Thursday, February 20, 2014

shopbreaking and sweating

Source: the Telegram, April 7, 1911.
Two adjacent sketches make up today's post. Did the artist try to suggest bags under each crook's eyes to illustrate their depravity in holding up one of the city's most prominent jewelers? Or did John Lester naturally look that weary? Also, were they trying to pass along their stolen diamonds to unsuspecting tourists in Niagara Falls? A possible sales pitch under that scenario:

WILLIAMS (since he shows promise as the smooth talker of the pair): Hello there young lovers. Are you here to celebrate your honeymoon?

GROOM: We are. Just arrived on the train. Been looking forward to this for three years. Do you know if anyone's going over the falls in a barrel today?

WILLIAMS: Wouldn't know. Not as common as you'd think. By the way, I notice your rings are not diamonds.

BRIDE: He couldn't afford them on his clerk's salary. But our love is priceless.

WILLIAMS: That may be true, but it would be nice to have one to show the depth of your love, wouldn't it?

GROOM: Why sure!

WILLIAMS: It so happens I'm a travelling jeweler, and I have some sample diamonds I'm intending to show to dealers here. I think I may have one which is perfect for such a lovely couple as you two. And since it's a sample, I can let you have it for a reasonable price. Think of the envy your friends will feel when they see you with genuine diamonds!

BRIDE: Henry, we have to have them!

GROOM: Anything for you my dear.

WILLIAMS: Excellent. You will be happy with your purchase.

GROOM: Thank you sir. And now, let's go find somebody who can tell us if anyone is going over the falls in a barrel today. We really want to see this!

Sidenote: Ellis Brothers were based at 96-98 Yonge Street, north of King Street. The firm was eventually absorbed by Birks.

***

The second illustration depicts plans for a new YMCA at College and Dovercourt. A century later, the building still provides a place for locals to work out. It was designed by the architectural firm of Burke, Horwood & White, who also worked on the Central and Broadview Ys mentioned in the article. Neither of those buildings survive - the Broadview location is now residential, while the old Central site is currently occupied by Toronto Police Headquarters.

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