Category Archives: Ontario

A Brief History of Toronto

Carte des lacs du Canada – Early Map of the Great Lakes, 1744.

The City of Toronto had been called the Town of York prior to 1834 when it incorporated. But before that the first settlers were probably the Iroquoian-speaking Wendat people, who the Europeans called the Huron. These people settled on the north shore of Lake Ontario where they lived in longhouses. Wendat means peninsula-island dwellers this is because of the shape of the land on the north shore. They believed that the world was on an island resting on the back of a turtle.

Map from the attack of York 1813.

The natives used variations of the name Toronto for different areas in the vicinity, as well as for fishing tools that they used. The French then used it again when they named Fort Toronto at the foot of the Humber River. So, when the Town of York incorporated in 1834 it changed its name to Toronto. The legislative council changed York to Toronto because it was a more unique name and because of its native roots.

Drawing of Fort Toronto (uncredited)

Three weeks after Toronto incorporated, William Lyon Mackenzie was elected its first mayor. William Lyon Mackenzie was born in Scotland on March 12, 1795 and came to Canada in 1820. He was a reformer and the editor of the Colonial Advocate newspaper. He was only mayor for one year.

William Lyon Mackenzie (1834).

In 1837, Mackenzie led a rebellion in Upper Canada. The one and only battle took place at Montgomery’s Tavern. Although the battle ultimately lasted only a half an hour, and they lost, because of the rebellion the British Government realized the problems in Canada and made changes.

Drawing from the Upper Canada Rebellion showing the battle at Montgomery’s Tavern

Remaining from the old Town of York, the oldest building in Toronto is John Scadding’s cabin, which was built in 1794. It was located near the Don Valley but was later relocated, as a historical landmark to the Canadian National Exhibition grounds in 1879 by the York Pioneers Historical Society.

John Scadding’s Cabin, past and present

In 1834, the population of the City of Toronto was only 9,254. The boundaries of the city were between Lake Ontario on the South, Parliament street on the East , Bathurst street on the West, and 365 metres North of Lot street (now known as Queen street). The city was only 3.6 square kilometres. Today the population is a whopping 2.6 million people and the city covers 630 square kilometres.

City of Toronto today

by Kate Gendron (age 10)
Givin’s-Shaw Public School
Ms. Stockton’s Grade 4 Class Project
2017

Posted in Aboriginal, Architecture, Canada, Canadian Art, Canadian National Exhibition, CCT Now and Then, Historical, Ontario, Politics, Toronto | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

After Last Night’s American Debate-ish Thingy.

After a glorified SNL-like sketch of a U.S. Presidential debate like we saw last night, this might soon be the view we see.

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Posted in Canadiana, Current Events, Ontario, Politics, Postcards | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

New CCT Postcards Coming This Week!

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Posted in Alberta, Architecture, British Columbia, Canada, Canadian Art, Canadian Wlidlife, Canadiana, Entertainment, Historical, Manitoba, Music, Ontario, Ottawa, Politics, Pop Culture, Postcards, Sakatchewan, Ships, Toronto, Travel, Vancouver | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

A Great Canadian Moment (in American Media): Howard the Duck #9

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While reading issues of Howard the Duck from the mid-seventies, one might think that Hunter S. Thomson was moonlighting as a comic-book writer. But the Fear and Loathing of it all in Howard the Duck is the Gonzo masterwork of American comic-book legend Steve Gerber. Gerber became famous (and controversial) through his bizarre creations while working at Marvel in the seventies and his use of drug-induced nightmares (including rock-band Kiss) and sexuality. Howard wasn’t really for the kiddies – as a kid, I just thought it was too weird. Now many years (but not that many) later, I am so glad to have revisited this intellectual, cigar-smoking duck. Much like wasting Orwell’s 1984 on teenagers, Howard the Duck is far more interesting with a few years behind you.

As an avid and somewhat addicted comic-book collector myself, it seemed perfectly sensible to buy up all of the Howard the Duck comics I could (#1-15 plus Annual #1) in order to read it – no trades for me, thanks. The first 15 issues had me hooked as Howard the Duck reluctantly struggles through happenstance adventure with his sexy redhead girlfriend Beverly and their weird friends. Drawn (mostly) by one of my favourites Gene Colan, they battle the likes of villains such as  Turnip-Man and Kidney Lady, Vampire-Cows and Doctor Bong.

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Howard the Duck #8 cover Jan. 1976. The story leads Howard to a presidential nomination by the All-Night Party. In the real-world, Marvel Comics ran Howard in the actual 1976 election.

After fleeing a cult-leader and a giant gingerbread-man, Howard and Beverly arrive in New York City and get jobs at the All-Night Party convention, which coincided in the real world, with the presidential election of 1976. In Issue #7, Howard the Duck is nominated to run for President by the All-Night Party (Marvel Comics thought it would be a good publicity stunt and ran Howard in the actual election as well). In issue #9, after several assassination attempts, his reluctant campaign ends abruptly when a doctored photo is leaked of Howard and Beverly in the Tub together. Though Howard was never interested in running for president, he was outraged at the slander and the tarnishing of Beverly’s “meticulously fabricated rep” as a “good girl”. Therefore, Howard and Beverly set off to find the villain behind the assassinations, and the doctored photo.

