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Vintage Toronto Ads: How to Prevent a Domestic Disturbance

Sometimes what passed for clever advertising in the past leaves us speechless. Note that today’s ad appeared seven years before Advertising Standards Canada came into being.
The free guide offered in this ad was first published in 1944 and offered the following words of wisdom:

Soup has long played a stellar part on the Canadian menu—but never has it filled so many interesting and appetizing roles as it does today! Formerly served as a first course, versatile soup now appears as an important ingredient in dozens of dishes—dressings, meat loaves, rarebits, casseroles and many another old favourite. For housewives have found this a quick, thrifty way to make everything from sauces to salads extra nourishing and delicious.

Most of the recipes provided in the guide are mid-20th century staples, though some lean toward the exotic-sounding (“Fricasseed Chicken with Marengo Sauce”), fattening (“Weiner-Vegetable Casserole” loaded with bacon drippings), or are overdue for a modern remake from the city’s finest chefs (“Tomato Soup Cake” complete with cream cheese frosting).
420 Dupont Street still exists as an address, though Heinz moved their Canadian head office to North York long ago. The site, located at the NW corner of Dupont and Howland, was later the home of Mono Lino Typesetting, and has served as an exterior for films such as Hairspray.
Source: National Home Monthly, January 1950


  • Bleb


  • Acadie

    yea, wow …..

  • spacejack

    So, how long has it been since you stopped beating your wife?
    I wonder if this was considered “progressive” at the time.

  • Miles Storey

    I love how it says “most husbands”, just crazy.

  • David E

    It’s hard to believe that such text would be used in an ad–even if it was humorously intended.
    Times change and we change with them.
    Mother-in-law and Newfie jokes were big
    30 or 40 years ago. Now I don’t think
    we hear them
    Still. it’s amazing to think that such an ad could see the light of day.

  • Mark Ostler

    Are those stink lines coming out of the bored husband’s mouth?
    Not just boring food, but stinky food too!

  • Marc Lostracco

    No wonder men are bored! They have nobody to beat anymore when their supper is bland!

  • MariaPD

    You totally should try a couple of the recipes, take pics and all, and report about the “tastiness” of them! Yeah.

  • Robsonian

    i hear newfie jokes.

  • Patrick Metzger

    There’s no shortage of cultures around the world where wife-beating is still acceptable, and some where it’s practically mandatory.

  • docgratis

    This is late to the story, I know (but the Houstonist just linked to it)
    I think this might be a reference to the Trap yes or no question… “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?”
    I know that the concept of this question orginates from arround this time period..
    (from wikipedia) There is a Bugs Bunny carton where Bugs “As Groucho, Bugs asks Elmer “Have you stopped beating your wife?” (The question is known for trapping the questionee whether the answer is “yes” nor “no” since neither answer allows for the possibility that the questionee has never beaten his wife and therefore cannot “stop” doing what he has never done in the first place.) ”