Bay)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/11/30/christmas-lunch-at-simpsons-arcadian-court-in-the-1950s-featured-in-murdermystery/

Christmas at Mackenzie House on Bond Street.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/12/07/torontos-mackenzie-house-on-bond-street-at-christmas/

Christmas at Toronto’s St. Lawrence Market

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/12/09/christmas-at-the-st-lawrence-market-in-torontos-yesteryear/

The Christmas Market at the Distillery District

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/12/10/my-recent-visit-to-torontos-christmas-market-at-the-distillery-district/

Memories of the Christmas windows of the Simpson’s store on Queen Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/12/03/memories-of-the-christmas-windows-of-the-simpsons-store-at-queen-and-bay-streets/

Christmas at the Kensington Market

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/12/01/enjoying-the-kensington-market-at-christmas/

Memories of Toyland on the fifth floor of the old Eaton’s Store at Queen and Yonge Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/11/29/memories-of-eatons-toyland-in-the-1940s/

The Christmas lights on Yonge Street in the 1950s

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/11/24/memories-of-the-lights-at-xmas-on-torontos-yonge-street-in-the-1950s/

The history of Toronto’s Santa Claus Parade

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/11/15/history-of-torontos-santa-claus-parade/

The 1940s Christmas radio broadcasts featuring Santa Claus

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/11/15/memories-of-trimming-the-tree-and-the-eatons-christmas-radio-broadcasts-in-1944/

Christmas at Toronto’s historic St. Andrew’s Market

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/11/23/christmas-during-the-19th-century-at-torontos-historic-st-andrews-market/

Christmas trees and seasonal decorations in Toronto

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/12/20/favourite-christmas-trees-and-decorations-in-toronto-this-year/

Celebrating the 12 days of Christmas in old Newfoundland

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/celebrating-the-12-days-of-christmas-in-the-newfoundland-of-yesteryear/

A humorous account of a Christmas concert in old Newfoundland

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/a-humorous-account-of-a-church-xmas-concert-in-old-newfoundland/

Link to the Home Page for this blog: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2012 in Toronto

 

Photos with Eaton’s Santa Claus in 1941 and 1944

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The left-hand picture of my brother and me with Santa was taken in 1941, in Toyland, on the fifth floor of the old Eaton’s Store at Queen and Yonge Streets. In the background is my mother, wearing a style of hat that was popular during the war years. The right-hand picture is of Santa and me in 1943, also taken in Eaton’s Toyland.

After the Eaton Centre was built, for many years, at the south entrance to the Eaton’s Store (now Sears), there was a large display that contained Santa’s Castle and an impressive throne where Santa held court. Children had their pictures taken with the jolly old man. This year (2012), there is no longer a Santa Claus in the Eaton Centre itself. However, a Santa can be found at the Dundas Street entrance to Sears, and also in the basement of the Bay Store. At first, I lamented that the Santa in the mall had disappeared, but then, I realized that it was a return to the old days.

When I was a child, the main centre for Christmas shopping was intersection at Queen and Yonge as that was where the  Eaton’s and Simpson’s Stores were located. This was prior to the advent of the many shopping malls that now encircle the city. In those days, each store maintained their own Santa Claus. My parents always told my brother and me that the real Santa was in Eaton’s, as he was the one that was in the Santa Claus Parade. The Santa in Simpson’s, she informed us, was merely a helper.  Of course, the real reason was that she preferred to shop at Eaton’s.

The Simpson’s Store is now the Bay, and the old Eaton’s Store was demolished when they built the Eaton Centre. However, it is good to see that the modern stores continue to maintain a Santa Claus where children can have their pictures taken with old St. Nick.

Merry Christmas!

To view other posts about Christmas in Toronto throughout the years.

A church Christmas pageant in Toronto in 2012

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/church-xmas-concerts-of-yesteryear-remain-alive-in-toronto/

Downtown Toronto’s lights and Christmas displays – 2012

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/downtown-torontos-xmas-displays-at-night/

The Christmas windows at the Bay Store are magical at night

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/16/the-bay-xmas-windows-on-queen-become-magical-at-night/

Christmas at the historic St. Lawrence Market in 1921 and in 2012

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/14/xmas-at-the-historic-st-lawrence-market-in-1921-and-in-2012/

The Christmas windows at the Bay Store on Queen Street, 2012

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/the-2012-christmas-windows-at-the-bay-store-on-queen-street/

The amazing gingerbread houses on the underground Pathway in Toronto

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/amazing-christmas-gingerbread-houses-on-torontos-pathway/

The gigantic metallic reindeer in the Eaton Centre

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/13/the-gigantic-xmas-reindeer-in-the-eaton-centre/

Christmas cards mailed in Toronto during the years 1924-1926

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/11/xmas-cards-mailed-in-toronto-1924-1927/

