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The Glory Days of Miss Toronto

Miss Sadie Thompson

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Ah, the good old days, when thousands would turn out for the crowning of Miss Toronto and she'd become an immediate media star. Let's look back at a few of the nubile young ladies and their activities around town.


The very first Miss Toronto, crowned at Sunnyside in 1926

1926-1.jpg




Exhibition Stadium, with nice view of the CNE grounds in 1936

1936.jpg



Miss Toronto 1937, apparently braless in a Toronto Maple Leafs Baseball club uniform, posing in an alley

1937alley.jpg



The CNE was also the venue for the 1942 Miss War Worker pageant

misswarworker1942-1.jpg



The crowd was bigger for Miss Toronto than some of the rock concerts I attended there in the 60s

cne.jpg



Miss Toronto 1946, modelling the new TTC uniform while strolling along Rhodes Avenue

1946TTC.jpg



Miss Toronto 1947, held up by a member of the Metropolitan Toronto Police Amateur Athletic Association. Anyone else go to the CNE for the Police Games and watch the tug of war matches between the Toronto and Detroit police teams, see up and coming athletes, music and acrobatic acts, culminating in the crowning of Miss Toronto and parade of police officers? My parents took me during the 60s and early 70s.

1947.jpg



Miss Toronto 1947 again, being welcomed by crowds at the Old City Hall (with a weird bus in the background)

1947cityhall.jpg



The ever-popular Miss Toronto 1947 in the Grand Hall of Union Station

1947unionstation.jpg



1948 Miss Toronto pageant at the old Woodbine race track, with crowds precariously perched on the upper level and a young gentleman taking quite a risk for a better view

1948woodbine-1.jpg



1950 pageant. Sure, BMO Stadium is nice, but I miss the CNE Grandstand...

1950.jpg



The tag says this is CNE Exhibition Stadium, but it looks more like old Woodbine to me (1951)

11951CNE.jpg



Apparently this is Miss Toronto 1956 at a promo display for a company manufacturing reactors

1956promo.jpg



Miss Toronto 1960 with Mayor Nathan Phillips, a few years before his square

1960nathanphillips.jpg



Miss Toronto 1960 looking even lovelier in colour. I remember a huge Sea Queen billboard on the Lakeshore.

1960colour-1.jpg



The 1960 police march by, featuring Toronto Women's Auxiliary police (some of whom look like they could be competing in the pageant)

1960police.jpg



Not Miss Toronto, but who can resist a pic of Harold Ballard with Miss Hamilton Tiger Cat and Miss Winnipeg Blue Bomber? (Hot Stove Club location?)

ballard.jpg



The winner of Miss Toronto would then go on to compete for the title of Miss Canada, obviously another well-attended event judging by the staging required at Maple Leaf Gardens.

misscanadastage.jpg




Haven't heard anything about a Miss Toronto pageant in years and according to Jimmy's Pageant Page, the last official Miss Toronto was crowned in 1991.
 
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thecharioteer

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Great retrospective, Miss Sadie. I think the winds of political-correctness blew out the flame of Miss Toronto. Remember (1991) the fuss when the then-Mayor June Rowlands banned the Barenaked Ladies from Nathan Phillips Square because of their "sexist" name?
 

Mustapha

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To think that Miss Toronto, Miss Teen Canada, etc., once seemed to count for something in the social values in those days.

Strangely enough, some immigrant communities still run their own - Miss Chinese Vancouver, Miss Chinese Toronto...

The Hungarian community still "debut" their young women - the Helicon Ball.
 

madamecurie

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Hey, that's my mom when she was a teenager!!! 1950 Miss Toronto pageant fifth from left - the one who looks like Marilyn Monroe - and the most beautiful. My mom didn't win but she said a lot of these beauty pageants were fixed. The winner was no where near a knockout as my lovely mom and she still get compliments on her good looks approaching 80 years old. Thanks for posting this!
 

fiendishlibrarian

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Interesting how the 1926 girls seem the most "modern" of all those pictured. None of those girls would look out of place walking or bartending along Queen West, for example. Actually, it's fascinating how that whole stocking not-quite-all-the-way-up-the-leg thing is a fixture of fetish/stripper/schoolgirl fantasy imagery. Second girl from the left, for example, would look right at home having a smoke outside the Brass Rail after her set.
 

prosperegal

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To think that Miss Toronto, Miss Teen Canada, etc., once seemed to count for something in the social values in those days.