BUT WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH CANADA, you must be asking?

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Howard the Duck #9 cover Feb. 1976. Howard has a showdown with Le Beaver!

Their search leads them to…Canada! Canada? That’s right. In Canada, they confront the culprit who put a price on Howard’s head and ran their names through the muck…err, bubbles. After a 7 hour and 44 minute trip (about the time it takes to drive from NYC), their remote-controlled plane crashes near the “shore of your basic crystal clear lake overlooking the snow-capped peaks and thick pine woods commonly believed to encircle downtown Toronto”. There they meet Sgt. Preston Dudley of the RCMP and his trusty horse Prince. With the valiant Mountie’s assistance, they visit the American-hating terrorist known for using bellhops and robot-planes, Pierre Dentifris, Canada’s only Super-Patriot!

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Now old and in a wheel-chair, Pierre Dentifris  is confronted by the Mountie, Howard and Beverly. When asked the reason for the visit, Sgt. Preston Dudley, polite as all Canadians are, greets Pierre, “I want you to meet some friends of mine, Pierre, from south of the border.”
To which Pierre responds: “Americans?! I weesh a bellboy would drop luggage on your heads!! I weesh you would die in ze crash of a robot plane!! I despise vous!”
Sgt. Preston Dudley: “Careful, young man. You’ll incriminate yourself.”
Howard the Duck: “This geezer?! Are you serious? He couldn’t hurt a gnat!”
Pierre: “I could if it were an American gnat, duckee! I was once a powerful man in Canada, a hotel and airline magnate! I loved Canada and grew sick at ze way you barbarians invaded and polluted us with your industry, your so-called culture! I turned my resources to a daring plan to teach you arrogant fools a lesson! I airlifted a million beaver to construct a dam across Niagara to make it fall ze other way!! And I succeeded! My pets and I slowed ze Falls to a trickle! I should have known your military would not allow a Canadian more than a moment of national pride! I had barely ze time to gloat when ze bombs began falling! It all happened back in February. It was kept very hush-hush, of course. Since then I’ve aged nearly 73 years and lost the use of all my limbs except my teeth!”

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Beverly: “Wow…what a sad story.”
Howard the Duck: “Downright pathetic. Listen…it’s been fun talking’ to ya, old-timer…but we gotta run. Try not to be bitter. We’ll prob’ly destroy ourselves an’ save ya the bother.”
Sgt. Preston Dudley: “Wait, you two! I thought you wanted to hammer the scoundrel! Or have you chosen not to become…involved?”
Howard the Duck: “Aw, come off it, Dudley! This old coot’s outta his maple tree!”

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A few pages later, the battle takes place when Howard meets up once again with Pierre at Niagara Falls. Pierre, now dressed in a robotic beaver costume declares, “It is I, Pierre Dentifris, in ze most formidable exoskeleton ever devised by man!! Vous thought I was a helpless cripple, ze way all you Americans think of Canada itself! Well, it is not vrai! I am Le Beaver!”

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CCT0019 Sergeant Preston of the Yukon #22 Feb-April 1957 cover. Half of the inspiration in the character Sgt. Preston Dudley.

It is an endlessly enjoyable read and clearly written by someone who understands Canada enough to satirize it.

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Dudley Do-Right is clearly the other half of the stereotypical Mountie found in Sgt. Preston Dudley.
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Canadian actor Brendan Fraser in his portrayal of the legendary cartoon character, Dudley Do-Right (1999). Brendan Fraser can be found on a MLF Stamp on the back of CCT0019. This movie can be found unsold in $5 movie bins or in post-moving curb-side garbage boxes. Sorry Brendan, we love love you but sheesh on this one!
Posted in Canada, Canadian Art, Canadian Celebrities, Canadian Literature, Canadian Wlidlife, Canadiana, Entertainment, Movies, Ontario, Politics, Pop Culture, Travel | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

…And More from CCT!

Did you think we’d forgotten about doing some more great black and white pictures?

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CCT0129 Dirigible flying over Toronto 1930
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CCT0131 Reproduction of 1834 illustration by William Henry Bartlett, depicting the Toronto shore and fish market. the original coffin building is seen in background, the site of the current Gooderham Flatiron Building at Church and Front and Wellington streets.

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CCT0132 Looking east along Queen Street West under the Queen Subway (railway underpass) at Dufferin Street. The Gladstone Hotel, built in 1889, can be seen in the background. Toronto, Ontario April 22, 1915
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CCT0133 Looking west along Bloor Street West to High Park, Toronto, Ontario 1914.
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CCT0134 Looking northwest at Bay Street and Queen Street West April 7, 1923.

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The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM). Looking southwest to Queen’s Park and Bloor Street West from Avenue Road Toronto, Ontario 1957.
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“The Northumberland” crossing Toronto Harbour with skyline in background c1930.

Posted in Architecture, Canadiana, Historical, Ontario, Postcards, Ships, Toronto, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment