Earlier this week, The New York Times ditched their Times Select subscription thing, a move that saw content previously available for about $8 a month––like some well-liked columnists, for instance––unlocked and made free for everyone. Best of all, though, was the huge amount of material from the newspaper’s archives that was set free, dating all the way back to 1851.
The rest of the internet has already been having some fun uncovering the gems hidden away in the Times’ past: Jason Kottke, for one, has got a few great ones, from the paper’s first mentions of the World Wide Web and Harry Potter to its early coverage of Lincoln’s assassination.
Fortunately, we Torontonians aren’t left in the history dust. A search for “Toronto” yields tens of thousands of results, going back to September 25, 1851––a mention of a “letter in relation to the contemplated line of Steamers from Quebec to England.” Or there’s the first mention of the Toronto Maple Leafs on August 13, 1919, which featured a prettier and more eloquent mainstream media sports recap than there’s been for quite a while. (“George Gibson’s Toronto Maple Leafs, making their last appearance of the season here today, split even in a double-header. Newark won the first game, 6 to 0, while Toronto came through a winner in the nightcap affair, 4 to 1.”)
Of course, if you’re so inclined, you can also take a stroll through Canadian history via the archives, including an article from April 23, 1865 titled “MORE REBEL PLOTS IN CANADA” (pictured) that is summarized thus: “MORE REBEL PLOTS IN CANADA; An Armed Expedition Ready to Sail from Toronto. The Scheme Detected and Frustrated. THE NOTORIOUS McDONALD CRIMINATED. A TORONTO COUNCILMAN IMPLICATED. Hand-Grenades, Greek Fire, Shells, &c., Ready for Shipment. The Feeling in Regard to the President’s Death. ANOTHER REBEL PLOT IN CANADA. THE ASSASSINATION OF THE PRESIDENT AND MR. JUSTICE SMITH’S JUDGMENT ON THE RAIDERS. From the Montreal Herald. SINGULAR, IDEAS. From the Montreal Herald. THE GREAT MEETING IN MONTREAL. Cry of an Injured Innocent. FROM THE ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. Johnston’s Army Demoralized–New Dispositions of our Troops. From Philadelphia. The Black Hawk Destroyed. Arrival of a French Man-of-War.” A busy day, to say the least. Or there’s that whole officially becoming a country thing two years later, an occasion that, the article notes, “was naturally marked by demonstrations of a patriotic character.” Naturally.