The Christmas buffet lunch at the Arcadian Court at the Simpson’s Queen Street Store in Toronto (the Bay)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/11/30/christmas-lunch-at-simpsons-arcadian-court-in-the-1950s-featured-in-murdermystery/

Christmas at Mackenzie House on Bond Street.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/12/07/torontos-mackenzie-house-on-bond-street-at-christmas/

Christmas at Toronto’s St. Lawrence Market

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/12/09/christmas-at-the-st-lawrence-market-in-torontos-yesteryear/

The Christmas Market at the Distillery District

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/12/10/my-recent-visit-to-torontos-christmas-market-at-the-distillery-district/

Memories of the Christmas windows of the Simpson’s store on Queen Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/12/03/memories-of-the-christmas-windows-of-the-simpsons-store-at-queen-and-bay-streets/

Christmas at the Kensington Market

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/12/01/enjoying-the-kensington-market-at-christmas/

Memories of Toyland on the fifth floor of the old Eaton’s Store at Queen and Yonge Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/11/29/memories-of-eatons-toyland-in-the-1940s/

The Christmas lights on Yonge Street in the 1950s

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/11/24/memories-of-the-lights-at-xmas-on-torontos-yonge-street-in-the-1950s/

The history of Toronto’s Santa Claus Parade

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/11/15/history-of-torontos-santa-claus-parade/

The 1940s Christmas radio broadcasts featuring Santa Claus

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/11/15/memories-of-trimming-the-tree-and-the-eatons-christmas-radio-broadcasts-in-1944/

Christmas at Toronto’s historic St. Andrew’s Market

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/11/23/christmas-during-the-19th-century-at-torontos-historic-st-andrews-market/

Christmas trees and seasonal decorations in Toronto

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/12/20/favourite-christmas-trees-and-decorations-in-toronto-this-year/

Celebrating the 12 days of Christmas in old Newfoundland

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/celebrating-the-12-days-of-christmas-in-the-newfoundland-of-yesteryear/

A humorous account of a Christmas concert in old Newfoundland

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/a-humorous-account-of-a-church-xmas-concert-in-old-newfoundland/

Link to the Home Page for this blog: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2012 in Toronto

 

A humorous account of a church Xmas concert in old Newfoundland

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This is the story of a church Christmas concert in the 1920s in a small fishing community in Newfoundland. It is based on the memories of my grandfather, who recalled most things in life with humour and exaggeration. In old Newfoundland, this was known as “yarnin’.”

The concert started ten minutes late, which was considered on time. The evening included its share of musical stars, unintentional clowns, stammering elocutionists, and dramatic hams, along with a few children who excelled in every role in which they had been cast. A quartet sang admirably, followed by a soloist who was so off-key that the child’s voice sounded like the scraping of fingernails on a school chalkboard.

Though the nativity play was performed well, the tots dressed as sheep roamed where they should never have grazed, blocking the audience’s view of the Virgin Mary and the Christ Child. One of the boys dressed as a wise man tripped over his long robe and tumbled to the floor with a noisy thud. If such behaviour had been typical of the original wise men, it might explain why they had arrived late at the stable door.

An overly nervous child in the back row of the heavenly choir was too excited to control his bladder. As they noticed his predicament, the other children edged away, producing a gap in the front row that was a mystery to the audience. This was not the only unsolved puzzle of the evening. Though two of the recitations were excellent, the audience did not understand a single word uttered by the child who recited the third, although the prompter behind the curtain was clearly audible.

Everyone clapped hands for a solo that contained no melody known to humankind and a libretto that was similarly enigmatic. One of the boys in the band had lost the mouthpiece of his cornet, so he placed his mouth on the opening of the tube and fingered the valves furiously as he pretended to play. The other band boys were unconcerned with his plight, as they thought that his performance was actually one of his best—it had contributed no musical damage to the overall sound of the band.

As the concert’s end drew near, despite the mishaps, it was obvious that the evening was a grand success. During the final moments of the concert, Santa Claus entered the porch unnoticed and remained hidden as he waited for his grand entrance.

After the band played its final number, the children assembled on the platform to receive their applause. Mothers in the audience would have compared their children’s performances with those of the stars of La Scala in Milan, or perhaps even Toronto’s Massey Hall, had they known about these venues. This was evidence that Christmas brought forth more kindness and goodwill than any other season of the year. Sometimes, this attitude was referred to as “seasonal blindness.”

As the clapping and cheering subsided, there was a loud boom from the big bass drum, followed by a reverberating crash from the rear of the hall. Santa Claus burst forth in all his splendiferous glory. The shrieking of the youthful members of the audience was deafening. Old Santa, attired in his yuletide best, pranced up the aisle, his white-gloved hand touching children on their heads or shaking their hands. The band played “Joy to the World” as the fabulous Mr. Claus marched forth, surpassing any participant who had ever strutted in “The Grand March” in Verdi’s Aida or “The March of the Peers” in Iolanthe.

