Summer Holidays from Mud Roads and Plank Sidewalks, Part 14

Canadian Courier, Vol. XXIII, No. 19, June 22, 1918

Summer Holidays

By Samuel Herbert (1876-1966)

To the small boy the summer holidays were the paradise of the year.

Canadian Pictorial, Vol. 2, No. 6 (June 1907)

Shoes and stockings could be discarded.

Arthur Stringer, Lonely O’Malley, illustrations by Frank T. Merrill, 1905.

The old swimming hole in the Bay was again patronized.

Toronto Island Looking east from the Royal Canadian Yacht Club [towards the sand bar}, Sept. 27,1899. City of Toronto Archives.
Flat bottom scow boats were used for fishing over at the deep hole, and in going back and forth to the Island, or as it was called “the sandbar.”

19th century illustration, source unknown [clip art], Public Domain.
The lake was often too cold for swimming.

Map of Ashbridge’s Bay by E.S. Shuttleworth, 1884, showing the sandbar

There were always a hundred things to be done in the long summer days.


The street noises–peddlers shouting their wares, selling fish, fruit or vegetables.

Knife sharpener, Toronto, 1913

The knife sharpener, with his stone wheel and bell, walking slowly along the street.


The ice cream man, selling a dip of ice cream for a cent, and then the ice man with his canvas-covered wagon, drawn by one or perhaps two horses delivering blocks of ice to the stores for refrigeration, and sometimes a good-sized chunk of ice would drop off the wagon. It was very soon picked up.


If you had a copper in your pocket, you could buy four “Bull’s eyes” candies or chocolate squares.

August 28, 1928 City of Toronto Archives

There were plenty of fields and vacant lots, mostly overgrown with weeds and sweet clover.

Pape Avenue looking north 1907, Toronto Public Library
Don Valley, Art Work on Toronto, W.H. Carre and Co., 1898
From a postcard, Toronto, 1911

In the evening when the dew was on them, the perfume of the clover was a benediction in itself, and it was good to be alive.

Daniel Carter, Beard, Outdoor Games for All Seasons,1896, p. 306

Published by Leslieville Historical Society

Welcome to the Leslieville Historical Society's website. Please feel free to join us, to ask questions, to attend walking tours and other events, and to celebrate Leslieville's past while creating our future. Guy Anderson, President, Leslieville Historical Society and Joanne Doucette, local historian and webmaster.

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