I have written about the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) a couple times on my blog, because it truly is one of my most favorite summer events. The CNE is an annual event at the end of summer held in Toronto and with approximately 1.3 million visitors each year, the exhibition is Canada’s largest annual fair and the seventh largest in North America.
Online, the CNE Heritage has an amazing collection of images from its archives and for today’s post I wanted to pull some of my favorites from their collection (1920’s-50’s) and share them with you. Lets begin!
Simpson’s Ad In CNE Programme, 1928
CNE Programme Cover, 1931
Suede Shoe Ad In 1935 CNE Fashion Show Programme. In my personal collection I have this exact show program.
CNE Bandshell & Manufacturers Building, 1948.
CNE Guests, 1927.
This poster celebrates the opening of the new Ontario Government Building (now Liberty Grand) in 1926.
Hollywood Chimp Show, 1937.
1939 CNE Poster-Transportation and Communications Year.
Auto Show, 1936.
RCA Victor Display, 1940.
Safety Quiz, 1948. I think the first part of the quiz should be, “You should always keep your eyes on the road, Yes or No?”
Canadian Women at War!
Fashion of the Day on display in 1940.
Miss Toronto Contest, 1951. Read all about Miss Toronto HERE.
Swimming Sensation, Marilyn Bell in 1954 with Roy Rogers & Dale Evans.
From CNE Heritage:
In 1954, a 16-year old high school student named Marilyn Bell became a sensation when she became the first person to swim across Lake Ontario.
She became an instant celebrity, beloved by fans across Canada.
It all began on September 8th, when three swimmers began a 32 kilometre race from Youngstown, New York to the CNE grounds.
American marathon swimmer Florence Chadwick was the favourite, followed by Canadian swimmer Winnie Roach Leuszler; Marilyn was the underdog.
It became clear early in the race that she was a contender, remaining in the water after her competitors dropped out.
Newspapers covered her every stroke through the cold waves of Lake Ontario. After 21 hours, Marilyn made it ashore to the acclaim of the nation.
The following year, Marilyn was the star of the CNE’s “Canadiana” Grandstand show, sharing the stage with American television host Ed Sullivan.
The highlight of the show was Marilyn diving into a specially designed tank of water on stage.
Pez Anyone? 1954.
Defying Gravity in the Rotor! 1953.
Jimmy Durante and Friends, 1951.
Derby Race, 1950.
Even TV’s Lassie made an appearance in 1955.
Kitchen World with Marie Fraser, 1955.
And that is it for today’s post friends, I really hope you enjoyed this walk down some of the CNE’s past.
Question Time: Do you have a big fair or exhibition that you like to attend every year? Share in the comments below!
The Toronto Vintage Society this Saturday will be throwing our last party ever for the vintage community in Toronto. But don’t worry we aren’t going anywhere, we will still be online telling you all the fun vintage events to attend and of course we will be at many of them ourselves! We just felt it was time to pass the vintage party gauntlet onto the community that has grown in leaps and bounds since we started our events 3 years ago. So that said, I wanted to take a walk down memory lane to our past parties as we prepare to have our ”Last Dance”.
Warning..lots of awesome fun photos ahead!
First Up..a big THANK YOU to Jacquie the creator of TVS and the main brain (and worker) behind every one of our events. Jacquie’s dream was to find more friends to attend cool vintage events with and she accomplished that and much more.
The Parties & Events:
Mad Men Viewing Party 2013- The First Official TVS Event
And now we come to our final party this Saturday. Obviously no pictures but as per usual follow me on Instagram to see the party in action.
Final Words. Being part of the TVS events team has been so much fun and I will be honest, I will be sad to hangup my MC microphone for the last time this Saturday. BUT as I said before this is not the end of TVS only the beginning and I’m very excited to see what the future brings.
Final Final Words..To all our fans and supporters over the years..THANK YOU!
