• Crowds Flock to Sunnyside Beach in 1922 Crowds flocked to Sunnyside Beach in 1922 when the new park opened, lured by the modern new bathing pavilion and the miles of parklands, boardwalks and beaches near Humber Bay. The newly formed Toronto Harbour Commission reclaimed land by dredging the bottom of Lake Ontario and placing over 3 million cubic yards of fill along the […] Barbara J Starmans No responses 12 min read April 9, 2017
  • Hurricane Hazel They said it might rain; they said it might be windy; but they never really thought that Hurricane Hazel would hit Toronto. Protection of the Alleghenies On Friday, 15 October, 1954, Torontonians were feeling the effects of Hurricane Hazel which had just hit land in the Carolinas as more than one inch of rain fell […] Barbara J Starmans No responses 12 min read July 3, 2016
  • Murder or Accident? The charred and headless body of David Scollie was found in the ruins of a fire that took place on 23 February 1894 on a dark and stormy night. His head was never found. Was it murder or accident? In February of 1894, Scollie was living a solitary life in the township of Otonabee, six miles […] Barbara J Starmans One response 15 min read May 8, 2016
  • Great Fire of 1922 In Northern Ontario, the unusually hot and dry conditions that had prevailed throughout the summer of 1922 continued unabated into the autumn. Concerned about the approaching ‘burning’ season, local fire rangers asked for their contracts to be extended beyond mid-September, but the government denied their request and the rangers left the Temiskaming area on September […] Barbara J Starmans 4 responses 6 min read May 1, 2016
  • Waifs and Strays Winner of Rogue or Angel? Contest Congratulations to reader Heather Milnes, winner of The Social Historian’s Rogue or Angel? Contest for the story of her grandmother, Evelyn Harris who came to Canada as one of the British Home Children in 1907 at the age of eleven. Torn from her home in London, separated from her mother […] Barbara J Starmans No responses 21 min read April 24, 2016
  • Bond Family Chronicles Chapter Two The London chapter of the Bond family chronicles takes us back another generation to Laura’s parents, William and Jessie Bond who married despite the difference in their ages and stayed together until death they did part despite the tragedy in their story. The Royal Artillery life was a hard one, and especially so for the few wives […] Barbara J Starmans 2 responses 38 min read April 3, 2016
  • Bond Family Chronicles Chapter One Hardship, adversity and heartbreak can often serve as glue that binds families together.  Such was the case with the ancestors of Laura Alice Bond.  But after generations of struggle and strife in England, the Bond family immigrated to Canada in search of better times.  At the turn of the twentieth century, in the bustling city […] Barbara J Starmans No responses 22 min read March 27, 2016
  • The Women Went to Work While there is no doubt in my mind that our earliest female ancestors worked, and worked very hard, their choices for paid employment were few. Young women of the working class mostly went into service, working as domestic servants or farm servants. Widowed women with a family to support, might have taken in laundry, worked at dressmaking, hat making or […] Barbara J Starmans 2 responses 11 min read March 20, 2016
  • The Juice of the Poppy In the mid-nineteenth century, although officially part of British North America, British Columbia was a wilderness territory, effectively run by the Hudson’s Bay Company who controlled the fur trade throughout the Pacific North-west. The area was largely unsettled and the sparse population was made up primarily of aboriginal people, and a few hundred British settlers […] Barbara J Starmans No responses 11 min read February 28, 2016
  • Early Motion Pictures The motion picture industry was in its infancy when my grandfather started working for General Film in Montreal. Although very new, dedicated movie theatres were extremely popular in Montreal and in the early twentieth century, several theatres had opened in Montreal including the Ouimet in 1906 and the Nationoscope in 1907. By 1911, when John Arthur Bond went to […] Barbara J Starmans No responses 9 min read February 21, 2016