Toronto Globe Reporter John Boyd’s 1926 Trip to Tobermory

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Submitted by Allan Bartley

John Boyd was the first staff photographer for The Toronto Globe newspaper, the predecessor to today’s Globe and Mail. On August 1, 1926, Boyd, his fiancée (and later wife) Marjorie Laing, and two friends drove from Toronto to the fishing village of Tobermory at the northern tip of the Bruce Peninsula. 

Boyd brought his camera with him, taking photos along the way and leaving behind a record of familiar scenes in Tobermory as they were 97 years ago. Photos taken at the same places on August 1, 2023, show how much the village has changed in the 10 decades since Boyd ventured north on the humid 1926 Civic Holiday weekend.

Fresh from covering a mass drowning in the Kawarthas (there were 11 victims) and in anticipation of a busy week ahead attending more funerals in the Kawarthas and then Toronto’s Canadian National Exhibition, the 28-year-old Boyd needed some relaxation. Whether he found it on the drive is an open question given the wretched roads to the north, particularly from Wiarton to Tobermory.

The Boyd party explored a rustic fishing community with at least one store (the group bought Cokes that they can be seen sipping in one picture), a few houses, fishing boats moored in the harbour and the newly-erected Cenotaph commemorating the dead from the war that had ended just eight years before. John Boyd took photos of it all and more.

The full story of John Boyd’s trip to Tobermory is told in a Bruce County Historical Society publication later this year.