While scouring the internet for all things vintage and interesting I stumbled upon a cool article about the history of everyone’s favorite Ginger drink..”Canada Dry’s Ginger Ale“. Well maybe it’s not everyone’s favorite but it sure is a fav of mine and also TRULY Canadian (not just using the name here). And since I love sharing cool Toronto history with you, today’s post will be highlights from the beginnings of this drink and then showcasing a bunch of my favorite vintage ads I found from the 30s, 40s and 50s.
The beginning (the Highlights):
In 1890, Canadian pharmacist and chemist John J. McLaughlin of Enniskillen, Ontario opened a carbonated water plant in Toronto after returning from Brooklyn where he is was working in the pharmacy business.
McLaughlin set himself the goal of developing a pale, dry ginger ale, ostensibly as a non-alcoholic rival for champagne but more likely in the hope of surpassing the popular ginger ales then on the market (Source).
In 1904, McLaughlin created “Canada Dry Pale Ginger Ale”, which was a refined version of their long produced “McLaughlin’s Belfast Style Ginger Ale”.
“It has a snap and a tingle; a smart spry taste,” early ads claimed. It was known as “the champagne of ginger ales” for its light taste and was marketed with a beaver icon and a map of Canada (Source).
Rapid growth and popularity quickly followed after it’s launch, with plants opening up in other areas of Canada and the trade name registered in 1907.
The sweet drink was even appointed to the Royal Household of the Governor General of Canada where the label featuring a beaver atop a map of Canada was replaced with the present Crown and shield.
Canada Dry stayed in the family business till the 1920s, where growing popularity in the United States had the family expand into New York City (Note: McLaughlin died suddenly in 1914).
It was sold in 1923 to P. D. Saylor and Associates, who renamed it Canada Dry Ginger Ale, Inc. and forever removing the ties to Toronto.
It has been in United States hands ever since (being purchased by several companies over the years).
Side Note: His brother, Samuel McLaughlin, was busily growing their father’s business into what would eventually become General Motors of Canada during the beginnings of Canada Dry.
For a full detailed history lesson on Canada Dry make sure you check out the ‘BlogTO’ article HERE.
The vintage ads:
1937-So many “Remedies” from one drink.
1930s Ad- Kids love it, it’s made thru a scientific process, it’s great at parties and served at fancy exotic hotels. Canada Dry is truly the Best!
1935 Ad- “Against the brilliant social background, it’s Canada Dry”.
“Cool Off with Canada Dry” (cute swimsuit!)
1940s- Canada Dry says “Keep up the good work”
Keeps his Ginger Up? I do marketing for a career and even I don’t know what that means.
1950s Ad-The Ginger-Upper 🙂 This is better then the above use of the words ‘Ginger’ and ‘Up’.
Esther Williams for Canada Dry, 1956. Do you think those are her kids (according to the ad) or “fake kids”?
We are deep into the Holiday season right now and now that I’m not stuck in bed with the cold, I can finish my shopping and get some presents wrapped (thank goodness, I was so far behind).
For today’s post I wanted to share with my readers images of what the Christmas season looked like in Toronto in years gone by, particularly 1960s and older.
The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) Christmas Fleet 1956 outside of the CNE Princess Gates.
The hustle and bustle of the season at shopping malls is not just a modern-day issue. This image from downtown Toronto in 1935 shows you the traffic jams that have been going on for days leading up to Christmas.
1920s St. Lawrence Market building all decked out for Christmas.
City Hall Christmas Tree in the 1950s (now called ‘Old City Hall’). Residents of Toronto will notice the ‘Eaton store’ in the background. This is now a mall called ‘Toronto Eaton Center’ but no longer holds an Eaton store.
Christmas light tour circa 1950s.
Toronto annual Santa Claus Parade (see Blog post HERE).
December 23rd, 1930-Childrens Christmas Party via the Lions Club. Can someone explain why there are kids dressed as clowns in the crowd?
Snapshot of what was under the Christmas Tree at Miss Marjorie Lang’s home in 1930s Toronto.
Christmas windows at one of the big department stores in Toronto (either Simpsons, or Eatons. I believe Simpsons).
Christmas Carols for everyone! Wanting to make sure that everyone remembered their carols, the Toronto Telegram inserted the below leaflet into their paper for their readers to have (circa 1960s).
