media notes #10: electricity and radio in Toronto history

The following quotes from Too Good to be True by Randall White imply that radio and domestic metered electricity were taken up simultaneously during the 1920’s, at least in Toronto.

Metered electricity:

“Electricity was a crucial prerequisite for the Standard Electric Home. In 1930 Might’s Directory would review the progress of the “Toronto Hydro-Electric System.” In 1916 the system had served some 40,000 meters in the city. This had increased to more than 93,000 meters by 1922, and to more than 141,000 meters by 1924. More than 175,000 meters would be served by the end of the decade.”

Early radio in Canada:

“Canada’s first experimental radio station began broadcasting in Montreal in 1919. For a while in the 1920s Toronto newspapers carried program listings for Canadian stations as far away as Vancouver. By 1924 the recently established Canadian National Railways had begun a primitive programming service in both English and French. (Its Toronto outlet was known as CNRT.) By the late 1920s there would be five local radio stations in Toronto itself.”

The mass perception of radio at its debut:

“The June 1922 ads reflected the novelty of the new machines. A radio was not yet just something you put in your living room, to receive programs from stations on the dial; it was also a mysterious link to assorted strange noises from the cosmos.”

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