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culture

Vintage Toronto Ads: Doin’ the Brading’s Do-Si-Do

Promoting a popular early 1950s recreational activity in the name of good health, and beer.

Source: the Globe and Mail, June 29, 1951.

Bow to your partner. Bow to your corner. Take a little swig. Do a little jig. Do-si-do, but don’t heave-ho.

We suspect these calls weren’t in Brading’s guide to square dancing, but they might have been a useful warning to anyone planning to down one too many Brading’s beers before engaging in another “Canadian Way to Good Health.”

During the postwar era, square dancing rose in popularity across North America as both a social activity and as a component of school physical education programs. Even Bugs Bunny called a dance or two. Thumbing through Toronto newspapers from the month today’s ad was published, we found a classified ad offering weekly sessions at a Lake Rosseau resort, a weekly half-hour showcase Saturday nights on CBC radio (Let’s Square Dance), and, lighting up the screen at the Mount Pleasant Theatre, comedienne Vera Vague, in Square Dance Katy.

Tracing its origins back to 1865, Ottawa-based Brading Breweries was business magnate E.P. Taylor’s gateway to the beer business during the late 1920s. Via acquisitions of regional brewers like Carling and O’Keefe, Taylor’s Canadian Breweries controlled half the Canadian beer market by the mid-1950s. The Brading’s brand gradually do-si-doed into the sunset.

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