Santa’s helpers are everywhere, like on airplanes (Trans Canada Airlines to be exact) taking the first consignment airmail from Toronto to Winnipeg in 1939.
Family in Toronto unwrapping their Christmas presents in 1953 (notice the vintage Archies and Krazy Kat comics? ohhh want!).
And there you have a snapshot into what Toronto looked like during Christmas of times gone by. I hope you enjoyed taking a peek into another view of the city I live in.
Every year keeps getting bigger with year # 3 being our biggest! Woo hoo! One of the cool activities we do at our Tiki party is the “Vintage Swim Suit Competition“. Last year we had a wonderful turnout of fantastic suits and I’m really excited to see what this years attendees will bring to table. I’m sure they will be amazing!
In preparation for August 29th, I have rounded up some of my favorite vintage swimsuits from the internet to inspire, purchase or just admire. Enjoy!
(P.S. These are also great suits for VIVA as well).
Playsuits that turn into swimsuits are fantastic for summer parties, because you only have to worry about one outfit for the whole day. This 1940s beauty on sale on Etsy right now is the perfect example.
Another Playsuit/Swimsuit from the 1950s. Who does not love Gingham?!
I love details like lovely scalping on the bust of a suit.
(P.S. this suit is from a Canadian seller: “Trunk of Dresses” for any Toronto ladies interested).
This next suit is stunning and so very 1930s. This suit is luxuriously sleek white and silver striped Lastex stretch satin with skinny black pinstriping. Wow! You would turn heads everywhere you went, that is for sure.
Ohhhhh I wish this next darling of Marina Del Mar swimsuit would fit me, it’s just so beautiful. At last it won’t so I will have to wish for it to go to a good home instead. Bummer.
1950s Swimsuits with pleated skirts is the ultimate in style, especially when it looks like it would be good to from the pool to the tennis court. Fantastic!
This lovely is also being sold in Canada on Etsy so you can still scoop it up just in time for the party.
This number would be perfect for VIVA with its patriotic red/white/blue theme but honestly it could be worn anytime because CUTE is perfect anytime.
(Note: Also a Canadian Etsy Seller)
Sometimes all a swimsuit needs is a few fantastic details, like this Ivory cream piping scalloped wave pattern with buttons on the below 1950s swimsuit. So pretty.
This 1950s Jantzen Rhinestone beauty is a bit pricey but it’s too stunning to leave on Etsy PLUS it has its vintage ad to match!
Lets not forget the men! Can we all take a moment to revel on how PERFECT these 1950s vintage swim trunks are for the Tiki party? Or for VIVA? WOW!
Here is another perfect Tiki 1950s Vintage Swimsuit for the guys.
And there is the roundup. Still looking for a suit? Etsy and Ebay are always good places to go (as seen above) as well as vintage shops in your hood. Live in Toronto? We have lots of places that might have a suit or 2 (check out our directory on the TVS website) but if vintage is not your thing for swimsuits then please check out our Tiki Party sponsor “Doll Factory by Damzels“.
Now Question Time: Do you own a vintage swimsuit? Or is one on your bucket list?
While looking thru Flickr the other day for some inspiration I stumbled upon this absolutely wonderful photo of 8 of the most stylish men and women 1940s Toronto has ever seen! Aren’t they just fantastic?? My favorite is…all of them 🙂
The post inspired me to gather up other images of stylish folks in Toronto during the same time period and put them together into one giant fashionable post.
Now lets see who was in “Vogue” shall we?
The below image is of Betty Willis (vocals) and Frank Wright (vibraphone), two early stars of the Toronto jazz scene in the 1940s and ’50s.
I’m not 100% sure what is on her dress, but I do know I like it on her (great hair as well). Great examples of 1940s suits as well, such well dressed men.
Of course you must have a Beauty Pageant or 2 to showcase more great style (see a past post on Miss Toronto). In this case, great swimsuit style.
Even if you had to do your part for the war effort, true style still shone thru (even if it was how you did your hair or the colours of your nails). Here is the “Miss War Worker Beauty Pageant of 1942”, showing just that.
