Hemingway in Canada
Hemingway's First Stay in Canada
Ernest Hemingway first came to Toronto in 1920, and though he began working for the Toronto Star that same year it was not this job that brought him to the Canadian City; in fact, the reason had nothing to do with journalism or writing.
In 1919 Hemingway was giving a talk to a women's group in Petoskey, Michigan about his experiences with a Red Cross ambulance unit in Italy during World War I. One of the attendees at this talk was Toronto resident, Harriet Connable. She was very impressed with the young Hemingway and approached him with an offer. Harriet and her husband Ralph, who ran the Canadian division of F.W. Woolworth's department stores, were looking for a companion and mentor for their disabled teenage son. Hemingway would stay with the boy in the Connable's Toronto mansion while the couple vacationed in Palm Beach, Florida. Hemingway would be paid $50 per month, and would have plenty of free time to dedicate to his writing. He took the position.
Being a man who knew how to create his own opportunities Hemingway, on arriving in Toronto, convinced Harriet Connable to get him an introduction at the Toronto Star. Through Harriet, Hemingway met and befriended Star writer and editor Greg Clark, who, in turn, introduced him to Star Weekly chief Cranston. The Star published four of Hemingway's pieces, for which he received half a cent a word. For his fifth story he received the all important byline. Hemingway did well at the Star weekly and his rate quickly doubled to a cent a word.
Though Hemingway was enjoying his time in Toronto, by the spring of 1921 he was getting antsy to move on. So, in mid May of that year, around the opening of trout season, Hemingway, always the fishing fanatic, quit his job with the Star, thanked the Connable's for the opportunity, and headed back to Petoskey, Michigan.
Michigan and Paris
Shortly after his return to Michigan, while on a trip to Chicago, Hemingway met Hadley Richardson. After a brief courtship, and against the strong objections of Hadley's family, the coupled married on September 3, 1921.
In October of 1921 Hemingway, now married, bored with his job writing for the in-house magazine of a Chicago financial institution, and getting nowhere with his creative writing, wrote to the managing editor of the Star Weekly looking for his job back. The Star, happy to have Hemingway back, reached a deal with the writer whereby he would work as their European correspondent. In December of 1921 Ernest and Hadley set off for Paris.
His Return to Canada
Though Hemingway lived in Paris from 1921 to 1928, he did return to Toronto for a brief period In 1923/24. While in Paris Hadley had gotten pregnant but did not want to have her child there, so Hemingway returned to Canada with Hadley in September 1923. On October first he signed a yearlong lease on a two bedroom apartment on the top floor of a four story building, now known as The Hemingway, on Toronto's Bathurst street. He did not stay that long, however.
On October 10, 1923 Hadley gave birth to the couple's first son, John, at Wellesley hospital. Hemingway was, unfortunately, not there for his son's birth; he was on a train from New York, where he had been covering the arrival of British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, for the Star. In January of of 1924, less then four months after his second arrival in Canada, Hemingway and his young family returned to Paris.
Though his second stay in Toronto was brief it was significant. Not only did it see the birth of his first son but Hemingway also befriended Canadian novelist Morley Callaghan, and Canadian broadcasting icon Gordon Sinclair, a fact attested to by a plaque affixed to the wall on the outside of the building where Hemingway and his young family lived for such a short time such a long time ago.
Kalinowski, T. (April 8, 2019) Ernest Hemingway's Former Toronto Home up for Sale. www.thestar.com/business/real_estate/2019/04/08/ernest-hemingways-former-toronto-home-up-for-sale.html
Hufford, B. (October 21, 2006) Hadley Richardson Hemingway Mowrer. www.findagrave.com/memorial/16268914/hadley-heminway-mowrer
Schiller, B. (2012) How Hemingway Came of Age at the Toronto Star. ehto.thestar.com/marks/how-hemingway-came-of-age-at-the-toronto-star
Paris Insiders Guide (2010 - 2019) Ernest Hemingway's Paris - In the Footsteps of History. www.parisinsidersguide.com/hemingways-paris.html
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© 2019 Stephen Barnes