toronto tourism vintage

That time when Toronto tourism got "sexy"

Mailing a postcard to a loved one might be less common now thanks to cellphones, email and social media, but in the early 1900s it was all the rage. At that time, happy tourists sent these mildly risquĂŠ postcards - laughably tame by today's standards - using one-cent stamps around the Toronto, the province of Ontario and across the border into the United States.

The messages on the verso range from the mundane to the intriguingly cryptic - one is a mysterious acronym - but each one provides a tantalizing snapshot into the lives of ordinary people.

I tried my best to decipher the chicken-scratch handwriting on the complete cards (a few were blank) but some words weren't entirely clear, hence the occasional question mark. Several cards were sent from the 1912 CNE and refer to "the fair." Others were mailed in the 1920s. I've kept the original syntax, spelling and grammatical errors intact.

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(L) To: "Miss Effie Milton, 65 Waterloo Avenue, Guelph, Ontario"
Message: "Toronto Ex Sept 11th, with love from Edie."

toronto tourism vintagevintage toronto postcards

(L) To: "Mr. J. M. Rutherford, 163 Church, Toronto"
Message: "Hello kid - your card to hand. How are you living, I am fine. Hope you are too. Will write later, am sending a birthday card to Janet (?) this Fri, 4 o'clock. Am going down to the village for fun before supper. I had a letter from mother & dad last night. Said she was writing to you. With love - Flossie."

(R) To: "Nora Sullivan, 276 King Street, Toronto"
Message: "To Henry, from Nora."

toronto vintage postcards

Message: "My dear Paul, I was this week in Toronto for three days from Saterday till Monday. Saterday knight I had a birthday party. Sunday I had two weddings and Monday I had a piknik. I had a very nice time enjoyed with very many friends. I whish I had have you hear. With best whishes."

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(L) To: Robert McKenzie, Shelburne, Ont.
Message: "170 Euclid Avenue, Toronto. May 1912. Dear Robert - Received your card O.K.. Fine weather here now and having a good time. Hope you make your matrie (?) this spring. Am still at the same place on King St. E.. Tell Bill I haven't another card like that one but I'll get him a good one some other time. Well, good day. Roy Saurden."

(R) To: Robert McKenzie, Shelburne, Ont.
Message: "12 Markham Place, Toronto. January 17 1912. Dear Robert - Well I am down here now and having a good time. How are you getting along, also Sadie? Tell Sadie to tell Miss White that I send her my best respects. Am working on 119 Wellington Street W. in an office. How's Billie Hunter getting along? Much warmer down here. Roy Saurden."

toronto vintage postcards

(L) To: Miss E. Wilkinson, 202 Bellwoods Avenue, Toronto, Canada
Message: "I.W.B.Y.F.E."

(R) To: Miss Ethal Gefford (?), Orillia Pk (?), Ontario, Canada.
Message: September 1912. Hello Ethal - we are looking for you here and also Walter. Caitlin (?) + Jane (?) + all the rest have gone to the Ex - bye bye, May.

toronto vintage postcards

To: Mr. Frank Crewe, Youngstown, N.Y., U.S.A..
Message: Toronto, Can. Hello Frank + Jane, how are you. Having a swell time here going to the fair this after noon. Lynn M.

toronto vintage postcards

(L) To: Miss. Marion Nillerson (?), 21 Martin St., Berlin, Ontario.
Message: Toronto, ON. Nov. 5. 1913. Dear friend, just a line to-night. Hope you are al well as this leaves us fine. I have a full house. I have 6 students here some nice boys came on down. Tell Miss B. I have a fellow here for her. Well, just think xmas so near again. remember me (?) to Uncle. Well, by by, answer soon. xxx.

(R) To: Mrs. Hugh Todd, Campbellford Ont., Box 405.
Message: 167 St. Patrick St.. Arrived safe and found Alice at the station and was through Simpsons and Bartons. This after noon there were a very large crowd. Am going to work in the morning if my trunk comes. Am going to stop at Wills for a while. Board 40 (?) dollars a week. And met Neil at Peterborough and had a good time coming (?). Will ring off. Good bye. H.J.

toronto vintage postcards

To: "Mrs. H. Todd, Campbellford Ont., P.O."
Message: (Completely illegible)

toronto tourism vintage postcards

To: "262 Bellwood Avenue, Toronto"
Message: "Dear Emma. I went to the Humber on Thursday and we caught 3 fishs and 8 catfishs and we sat down and had are supper. I saw a mouse run across the grass. From Fred."

toronto tourism vintage postcards

To: "Miss Irene Johnson, Stayner, Ont., Box 371"
Message: "July 6 1924. Dear Irene, a line to tell you we won't be home until the evening train tuesday. Hope you all are well. Given in haste. Mother."

toronto vintage postcards

To: "Miss Annie Onser (?), Box 435, Trenton, Ont."
Message: On 7/10/13. My dear annie. Blew in Toronto hale and hearty. We are having regular summer weather here now. Oh you bay (?). Write soon + tell me all the news. Gladys.

toronto tourism vintage

To:Miss F. Olive Mae-Naio, Stouffville, Ont.

Images: City of Toronto Archives

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