Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12/12/12 in 1912

In honour of today being the 12th day of the 12th month of 2012, here’s a roundup of front-page headlines from a carefully selected batch (as in those I could get my hands earlier this morning) of Toronto newspapers the last time the calendar read 12/12/12:

The Toronto Daily Star

The only paper to acknowledge the significance of the date, which it called “a gala day for puzzle fiends and people of the class of who travel one hundred miles to see a century plant boom.”



The Star also wins the best headline of the day: “THE KING AND YONGE CORNER HAS BECOME A GUSTY SPOT.” Recent gale-force winds added to the problems of crossing King and Yonge in the shadow of one of the city’s first skyscrapers, the Canadian Pacific Building. “Ladies making the crossing looked in some particulars like the pictures of fishermen’s daughters down on the stormy strand, when they have lost hope for their loved ones in the fishing boats out on the raging seas.” The wind tunnel effect was so bad that a gust lifted a bicycle and dropped it in the middle of the road, where “it was rescued from a hungry trolley car.”

“WOMAN BEATEN TO DEATH IN HOME AT CEYLON, ONT.” – With the subheadline “SON SAW A STRANGE MAN IN VICINITY NEIGHBOR INTIMATES SOMETHING TO TELL.”

“LAURIER ADVOCATES A CANADIAN NAVY WITH FLEET ON BOTH OCEANS” – The pro-Liberal paper claimed that the rush to hear federal opposition leader Sir Wilfrid Laurier speak about recent naval policy “beat anything that had been seen in years. The police and gallery officials were driven half out of their wits to control the crowd which gathered. Women in furs and jewels were packed like sardines outside the gallery door an hour before the bells rang.”

The Toronto World

Agricultural headlines dominate, thanks to a touch of controversy at the Guelph Winter Fair. Combined with other stories from that neck of the woods, one could almost mistake the paper for one covering what then would have been the Berlin-Galt-Guelph area. 


“TOWN PLANNING LEGISLATION IS SOUGHT” – 200 people met in Berlin, Ontario (now Kitchener) for the first meeting of the Ontario Town Planning Congress. Still a hot topic a century on.

“SECRET PACTS WITH BRITAIN ARE HINTED AT BY LAURIER – PREMIER BORDEN IS NETTLED” – The pacts in question revolved around alleged agreement to build and staff ships for the British admiralty in Canada.

“ONE OF JUDGES OWNED PRIZE SHORTHORN” – Controversy at the Guelph Winter Fair when a two-year old prize-winning heifer was bought by one of the judges before judging took place.

“ALL PROTESTANT CHURCHES IN CANADA MAY BE UNITED” – During a meeting of Presbyterian committee looking into union with the Methodists and Congregationalists, it was decided to promote a wider union of religious bodies. The United Church of Canada would come into being in 1925.

“NEED $5,000,000 FOR EDUCATION IN FARMING” – At a luncheon for cattle exhibitors at the Guelph Winter Fair, Alberta’s Minister of Agriculture Duncan Marshall asked “if Canada can spend $35,000,000 on battleships, surely she can spend $5,000,000 for agricultural education.” The fair's show horse barn still exists, currently serving as the home of the Guelph Farmers' Market.

The Globe

The dullest headlines of the lot. Most of those I didn’t include revolve around the fight against liquor or finding any way to attack Robert Borden’s Tories. 



“MORE DISCLOSURES OF WASTED MONEY” – The federal Conservative government bought a wharf from one of its defeated candidates in the 1911 election for $15,000.

“CHANGE IN CONTROL OF INTERNATIONAL BANK” – A syndicate headed by Sir Henry Pellatt gained control of the International Bank. Pellatt had recently begun building his most enduring legacy, Casa Loma.

“LAMBTON COUNTY COUNCIL FAVORS LOCAL OPTION” – One of several front-page stories regarding the temperance movement. In this case, the southwestern Ontario county favoured local control over the regulation of booze to reduce the number of people with “regrettable intemperate habits” fostered by hanging out in bars.

“HOUSEKEEPERS’ LEAGUE SMASHES EGG CORNER” – An attempt by the Housekeepers’ League in Philadelphia to sell eggs at up to half the price most retailers charged for them. Sadly headlines refers to “cornering the market,” not the riot I imagined could have broken out on a corner where only eggs where sold.

“WOOLEN MANUFACTURERS ASK MORE PROTECTION” – Mainly against “shoddy” woolen goods from England.

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