Friday, 2 December 2016

Getting into the Christmas Spirit(s)

The Toronto Christmas Market is underway for another year in the Distillery Historic District, the area formerly known as the Gooderham & Worts Distillery. In the latter half of the 19th century, Gooderham & Worts was the largest distillery in Canada. Ontario’s period of prohibition from 1916 to 1927 hurt production, and the company was sold in 1923. The new owner, Harry C. Hatch, merged the company with Hiram Walker & Sons Ltd. four years later.

The letter below is from ARCAT’s collection. The “government stores” it refers to are the soon-to-be-opened Liquor Control Board of Ontario stores (now commonly known as LCBOs), which were authorized by the highly criticized Liquor Control Act (1927). The original purpose of the LCBO was, essentially, to monitor the distribution and sale of alcoholic beverages in Ontario as well as to track drinking in the province. People needed a licence, similar to a driver’s licence, to purchase and consume liquor. The LCBO kept track of what each person bought, down to the bottle.

Letter from Larry McGuiness to Fr. Manley,
December 13, 1926

MN AH15.109
Archbishop McNeil fonds

The Christmas Market continues until Thursday, December 22.

Friday, 25 November 2016

Record of the Week: Happy Birthday, Saint John XXIII!

On this day in history in 1881, Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli was born in Sotto il Monte, Italy. After studying in Rome, he was ordained to the priesthood in 1904. After many years of service to the church, he was elevated to the Cardinalate in 1953. In 1958, he was elected as Pope, and called himself John. In 1961, he had his 80th birthday, and Catholics around the world celebrated.

St. John XXIII

[between 1958-1963]
PH 63-02CP
ARCAT Photograph Collection

The Bishops of Canada, writing as the Canadian Catholic Conference released a Joint Pastoral Letter about celebrating the event:

"November 4 is the official date set by the Holy See for celebration of the eightieth anniversary of the birth of our Holy Father, Pope John XXIII. The attainment of so venerable an age is noteworthy in any man's life. It is a proper cause for great rejoicing when the man whose years are fruitfully prolonged is Christ's Vicar on earth. It is customary, on such an occasion, for a man's family and friends to extend joyous congratulations and to show their rejoicing in other ways. In the case of the Pope, we are all of his family, for to him was given by Our Lord the universal paternal responsibility to "Feed my lambs, feed my sheep... We earnestly ask all the flock of Christ in this country - clergy, religious and laity - to participate in this event with loving fidelity and zeal, to insure that November 4 will be a day of great spiritual conquests for the Church. May it be a day that sets a pattern for continuing thanks to God for bringing Pope John XXIII to the throne of Peter, and for giving him long and abundant years."

October 12, 1961
OC29 RO02
Other Collections - Roman Pontiffs - Pope John XXIII 

St. John XXIII and Cardinal McGuigan at the Vatican.

[between 1958-1963]
PH63-05CP
ARCAT Photograph Collection

Have a slice of cake today for Good Pope John!

Friday, 18 November 2016

Record of the Week: Conn Smythe

Today marks the 36th anniversary of the death of Conn Smythe at the age of 85. Smythe was known to Torontonians and the rest of the hockey world as the builder of the New York Rangers, the Toronto Maple Leafs, and Maple Leaf Gardens. The Gardens was still a brand new arena in 1932 when Smythe wrote to Archbishop McNeil offering him a private box in which to watch the opening lacrosse game that evening.

Letter from Conn Smythe to Abp. McNeil,
May 3, 1932

MN AH21.42
Archbishop McNeil fonds

Smythe was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as a builder in 1958. The Conn Smythe Trophy, created in honour of Smythe's contribution to hockey, has been presented annually to the most valuable player for his team in the Stanley Cup playoffs since 1965. Indoor lacrosse, also known as box lacrosse or boxla, replaced the field version of the game in the 1930s and is the official sport of the Canadian Lacrosse Association.

Friday, 11 November 2016

We Will Remember Them. Their Glory Cannot Fade.

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, the armistice that ended the First World War came into effect. One year later and every year thereafter, the date was commemorated in Commonwealth countries. It is a day to remember those who were lost and those who came home but were forever changed. A day to tell veterans that we haven't forgotten them. A day to recall the price of war and keep it in our collective memory so that future generations will know that there are better ways to solve their differences.  

Here in Toronto, the day has been marked at the cenotaph at Old City Hall since its unveiling in 1925, as seen in the City of Toronto Archives photo below:

Unveiling of the cenotaph at Old City Hall, Toronto

November 11, 1925
City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1266, Item 6584

The word 'cenotaph' comes from the Greek words for 'empty tomb.' These structures are common memorials for the dead whose remains are elsewhere. During the First World War, fallen soldiers were buried where they fell, which left tens of thousands of Canadian families without a place to mourn. Cenotaphs built all over the country became the focus of their grief and the representation of the nation's sacrifice.