We cannot leave out Toronto’s very own Rosie the Riveter-“Veronica Foster the Bren Gun Girl”. You can read all about Veronica HERE. This is her “after work is done look”.
Remember Miss Toronto 1946 in the swimsuit above? Well here she is again, modelling our Transit system very stylish uniforms for women in 1946. Pretty smart, right?
More ladies in the uniforms of the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission).
Off to school? With storefront windows like this one in Toronto in 1942 you were guaranteed to not miss the hottest looks on campus. How do I make the look on the right mine?
Have children and think you don’t have time to be stylish? Not a problem for the lovely lady Mrs. Jack Wright and her two sons Ralph Wright and David Wright in 1943 doing her shopping in Toronto in a stunner of a dress (source). Aren’t her kids just adorable??
Think being stylish is only reserved for adults? Pish Posh, look at these 2 well dressed boys doing some reading of some very important books for their generation.
This last image is of a young couple with a lovely lady who was a member of the Canadian Women’s Army Corps in 1944. Can we take a moment to admire the 2 doves on the one woman’s dress? Fantastic!
And there it is, Stylish Toronto of the 1940s. Did you have a favorite photo from this collection? Or maybe you have your own photos of stylish folks from your town or even a favorite image. Do share!
Mary Pickford was “America’s Sweetheart” in the early days of the Silver screen but did you know that she was Canadian and born in my adopted home of Toronto? So technically she would be “Canada’s Sweetheart”.
I also recently discovered thanks to a friend’s post on Instagram that there is a statue and plaque in her honor in downtown Toronto. How exciting!! Here it is:
Location in Toronto (if you ever visit): Northeast corner of University Avenue and Elm Street
Miss Pickford herself 🙂
About Mary-Highlights of the Early Day’s:
Note: for a more detailed description please visit her official website HERE
As you read above, Mary was actually born as Glady’s Marie Smith on April 8, 1892 in Toronto, Canada to John and Charlotte Smith. Her father died when she was young and her mother after being encouraged by a boarder of their home (who was a stage manager for a theatre company), put Glady’s (age 5) and her sister onto the stage.
Soon though the producers only wanted Glady’s and she quickly found herself traveling alone throughout Canada and to New York for work.
By the time Gladys was twelve,” writes Pickford biographer Booton Herndon, “she knew how to travel better than most adults, certainly better than most women of 1905. She knew how to get around in a town she had never seen before, how to get a room at a reasonable price, how to eat cheaply, when to walk rather that spend a nickel for a streetcar.” She was not above sleeping in an overstuffed chair and paying “rent” by doing the shopping and cleaning, saving every penny she could to proudly send home to her mother at the end of each week (Source).
Glady’s Becomes Mary:
In 1907 Mary was cast in the Broadway Play “The Warrens of Virginia“, written by William de Mille and co-starring his younger brother Cecil (image above) where her name was then to be changed forever.
Glady’s name was not “Marquee Worthy” so she adopted the family name Pickford from her maternal grandfather’s name, John Pickford Hennessey and took her middle name, Marie, to become Mary (source). A stars name is born!
Silver Screen Career:
Mary made the move to the movies in 1909 where between the years of 1909 and 1912 she appeared in over 150 short films working with 3 different Movie Companies.
By 1916 Pickford’s popularity had climbed to the point that she was awarded a contract that made her a partner with Zukor (Zukor’s Famous Players Film Company, a studio which eventually became part of Paramount Pictures and who she had been working with since 1913) and they even allowed her to produce her own films (Source).
From 1913-to 1933 she appeared in around 80 more films (give or take a movie or 2 I missed).
In 1919 Pickford teamed with D.W. Griffith, Charlie Chaplin, and Douglas Fairbanks to create United Artists, an organization designed to distribute their own films.
Her First Talkie was the movie “Coquette” in 1929 where she ended winning the Academy award for Best Actress for her performance and it launched Pickford as a competent talkie star.
Her last movie was in 1933 in the Movie “Secrets”, however, she remained active as a producer for several years afterwards (Source).
