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Toronto news headlines from 1881 are just as weird as today's

While it's no secret that Toronto has produced some of the most bizarre and fascinating headlines in the world over the past few years, the city has historically always been the site of peculiar happenings and crimes. 

Don't believe us? Check out these headlines from the Toronto-based "City News" newspaper on May 6, 1881. 

The headlines, sent to blogTO by local historian and researcher, Adam G. Wynne, detail a variety of incidents throughout the downtown core, including mischievous fires and thefts. 

"The morales of the children in the west end are evidently not of the highest order," one headline reads. 

"On Wednesday some of them, through their fondness for bonfires and general mischief, nearly occasioned two serious conflagrations. The first instance was that of a shed in the rear of Crocker's block, Queen Street West, set in a blaze through some children igniting a pile of loose straw in the lane," the story continues. 

"On the same afternoon some boys set fire to the fence near the bridge at Garrison Creek on King Street." 

toronto newsAnother news piece highlights a comment made by a cynical manufacturer at a smoke-stack meeting, who remarked that while "it was generally thought that as civilization advanced, barbarism receded, the same did not apply to Toronto."

A third headline describes a situation in which a man was found in the water at the foot of Simcoe Street. The man was reportedly "trying to temperature of the Bay," and had his garments off and lying to one side. 

toronto news"His name, or how we came in such a damp and dangerous position could not be ascertained," the newspaper reads. 

While laws are now fully in place and regularly enforced on cyclists in Toronto, one headline from the newspaper details the first court appearance of a bicyclist infringing the law.

toronto news"It was lucky for him that he was the first, because he was discharged," " the story reads. "If he had been the second he would have been fined. Look out, No. 2." 

Lead photo by

City News

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