vintage ttc advertisements

What TTC advertising used to look like in the 1940s

If there's one thing that's clear while browsing vintage advertising, it's this: while the art, design and delivery of the sales pitch might change over time, the products and underlying messages generally do not. We bought the same things for the same reasons mid-way through last century as we do today.

While browsing the archives for the TTC etiquette post, I found a stack of advertisements that had been saved for posterity after their run onboard the Toronto's streetcars. Even though most appeared more than sixty years ago, things really haven't moved on a whole lot: advertisers still call avoiding constipation "maintaining regularity," food companies still try to suggest candy is somehow healthy (Vitamin C!), and meat companies still chase the "natural" dollar.

One thing that dates these adverts is the level of wonder for electric products, the call for Community Chest not United Way donations, and the not-so-subtle images of the Queen and Prince Philip (which weren't properly from the 1940s, but are fun nonetheless). Also, spot the rogue Vancouver address in the pile. I welcome your suggestions as to why it was used on a Toronto streetcar.

While we're on a vintage sales kick, check out Jamie Bradburn's work over at Torontoist for more choice archival gems.


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Images: City of Toronto Archives

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