Selection of her Movie Roles:
1. Mary was married 3 times:
Owen Moore (1911-1920)
Douglas Fairbanks (1920-1936)
Buddy Rogers (1937-1979)
2. The Public preferred to see Pickford as a young girl; as a result, she was often pressured to choose childlike parts to appeal to audiences (Source).
I’m sick of Cinderella parts, of wearing rags and tatters. I want to wear smart clothes and play the lover -Mary Pickford-
3. Pickford was a founding member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Source).
4. She had intended to have all of her films destroyed after her death, fearing that no one would care about them. She was convinced not to do this (Source).
5. Became a United States citizen on her marriage to Douglas Fairbanks, but later reclaimed her Canadian citizenship and died an American and Canadian citizen (Source).
6. The house in which she lived in Hollywood for most of her life was nicknamed “Pickfair” (Source).
Mary died in 1979 at the age of 87.
“The best known woman who has ever lived, the woman who was known to more people and loved by more people than any other woman that has been in all history.”
Adela Rogers St. Johns, 1981
And there is a little bit of Canadian Movie Star History for all of you. I hope you enjoyed and learned a little more about OUR Canadian Sweetheart.
This past Tuesday I was invited to attend a special Blogging event at the soon to be opened “Bean and Baker Malt Shop“, to get a sneak peek of all the goodies the public is going get to enjoy on June 2nd!
Leading up to this event, I did a little fun post on Vintage Malt Shop Images, which you can find HERE.
Now lets talk about my Bean and Baker Malt Shop Experience…..
Official Press Release:
Husband and wife team, Liezel and Brennan Anderson, are proud to announce the opening of Bean and Baker Malt Shop Toronto’s revival of the soda fountain malt shop in Bickford Park. Bean and Baker Malt Shop, located at 326 Harbord Street, Toronto, ON., offers classic sodas, ice cream, coffee, and handcrafted desserts and pastries. They provide premium food and drinks with topnotch quality ingredients while showcasing the retro era malt shop experience.
The 16 seat establishment is clean and decorated in a retro 1950’s style. The menu will feature premium coffee, savoury pies, quiche, pies, cakes, cookies, ice cream, floats and milkshakes. Specializing in handmade sodas made by authentic Soda Jerks, with flavours ranging from Root ‘n Cola, Gramp’s Ginger, Real Orange, and Hibiscus. It features an open concept kitchen and Soda Jerks behind the counter complete with a bowtie and a smile. Customers can sit inside or grab and go. Hours of operation are Tuesday-Saturday:10 am 8 pm, Sunday: 11 am 6 pm, Monday: Closed.
Owner, Liezel Anderson describes her vision for the malt shop, “Our goal is to provide Toronto with an experience that stands out and is unique to every customer. We want to bring the malt shop experience back! We want to give people a unique escape from everyday life. People have the right to know what they’re eating and drinking so we use premium quality ingredients. We aspire to be a neighbourhood hub where many generations of families can enjoy good food and each other’s company.”
When we arrived we were greeted by Brennan and his fantastic Soda Jerks offering water for us to drink. Why water? Well as we drank the fresh drink we were told that all their products start with the freshest and most filtered water around. Nothing but the best for their customers, starting with us (I like this place already).
As we drank the water we got to take a walk around and see what they have done decor wise. Check it out!
Okay time to eat and boy did we get treated with so many wonderful goodies.
First up..Handmade Sodas made by those authentic Soda Jerks.
Then we got to enjoy some of their savouries options:
Mini Beef and Cheese Pie
And now it was SWEET TIME!! The yummy collection of pure homemade desserts we sampled was:
Warm Cherry Pie Pocket
Dark Chocolate Eclair
Old School PB ad J Pie (MY FAV!)
Now you cannot possible go to a Malt Shop and not have a Malt Milkshake. Our shakes for today were “Burnt Marshmallow (using Ed’s ice cream). I’m not sure if my Soda Jerk read my mind but the only Ice Cream I eat at Ed’s is the Burnt Marshmallow. Just ask my husband, there are 20 other flavours and I don’t even care or even look. SHOW ME THE MARSHMALLOW!! So when I was presented this shake I already KNEW that I was going to love it..and I did.