When it was time to distribute the gifts from under the tree, each child scrutinized the small packages with care, anxiously praying that Santa would place one into his or her hopeful hands. Santa stood beside the tree, stroked his long, white beard, and scratched his head beneath his long wool cap. The adults knew that he was delaying the gift giving in order to build anticipation to unimagined heights. They smiled approvingly as they watched the anxiety of the smaller children and the antics of Santa.

Finally, minister of the church assisted Santa in the all-important ritual. One at a time, he handed the gifts to old St. Nick. When the children heard their names, they raced up the aisle, received their presents, and hurriedly returned to their seats. The packages contained no lumps of coal, implying that every child had been a saint during the preceding year. The presents were usually Bibles, small carved toys such as boats, or store-bought puzzles. Each child also received a small bag of candy and removed a cookie from the tree. It was a treasured moment. After the children had received their toys and candies, the band played the opening notes of a well-loved carol. The audience stood and enthusiastically sang: Joyful, all ye nations rise . .

When the concert had ended, families warmly wished each other a merry Christmas, congratulated the children, and, while conversing, edged toward the door. Beyond the cozy auditorium was a world of wildly drifting snow. Despite the deceptive lull earlier in the evening, the blizzard had intensified, the community soon to suffer the full fury of a winter storm.

The above story is contained in the book “There Never Was a Better Time,” a tale of two young immigrants who leave their small village on the shores of Newfoundland and journey to Toronto. For a link to this book: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/there-never-was-a-better-time/

To view posts about Christmas in Toronto throughout the years.

A church Christmas pageant in Toronto in 2012

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/church-xmas-concerts-of-yesteryear-remain-alive-in-toronto/

Downtown Toronto’s lights and Christmas displays – 2012

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/downtown-torontos-xmas-displays-at-night/

The Christmas windows at the Bay Store are magical at night

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/16/the-bay-xmas-windows-on-queen-become-magical-at-night/

Christmas at the historic St. Lawrence Market in 1921 and in 2012

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/14/xmas-at-the-historic-st-lawrence-market-in-1921-and-in-2012/

The Christmas windows at the Bay Store on Queen Street, 2012

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/the-2012-christmas-windows-at-the-bay-store-on-queen-street/

The amazing gingerbread houses on the underground Pathway in Toronto

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/amazing-christmas-gingerbread-houses-on-torontos-pathway/

The gigantic metallic reindeer in the Eaton Centre

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/13/the-gigantic-xmas-reindeer-in-the-eaton-centre/

Christmas cards mailed in Toronto during the years 1924-1926

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/11/xmas-cards-mailed-in-toronto-1924-1927/

The Christmas buffet lunch at the Arcadian Court at the Simpson’s Queen Street Store in Toronto (the Bay)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/11/30/christmas-lunch-at-simpsons-arcadian-court-in-the-1950s-featured-in-murdermystery/

Christmas at Mackenzie House on Bond Street.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/12/07/torontos-mackenzie-house-on-bond-street-at-christmas/

Christmas at Toronto’s St. Lawrence Market

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/12/09/christmas-at-the-st-lawrence-market-in-torontos-yesteryear/

The Christmas Market at the Distillery District

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/12/10/my-recent-visit-to-torontos-christmas-market-at-the-distillery-district/

Memories of the Christmas windows of the Simpson’s store on Queen Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/12/03/memories-of-the-christmas-windows-of-the-simpsons-store-at-queen-and-bay-streets/

Christmas at the Kensington Market

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/12/01/enjoying-the-kensington-market-at-christmas/

Memories of Toyland on the fifth floor of the old Eaton’s Store at Queen and Yonge Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/11/29/memories-of-eatons-toyland-in-the-1940s/

The Christmas lights on Yonge Street in the 1950s

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/11/24/memories-of-the-lights-at-xmas-on-torontos-yonge-street-in-the-1950s/

The history of Toronto’s Santa Claus Parade

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/11/15/history-of-torontos-santa-claus-parade/

The 1940s Christmas radio broadcasts featuring Santa Claus

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/11/15/memories-of-trimming-the-tree-and-the-eatons-christmas-radio-broadcasts-in-1944/

Christmas at Toronto’s historic St. Andrew’s Market

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/11/23/christmas-during-the-19th-century-at-torontos-historic-st-andrews-market/

Christmas trees and seasonal decorations in Toronto

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/12/20/favourite-christmas-trees-and-decorations-in-toronto-this-year/

Celebrating the 12 days of Christmas in old Newfoundland

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/celebrating-the-12-days-of-christmas-in-the-newfoundland-of-yesteryear/

Link to the Home Page for this blog: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/

 

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Posted by on December 17, 2012 in Toronto

 

Church Xmas concerts of yesteryear remain alive in Toronto

Many of us retain fond memories of the church concerts and pageants of our youth. Each year, my brother and I were given either a recitation, a song, or role to perform. Sometimes were we not too happy to be involved, but our parents always insisted that we participate and do our best. The evening of the concert, we were transformed into angels (not exactly type-casting), shepherds (perhaps more suitable) or Wisemen (out of the question). When the concert was over, we basked in the praise of the adults and decided that perhaps Christmas concerts were not so bad after all. The gifts under the tree in the church hall, and the oranges and candies we received, finally convinced us that Christmas concerts were indeed worthwhile.

This year I attended the Christmas pageant performed at Metropolitan United at 56 Queen Street East. It included many adults as well as children to tell the Christmas story. The music, readings, and colourful costumes were magnificent. The pageant rekindled many memories of my youth and added greatly to my celebration of the Christmas season.

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Metropolitan United Church at 56 Queen Street East, Toronto, prepared for the Christmas scene

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The church is decorated and the stage awaits the arrival of the children and adults who will reveal the Christmas story of old.

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                                        The story begins to unfold

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                   Children perform their roles and sing in the pageant

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                            Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus

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                 The angel announces the birth and Mary prays

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                                     The haughty King Herod

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                     Children enter the scene as shepherds and lambs

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                                 More shepherds  and lambs

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                                  “We three Kings of Orient Are . . . “

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                                     Angels, shepherds, and sheep

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The story unfolds and ends with a feeling that all is right with the world – a sentiment that in our troubled times in well worth remembering.

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I believe that this young lad told his mother that the pageant was great. Perhaps next year he too will have a role to play.

To view posts about Christmas in Toronto throughout the years.

Downtown Toronto’s lights and Christmas displays – 2012

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/downtown-torontos-xmas-displays-at-night/

The Christmas windows at the Bay Store are magical at night

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/16/the-bay-xmas-windows-on-queen-become-magical-at-night/

Christmas at the historic St. Lawrence Market in 1921 and in 2012

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/14/xmas-at-the-historic-st-lawrence-market-in-1921-and-in-2012/

The Christmas windows at the Bay Store on Queen Street, 2012

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/the-2012-christmas-windows-at-the-bay-store-on-queen-street/

The amazing gingerbread houses on the underground Pathway in Toronto

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/amazing-christmas-gingerbread-houses-on-torontos-pathway/

The gigantic metallic reindeer in the Eaton Centre

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/13/the-gigantic-xmas-reindeer-in-the-eaton-centre/

Christmas cards mailed in Toronto during the years 1924-1926

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/11/xmas-cards-mailed-in-toronto-1924-1927/

The Christmas buffet lunch at the Arcadian Court at the Simpson’s Queen Street Store in Toronto (the Bay)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/11/30/christmas-lunch-at-simpsons-arcadian-court-in-the-1950s-featured-in-murdermystery/

Christmas at Mackenzie House on Bond Street.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/12/07/torontos-mackenzie-house-on-bond-street-at-christmas/

Christmas at Toronto’s St. Lawrence Market

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/12/09/christmas-at-the-st-lawrence-market-in-torontos-yesteryear/

The Christmas Market at the Distillery District

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/12/10/my-recent-visit-to-torontos-christmas-market-at-the-distillery-district/

Memories of the Christmas windows of the Simpson’s store on Queen Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/12/03/memories-of-the-christmas-windows-of-the-simpsons-store-at-queen-and-bay-streets/

Christmas at the Kensington Market

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/12/01/enjoying-the-kensington-market-at-christmas/

Memories of Toyland on the fifth floor of the old Eaton’s Store at Queen and Yonge Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/11/29/memories-of-eatons-toyland-in-the-1940s/

The Christmas lights on Yonge Street in the 1950s

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/11/24/memories-of-the-lights-at-xmas-on-torontos-yonge-street-in-the-1950s/

The history of Toronto’s Santa Claus Parade

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/11/15/history-of-torontos-santa-claus-parade/

The 1940s Christmas radio broadcasts featuring Santa Claus

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/11/15/memories-of-trimming-the-tree-and-the-eatons-christmas-radio-broadcasts-in-1944/

Christmas at Toronto’s historic St. Andrew’s Market

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/11/23/christmas-during-the-19th-century-at-torontos-historic-st-andrews-market/

Christmas trees and seasonal decorations in Toronto

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/12/20/favourite-christmas-trees-and-decorations-in-toronto-this-year/

Celebrating the 12 days of Christmas in old Newfoundland

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/celebrating-the-12-days-of-christmas-in-the-newfoundland-of-yesteryear/

Link to the Home Page for this blog: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 17, 2012 in Toronto