Balmy Beach Postcards

By Joanne Doucette

I love collecting these old postcards. Most are from my collection though some are no longer in my file of old fragile paper things. Due to the rarity many go from that drawer in my desk to libraries and archives. Some I also give away as Christmas stocking stuffers for friends. I should also note that in many cases, rips, tears, fingerprints etc. have been carefully removed. In my youth retouching photos was one of my occupations. Joanne

Balmy Beach Toronto 1900

There was no colour photography as we know it at the beginning of the 20th century. Postcards were carefully hand-painted, usually by women. While this makes every postcard a little different, it also means the quality of painting varied greatly. Some were pretty slapdash; others meticulously done. Most of these postcards have lived quite a life after they left the painter’s easel. Some were put away in drawers and, in 2021, are pristine. Most were left in sunlight and yellowed as the cheap paper they were printed on acidified. Some were handled more or less lovingly, with worn corners, tears, fingerprints and smudges. Others were mailed and got worse handling and all too often have traces of postmarks on the front. It is one of the most inexpensive but enjoyable of hobbies.

Balmy Beach Club, Balmy Beach Park, foot of Beech Ave., 1900

This is the actual black and white photograph from which the postcard was produced and it is easy to see “how much was lost in translation.”

Postcard Balmy Beach Club 1920s
It seems that painter was not up to the challenge of the dog in the centre or was interrupted. I think of this as “The Ghost Dog of Balmy Beach”, gone but perpetually happy and wet.

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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