Strangely enough, some immigrant communities still run their own - Miss Chinese Vancouver, Miss Chinese Toronto...

The Hungarian community still "debut" their young women - the Helicon Ball.

Nothing wrong with debutantes. I would have liked to be one had my ethnic community (Chinese) done it...or if there was a "general" one for Toronto. Nothing wrong with learning some good manners (which I think boys need, too) and being presented!
 

Murphywrites

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Miss Toronto 1953

My mother, Elizabeth "Betty" Gibson, won Miss Toronto in 1953. One of her prize winnings was a trip to Florida where she met a nice young reporter who was assigned to cover her visit. Over a whirlwind few days, they spent a lot of time together, and he ended up proposing marriage to her. They were married in Dec. 1953 and she gave up her Miss Toronto crown to move back to Miami with her new husband. She and dad were married 58 years, until he died this past October. Just thought I'd post a bit of history in case anyone ever remembered that happening way back when.
 

mattelderca

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My mother, Elizabeth "Betty" Gibson, won Miss Toronto in 1953. One of her prize winnings was a trip to Florida where she met a nice young reporter who was assigned to cover her visit. Over a whirlwind few days, they spent a lot of time together, and he ended up proposing marriage to her. They were married in Dec. 1953 and she gave up her Miss Toronto crown to move back to Miami with her new husband. She and dad were married 58 years, until he died this past October. Just thought I'd post a bit of history in case anyone ever remembered that happening way back when.
Wow, nice story! Welcome to the fold.
 

carlaw

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does anyone know the names of these woman my grandmother was miss toronto one year but i dont know which year her name was lois margret whalen i believe at the time and now before she passed her name was lois margret whyte i dont know if she was miss toronto after she married my grandfather or before but i have one part of a tattoo for her when she passed away and all im missing is her miss toronto picture so i can have it tattooed on my if anyone knows the names of the woman and which picture would be here or where i can go and actually find out please feel free to message me at flawless_sizta@live.ca it would mean the world to me as well from what i know her picture was up in the maple leaf gardens until they sold it and when she passed away we couldnt locate it to buy it from them so our family could have it
 
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Sheila Hogan

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LOOKING FOR ELIZABETH GIBSON My name was Sheila Hogan and I was in the same contest as your mother, I have been trying to find someone else that was in this contest without ant luck until now. At the present time we are in Florida for a holiday and I would love to meet your mother again if she is still located here. You can reach me thru my email at wasaga@worldsbestbeach.ca
 
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thecharioteer

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My mother, Elizabeth "Betty" Gibson, won Miss Toronto in 1953. One of her prize winnings was a trip to Florida where she met a nice young reporter who was assigned to cover her visit. Over a whirlwind few days, they spent a lot of time together, and he ended up proposing marriage to her. They were married in Dec. 1953 and she gave up her Miss Toronto crown to move back to Miami with her new husband. She and dad were married 58 years, until he died this past October. Just thought I'd post a bit of history in case anyone ever remembered that happening way back when.

The contestants 1953:

1953.jpg


1953a.jpg


Miss Betty Gibson (No. 4 above):

bettgibson.jpg
 

Sheila Hogan

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Someone sent me the final pictures of the 1953 Miss Toronto contest, my number was 26, I finished 5th, and did not have any pictures to add to my memories, thank you for the pictures, whoever you are, they are a great memory. As I stated previously I would love to get in touch with Betty, Miss Toronto 1953, especially if she is in Florida, as I am here as well. Her story is very touching, it would make a great romance novel! All the best, Sheila and thanks again.
 

madamecurie

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pics of miss toronto pageants of past years

wow charioteer...where did you find those photos of Miss Toronto 1953? I'm so impressed with the quality! I would like to get photos of my mom who was in the 1950 pageant - do I go to the Toronto Archives office near Davenport or are the photos online? Thanks in advance.
 

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