Time to move aside all that I have eaten so far to make room for the next goodie..Ice Cream Sundaes made anyway we liked and with any kind of Ed’s Ice Cream.
By now your probably thinking..this must be the end right? WRONG? We were then treated to the making of their Ice Cream Sodas (Hibiscus flavored for the example).
I actually did not try it because I had no more room but from the image you can see below and from all that I mentioned above I know it is going to be amazing when I do try it.
Last treat before we slowly moved to the door (and decided to walk home lol) was watching the talented artist Lisa Farrows paint this milkshake container by hand for the shop. Her images can also be seen on the skateboards I posted earlier in the decor portion. It was really cool and the finished product was amazing!
Now it’s really time to go. Thank you to everyone at Bean and Baker for making this event so much fun! And to the readers of this blog post…go and visit their shop (326 Harbord St.)! You will not be disappointed (I was not).
“Yes, we’re gonna have a subway in Toronto;we’ve got to get the working man home pronto…”
“Canada’s First Subway” was completed in Toronto in 1954, after 4 long years of construction. The cost for that groundbreaking transit system was around $60 million (source).
It was an immediate hit with the people; 250,000 rode it on the first day. Its opening established it as an icon for the booming economy that lay ahead for post-war Toronto (source).
Now if you have been following my blog for some time you know that I have a thing for fun history and sometimes history that is a bit kitschy and there is nothing more kitschy then a song written about the making of the Toronto Subway.
**Originally recorded in 1950, the Toronto Subway Song was written by Mel Hamill. Betty Carr and Charles Baldour performed the vocals, backed by the Ozzie Williams Band (Source).
**When the Toronto Subway Song‘s singers mention “bearing the noise” and the inconvenience caused by construction, they weren’t exaggerating. As crews were excavating one downtown section, for instance, they ran into solid rock that stretched from Front Street to Queen Street. This meant that for much of the excavation period, workers had to use dynamite twice each day — at noon and at 4:30 p.m. — which caused quite a noise disturbance for the city (Source).
Can’t hear the song? Here are the words:
Now have you heard what’s going on in Toronto? They’re digging deeper, deeper, deeper every day. Though proprietors are raving while they’re tearing up the paving, The racket is nerve-wracking, so they say. And though the noise may be distressing, so construction is progressing, And we can’t afford a further delay So with the help of you and me and the blessed T.T.C. We’ll soon have a real subway.
CHORUS: Yes, we’re gonna have a subway in Toronto. We gotta get the working man home pronto. So bear the noise with a smile and in a little while We’ll be riding in a new subway.
Now it’s generally conceded that a subway here is needed For the people have to get to work each day. We have men in Deseronto, girls who live in North Toronto And to all of them we have just this to say: Modern history’s in the making with this hallowed undertaking And Rome wasn’t built in a day. You may find it’s aggravating, but be sure it’s worth the waiting For we’ll soon have a real subway.
Now with modern engineering dear old Yonge Street’s disappearing By the truckload they are hauling it away (INTERJECTION: Stay away!) Excavation so extensive will doubtless be expensive But who cares about expenses anyway? (INTERJECTION: anyway) Though we may have open Sundays there are plenty of blue Mondays When the pile drivers start every day The workmen do the swearing while the public do the staring And we’ll soon have a real subway. (INTERJECTION: Yes, sir!)
Repeat CHORUS, then: Don’t take the streetcar, Riding in a new subway!
To end this post I will leave you with a poem which was written about the bystanders who watched this historic subway being built.
If you’re Canadian you know the famous and very historic Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto the home of the Toronto Maple Leafs for over 60 some on years BUT did you know that outside of hockey the Gardens played a role in bringing top musical acts, ice shows, operas and rally’s to the public of Toronto (to name a few)?
Lets take a look at the vintage non hockey history of Maple Leaf Gardens pre 1970s.
Let’s Begin with…..ELVIS!
Elvis Presley played the Gardens in April of 1957 and it should be noted that this performance was among only five he ever performed outside of the U.S.
