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TIME TRAVELLER’S DIARY: Welcome to 1919

January 3, 2019   ·   0 Comments

By Katerina von Holt
Co-op Studen

Picture yourself, 100 years ago, walking down Yonge Street and picking up a copy of the local paper. As you flip through the pages, reading the news of the day, you discover who is getting married, who left for a trip, and who lost a wallet.
In 1919, it was standard to find these pieces of information under the headline of Local News. It was here that personal milestones of Aurorans, both pivotal and trivial ones, were printed for all to read. Quite literally, everything appeared in the newspaper, down to the last detail:
“… at the Methodist Parsonage, Kettleby, there took place the marriage of Miss Janet Viola […] to Mr. Ambrose Alexander Archibald. The bride was prettily gowned in brown charmeuse satin, trimmed with white satin and Georgette crepe. The groom’s gift to the bride was a gold wrist watch […] the happy couple left on a honeymoon trip to Toronto and Parry Sound.” (Aurora Banner, January 3, 1919).

Today, you can share a post online to update family and friends about the major milestones in your life, such as graduation, a new career or an upcoming marriage. You can also let everyone know about the more typical happenings, including what you had for lunch, the colour of your socks or the new puppy you have adopted. In some ways, not much has changed.
As you continue walking down Yonge Street, you notice that Whimster’s store has apricots on sale – you might be tempted to pick up a basket; after all, they are only 26 cents ($3.44 in 2018). Perhaps you’re searching for a new wardrobe, or a gift? If so, just turn down Wellington Street and head into A. Rom’s store. There you can purchase a dress shirt for $1.25 ($16.52 in 2018), a tie for $0.35 ($4.63 in 2018), or a new corset for $1.50 ($19.83 in 2018).
As time ticks by, many things change – including politics. So, who was in charge of Aurora 100 years ago? Well, 1919 was ushered in with a municipal election and campaign messages were all over town, including one from Mr. W.L. Bassett:
“Owing to the retirement of Baldwin, mayor of Aurora for the past 10 years, and my being a senior member of the council I would ask your support to elect me as mayor for the coming year. Thanking you for your past support in the council, and soliciting a continuance of same.” (Aurora Banner, January 3, 1919).
Mr. Bassett won the vote, and seven days later, he graciously thanked the voters of Aurora – through the newspaper of course.
As 1919 continues on, Aurorans will be confronted with many headlines, including:

“TRACTOR FARMING is Economical and Profitable” (Aurora Banner, January 24, 1919)
“Great Career Ended – Sir Wilfred Laurier Died After Brief Illness” (Aurora Banner, February 21, 1919)
“The 127th York County Battalion Back on Canadian Soil” (Aurora Banner, April 4, 1919)

As we move into a new year, filled with unknown headlines, let us keep in mind this good tiding … “May the new year be full of health, joy and prosperity” (Aurora Banner, January 3, 1919).

         

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