Here in the archives, we have a program from 1934's Remembrance Day service at the cenotaph:

"We will remember them" "Their glory cannot fade"
Remembrance Day Service
Sixteenth Anniversary of Armistice Day
at the Cenotaph, City Hall
Sunday, November 11th, 1934, at 3 o'clock p.m.

MN TA01.151
Archbishop McNeil Fonds

MN TA01.151
Archbishop McNeil Fonds

MN TA01.151
Archbishop McNeil Fonds

MN TA01.151
Archbishop McNeil Fonds

The program contains a prayer that is needed as much now as it was then:

"Almighty God, from whom all thoughts of truth and peace proceed; kindle, we pray Thee, in the hearts of all men the true love of peace, and guide with Thy pure and peaceable wisdom those who take counsel for the nations of the earth; that in tranquility Thy Kingdom may go forward, till the earth is filled with the knowledge of Thy love; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."


Bonus photo from the City of Toronto Archives: Armistice Day, Bay and King Streets

November 11, 1918
Fonds 1244, William James Family, Item 891D 



Friday, 4 November 2016

You Auto Know: Cars in the Archives

The first US patent for a combustion-powered automobile was granted to a patent lawyer named George B. Selden on November 5, 1895. Henry Ford was relatively unknown in the industry at the time; however, in 1903, a lengthy lawsuit began between Ford and Selden. By the end of it, eight years later, Ford emerged victorious and had become a household name.

Every week, the Archives is driven to provide a quality blog post. An exhaustive search was undertaken in order to feature some photographs and documents related to automobiles that are in the collection. We hope you won't tire of seeing these glimpses into history.

The production of automobiles increased dramatically in the 1920s. Cars changed Canadians' way of life, allowing more freedom for leisure and travel than ever before.

People out for a drive in their Model T Ford in Brampton, Ontario
1920

Msgr. Clair fonds

In this letter, Father Clair is told to take the car but is requested to have some maintenance done on it while he has it.

"Please have the car simonized, the brakes adjusted and springs oiled. Hope I am not putting you to too much trouble."

Letter to Rev. J.M. Clair from Fr. T.J. Manley (?)
[1928]

MN AH17.122
Archbishop McNeil Fonds

By the end of the 1920s, there were over one million cars in Canada. This photograph shows just a few of them parked outside St. Michael's Cathedral Rectory, Toronto.

Exterior front of the Rectory of St. Michael's Cathedral taken from Church Street.
1932

PH 102/0001/15P
ARCAT Photo Collection

The Archdiocese of Toronto provided funds towards the purchase and upkeep of a residence and a car for the Apostolic Delegate to Canada and Newfoundland. In September 1938, that title was held by the newly appointed Ildebrando Antoniutti.

Receipt for the Archdiocese of Toronto's contribution to the upkeep of the Apostolic Delegate's car.
September 24, 1938

O DS02.15(N)
Archbishop O'Connor Fonds

Cardinal McGuigan visited Quebec City in 1946 for the Feast of the Sacred Heart.

Cardinal McGuigan stands in the back of a limousine in Quebec City.
1946

PH 09Q/03P
ARCAT Photo Collection

Even a Cardinal needs an insurance policy for his vehicle.

An insurance policy card for Cardinal McGuigan's car.
1947

MG AA01.64(a)
James C. Cardinal McGuigan Fonds

Nuns in cars!

Rev. Christopher J. Bennett's mother, Evelyn Bennett, in a car with two nuns in the back seat.
August 1960

PH 24B/59P
ARCAT Photo Collection

A post about automobiles would not be complete without the popemobile.

Card. Carter and Pope John Paul II in the popemobile on the motorcade route in Toronto.
September 14, 1984

PH 18P/03CP
ARCAT Photo Collection

If you know the make, model, and year of any of the automobiles in this post, we'd love to hear from you in the comments.

Friday, 28 October 2016

The Archbishop of Toronto Advises Parents to Protect Their Children From Diphtheria

The leaves are changing, the temperatures are cooling down, and once again it's time to get your flu shot. The seasonal influenza vaccination has been promoted for many years by public health agencies in order to lessen the impacts of the illness on individuals and on the country.