This is a letter signed by his fans that say “Presented to Elvis Presley, April 2 1957 on your personal appearance in the Toronto Maple Leaf Gardens. We would like to convey our greatest & warmest wishes for your continued success & happiness.”
A Description of the Evening:
Crowds estimated at 8,000 and 15,000 persons jammed Maple Leaf Gardens last night as Elvis Presley gave his first and second Canadian shows. Col. Tom Parker, Presley’s manager, said the second-show crowd was the largest Presley has ever faced in a personal appearance. I think Toronto audiences are terrific,’ Col. Parker said.
But if the Toronto audience was the largest Elvis has ever faced, to all reports it was also one of the quietest and best-behaved audiences ever to watch Elvis in action. Members of the troupe said the whooping and hollering and shenanigans just didn’t compare to what they had seen in other cities. However, they gave part of the credit for this to the 90 special constables on duty and to the alert Gardens’ staff. Whenever a youngster bounced up in his seat a policeman would reach over and plunk him down again. This sometimes gave the Gardens the appearance of a large jack-in-the-box, but it seemed to have the desired effect. Two women fans were ejected late in the second performance when they tried to break through 20 policemen and as many Maple Leaf Gardens’ attendants to reach the stage. Frankie Trent, who leads off the Presley show with a tap dance routine said he had heard a lot more heckling than was usual in most towns.’But the kids didn’t screech and run around as much as they did in other places,’ he said (Source).
Elvis on Stage.
The Ice Capades
Having an Ice Show at a place where there is Ice kind of makes sense. Here are the Ice Capades of 1955 as I don’t know what but those ARE giant ice cream cones in background. How cute!
Performer in Maple Leaf Gardens’ Ice Capades rehearsing Peter Pan with journalist.
Wartime rallies were also held at the Gardens for enlisting as well as supporting Victory Bonds (source).
Need to hold a meeting? Why not at the Gardens, like the Red Cross did in 1945.
The Metropolitan Opera was also noted for performing at the Gardens. Here is an image of a adorable little girl getting ready for her performance.
Back to the concerts-In what was deemed the arena’s first rock ‘n’ roll show, Bill Haley and his Comets headlined a 12-act bill on April 30, 1956, that also included Bo Diddley, LaVern Baker, Big Joe Turner, the Drifters, the Platters, and Frankie Lymon (Source).
Bill Haley and the Comets Performing.
The Isley Brothers in the “The Biggest Show Of Stars-1960”.
And now for the..BEATLES!
The Beatles performed in Toronto a total of three times before calling it quits, each time at the legendary Maple Leaf Gardens. First, on September 7, 1964, and then a year apart on August 17 in ’65 and ’66 (one of their final concerts) (source).
Here are fans outside Maple Leaf Gardens (August 17th), as the press conference takes place.
This photo below is pretty cool as it was a garage sale find by the current owner who purchased an old photo album and found the ticket inside. What a find! (source). Can you believe that it only cost $5.00 to go see the Beatles in ’65.. $5.00!! Yooza!
The Beatles performing at the Gardens on August 17th, 1965.
What happened to the Gardens?
The Maple Leaf Gardens of today is a multipurpose facility, with a Grocery store occupying retail space on the lower floors and an athletic centre for Toronto’s Ryerson University, known as Mattamy Athletic Centre at the Gardens, occupying another level.
Maple Leaf Gardens was named a National Historic Site of Canada in 2007 because it was:
one of the most renowned “shrines” in the history of hockey… the largest arena in the country when it was built, it was one of the country’s foremost venues for large-scale sporting events such as boxing matches and track meets, and non-sporting events such as concerts, rallies and political gatherings, religious services and opera… the Gardens holds a special place in the country’s popular culture: here Canadians welcomed a wide range of cultural icons from the Beatles to the Metropolitan Opera, from Tim Buck to Team Canada vs. the Soviets, from Winston Churchill to the Muhammad Ali-George Chuvalo fight.
—Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, June 2006 (Source).
Question: Do you have an arena in your home town or surrounding city that has amazing vintage history like this?