Thursday, January 30, 2014

vintage toronto media infighting department

When reading Toronto's early newspapers, you have to remember that half of what you're reading is either partisan sniping or satirical attacks. That little context is provided for most of these attacks can drive a researcher mad, unless you're already deeply immersed in the subject. Reading these stories at random can be a head-scratcher - you know it's supposed to be funny, but you're not sure why.

And then there are times when a great headline lures you into an attack piece. Take the case of the following headline I stumbled upon in the January 12, 1849 edition of the Toronto Mirror:

Death from Intense Cold

Naively, I thought Toronto might have endured a cold snap 165 Januarys ago similar to the new ice age we've enjoyed this month. Maybe this headline topped a tragic tale of a victim of deep freeze.

Nope.

Instead, the story "mourns" a rival newspaper, the original incarnation of the Toronto Standard (whose modern-day namesake has endured its own deep freeze). I should note that the Patriot was another rival rag.


This story helps explain why if you flip through surviving copies of the Toronto Standard in the Toronto Reference Library's Baldwin Room, there aren't any editions past number five.

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