In the 1920s and 1930s, health officials were working to eradicate another disease: diphtheria. Diphtheria is a contagious bacterial disease that primarily affects the upper respiratory system and kills 5-10% of those who contract it, primarily children. The bacteria that causes the disease was first identified in 1883. By the 1890s, an antitoxin was developed which was able to treat the illness. However, the cure wasn't always available or affordable. There were situations when doctors were forced to make tough decisions if sufficient quantities of antitoxin were unavailable, or when there was a race against time to deliver it to remote locations.  A preventive solution was needed.

Starting in 1923, a vaccine known as Toxoid was developed at the Pasteur Institute in Paris. The University of Toronto's Connaught Antitoxin Laboratories, which had been producing the antitoxin, was the first to field test the vaccine and establish its effectiveness. By the late 1920s the campaign had started to vaccinate children.

An example of a billboard produced by the Toronto Diphtheria Committee in the early 1930s.

MN WL01.39b
Archbishop McNeil Fonds

Archbishop McNeil was asked for and gave his support along with other religious leaders. Vaccination clinics opened in three city parishes, and Archbishop McNeil published a letter urging parents to participate in the program.

"To Our Catholic Parents of Toronto:

"In Safeguarding children of pre-school age from the danger of diphtheria many agencies are co-operating with the Department of Public Health. This dread disease is not now nearly as common as it was a few years ago because means have been found to do for it what vaccination did for smallpox.

"In the case of Diphtheria the preventive treament (Toxoid) is harmless and painless. Three visits to a clinic, at intervals of three weeks, suffice. God has blessed your homes with children and placed on you the duty of care for their health and lives.

"I therefore advise you to avail yourselves of the opportunity to protect them against the dangers of diphtheria by taking them to one or other of the places named on next page. Millions of young children have been inoculated against diphtheria throughout the world and it is known to be without risk.

Invoking the blessing of God on their young lives,

Neil McNeil, Archbishop of Toronto."

1 November 1933
MN WL04.201b
Archbishop McNeil Fonds

Due to vaccination and education efforts, by the mid 1930s, incidence of and deaths from diphtheria decreased significantly. In Toronto, 1929 saw 1022 cases and 64 deaths, but in 1933 there were only 56 cases and 5 deaths.

Diphtheria cases and deaths in Toronto, 1929-1933.

MN WL01.39a
The World Health Organization reports that in 2015 there were only 3 cases of diphtheria in all of Canada. 

For more about the history of diphtheria in Canada, view the Canadian Museum of Healthcare's online exhibit on Vaccines and Immunization.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Sweet Smell of Success: Senator Frank P. O'Connor

On October 20, 1913, the first Laura Secord Candy Store opened at 354 Yonge St. To celebrate this delicious occasion, this week’s blog is dedicated to the founder of Laura Secord, Frank P. O’Connor. O’Connor named his store after the woman known for her courageous efforts to warn the British of an impending American attack one hundred years earlier during the War of 1812. Over subsequent years, O’Connor opened many locations across Canada and the US, where it was known as Fanny Farmer Candy Stores. This business venture made him a multimillionaire.
 
Portrait of Senator Frank P. O'Connor
1930s

PH 09/44P

A man of little fanfare, O’Connor was also known for his philanthropy. In the 1920s, he donated $125,000 to St. Michael’s College for their building fund. In August 1935, he gifted $500,000 to the Archdiocese of Toronto, which was put into a trust fund administered by Cardinal McGuigan. This money paid off the entire debt of the Archdiocese and supported a number of charities around the city.

Letter from Abp. Arthur Alfred Sinnott of Winnipeg to Abp. McGuigan about O'Connor's gift
August 12, 1935

MG FA01.29

Prime Minister W. L. Mackenzie King appointed O’Connor to the Senate in November 1935, where he represented the senatorial division of Scarborough Junction. An honour of a different kind came two years later when O'Connor was made a Knight Commander of the Order of St. Gregory the Great.

Letter from O'Connor to Fr. John V. Harris, Chancellor
May 13, 1937

MG SU28.05

Most. Rev. Antoniutti, Apostolic Delegate to Canada, with Senator O'Connor
ca. 1938

Photograph by Frederick William Lyonde

PH 67A/07P

Senator O’Connor became ill in 1938. He moved to Florida to convalesce in early 1939 before returning to Toronto in the spring. Unfortunately, his health did not improve sufficiently to allow him to attend many events.

Telegram from Abp. McGuigan to Senator O'Connor
June 25, 1939

MG SP26.15A

Senator O’Connor was a sincere, generous, and very well-respected man. He died in his Toronto home, Maryvale, on August 21, 1939.

Letter from Senator A.C. Hardy to Abp. McGuigan after Senator O'Connor's funeral
August 28, 1939

MG SP26.16